Sad news from the largest ever study on depression:
Antidepressants fail to cure the symptoms of major depression in half of all patients with the disease even if they receive the best possible care, according to a definitive government study released yesterday.
Significant numbers of patients continue to experience symptoms such as sadness, low energy and hopelessness after intensive treatment, even as about an equal number report an end to such problems -- a result that quickly lent itself to interpretations that the glass was either half empty or half full.
The $35 million taxpayer-funded study was the largest trial of its kind ever conducted. It provided what industry-sponsored trials have rarely captured: Rather than merely ask whether patients are getting better, the study asked what patients most care about -- whether depression can be made to disappear altogether.
The study only examined the effectiveness of drugs, not therapy, so it's unclear how many people continue to suffer. But it's still disheartening. I can picture those "Depression Hurts" commercials -- and it hurts more than we know when you can't fully recover.