Posted by Bob on May 22, 2008, at 17:04:15
Did anyone see the PBS show on depression last night? It was an overview of the disease and many of the treatments used for it.
Some of my thoughts:
1 - It touched on a number of different aspects and was reasonably thorough I though for a 2 hr show.
2 - Even though it mentioned treatment resistant depression near the end of the show, I felt like this show, like so many other programs and articles, paints a rosier picture of treatment than is actually the case. I guess I'm looking through crap-colored glasses, but there's little mention of how much trouble many people have with meds, or of the STAR*D study. I guess out of necessity, all the stories they follow are success stories - people who had a hard time, but have now put it behind them for the most part. Even their one refractory case was a woman who got her life back through DBS. I feel like it leaves the impression that all one has to do is realize you have depression and get treatment and everything will be ok. I guess they're just trying to provide hope.
3 - I was suprised by the cocktail of meds Andrew Solomon (the author of Noonday Demon) is taking on a daily basis. It was a little pile of pills (maybe 6-8), half of which were strong meds, like Remeron and Zyprexa.
4 - There was the usual portrayal of ECT as being a largely benign treatment that only really carried a possible side effect of temporary memory problems. No mention of how such a treatment might not turn out well, or that the claimed 85% or responders might not be responding a few days or weeks later.
5 - I don't want to be too cynical, but if there is a disease out there that is exceedingly hard to treat, might it not be useful to show some of the people that haven't made it out the other side yet to a highly functional life as an author, journalist, artist, or activist? Then the urgency for new and better treatments might be more evident.