Depression and Medication

Depression and Medication

The first step to recovering from depression is not only recognizing the symptoms, but talking to a doctor. Talking with your doctor or healthcare provider about how you’re feeling can help them make a proper diagnosis of depression. When you are depressed, you might feel all alone or that it will never get better.  But don’t lose hope–even the most severe depression is treatable.  With the right help and support you WILL feel better. In addition to therapy and lifestyle changes your doctor may recommend medication.

Many researchers share the view that depression is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring chemicals, known as neurotransmitters found throughout the brain and the body. Neurotransmitters help transport messages between nerve cells. Serotonin and norepinephrine and dopamine are examples of these neurotransmitters.  In the brain, serotonin and norepinephrine are thought to be associated with mood as well as regulating and reducing feelings of pain that come from the body. Dopamine is thought to be associated with appetite, loss of pleasure and energy or drive.

There are several types of depression medications used to treat depression and conditions that have depression as a component of the disease, such as bipolar disorder. These drugs improve symptoms of depression by increasing the availability of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. It is believed that these brain chemicals can help improve emotions.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are some of the first antidepressants used to treat depression. They primarily affect the levels of two chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), norepinephrine and serotonin, in the brain. Although these drugs are effective in treating depression, they have more side effects, so they usually aren’t the first drugs used.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are another early form of antidepressant. These drugs are most effective in people with depression who do not respond to other treatments. They are also effective for other mental illnesses. Substances in certain foods, like cheese, beverages like wine, and medications can interact with an MAOI, so these people taking this medication must adhere to strict dietary restrictions. For this reason these antidepressants also aren’t usually the first drugs used.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a newer form of antidepressant. These drugs work by altering the amount of a chemical in the brain called serotonin.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another newer form of antidepressant medicine. They treat depression by increasing availability of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine.

Depression medication may be the most advertised treatment for depression, but that doesn’t mean it is the most effective. Depression is not just about a chemical imbalance in the brain. Medication may help relieve some of the symptoms of moderate and severe depression, but it doesn’t cure the underlying problem, and it’s usually not a long-term solution.  Antidepressant medications also come with side effects and safety concerns, and withdrawal can be very difficult. If you’re considering whether antidepressant medication is right for you, learning all the facts can help you make an informed and personal decision about how best to treat your depression.

If you are taking medication for depression, don’t ignore other treatments. Lifestyle changes and therapy not only help speed recovery from depression, but provide skills to help prevent a recurrence.

The contents of this site are for informational purposes only and are meant to be discussed with your physician or other qualified health care professional before being acted on. Never disregard any advice given to you by your doctor or other qualified health care professional. Always seek the advice of a physician or other licensed health care professional regarding any questions you have about your medical condition(s) and treatment(s). This site is not a substitute for medical advice.

www.depressionhurts.ca

http://www.helpguide.org

www.webmd.com

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