What are the antidepressants and how to use them to reduce depression

Published At: 26 November 2019 , 02:56 PM

Antidepressants are a traditional treatment choice for depression. Although antidepressants may not cure depression, they can decrease symptoms. The first antidepressant you try may act fine. But if it doesn't reduce your symptoms or it creates side effects that bother you, you may need to try another. So don't give up. Several antidepressants are available, and possibilities are you'll be able to find one that works well for you. And sometimes a compound of medications may be an option.

How antidepressants work

It's not known specifically how antidepressants work.

It's thought they work by boosting levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Some neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are associated with mood and emotion.

Neurotransmitters may also alter pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help reduce long-term pain.

While antidepressants can use the symptoms of depression, they do not always address their causes. This is why they're normally used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health diseases.

Finding the right antidepressant

There are several antidepressants available that work in slightly different ways and have several side effects. When advising an antidepressant that's possible to work well for you, your doctor may consider:

Your particular symptoms. Symptoms of depression can vary, and one antidepressant may reduce certain symptoms better than others. For example, if you have trouble resting, an antidepressant that's slightly sedating may be a good choice.

Possible side effects. Side effects of antidepressants differ from one medication to another and from man to man. Bothersome side effects, weight gain, such as dry mouth, or sexual side effects, can create it difficult to stick with treatment. Discuss possible main side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.

Whether it worked for a close relative. How a medicine worked for a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, can show how well it might work for you. Also, if an antidepressant has been useful for your depression in the past, it may work well again.

Interaction with other medications. Some antidepressants can produce dangerous effects when taken with other medications.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding. A choice to use antidepressants during pregnancy and breast-feeding is based on the equilibrium between risks and benefits. Overall, the chance of birth defects and other problems for children of mothers who take antidepressants during pregnancy is low. Still, several antidepressants, such as paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), may be discouraged throughout pregnancy. Work with your doctor to get the best way to handle your depression when you're expecting or planning on becoming pregnant.


Doses and duration of treatment

Antidepressants are usually used in tablet form. When they're prescribed, you'll start on the lowest reasonable dose thought necessary to enhance your symptoms.

Antidepressants usually need to be used for 1 or 2 weeks (without missing a dose) before the gain starts to be felt. It's essential not to stop taking them if you get some mild side effects early on, as these effects usually fade off quickly.

If you use an antidepressant for 4 weeks without feeling any benefit, speak to your GP or mental health expert. They may suggest increasing your dose or trying a different medicine.

A course of treatment regularly lasts at least 6 months. Some people with recurrent depression may be advised to take them indefinitely.

Side effects

Any side effects will probably occur during the first 2 weeks, and then regularly wear off.

General effects are nausea and anxiety, but this will depend on the type of drug used, as stated above.

If the side effects are very unpleasant, or if they involve thinking about suicide, the doctor should be informed at once.

Also, the study has linked the following adverse effects with antidepressant use, especially among children and adolescents.

Coming off antidepressants

Speak to your doctor before you stop using antidepressants. You mustn't stop taking antidepressants suddenly.

When you are capable to get off antidepressants, your doctor will probably recommend decreasing your dose gradually over several weeks – or longer, if you have been using them for a long time.

This is to help counter any withdrawal symptoms you might get as a reaction to coming off the medicine.