¿Podemos luchar contra la depresión?

Si se ingresa el término inglés "mood disorder" ( "desorden anímico") en la mayor base de datos médica (Medline) se obtienen cerca de 62.000 resultados. Si se restringe la búsqueda a ensayos controlados aleatorios, considerados generalmente el diseño más confiable para investigar la eficacia de los tratamientos, ésta arroja más de 3.200 resultados.

Considerando el enorme impacto que en todo el mundo tiene la depresión sobre la salud, los costos de atención y la capacidad de trabajar, tanta información debería significar buenas noticias. Pero si examinamos más de cerca los estudios individuales, pronto queda en evidencia que la mayoría investiga las perturbaciones fisiológicas, metabólicas o bioquímicas que se asocian a la depresión. No se ha demostrado que alguno de estos hallazgos sirva de ayuda para decidir qué pacientes deben ser tratados con cuáles terapias y por cuánto tiempo.

Por supuesto, hay todavía cerca de 1.500 estudios de una multitud de tratamientos: psicofármacos, ECT, luz intensa, ejercicio, psicoterapia e incluso acupuntura. Es cierto que muchos de estos estudios documentan los efectos de corto plazo (y, en algunos casos, de largo plazo) de varios tratamientos, generalmente con un aceptable equilibrio entre eficacia y seguridad.

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