Treatment of depression in cancer patients with anti-depressants

Christiana Williams

People with cancer are more likely to suffer from major depression and other depressive disorders. Due to the overlap between medical and psychiatric symptoms specified by diagnostic guides such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), these illnesses are difficult to detect in clinical practise. Furthermore, distinguishing between pathological and typical reactions to such a severe sickness is very difficult. Even in subthreshold manifestations, depressive symptoms have been found to have a negative impact on quality of life, adherence to anticancer therapy, suicide risk, and perhaps even the cancer’s death rate. There are few RCTs on the efficacy, tolerability, and acceptability of antidepressants in this population, and the results are typically contradictory. Cancer patients frequently experience depressive episodes. Depressive symptoms are frequently a natural response to or a direct result of such a serious and life-threatening illness. As a result, determining when depressed symptoms have progressed to the point where they require medication is difficult. Depressive symptoms, even when minor, can have a significant impact on the course of cancer, decreasing people’s overall quality of life and impairing their compliance with anticancer therapy, as well as perhaps raising the risk of death, according to current scientific literature.