Antidepressants are medications that treat depression and other mental illnesses. These medications are among the most commonly prescribed ones and maintain balance in neurotransmitters – chemicals that affect mood and emotions – in the brain. Individuals who suffer from depression can take antidepressants using
In case you are suffering from deep depression, antidepressants can give you back your life. However, are these medications always the right treatment option? What about their side effects or safety concerns? And are there any effective alternatives? These are some of the questions that pop into mind when discussing antidepressants.
In this article, we will discuss different aspects of antidepressants to help you make a more informed decision about your treatment options.
What Are the Uses of Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are mainly used in treating moderate to severe depression in adults. But they can also treat other mental conditions and long-term pain.
In most cases, antidepressants are prescribed as the first form of treatment. They’re often prescribed along with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – a type of therapy which helps improve thoughts, mood, and behavior of the patient.
Doctors don’t usually recommend antidepressants for mild depression because of their limited effectiveness. But in rare cases, they do recommend these meds for mild depression for a short period of time to see if they improve the condition. If no improvement shows up during this time, the medicine will be gradually withdrawn.
An antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) is usually prescribed during the initial stages of treatment (for about 4 weeks). If your condition doesn’t improve in this time, your specialist will either recommend an alternative solution or increase the dose.
finally, always take antidepressants under the supervision of your health specialist. If the regular doses alone aren’t effective, other solutions, such as CBT, and high doses may produce better results.
What Are the Types of Antidepressants?
There are many types of antidepressants available in the market including:
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). This medication is for the initial stages of the treatment. It rarely causes side effects and is generally safer to use. Common types of this medication include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.
This medication is for the initial stages of the treatment. It rarely causes side effects and is generally safer to use. Common types of this medication include Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) can treat deep depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic neuropathic pain, anxiety disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
SNRIs also stabilize mood by raising levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. Examples include Cymbalta, Effexor, and Pristiq.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). These meds can treat depression, fibromyalgia, anxiety, and suppress chronic pain. However, they also tend to cause more side effects than other antidepressants. Therefore, doctors don’t generally prescribe this med unless other solutions have failed to improve your condition. Examples include Tofranil, Pamelor, amitriptyline, and Norpramin.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs are often prescribed when other solutions have failed because of their high potential for side effects. MAOIs tend to have dangerous interactions with certain foods and meds, requiring you to have a strict diet plan while taking this medication using the best pill reminder app. Examples include Tranylcypromine, Phenelzine, and Isocarboxazid.
What Are Antidepressants’ Side Effects?
Antidepressants can sometimes result in a number of negative effects. Some of those include:
- Sexual dysfunction
- Loss of sexual desire
- Increased appetite and weight gain
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
How to Make Antidepressants Work for You?
Do the following to make antidepressants work for you:
Once you start taking an antidepressant, slight signs of improvement will appear initially but it may take over a month for it to be fully effective. Some antidepressants can be immediately taken in full doses while some may require a gradual increase in dose to take effect. Also, keep in touch with the doctor or therapist as you wait for your condition to improve.
Take your medication regularly
Take your medication consistently and at the recommended dose. In case the medicine is causing side effects or doesn’t seem to be effective, call your doctor immediately for assistance.
See if the side effects go away
Antidepressant side effects tend to improve over time. For example, SSRI side effects such as dry mouth, nausea, headache, and insomnia usually go away as your body becomes familiar with the antidepressant.
Explore options if it doesn’t work well
If you are experiencing side effects but no significant improvement in your condition after four weeks, ask your doctor to change antidepressant, increase the dose, or use a combination of two or more medications. A combo of medications often produces better results than a single antidepressant.
In many cases, combining psychotherapy (talk therapy) with antidepressants is more effective than taking the medication alone using free pill reminder app. This method can permanently cure depression and is used widely by mental health specialists.
Ask your doctor before quitting antidepressants
The immediate drop of antidepressants can cause withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, they should only be stopped slowly and under the supervision of your doctor. Quitting suddenly may worsen your condition.
Many individuals take alcohol to feel better. While it may lessen depression for the time being, in the long run, it generally worsens depression and makes the treatment harder. Talk with your specialist if you need help with alcohol addiction.
Choose a time to stop that isn’t too stressful
Withdrawing antidepressants can be a tough job, so the best time to start the withdrawal is when you’re not going through any stressful circumstances. If you are, you may want to wait until those circumstances are over.