UAE: Woman battling depression finds hope with new treatment


Abu Dhabi - She lost all interest in regular activities and suffered from intermittent suicidal tendencies.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 3:49 PM

Last updated: Tue 21 Sep 2021, 5:43 PM

A new anti-depression treatment has helped a young Emirati woman reclaim her life, after she was wracked by severe depression and suicidal tendencies since her adolescent years.

The woman in her 20s, who preferred to remain anonymous, had tried several medications and treatment plans, but to no avail. She lost all interest in regular activities and suffered from intermittent suicidal tendencies. However, after she was put on Esketamine, which is available at all the psych clinics of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), including Zafranah, Maqta, Baniyas and Neima, she noticed a marked decline in suicidal tendencies and she was also able to focus and concentrate better.

“My regular antidepressants weren’t working enough or were temporary. I started taking Esketamine at first, I felt an improvement in my mood, less interest in being isolated in my room, and I wanted to be an active member of society,” she said.

“Several hobbies, activities and the basics of life such as study, as well as daily habits such as prayer and supplication that I enjoyed or did in the past and because of the mood I decided to stop doing them, I felt that it was useless, nothing works, there is no satisfaction.”

The Emirati explains that her mood has improved after the treatment. “I can enjoy and focus on my interests. I remember blaming before going to bed. The reasons and excuses I saw were just factors of an internal struggle every night without justifications,” she said.

“I didn’t have a specific goal. The vision was a bit blurry continuing the treatment I could walk outside the house. In the past these things were hard to go shopping without worrying too much about various things crowding and annoyance and fear anxiety and frustration.”

She added that also, a positive outlook is the esketamine treatment course, with the solidarity of the attending physician.

“Now I have plans and goals that I want to achieve,” said the Emirati.

“Also, I went back to school after three years and my social communication skills and sense of responsibility improved.”

Dr. Nahida Nayaz Ahmed, Consultant Psychiatrist and Chair of Behavioral Health Council at SEHA said Esketamine is a unique treatment and that the UAE is one of the few countries with hospitals providing this treatment.

“Patients diagnosed with “treatment resistant depression” or patients who have tried several antidepressants and other modalities of depression treatment and have not found it useful or achieved only partial remission from their symptoms, qualify for this treatment,” she explains.

On how the new treatment is different from previously utilised treatments, Dr. Ahmed says it’s a novel therapy, utilizing new mode of action through different pathways and receptors than the ones targeted before in traditional treatments.

“It is administrated nasally in clinic under clinical supervision on scheduled times. This treatment has been well tolerated and shown promising results in transforming lives of chronically depressed patients,” she said.

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