Every week, when Ian Hanley sits down with his therapist, he goes through a list of depression treatments he’s researching online. The best known treatments at the top of the list – half a dozen antidepressants and known combinations of those drugs – are all crossed out.
“My therapist says he’s never had this much difficulty with somebody,” says Hanley, “which is sort of a dubious honor.”
Hanley is only 21 years old, but he’s already six years into his search for something, anything, that can help him feel better for more than a few weeks at a time. “I’ve heard people describe it as sadness, and that’s not specific enough,” he says. Numbness is closer, but it’s not like depression inures you to suffering. “It’s like not quite being alive,” he says, “but still having to go through all the crappy parts of being alive.” notes Time Magazine Available In Pakistan
When he was in the 10th grade, Hanley basically lost all desire to get out of bed in the morning. He started seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist–the same one he sees today–and went on Zoloft. “I wasn’t catatonic anymore,” he says. But the positive effects soon disappeared, like they would with every medication he’s tried since.
This year, Hanley quit college and put on ice his ambitions to become a screenwriter. Now he spends most of his time waiting to start a new treatment, trying that new treatment or waiting to see if he feels better.
Most diagnoses do not come with 20-plus medicines approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat it–and yet with depression, more options don’t always mean better outcomes. Ever since the first antidepressants were introduced 60 years ago, doctors have had patients like Hanley–people who don’t seem to get better even after they’ve worked their way through the lengthy list of available drugs. About 30% of all people with depression don’t respond adequately to the available treatments. That’s a dismal failure rate for a class of drugs designed to improve a person’s basic ability to function.
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