Biological therapies for depression

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Drugs

Most common tricyclics and SSRI's.

Short term (4-6 weeks).

Evaluation:

  • Significant advantage in severely depressed individuals
  • Less useful when given to children
  • Concern about safety - increase suicidal thoughts in vulnerable people. Twice as likely to attempt suicide compared to placebo group.
  • Increased risk among adolescents but over 65 have protective effect against suicide attempts. 
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ECT

Severe depression.

Quicker results so less risk of suicide.

Bilateral/unilateral

0.6 amp

Evaluation:

  • Significantly better results than sham ECT
  • Psychological and physical side effects
  • Unilateral less likely to cause psychological side effects 
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