Depression is caused by a variety of factors. It can be biological, genetic, physical and emotional. Everyday life and simple environments are important. We know that stress and other negative influences contribute to this. Complicated diseases such as depression are not easy to solve. We also recognize the complexity of the human mind.
The medical profession works tirelessly to try to study the mind and its functioning. A chemical imbalance in the brain causes depression, it is known. We learn more about how the whole process works. The best treatments come from more knowledge. The treatment for depression comes from a variety of medications available in the market. There are also quick fixes, but they do not work. You should be careful to look for medications that have been clinically studied and that have demonstrated their positive effects in the treatment of depression.
There was a time in our history where you were thrown into a psychiatric ward and you got lost in the system if you were afflicted with something that was associated with a mental illness. It is good to know that this is no longer the case. In 1988, the antidepressant “Prozac” was launched in the US market. It has been proven to work and, therefore, is still prescribed today, although it can have serious side effects. There are several types of depression medications (antidepressants) used to treat depression and conditions associated with depression, such as bipolar disorder. These medications improve the symptoms of depression by increasing the availability of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. It is believed that these brain chemicals help to improve emotions.
The main types of antidepressants include:
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are among the first antidepressants used to treat depression. They mainly affect the levels of two chemical messengers (neurotransmitters), norepinephrine and serotonin, in the brain. Although these medications are effective in treating depression, they have more side effects and, therefore, are not usually the first medications used.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are additional early procedure of antidepressant. These drugs are more effective in depressed people who do not respond to other treatments. They are also effective for other mental illnesses. Substances contained in certain foods, such as cheese, beverages such as wine and medications, may interact with an MAOI. Therefore, people who take this medication must comply with strict dietary restrictions (see below). For this reason, these antidepressants are generally not the first medications used.
- Discriminating serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a fresher form of antidepressant. These drugs work by changing the amount of a chemical called serotonin in the brain.
- Norepinephrine and Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are additional fresher form of antidepressant. They treat depression by increasing the availability of brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine. Medications affect the chemistry of your brain in different ways. Therefore, you can try several medications or combinations of medications to find an adequate treatment for your depression. Most people find an effective medication in some trials, but for some people, depression can be harder to treat. In various cases, a mixture of antidepressants may be essential. Sometimes an antidepressant associated with a different type of medication, such as an anticonvulsant, mood stabilizer, or anxiolytic, is effective.
Since then, a new class of antidepressants has been used more and more. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) such as Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa and Luvox are now used to treat depression. All have proven effective, but they have several side effects. Most antidepressants are thought to work by slowing the elimination of certain chemicals from the brain. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are necessary for the normal functioning of the brain. Antidepressants help people with depression by making these natural chemicals more accessible to the brain. Antidepressants are usually taken for at least 4 to 6 months. In some cases, patients and their doctors may decide that antidepressants are needed longer. Antidepressants are divided into groups according to the chemicals affecting the brain. There are several types of antidepressants, including:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- citalopram (brand name: Celexa)
- escitalopram (brand name: Lexapro)
- Fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac)
- paroxetine (brand names: Paxil, Pexeva)
Sertraline (brand name: Zoloft) these medications usually have fewer side effects than other antidepressants. Some of the side effects that can be caused by SSRIs include dry mouth, nausea, nervousness, insomnia, sexual problems, and headaches.
- Amitriptyline (brand name: Elavil)
- Desipramine (brand name: Norpramin)
- Imipramine (brand name: Tofranil)
- nortriptyline (brand name: Aventyl, Pamelor)
Common side effects caused by these medications include dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, worsening glaucoma, thought problems and fatigue. These antidepressants can too have emotional impact a person’s blood pressure and heart amount. Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
MAOIs are used less frequently than other antidepressants. They can have serious side effects, such as weakness, dizziness, headaches, and tremors. Taking an MAOI antidepressant with another antidepressant or an over-the-counter cold and flu medication can cause a dangerous reaction. Your doctor will also tell you which foods and alcoholic beverages to avoid when taking an MAOI. You should not take an MAOI if you do not understand the medications and foods to avoid. If you take an MAOI and your doctor wants you to start taking one of the other antidepressants, he will ask you to stop taking MAOIs for a while before starting the new medication. This gives the MAOI time to leave your body.
The market is also ripe with medicines and herbal treatments. Most of these tested products, as well as antidepressants, contain an ingredient extracted from the extract of St. John’s Wort called “hyperforin”. Some herbal remedies do not contain this ingredient of sufficient strength, so they do not work. Be careful, do your research and you will find effective drugs to treat depression.
In this context, it must be said that the misconception that herbs for depression are natural and, therefore, have no side effects is totally false and that the depressed patient must be aware of the potential risks of taking herbs for depression.
Although the use of herbs for depression is widespread in general (perhaps with the exception of St. John’s wort), there is no definitive proof of the usefulness of herbal treatments for depression. Especially compared to standard prescription medications for depression, plants for depression usually cannot prevail as a first choice treatment option. However, when other more effective treatments fail, in cases of mild depression, the use of herbs for depression is worth trying. In all cases, the user must understand the limitations and not underestimate the risks associated with the use of herbs for depression. Although antidepressants such as Prozac increase serotonin levels in the brain, this does not mean that depression is caused by a shortage of serotonin. After all, aspirin can cure a headache, but that does not mean that headaches are caused by an aspirin deficiency.
In addition, many studies contradict the theory of the chemical imbalance of depression. Experiments have shown that reducing people’s levels of serotonin does not always reduce mood or worsen symptoms in people who are already depressed. And while antidepressants increase serotonin levels in a matter of hours, it takes weeks before medications intervene to relieve depression. If the depression was due to low serotonin, antidepressant treatment would not be delayed. Studies concur that antidepressants and psychotherapy are effective treatments for depression. It is even admitted that a combination of the two may be more effective than either. One treatment may be more effective than another for a particular person. The art and science of mental health are not yet sophisticated enough to predict which treatment will be most effective for a given person.