Response to depression treatment linked to job

People with high-status jobs may be less likely to respond to standard drug treatment for depression, a new study suggests.

As many as one-third of people who take drugs to help treat their depression do not respond to this type of treatment. Knowing who will or will not respond could help doctors to determine which treatments are appropriate for which people.

A team of international researchers decided to look into how different occupational levels responded to treatment. High-level jobs would include doctors, lawyers, investment bankers and CEOs.

They looked at over 650 working adults who were attending clinics for depression. Just over 51% of the participants held high occupational level jobs, while the remainder held middle or low-level jobs.

Most of the participants were being treated with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), one of the most commonly prescribed types of antidepressants.

The study found that almost 56% of those in the highest occupational group were resistant to treatment, compared to 44% in the low-level group and 40% in the middle-level group.

Rates of remission were also lower among those with high-level jobs, with just one in six experiencing an end to their symptoms, compared to one in four in the other groups.

"Though these findings should be considered preliminarily, they indicate that high occupational levels may be a risk factor for poor response to treatment. A number of variables may explain these findings. For example, there may be specific working environment demands and stressors or people may find it difficult to accept or cope with illness, or to continue with medication," the researchers commented.

They suggested that the need for precise prescribing ‘is not only related to symptoms and genetics, but also to occupational level'.

"The results of this study might sound counterintuitive, but people with highly demanding jobs are subject to a lot of stress, and when they breakdown with depression it may be particularly difficult to cope with their previous life," they added.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, European Neuropsychopharmacology and they were presented at the recent annual European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) Congress in Vienna.


[Posted: Wed 28/09/2016]

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