A recent study found that antidepressants aren’t as effective at improving patients’ quality of life in the long run.
Antidepressants are the principal way of treating moderate to severe depression. Their use makes people feel better, equipping them more readily to deal with daily life. But a new study shows that, in the long run, antidepressants aren’t related to a better quality of life.
The study, published in the journal PLOS One, used data from a 10-year longitudinal study tracking the health services that Americans use, including people diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Through the study, over 17 million Americans were diagnosed with the condition, with 57% of them receiving antidepressant medicines.
The study analyzed the impact of antidepressants on the mental and physical aspects of patients. The former analyzed social functioning and psychological wellbeing, while the latter referred to pain, energy levels, and the like.
Results show that the use of antidepressants was linked with an improvement in the mental part of the survey. Still, when researchers compared these results to people with depression who were not taking anti-depressants, the differences were negligible, especially after measuring these stats again following a two-year period.
Researchers make it clear that more study is necessary, and that there were some caveats in this recent study, for example, being unable to separate the varying degrees of depression and how these change from person to person. They don’t advise for people to stop taking their antidepressants, more so for researchers to look into the topic further.
“Although we still need our patients with depression to continue using their antidepressant medications, long-term studies evaluating the actual impact of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions on these patients’ quality of life are needed,” explain the authors. “With that being said, the role of cognitive and behavioral interventions in the long-term management of depression needs to be further evaluated in an effort to improve the ultimate goal of care for these patients; improving their overall quality of life.”
While it’s clear that anti-depressants play a key role in the lives of people dealing with depression, there’s still a lot that’s not understood in them, especially when discussing people’s quality of life in the long term.