The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimate that over 17 million adults in the US have had at least one major depressive episode. At any given time, another 24.4 million adults suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
All of the drug therapies available for depression today focus on suppressing the symptoms of the disorder. In the US, even with the highest percentage of the population on antidepressants than anywhere else in the world, the effectiveness of these medications is often scrutinized.
What if instead of suppressing the symptoms, we could develop a medication to help people deal with the stressful situations that cause depression and PTSD before they develop.
In 2014, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman and her team may have stumbled upon a drug that does just that. This newly discovered class of drugs works by increasing a person's stress resilience. The idea is that these drugs would boost a person's ability to handle extreme stressors much in the way that a vitamin might raise a person's immune response.
In the above video, Brachman goes into detail about her incredible discovery and what it might mean for the future of treating PTSD and depression.