Antidepressants for Depression Do Antidepressants Help?

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Antidepressants for Depression Do Antidpressants Help? Yes they do, and quite well I may add, at least for some.

Antidepressants for depression are a great way to sweep away the blues, and yes, antidepressants do help! If you are one who suspects you have, or have been diagnosed with depression, then do not worry, because even in the most severe cases it can be effectively treated.

If you think you have depression, the first thing to do is to get appropriate treatment by visiting a doctor or a mental health specialist. In some instances, certain medications and some medical conditions such as viruses or thyroid disorder can create the same symptoms as depression. A health care professional can rule out any alternative possibilities by doing a complete physical exam, interview, and some lab tests. If they find no medical conditions which may be causing it, they will perform a psych evaluation. During your evaluation you should discuss your symptoms, when they started, how long you have been experiencing them, the severity of them, if they are re-occurring, and if you are using alcohol or drugs, or if you are contemplating suicide. Once diagnosed, the doctors can prescribe antidepressants for depression to get you feeling back to normal.

Antidepressants for Depression

There are plenty of antidepressants for depression currently available. These primarily work on the brain chemicals which are called neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and norepinephrine. Other antidepressants work on the neurotransmitter dopamine. Scientists discovered that those chemicals are involved in regulating moods, but aren’t sure of the exact nature in their role.

The newest and more popular of the antidepressants for depression are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Fluoxetine (Prozac), sertaline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa) are some of the more popular and most commonly prescribed SSRIs antidepressants for depression. Most are also available in generic form. SNRIs, or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are similar to SSRIs and include the drugs venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).

These newer SSRIs and SNRIs commonly have fewer of the side effects that were associated with older antidepressants, but they can sometimes cause headaches, nausea, jitters, or insomnia when people first begin to take them. The symptoms usually fade as the users get more adapted to the drugs over time. Some individuals may also experience sexual problems with these new SSRIs or SNRIs, which may be fixed by altering dosages or switching medications.

One of the more popular brands, bupropion (Wellbutrin) works on dopamine, and is said to have similar side effects as those from SSRIs and SNRIs, however, it is less likely to cause sexual side effects. It can, however, increase the individuals risk for seizures.

Tricyclics Antidepressants for depression

Tricyclics belong to the family of older antidepressants for depression. Tricyclics antidepressants are powerful, but they are not used as much today because the potential side effects from them are more serious. They may affect the heart in people with heart conditions. They sometimes cause dizziness, especially in older adults. They may also cause drowsiness, dry mouth, and weight gain. These side effects can usually be corrected by changing the dosage or switching to another medication. However, tricyclics may be especially dangerous if taken in overdose. Tricyclics include imipramine and nortriptyline.

MAOIs Antidepressants for depression

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are the oldest class of antidepressants for depression medications. They can be especially effective in cases of “atypical” depression, such as when a person experiences increased appetite and the need for more sleep rather than decreased appetite and sleep. They also may help with anxious feelings or panic and other specific symptoms.

However, people who take MAOIs antidepressants must avoid certain foods and beverages (including cheese and red wine) that contain a substance called tyramine. Certain medications, including some types of birth control pills, prescription pain relievers, cold and allergy medications, and herbal supplements, also should be avoided while taking an MAOI. These substances can interact with MAOIs to cause dangerous increases in blood pressure. The development of a new MAOI skin patch may help reduce these risks. If you are taking an MAOI, your doctor should give you a complete list of foods, medicines, and substances to avoid.

MAOIs can also react with SSRIs to produce a serious condition called “serotonin syndrome,” which can cause confusion, hallucinations, increased sweating, muscle stiffness, seizures, changes in blood pressure or heart rhythm, and other potentially life-threatening conditions. MAOIs should not be taken with SSRIs.

How should I take antidepressants for depression?

All antidepressants must be taken for at least 4 to 6 weeks before they begin to have a full effect. It is very important that you continue to take the medication, even if you begin to feel better, to prevent it from returning. Stopping to take the medication should be stopped only under a doctor’s supervision. Some medications need to be gradually stopped to give the body time to adjust. Although antidepressants are not habit-forming or addictive, suddenly ending an antidepressant can cause withdrawal symptoms or lead to a relapse of it. Some individuals, such as those with chronic or recurrent depression, may need to stay on the medication indefinitely.

