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Patients who use anti-depressants are more likely to suffer relapse, researcher finds
Date:7/19/2011

nd that the more these drugs affect serotonin and other neurotransmitters in your brain -- and that's what they're supposed to do -- the greater your risk of relapse once you stop taking them," Andrews says. "All these drugs do reduce symptoms, probably to some degree, in the short-term. The trick is what happens in the long term. Our results suggest that when you try to go off the drugs, depression will bounce back. This can leave people stuck in a cycle where they need to keep taking anti-depressants to prevent a return of symptoms."

Andrews believes depression may actually be a natural and beneficial -- though painful -- state in which the brain is working to cope with stress.

"There's a lot of debate about whether or not depression is truly a disorder, as most clinicians and the majority of the psychiatric establishment believe, or whether it's an evolved adaptation that does something useful," he says.

Longitudinal studies cited in the paper show that more than 40 per cent of the population may experience major depression at some point in their lives.

Most depressive episodes are triggered by traumatic events such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship or the loss of a job. Andrews says the brain may blunt other functions such as appetite, sex drive, sleep and social connectivity, to focus its effort on coping with the traumatic event.

Just as the body uses fever to fight infection, he believes the brain may also be using depression to fight unusual stress.

Not every case is the same, and severe cases can reach the point where they are clearly not beneficial, he emphasizes.


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Contact: Wade Hemsworth
hemswor@mcmaster.ca
905-525-9140
McMaster University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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