Scientists make staggering progress in deciphering the genetics of diseases such as cancer and the development of accurate methods of their treatment, but in the case of mental illness, unfortunately, the situation is quite different.
Psychotropic drugs work, breaking the whole mechanisms in the brain, without targeting messages to specific impaired chemical combinations. The result is quite significant can be side effects, and the efficiency is often low. Some people develop resistance to the medicine and then go through the painful period of searching and testing a new drug.
Demand for medications for mental disorders increasing, but major pharmaceutical companies are not very actively investing in this area over the last ten years, the number of programs for development provided psychotropic medications decreased by as much as 70%.
One of the reasons – biological causes of mental illnesses are very complex. For more than twenty years of psychiatric treatment didn’t have much innovation.
Scientists say that progress in this area, they need to find so-called biomarkers — biological touchable keys that can help diagnose disease, such as high levels of glucose in the blood can indicate diabetes. But this is still far away. Biomarkers can be not only physical: the key to disease of the patient may, for example, to analyze his voice, some sentence structure, and modulation can be associated with mental illness.
Scientists link more genes with different mental illnesses — because the number of biomarkers is expected to increase. However, even when we learn the mechanism of occurrence of diseases in the brain to improve treatment methods will be far away. The physical characteristics of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease, have been well studied, however, pharmaceutical companies decades can’t find an effective cure despite the fact that studies had invested hundreds of millions of dollars.
Another difficulty: to test psychiatric drugs are difficult to use mice, monkeys and other laboratory animals, because the human brain is much more complicated animal. Mice have no such thought process as humans, because damage in the rat brain cannot be compared to human disorders.
Over the past twenty years the number of appointments for psychiatric drugs has grown considerably — especially the rapidly growing proliferation of antidepressants. One in six Americans receives some kind of psychiatric medication — for example, antidepressant or sedative drug. Accurate statistics on our country, apparently not — however, it is known, for example, that from 1995 to 2009 year, the market for antidepressants in Europe grew at a rate of 20% per year.
To find the right medicine — is not easy, this painful process can be long and full of errors. Many medications have a cumulative effect, and that they acted, watching patients and their doctors have often to wait for weeks or even months. In addition, it is necessary to constantly adjust the dosage, if necessary, to find another drug.