Antidepressants: Types, Risk Factors, Guidelines and More

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Aug 6, 2013 | Last Updated: Sep 6, 2018


What are Antidepressants?

Antidepressants are drugs given to patients suffering from mental disorders to lessen or eliminate their signs and symptoms. They adjust chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain which control a person’s feelings and behaviors.

Mental disorders that require the use of antidepressants include depression, social anxiety disorder and Dysthymia. However, antidepressants have been successfully used in treatment of other medical conditions such as chronic pain and bedwetting in children.

What are the types of Antidepressants?

types of Antidepressants

The chemical substances responsible for moods are norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. The different types of antidepressants are named based on their roles in regulating these neurotransmitters.

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These include celexa, lexapro, Prozac and Zoloft. They function by controlling of serotonin back in to the brain cells.
  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). Examples include venlafaxine, desvenlafaxine and cymbalta. They control the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in to the cell of the brain.
  • Atypical Antidepressants. These have direct effects on sexual desires of a patient. They include bupropion , trazodone and nefazodone.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants(TCAs). They have several side effects and are not given priority in the treatment of mental disorders. They include Anafranil, Surmontil and amoxipine. They assist in muscular relaxation.
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). These are coupled with dangerous side effects and are used as the last resort in the cure of mental related illnesses. Exaamples include Marplan, Nardil and Zelapar.

How Effective are Antidepressants?

Many people with depression ask this question. About 10% of US resident use antidepressants.

In reference to a report by the American Medical association, severely depressed patients under antidepressants treatments respond very well. However, patients with mild depressive illnesses do not get immediate response to antidepressants treatments. Due to varying responses in different patients, one may have to try out a number of antidepressants before getting the right choice.

In mild depression cases, a combination of antidepressants and counseling sessions can be the most effective treatment option. Thus, in conclusion, the efficiency of antidepressant like Tranquilene will depend on the severity of your symptoms and the sort that will improve your conditions.

Antidepressant Risk Factors

Depending on the type of antidepressants your physician recommends, you are subject to experience a number of side-effects which include nausea, anxiety, faintness or sleeplessness. Acute migraines and hallucinations are common when using some types of antidepressants.

Sex might cease to be interesting coupled with fatigue, diarrhea or constipation. Caution should be taken if the kind of antidepressant you are using increases suicidal thoughts, irritability or compulsive behavior.

However, you should not stop its use before informing your physician. You should call your physician immediately for further direction.

Can I get Addicted to an Antidepressant?

Addicted to an Antidepressant

Antidepressants cannot cause addiction since they are not habit-forming drugs. You can’t also develop craving associated with most addictions where your body demands increased dosages for similar effects. Antidepressants have direct control of chemicals in your brain. Immediately you start taking them, you should avoid terminating their use at once.

These could trigger immediate recurrence of depression due to chemical imbalances in your brain. Consider talking with your physician about the withdrawal remedies available once you feel you have fully recovered.

Your doc may recommend the use of a lesser severe antidepressant as he monitor your progress. It is quite important to note that some forms depression such as psychosis may require lifelong treatments through the use of antidepressants.

Can Pregnant Women Take Antidepressants?

Use of antidepressants during pregnancy can pose risk to the unborn. However, you should make consideration about the safety of both your health and the welfare of your child. Hormonal imbalances during pregnancy can increase how depression manifests. If you avoid the use of antidepressants when pregnant, you will be putting yourself at risk of depression relapse.

You might not get the energy to look after the unborn or yourself. This can lead to a miscarriage or low birth weight. Won’t this elevate postpartum depression? Even though there are potential risks associated with the use of antidepressant during pregnancy, there have never been serious complications reported in the babies after delivery.

You should have a consultative conversation with your physician on possible alternative treatments which include the use of safer antidepressants. These may include Tricyclic antidepressants or certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Antidepressants are Used to Treat Several Conditions and Illnesses

A wide range of mental related illnesses are treated through the use of antidepressants. Physicians do not recommend the use of antidepressants in patients with mild depression. This is because there are no immediate notable effects or signs of improvements.

However, the use of antidepressants is approved in mild depression patients if the symptoms last for longer than two years or if the patient had previous occurrence of moderate depression. Other instances in which antidepressants can be used include Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Through supervision and prescription of a physician, bulimia and panic disorder can also be treated with antidepressants. Some people who experience long durations of pain may be recommended to use antidepressant.

Tricyclic Antidepressants have been successfully used in children to cure bedwetting. They help in muscles relaxation which in turn increases the sizes of their bladder. However, before using any antidepressant, you should read its reviews. Take a look at MoodBoost Review, as one can take this antidepressant for mild depression.

How Antidepressants Work?

How Antidepressants Work

A human brain consists billions of cells with each interconnected to thousands of other cells. Information which directs your behavior is relayed through these interconnections. Synapse is the gap between one cell and another which act as the medium for information passage through the assistance of neurotransmitters.

These neurotransmitters include serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Once serotonin conveys information, it is immediately absorbed back in to the cell waiting for another signal. Depressed people have serotonin imbalances. Low levels of serotonin will impair a healthy communication and hence coordination.

An antidepressant like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) prevents the re-absorption of serotonin back in to the brain cells. An increase in the amount of serotonin in the synapses will enhance communication in your brain and hence normal moods are restored. You will now be able to comfortably go about your normal businesses in life.

Guidelines for Taking Antidepressants

  • If you have been prescribed antidepressant, it is important to follow instructions as directed by your physician.
  • Do not discontinue their use without alerting your physician.
  • If you experience severe or serious side effects, inform your doctor immediately for assistance.
  • If there are no changes in one month of continued use, report to your doctor for a more effective option.
  • Continue using the antidepressants even if you feel that you have recovered. Your doctor is the one to tell you when to stop.
  • Be consistent in the time you take your antidepressants every day. You can take them along with your meals or during bedtime.
  • Arrange for a consultative discussion with your doctor two weeks after you start antidepressants medication.
  • Plan with your doctor about the follow-ups visits a month after you start your medication.
  • Avoid substance abuse during treatment with antidepressants.

If you suffer any other sickness that might require the use of other medicines, you should first consult with your doctor to avoid complications resulting with negative interactions.

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