More men suffer from depression than you think. Psychiatric drugs can help with depression, but they have a bad reputation. Wrongly! These are the facts
Bad mood? Or is it worse? every 8th man will be affected by the mental disorder in the course of his life. Including the female fellow sufferers, that is a total of 5.3 million people with depression in Britain.
The fears triggered by the pandemic, social distancing requirements, conditional isolation as well as treatment with therapists not taking place due to lockdown worsen the situation for people with depressive tendencies. Antidepressants might help. But the prejudices against it are great. Wrongly. These are the facts.
What is Depression?
It almost seems as if the prevailing opinion is that depression is just a bad phase that a person is going through, a sad state of mind that you can get out of by yourself with a little chocolate or a long vacation. Pills? What!
Depression is a disease like any other. neurology and psychotherapy, confirms that depression is often confused with a stress-related mood. “Everyone knows that: experiences of loss, excessive demands or partnership problems affect the mood. However, depression is something different – and it also feels different.” With real depression, those affected can rarely get rid of a depressed mood, negative thoughts and listlessness alone . In contrast to depression, these are signs of burnout. ent.” With real depression, those affected can rarely get rid of a depressed mood, negative thoughts and listlessness alone .
Important to know: Depression can occur without any major stress factors. The disposition is decisive for this. If you have that, you don’t need an external stress factor. In order to find out whether you are suffering from depression or a stress-related mood, you should definitely consult a doctor. That is why men often keep silent about psychological problems.
What are the causes of depression?
That although depression is not a hereditary disease, the susceptibility or predisposition to it – so-called vulnerability – is very high is probably inherited. Negative childhood experiences can make them worse. Under these conditions, acute negative living conditions can easily trigger or worsen depression.
But none of these are the real causes of depression. “Even those affected are often convinced that a current problem in their living environment is to blame,” says Hegerl. “Then it doesn’t make sense why you should take antidepressants. You don’t understand that it’s about a disease that needs treatment.” Because of this ignorance, people with depression are often considered weak or inefficient by their environment. And that is probably the reason for the stigmatization.
How is depression treated?
“In a performance society you have to be successful and show results. It doesn’t fit to be productive with just the crutch of drugs and to have enough drive,” so Bschor’s conclusion. This is certainly an explanation for the fact that 8 times as many daily doses of antidepressants are prescribed today as in 1990, but hardly anyone speaks about the huge amount of 1.4 billion tablets.
Of course, this is not to say that reaching for medication is always the right way to go. There are many other measures that one can try. A psychotherapy is close, but the places are rare, at least for therapists with an approval of the statutory health insurance. The current figures from the Federal Chamber of Psychotherapists show: The waiting time to get to a first appointment is almost 20 weeks. Mind you, only for visiting a consultation hour in which a need for therapy is first determined.
But there are now other solutions: For example, the Techniker Krankenkasse developed a digital depression coach a few years ago . The online tool is aimed at people with mild to moderately ill people. A new way of dealing with depression is to be developed within about 6 weeks – with the help of structured modules, intensive writing tasks and personal (written) feedback from therapists. Whether the method makes sense, of course, always depends on the individual experience of those affected. The same applies to the prescribed medication. Because the effectiveness of antidepressants is controversial.
What psychotropic drugs are there?
- Name : Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Known under : fluoxetine, paroxetine, citalopram, sertraline, escitalopram
Effect: inhibit the reuptake of serotonin from the synaptic gap back into the nerve cell, the serotonin concentration in the synaptic gap increases.
Side effects: rather rare; sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal discomfort
- Name: Selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
Known under: Venlafaxine, Duloxetine, Milnacipran
Effect: also inhibit the reuptake of norepinephrine, lift the mood and increase drive.
Side effects: rather rare; Loss of appetite, nausea, problems sleeping, restlessness, dry mouth.
- Name: Benzodiazepine
Known under: Diazepam, Lorazepam, Temazepam
Effect: quickly relieves anxiety and promotes sleep; are often used to bridge the gap until the actual antidepressant works.
Side effects: addiction (already possible after 4 weeks), tiredness, dizziness, drowsiness.
How effective are psychotropic drugs for depression?
Studies in which the effect of antidepressants was compared with placebos show that the so-called effect size is statistically only 0.2. To be able to classify this correctly: A value of 0.5 indicates a mediocre effectiveness, from 0.8 one can speak of a strong effect. However, the weakness of antidepressants only applies if such a drug is used against mild and moderate depression. The success rate of the tablets increases with the severity of the mental illness. Ultimately, however, there is also the placebo effect. “A large part of the positive effects of the drugs comes from the fact that patients know they are getting something that can help them,” said Bschor.
What are the side effects of antidepressants?
Ineffectiveness is just one of the problems and a number of unpleasant side effects such as nausea, digestive problems, dry mouth and sexual dysfunction can occur. From a chemical point of view, antidepressants have no potential for dependence – with the exception of benzodiazepines, which also act as sleeping pills. Nevertheless, withdrawal symptoms can occur after discontinuation, which is why medical supervision is so important.
Conclusion: talk to your doctor!
If antidepressants are helpful, don’t be afraid to speak openly about them. Specialist Bschor is of the same opinion: “After all, there are no substances that change a person’s personality, but only restore the ‘normal state’ of the body.”