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Blood test to prove depression is not just in your head

Throughout life, many people experience times of sadness and depression. Often these low points are triggered by or in response to an adverse event in an individual's life like the death of a loved one or end of a marriage. For individuals who suffer from major depressive disorder, feelings of sadness and hopelessness may not necessarily be tied to any particular event and often endure for long periods of time with little relief.

Approximately "6.7 percent of the U.S. population" is living and coping with the adverse side effects of major depression. In many cases, people who suffer from depression do so in silence afraid they will be marginalized as a result of their misunderstood and sometimes disregarded condition.

There is no cure for depression. In fact, for U.S. citizens ages 15 to 44, depression remains the leading cause of disability. Many individuals who are diagnosed with major depression can benefit from both prescription drug therapy as well as other types of cognitive and behavioral therapies. 

Major depression leaves sufferers feeling worthless, hopeless and guilty. What's more, society as a whole doesn’t understand depression and tends to look down upon individuals who are depressed, often chalking up their symptoms to being weak or emotionally inept. As a result, many people don't seek a medical diagnosis or help. If the results of a recent study prove to be valid, all this may soon change. 

Researchers believe they have identified nine blood markers that appear to be different in individuals who are suffering from major depression. The discovery of these blood markers could mean that in the near future a simple blood test may be used to help formally diagnose major depression. What's more, changes in some of these blood markers may aid doctors in determining the effectiveness of certain treatment methods. 

Results of the study also revealed that, regardless of treatment methods, three of the identified blood markers did not change in individuals with major depressive disorder. The presence of these three markers, therefore, may help medical providers identify individuals who are prone to major depression and aid in early diagnosis and treatment. 

Source: The Huffington Post, "A Blood Test For Depression Shows The Illness Is Not A Matter Of Will," Anna Almendrala, Sep. 16, 2014

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