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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Should Men and Women be Treated for Depression Differently?

In 2016, roughly 16.2 million U.S. adults experienced at least one episode of major depression – and these episodes were almost twice as common among women than men. 

Because of this overwhelming prevalence among women, researchers set out to pinpoint specific genetic differences between men and women who had had major depression disorder (MDD).

Researchers analyzed the brain tissue of 50 deceased adults (26 men and 24 women) who had had MDD and examined genetic alterations across three brain regions involved in depression:
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Subgenual anterior cingulate cortex
  • Basolateral amygdala
The results: 706 genes were expressed differently in men with MMD and 882 genes expressed differently in women with MDD. And these differences varied among the sexes: only 73 genes were found in both men and women who had had MDD and in 52 of these 73 genes, expression changed in opposite directions with respect to the sexes. In other words, only 21 genes were affected in the same way in men and women with MDD.

Researchers also noted that sex roles – testosterone in men and estrogen in women –  may also play a role in these differences. "It's not that women are more vulnerable to depression, it's actually that men are more protected [by testosterone],” author Etienne Sibille, PhD, senior scientist and chair, Campbell Institute, Center for Addiction and Mental Health, and professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Pharmacology, University of Toronto, Canada, told Medscape Medical News.

The findings provide further evidence that men and women should be treated for depression differently. "These results have significant implications for development of potential novel treatments and suggest that these treatments should be developed separately for men and women," said lead author Marianne Seney, PhD, of University of Pittsburgh. 

Treating Co-Occurring Disorders
Your best chance of recovery lies in integrated dual-diagnosis treatment that addresses both conditions in one recovery program. The Haven at Pismo provides a continuum of care for clients with co-occurring chemical dependency and mental illnesses. To learn more, call 805-202-3440.