recommended reading

Who Should Take Antidepressants?

Diana Taliun/Shutterstock.com

Amid calls for more science in psychiatry, part of the $100 million the U.S. government is spending this year on the BRAIN Initiative will go toward "mapping the human brain" in the interest of more concrete diagnoses. Basing treatments on harder data, better understanding the science of psychiatric pathology, could cut down on variations from doctor to doctor and get people healthier faster. For example, a recent study at Johns Hopkins found that over 60 percent of adults who were diagnosed by their doctor as having depressionactually did not meet the official diagnostic criteria for the disorder upon re-evaluation by Hopkins psychiatrists. Some of them may have been prescribed antidepressant medications when their real problem was something else entirely.

Even when diagnosis is accurate, only some depressed people respond well to antidepressants. For others, they don't really help. Dr. Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, explained to me, "We have reasonably good treatments for depression; both medications and psychotherapies. But we don't know who will respond best to medication and who will respond best to psychotherapy."

We do know about certain interesting factors that predict responses. For example, depressed people with a personal history of child abuse seem torespond better to therapy than to medications. But an empiric test to decide who should receive what type of treatment, instead of relying on possible correlations and likelihoods from the patient's history, could save time and money in effectively getting people what best works for them.

As Insel told me, "We increasingly think of depression as a brain disorder and thus, turning to the brain to predict treatment response seems like a smart thing to do."

(Image via Diana Taliun/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.