The Controversy Surrounding New Treatments for Depression: 2 Trends
Depression is a highly treatable disease, affecting millions of Americans today. Every so often, you'll hear about a new treatment method promising to cure this disorder. That can be exciting news to a person suffering from depression. This story discusses two of the latest trends in treating depression.
Depression is said to affect one in ten adults in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), who also note that major depression is the leading cause of disability for people between the ages of 15 and 44. With such a high prevalence, unconventional treatments like Botox and ketamine infusions have been researched for use on people who have been unreceptive to traditional forms of treatment. While there is no doubt that new forms of treatment for depression will continue to be presented, nothing will be beneficial unless the underlying cause of the depression is addressed.
The most commonly used treatment methods for depression have historically been through the use of antidepressant medications and engaging in face-to-face therapy. Recently, however, there has been an emerging trend of implementing new methods of treatment for people who are deemed "treatment-resistant" to those methods.
One example of this new trend includes the use of ketamine, which is commonly used as an animal anesthesia or abused as a party drug referred to as "Special K." Researchers have gone on record stating that one-third of people who had been unaffected by the standard therapeutic interventions quickly and effectively experienced significant mood improvement after being treated with ketamine infusions over a period of several weeks. Three days following the final ketamine infusion, depression scores halved in 29 percent of the patients participating in the study.
The largest ketamine clinical trial was conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai by researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. This research team evaluated 72 people who were experiencing treatment-resistant depression. These individuals were provided with intravenous infusions of ketamine for 40 minutes, resulting in 63.8 percent reporting positive responses within 24 hours. This comes in great comparison to commonly prescribed antidepressant medications, which can take up to six weeks to provide their full effectiveness. One week after receiving the ketamine infusion, 46 percent of the individuals continued to report reduced depression symptoms.
While the results from these studies did show that people experienced a reduction in depressive symptoms after having the ketamine infusions, that relief was only temporary as only the identifiable symptoms were treated, not the actual cause for the depression itself.
Not Enough Evidence for Ketamine Treatment
"To date, there is not enough evidence to fully support the use of ketamine. For some, it provides rapid symptom relieve, but the effects of long term use have yet to be discovered," said Annie Fongheiser, MA, MS, and Addiction Therapist at Rebound Behavioral Health. At this point Ketamine treatment is monitored in a research setting and not a clinical setting."
Botox Treatment for Depression
There has also been much intrigue into studies that have been done on people who experience a decrease in depressive symptoms after receiving Botox treatments. While some professionals in the field initially thought that it was the feelings of attractiveness that people experienced after receiving Botox that caused an increase in mood, it has since been proven that it is actually the inability to frown that one experiences following a Botox treatment that causes mood improvement. In November of 2013, Eric Finzi and Norman E. Rosenthal presented findings from a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial that they held on a total of 85 subjects who were suffering from moderate to severe depression, which is the largest study on the correlation between Botox and depression to date. The results of the study found that 52 percent of the subjects experienced relief from their symptoms after Botox was injected into the glabellar area between the eyes. In contrast, only 15 percent of subjects experienced similar relief after receiving the saline placebo.
"Botox has received a great deal of attention for reducing wrinkles in a clinical setting. In the research phase Botox has also shown promise with symptom relieve of excessive sweating and spasticity from Multiple Sclerosis," said Annie Fongheiser, MA, MS, and Addiction Therapist at Rebound Behavioral Health. In the future, the research on Ketamine and Botox may provide additional options for those suffering from major depression."
Botox and Ketamine are Temporary Treatments
While the use of Botox or ketamine infusions may work as treatment for some individuals, they are both temporary. In order to experience lasting recovery, one must address the underlying reasons for why the depression exists. By treating the cause of the depression, people are able to overcome their symptoms, not just mask them for brief periods of time.
Written by Erica Smith, MA, NCC
Rebound Behavioral Health