There is a common frustration for patients using antidepressants for the first time.
The antidepressants either take weeks to be effective or they may never be effective.
The major reason for this has been a long standing mystery among clinicians.
But a recent research finding may have uncovered a clear and logical cause of this problem.
In one word the reason may be: Stress.
A recent research publication in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity highlighted how environmental stressors may influence whether an antidepressant works or not.
The researchers demonstrated their findings by studying mice.
All the mice were initially exposed to a stressful environment for two weeks and then given the antidepressant fluoxetine (the active ingredient in Prozac).
Half the mice on the antidepressants were then exposed to a comfortable environment, while the other half of the mice on the antidepressants continued being exposed to a stressful environment.
The mice who received antidepressants and a comfortable environment showed lesser signs of depression than the mice who received antidepressants and a stressed environment.
Their conclusion was that the environment, and the resulting stressed state of an individual, can influence if antidepressants are effective.
So the potential application of this study is that doing anything which reduces your stress may help antidepressants to work more effectively.
This could include avoiding or eliminating the things which stress you, or buffering the stress with vacation, exercising, meditation, yoga, music, coloring, reading, cuddling, and of course, experiencing ASMR.
I hope many more experiments will done to find out which types of relaxing activities can be scientifically confirmed to help depressed patients receive more effective treatment.
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