Global Crisis of Depression comment: Dr Ciara McCabe says a global research effort is needed to find answers to complex neurobiology behind symptoms
Release Date 25 November 2014
Dr Ciara McCabe, neuroscientist at the University of Reading who is studying brain response in depression, says the world must unite to win the battle against depression.
"Depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide and can manifest itself in various debilitating ways. There is no single cause of depression and unfortunately not everyone responds to treatment.
"For some, an upsetting or stressful life ‘trigger' - such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and money worries, can lead to depressive episodes - for others there is no obvious trigger. However is it likely a combination of factors such as a person's genes, their environment, personal experience and psychological factors, all contribute to depression.
"It is important to understand the biological differences between people with and without depression. We can do this by looking inside the brain with fMRI. Treatment development will be improved when we understand better the biology and psychology of depression.
"Despite the headlines, evidence shows that antidepressant medications do work, especially for those with more severe depression. However why this is, we just don't know. For example our work suggests that serotonin agents might be good at reducing the sadness/anxiety aspects of depression but not the lack of motivation and ‘drive'. Our aim is to develop treatments tailored to specific aspects of depression.
"The world must unite to win the battle against depression. From shared approaches to finding best treatment practices, to a global research effort that will provide the answers to the complex neurobiology behind the physical and psychological symptoms of this destructive condition."