Treating depression is a methodical process. Many mental health professionals urge patients dealing with depression to consider therapy before pursuing drug treatments. However, in some of the more extreme cases of depression, medication is imperative to successful treatment, and is often prescribed in addition to therapy or psychological counseling.
When Are Antidepressants Commonly Prescribed?
In many forms of depression, antidepressant medication is commonly prescribed. Serious forms of depression are often characterized by extreme chemical imbalances in the brain, and require pharmaceutical adjustment in order to effectively treat.
When imbalances in chemicals such as serotonin and norepinephrine are drastic, it’s often too difficult for patients to function well enough for therapy alone to be effective. Patients suffering from these severe imbalances also have higher risks of suicide. Medication often works to correct the imbalance, while psychotherapy runs congruently.
Just as antidepressant medication is necessary in cases of significant imbalance, therapy is always a critical component of treatment for depression. Antidepressants affect people in different ways, and side effects can be severe, so monitoring a patient’s progress is important to his recovery.
What are Common Forms of Antidepressants?
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs correct the body’s inability to produce a proper amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to feelings of happiness and well-being.
Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another common antidepressant. SSRIs and SNRIs essentially have the same functions. SNRIs are designed to establish neural pathways for norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter-hormone that affects stress responses.
What are the Dangers of Antidepressants?
Sometimes, signs of depression increase during the use of antidepressants. Both SSRIs and SNRIs are designed to regulate the flow of healthy levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, but individuals respond to these drugs differently. Some reuptake inhibitors need to build up in your system over time in order to function properly as well, so you may not see tangible results for the first few weeks. Some SSRIs may increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior in young adults.
The more serious psychological side effects of antidepressants clearly illustrate the need for ongoing care when the drugs are prescribed. If you’re on antidepressants and are not monitored regularly by a mental health professional, side effects are potentially catastrophic. Other common side effects are headaches, night sweating, nausea and agitation.
Before taking any medication, research how depression is diagnosed.