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Depression Meds Are Poorly Understood By Most People

Depression Meds –They shouldn’t zonk you or make you feel numb

 

If an antidepressant is working well, you feel the way you want to feel, but couldn’t.  The goal of an antidepressant is to make your own brain chemistry work closer to normal, by using your own neurotransmitters more effectively.

Many people dislike taking medication, and especially people who are depressed think of themselves as failures if they take medication for a mood disorder. But this feeling is often part of the disease.

Two common questions most people ask, “Are anti-depressants addicting?” and “Are they dangerous?”

Anti-depressants are not addicting (and hence are not a street drug). Most are slow acting, needing to be taken every day, and become effective in about 3 weeks. Many people have heard horror stories about Prozac, most of which are more rumor than truth. There are extremely few people who get symptoms such as reported in the media with Prozac, such as increased anger and agitation.

 The medical profession is also learning better which type of anti-depressants are best suited for which type of depression. As with any medication, there can be some side-effects. Most side effects are annoying, such as stomach distress or dry mouth. A few are serious, so your physician will want to monitor you carefully. And don’t give up, since if one anti-depressant does not work, there are several others to try that work differently. The good news is that there are many more choices of medication, with fewer risks and side effects than ever before.

Anti-depressants help you by changing the way the brain chemistry works. Being depressed is somewhat like having a car battery that will not keep a charge. The body’s electrical system is not working properly, and is sluggish. Anti-depressants improve the way that neurotransmitters work in the brain. Neurotransmitters are responsible for an adequate functioning of our brain chemistry and a sense of well-being. Antidepressants help “raise the thermostat” on moods, so the point at which moods fluctuate is raised to a more comfortable level.

  Depression Meds –They shouldn’t zonk you or make you feel numb

 

If an antidepressant is working well, you feel the way you want to feel, but couldn’t.  The goal of an antidepressant is to make your own brain chemistry work closer to normal, by using your own neurotransmitters more effectively.

Many people dislike taking medication, and especially people who are depressed think of themselves as failures if they take medication for a mood disorder. But this feeling is often part of the disease.

Two common questions most people ask, “Are anti-depressants addicting?” and “Are they dangerous?”

Anti-depressants are not addicting (and hence are not a street drug). Most are slow acting, needing to be taken every day, and become effective in about 3 weeks. Many people have heard horror stories about Prozac, most of which are more rumor than truth. There are extremely few people who get symptoms such as reported in the media with Prozac, such as increased anger and agitation.

 The medical profession is also learning better which type of anti-depressants are best suited for which type of depression. As with any medication, there can be some side-effects. Most side effects are annoying, such as stomach distress or dry mouth. A few are serious, so your physician will want to monitor you carefully. And don’t give up, since if one anti-depressant does not work, there are several others to try that work differently. The good news is that there are many more choices of medication, with fewer risks and side effects than ever before.

Anti-depressants help you by changing the way the brain chemistry works. Being depressed is somewhat like having a car battery that will not keep a charge. The body’s electrical system is not working properly, and is sluggish. Anti-depressants improve the way that neurotransmitters work in the brain. Neurotransmitters are responsible for an adequate functioning of our brain chemistry and a sense of well-being. Antidepressants help “raise the thermostat” on moods, so the point at which moods fluctuate is raised to a more comfortable level.

Some Unexpected Benefits of Antidepressants Medication. They help make new brain cells.

Some of the latest research indicates that antidepressants may do something that until recently we thought was impossible. Antidepressants appear to help brain cells regenerate. It has always been thought that brain cells do no continue to grow. But recent studies indicate that this class of medication may actually help the brain to heal. So instead of thinking that these medications cause damage, the healing nature of these medications may be very important in areas such as Post Traumatic Stress and Depression.

Link to National Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Website  This government website has a brief section about research about neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells and the beneficial role of antidepressants. It also has many articles about PTSD.

What are examples of antidepressants that can help?

The most common antidepressants in use right now are the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s).  Every medication has side effects, but as far as antidepressants go, these have the fewest, and are the safest. Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa,  Paxil, Effexor, Wellbutrin and Lexapro are the most common.  There are older  antidepressants still in use such as imipramine, trazodone and Elavil.  And there is now a new  antidepressants, Cymbalta.  Cymbalta is the first of a new generation of dual acting reuptake inhibitors, impacting both norepinephrine and serotonin.

Where can I find detailed information about a medication similar to the PDR (Physician Desk Reference)?

The RX List  www.rxlist.com is also one of the best sources. To make it easier I have linked directly for a few of the common antidepressants at DF and included a PDF comparison chart in our DEPRESSION & ANXIETY MEDICATIONS – LOOKING FOR ANSWERS Posting, Asking and Sharing forum .  You can find  side effects, interactions, and patient information for each medication. It is the closest to a copy of the PDR that I have found on the internet. Besides, who wants to spent $100 for one!

Cymbalta
Lexapro
Wellbutrin
Prozac
Zoloft
Celexa
Effexor
Paxil 

 Click  on This PDF chart  which lists almost all antidepressants .  It gives approximate dosage ranges so you can see if you are on the low or high end of recommended treatment. It also gives some of the side effects. Unfortunately, it may be a bit too technical for some. 

© 2002  John E. Swank, MS, LPCC   Swank Counseling , 315 Public Square, Troy, OH 45373 www.johnswank.com


 

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