Finding Balance with Antidepressants
Are you or has someone you know been prescribed antidepressant medication? Understanding antidepressants, their various types, and even the potential benefits of eventually discontinuing them is essential. Here, we delve into the world of antidepressants, providing insights into their use and how they can contribute to your mental well-being.
What are Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are medications used to treat depression, PTSD, anxiety, and certain other disorders. They affect the brain’s chemical messengers, particularly neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. These drugs can be vital tools in managing various emotional challenges, and it’s crucial to grasp their diversity and potential advantages.
Types of Antidepressants
Antidepressants come in various forms, each with its unique way of influencing brain chemistry to alleviate symptoms of depression and related conditions. Understanding these types can help you and your healthcare provider choose the suitable treatment for your needs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)SSRIs are the most prescribed antidepressant. They will block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, thus increasing the levels of this neurotransmitter. Serotonin is associated with mood regulation.
Serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)SNRIs, as the name suggests, affect both serotonin and norepinephrine levels. By inhibiting their reuptake, SNRIs can provide relief from symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs)NASSAs like Mirtazapine (Remeron) have a unique mechanism. They increase norepinephrine and serotonin levels by altering receptor activity, which can lead to improved mood and sleep.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)How They Work: While less commonly prescribed today due to newer options, TCAs work by inhibiting serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake. They have been effective in treating depression but tend to have more side effects.
Serotonin antagonists and reuptake inhibitors (SARIs)SARIs like Trazodone (Desyrel) block serotonin receptors while also affecting serotonin reuptake. They are sometimes used for insomnia as they can have a sedative effect.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)MAOIs work differently by inhibiting the action of monoamine oxidase enzymes, which break down neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. They are typically reserved for cases where other antidepressants haven’t worked.
Benefits of Getting Off Antidepressants
In the state of Florida, antidepressants are prescribed by medical doctors (MDs); this includes psychiatrists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and psychiatric-certified physician assistants working under the supervision of a medical doctor.
Finding the right antidepressant often involves a trial-and-error process. A healthcare provider will consider factors, including the type and severity of symptoms, medical history, potential side effects, and individual response. Finding the medication that works best for you may take some time.
Collaborating with your psychiatrist to determine the most suitable approach based on your response to medication, existing prescriptions, and overall health. Additionally, Transmagentic stimulation (TMS) Neurostar stands as a non-pharmaceutical alternative, with studies showing significant improvement in depressive symptoms for approximately 50-60% of patients.