New Perspectives for Depression Treatment
Recently, some good news for people who suffer depressive disorders was written about by Jens Kuhn (University of Cologne), Theo PJ Gründer (Max Planck Institute, Cologne) and their co-authors in the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International.
The experts said that Psychosurgery or Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) has shown a trend of greater healing in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive disorder, depressive disorders and Tourette's syndrome.
The study, which took place from 1980 to 2009, set out to evaluate depression treatments and to determine the clinical utility of DBS in psychiatric disorder. The experts found that there were improvement rates of between 35% and 70%, in treatment-resistant obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression and Tourette's syndrome.
Meanwhile the rate of side effects associated with DBS was noted low and mostly reversible by modulating the stimulation parameters.
In medical treatment, DBS has been in use as therapeutic option for 20 years, for example for treating Parkinson's disease.
More than 300 separate disorders are listed in a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This book is very important because doctors, insurers and researchers all over the world use it as a reference, a dictionary of everything humanity considers to be mentally unbalanced.
DSM has been revised for several times. The present version, the DSM-IV-TR (the TR stands for "text revision"), was published in 2000. It begins with "mild mental retardation" moves on to common illnesses like depression and odd ones like dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse not due to a medical condition) and ends with the vague "personality disorder not otherwise specified.
To be diagnosed with major depressive disorder today, you need have only five symptoms for two weeks, e.g. depressed mood, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue and indecisiveness. The current DSM does make an exception for bereavement: if you recently lost a loved one, such symptoms are not considered disordered. But the manual doesn't make exceptions for other things that make us sad — divorce, financial stress, a life-threatening illness.