from dr Achal Bhagat
New studies say serotonin has nothing to do with depression. Nevertheless, it is a standard prescription for almost all patients. What do you make of it?
A recent review of some studies has challenged the hypothesis of a link between serotonin and depression. Treatment in psychiatry is based on treatment guidelines. These treatment guidelines are based on research and a body of evidence. As the body of evidence changes, so do the guidelines. This study will help the science of psychiatry to evolve over time. However, clinical evidence remains that current drugs work. We continue to follow international and national guidelines for treatment. Depression is a complex disease that may involve many neurochemicals, neuronal circuits, and neurotrophic factors and signaling systems. Psychological and social factors can also contribute. As science advances, newer treatments will emerge.
What are the signs of depression?
Common characteristics of depression include:
Mood: Anxiety, apathy, general dissatisfaction, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
Behavior: Restlessness, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
Sleep: Early awakening, excessive sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
Whole body: Excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
Cognitive: Poor concentration, slow activity, or suicidal thoughts
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
Also common: loss of appetite or repeated thinking
When should you seek medical advice?
If the above characteristics are present and have lasted for two weeks or more. In case of significant stress or dysfunction, it helps to see a professional.
What can people do to avoid this condition?
A healthy lifestyle and diet, with goal-directed activities, a sense of accomplishment, problem-solving skills, communicative relationships, and a sense of control over one’s life help prevent mental health problems. It’s important to realize that depression is a reality that many people face and it’s okay and brave to seek help.
dr Achal Bhagat is Chief Physician, Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals,
New Delhi and Chair of Saarthak, a mental health NGO