In addition, if one medication does not work, you should consider trying another. NIMH-funded research has shown that people who did not get well after taking a first medication increased their chances of beating the depression after they switched to a different medication or added another medication to their existing one.

Sometimes stimulants, anti-anxiety medications, or other medications are used together with an antidepressant, especially if a person has a co-existing illness. However, neither anti-anxiety medications nor stimulants are effective against depression when taken alone, and both should be taken only under a doctor’s close supervision.

FDA warning on antidepressants for depression

Despite the relative safety and popularity of SSRIs and other antidepressants, studies have suggested that they may have unintentional effects on some people, especially adolescents and young adults. In 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a thorough review of published and unpublished controlled clinical trials of antidepressants that involved nearly 4,400 children and adolescents. The review revealed that 4 percent of those taking antidepressants thought about or attempted suicide (although no suicides occurred), compared to 2 percent of those receiving placebos.

In 2005, the information from the trials led the FDA to adopt a “black box” warning label on all antidepressant medications to alert the public about the potential increased risk of suicidal thinking or attempts in children and adolescents taking antidepressants. In 2007, the FDA proposed that makers of all antidepressant medications extend the warning to include young adults up through age 24. A “black box” warning is the most serious type of warning on prescription drug labeling.

The warning emphasizes that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be closely monitored, especially during the initial weeks of treatment. Possible side effects to look for are worsening depression, suicidal thinking or behavior, or any unusual changes in behavior such as sleeplessness, agitation, or withdrawal from normal social situations. The warning adds that families and caregivers should also be told of the need for close monitoring and report any changes to the doctor. The latest information from the FDA can be found on their website.

Caution should be used regarding children, adolescents, and young adults taking antidepressants, as they particularly should be closely monitored.

Results of a comprehensive review of pediatric trials conducted between 1988 and 2006 suggested that the benefits of antidepressant medications likely outweigh their risks to children and adolescents with major depression and anxiety disorders.

Also, the FDA issued a warning that combining an SSRI or SNRI antidepressant with one of the commonly-used “triptan” medications for migraine headache could cause a life-threatening “serotonin syndrome,” marked by agitation, hallucinations, elevated body temperature, and rapid changes in blood pressure. Although most dramatic in the case of the MAOIs, newer antidepressants may also be associated with potentially dangerous interactions with other medications.

St. John’s Wort Natural Antidepressants for depression

The extract from the herb St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) has been used for centuries in many folk remedies and in herbal remedies. Europeans use it extensively today to treat mild to moderate depression. In the United States, it is one of the top-selling over the counter botanical products.

In an 8-week study trial involving 340 patients diagnosed with major depression, St. John’s wort was compared to a common SSRI and a placebo (sugar pill). The trial found that St. John’s wort was no more effective than the placebo in treating major depression. However, use of St. John’s wort for minor or moderate depression may be more effective. Its use in the treatment of depression currently remains under various studies.

St. John’s wort can interact with other medications, including those used to control HIV infection. In 2000, the FDA issued a Public Health Advisory letter stating that the herb may interfere with certain medications used to treat heart disease, depression, seizures, certain cancers, and those used to prevent organ transplant rejection. The herb also may interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. It also can increase sensitivity to the suns solar rays, so if you are already susceptible to sunburn, be extremely careful in the sun, or stay out of it as much as possible. Always consult with your doctor before taking any types of herbal supplements!

Psychotherapy

Several types of psychotherapy, or “talk therapy” can help people with depression.

There are currently two primary types of psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT). Both are found to be effective in treating this ailment. CBT helps people with depression restructure negative thought patterns, and in doing so, it helps the patients interpret their environment and interactions with others in a more positive and realistic way. It may also help the patient recognize things that may be contributing to the depression and help them change the behaviors that may be making the depression worse. IPT helps people understand and work through troubled relationships that may cause their depression or make it even worse.

For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy may be the best option. However, for severe cases or for certain people, psychotherapy may not be enough. For teens, a combination of medication and psychotherapy may be the most effective approach to treating major depression and reducing the chances of it coming back. Another study looking at depression treatment among older adults found that people who responded to initial treatment of medication and IPT were less likely to have recurring depression if they continued their combination treatment for at least 2 years.

Sources: National Institute of Mental Health

With all the latest developments in science and technology, new breakthroughs are occurring regularly. With the new antidepressants for depression, we hope you find a way back to happiness! Peace my friends!

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