When it comes to invisible illnesses, it could be said that depression is the Daddy of them all – it’s a slippery customer which is often misunderstood as it comes dressed as an emotion.
What does the word ‘depression’ really mean? It may be a short-lived feeling of despair and hopelessness. It can also mean a period of little business activity and low economic growth. An area of low pressure on a weather map is a depression, and so is the impression someone leaves in the couch when they stand up. You can even depress a button to test whether your jar of jam has been opened in the shop.
The term lacks the precision you’d associate with a medical diagnosis – it is ambiguous, and all-too-easily dismissed.
Compare ‘depression’ with ‘diabetes’, ‘hyperthyroidism’ or ‘acromegaly’. Perhaps not all of these conditions are familiar to you, but they sound serious, don’t they? All of these conditions are caused by hormonal imbalance, and can be very dangerous if not properly diagnosed and treated – just like depression.
During the menopause or following a hysterectomy, women are particularly susceptible to hormonal imbalances which contribute to depression. When oestrogen levels decrease, production of serotonin, the brain’s ‘happy hormone’ also decreases – so many women find themselves experiencing clinical depression for the first time at this point. And because depression chemically alters the way your mind perceives your feelings, you may feel defeated, ashamed, even embarrassed of your depression. Many depression patients resist diagnosis, and have to be coerced into receiving treatment by close friends and family.
If this sounds familiar, the good news is you’re not alone. Depression is a huge and increasing health concern, with over 350 million sufferers globally. Pharmaceuticals companies are constantly investing in new or improved treatments for depression, and clinical trials are conducted frequently.
If you are fortunate enough to have never suffered with depression, or you have fully recovered from a past incidence, you can participate in clinical trials as a healthy volunteer. It’s a great way to stand up in support of patients who are battling invisible illnesses, and to drag conditions like depression, kicking and screaming, into the light!
For a full listing of Covance’s current trials, you can visit the website https://uk.testwiththebest.com/browse-current-studies.php, or call 0113 394 5200 for more details.