blood test for behavioral health

What Depression Treatment Will Look Like in the Near Future

According to the World Health Organization, approximately 264 million people around the world live with depression. However, if you’ve met one person with depression, you’ve met one person with depression. That is to say, this mental health disorder affects each individual differently.

Each person with depression has a unique set of causes, symptoms, and ways in which those symptoms affect their lives.

While current treatment options work for many of these patients, others continue to live with debilitating symptoms. Emerging trends in mental health research suggest that people with depression will have many more options for treatment in the coming years. Below are just some of the exciting trends that can give people hope.

 New Ways of Determining the Best Treatment Options

For many decades, the depression treatment plan has been the same for every patient: try therapy and do trial-and-error to find the right medication. With this plan, many people are lucky to find the right medication, but others actually experience worsening symptoms on the wrong medicine. Three new ways of testing patients may help psychiatrists map out a personalized treatment plan for each person:

  1. Genetic tests: analyze differences in a person’s genetic code to determine what classification of medicine may work best.
  2. Blood tests: researchers have founds that people with lower levels of C-reactive protein in their blood react better to specific antidepressants.
  3. Brain tests: some scientists have measured brain waves and found a significant correlation between certain wave patterns and the efficacy of specific antidepressants.

At least one genetic test for antidepressants is already on the market. Over time, researchers may refine these tests and make them even more accurate. Blood and brain testing on this front are still in the early phases of research, but they seem promising.

More People Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

Some people with depression do not respond well to behavioral health medications. Some have serious reactions and worsening symptoms, while others continue to have the same symptoms with little-to-no improvement. We can expect this to be true even with advanced testing capabilities and personalized treatment plans.

Today, TMS offers relief for many of these patients, which we see at LifeStance Health. We can expect to see an increase in the number of people turning to TMS for depression relief as awareness spreads. Furthermore, researchers are looking into how this treatment can help people with different types of depression. Just last month (March 2020), the FDA approved TMS for the treatment of bipolar depression.

The Next Generation of Depression Medicine

Behavioral health researchers continue to develop medications that work in different ways that the depression treatments on the market today. Because these medications have different mechanisms of action, they could work for patients who have not yet had success with medications. They could also replace effective medications with fewer side effects.

One such option is ketamine, which is a glutamate modulator with a long and storied history in medicine. First used as an anesthetic, ketamine started getting used as a street drug. Now, researchers have seen that it is effective in treating resistant forms of depression. By learning more about how ketamine works, scientists can develop safer, more effective versions of this medication.

Researchers are exploring some other types of medication for depression as well, including:

  • GABA-A modulators
  • Other glutamate modulators
  • AMPAR potentiators
  • mGluR2/3 antagonists

These terms may sound like scientific jargon to many people, but the important thing to note is that researchers are exploring the many ways depression works in the brain. As we learn more about the human brain, we can develop medications that target depression better than ever before.

Get Treatment for Depression in Florida

LifeStance Health is dedicated to remaining on the cutting edge of research-backed treatments for our patients. If you’re struggling with the symptoms of depression, do not hesitate to contact us today.