Those who struggle with depression may find antidepressants useful to help manage symptoms. Antidepressants are a form of medication used to reduce symptoms of depression and help people feel better so they can live better.
Antidepressants are drugs that help alleviate or reduce symptoms of depression by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain. Our brains need neurotransmitters for normal brain function, especially serotonin and norepinephrine. Anti-depressants help depressed people by causing these chemicals to be more readily available to the brain.
Different types of antidepressants are used in treatment, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) work by altering the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) affect the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin. Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are used more for those who do not respond that well to other treatments, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI’s) increase availability of serotonin and norepinephrine.
There are advantages and disadvantages of antidepressants, and those who are thinking of taking this medication should consider the pros and cons before doing so. Many people wrongly assume that antidepressant drugs are simply “happy’ pills that cure depression but this is not true. Antidepressants are simply one option for treatment, and sometimes they work better for one than another. There are also potential side effects that patients need to be aware of before agreeing to go on this medication.
The advantages of taking antidepressants include reduced depression symptoms and modified enhanced moods. Some report that their sleep schedule improves as well when taking anti-depressants.
Read: 10 Facts about Antidepressants that May Surprise You
There are disadvantages to taking antidepressants such as side effects. Common side effects include nausea, restlessness, decreased sex drive, weight gain, dizziness, sweating, and sleep irregularity. Although some side effects subside after a couple of weeks of use, some continue and could become worse. Additionally, there are food restrictions with some of the medicine.
When dealing with depression, it is important to know and evaluate all of the treatment options available. Your physician should discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of anti-depressants before deciding whether to try that approach. Often a combination of therapy and medication is used to treat depression effectively.