medical studies for depression

What is a Clinical Trial for Depression?

It is not uncommon to experience low moods or periods of sadness occasionally. However, these emotions are often brief, lasting only a few days. For those who have depression, negative emotions persist for a long period of time. The National Institute of Mental Health outlines the symptoms of major depression as follows: persistent sadness, hopelessness, irritability, fatigue, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, appetite changes, physical aches, cognitive issues, sleep disturbances and thoughts of suicide. There are a number of treatment options available for those with depression, many of which were first tested in clinical trial for depression. What is a clinical trial? It is an important component of medical studies, which aim to determine the most effective tools to remedy human illness. Regarding depression, there are drug-related, as well as neurological and behavior-centric trials.

Drug Trials

Prior to a drug being approved by the U.S Food and Drug Administration, it must first be tested in a research trial. Currently, there are multiple medical studies recruiting participants for trials. Trials to assess potential medications for the treatment of depression are useful because they help researchers understand the safety profile, side effects and effectiveness a medication. In addition to testing newly developed remedies, investigators also conduct these studies to compare existing ones; often, theoretically confounding lifestyle factors (diet, exercise, etc.) are considered, as well. There is no guarantee that researchers will offer paid clinical trials to those who voluntarily participate, though compensation is typically provided.

Neurological Trials

medical studies for depressionAdditionally, investigators are interested in determining the role that neurological functions play in depression. At this time, there are [potentially] paid clinical trials that require volunteer subjects. Many studies examining neurological functions in those with depression can be found on ClinicalTrials.gov. Brain chemicals (neurotransmitters), structures and abnormalities are observed, with the goal of deciphering how they may impact the development and treatment of depression. Those who partake may receive physical examinations, positron emission tomography (PET) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and other procedures to measure brain activity.

Behavioral Trials

When conducting medical studies for treatments that will mitigate the symptoms of major depression, behavioral aspects are routinely considered. Different types of psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, interrelations therapy and psycho-education are tested. Often, clinicians will observe the impact that a certain type of behavioral therapy has when combined with other treatments, such as antidepressants and alternative therapies. Psychotherapies are seen as a beneficial part of treatment for depression and other disorders because they allow people to better understand the illness and build healthy coping mechanisms. The Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange offers a database to search for clinical trials, some of which include behavior-related studies of depression.

Depression is a serious mental condition, which disturbs a large proportion of a person’s daily life. Potential treatment options are currently being scrutinized in clinical trials, as a component of larger medical studies. What is a clinical trial? It is a crucial method that aims to discern the most effective tools for human disease management. Researchers often offer paid clinical trials, as a way to compensate volunteers for their time. However, this is not always the case. There are many researchers recruiting at this time for trials, observing the impact of pharmaceutical drugs, neurological functions, and  behavioral intervention on those with depression.

To learn more about Los Angeles clinical trials for depression or other forms of medical issues, contact the Pacific Institute of Medical Research, which is an independent clinical research site specializing in psychiatry since 1982. Visit us online or call us at (310) 208-7144.

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