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Medication for depression: Your Guide to Recovery

Medication for Depression

medication for depressionMedication for depression has so greatly improved over the last decade, that no one should now suffer needlessly. However, the availability of medication for depression should not imply that problems which would bring us out of depressive episodes are amenable to a quick fix. Frequently, problems in individuals lives need to be solved or new ways of viewing problems need to be considered. Counseling or psychotherapy has frequently been found to be as effective for mild to moderate level depressions as many a medication for depression. Clinicians need to be consulted to determine how best to help you with your depression. As a licensed psychologist, I have found that people suffering from depression seem the fall in one of three classes in terms of what will best assist them in alleviating their depressive episodes. Some people do well on medications alone. Others may only need psychotherapy. The third group seems to be those that really need both psychotherapy and medications to assist in providing the most effective treatment.

 

How does medication for depression help?

Our moods and all of our thinking is activated by nerve cells in the brain called neurons that share biochemical information. Different systems in our body and the related thinking processes involved in their functioning, along with the daily routine that we all experience in our lives involve specific neurons working and activating other neurons in order for the thinking and actions to come about. Specific networks and activities utilize specific biochemical substances called neurotransmitters to fulfill their actions. Some of the main neurotransmitters that we use to accomplish our daily routines and bodily functions include ďserotoninĒ and ďnorepinephrineď. These two neurotransmitters have also been found to have a very high correlation with how a person feels, or their mood. Some of the more popular medication for depression activate and increase the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in our brains. The drugs that increase the level of serotonin are referred to as SSRIís or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, and include mutiny were depression medications. The tricyclic antidepressants and the MAOIís have been around for much longer period of time and have been found to effect the levels of several neurotransmitters rather than just that of serotonin.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIís):

As the name would imply, these medications increase the brainís level of serotonin and therefore improve mood. SSRIís have also been found to be effective in some anxiety related illnesses such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Being the new generation of medication for depression, they seem to have fewer side effects and some physicians would say a higher level of effectiveness than the older medications, the tricyclic antidepressants.

The SSRIís include Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (citalopram Hbr) which are manufactured by the Forest laboratories, Luvox (fluvoxamine) by Solvay, Paxil (paroxetine) which is produced by SmithKline, Prozac (fluoxetine), mange fractured by Eli Lilly and Zoloft (sertraline) by the Pfizer Co.

Although these medications are usually well tolerated and effective, there are common side effects which may include: heartburn, drowsiness and difficulty achieving an orgasm. Also, they can sometimes produce transient loss of appetite and may have interactions with other medications. You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking or mixing them with other medications.

What are the tricyclic antidepressants?

Tricyclic antidepressants get their name from their chemical structure. They are the older generation of antidepressants and have been found to be effective in combating depression, but may be associated with more troublesome side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation. Also, consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to using or mixing these with any other medications. Some of the more popular tricyclics include amitriptyline, nortriptyline and desipramine who are now in generic forms and are produced by various manufacturers.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibiters (MAOIís) and other miscellaneous antidepressants:

There are other classes of medications including the MAOIís which have been found to be very effective for some types of depression, but have potentially life-threatening drug interaction potential. Your doctor needs to be intensively involved if youíre taking his drug and assisting you with avoiding foods which may have life-threatening consequences, while interacting with the MAOIís. these medications include Nardil (Phenelzine) produced by Park-Davis and Parnate (Tranylcypromine) by SmithKline.

The miscellaneous category of antidepressants include Effexor (venlafaxine) which is a serotonin and their norepinephrine uptake inhibitor produced by Wyeth laboratories, Remeron (mirtazapine), a tetracyclic manufactured by Organon, Serzone (nefazadone) by Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Trazodone, which is now in generic form with various manufacturers and Wellbutrin (buproprion) which is of the aminoketone drug family and is produced by Glaxo.      

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist 

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Mental Health Diagnosis - DSM-IV Diagnosis and Codes: In Alphabetical Order

Psychiatric Medication

Celexa 

Effexor

 Elavil

Lexapro

Luvox

Pamelor

Paxil

Pristiq

Prozac

Remeron  

Trazodone

Wellbutrin 

Zoloft


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