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FDA Approved Medications May Help Patients With Depression

Depression is a major medical illness which is affecting 350 million people worldwide according to the World Health Organization. It is also identified as major depressive disorder or unipolar depression and is one of the leading causes of disability.

If you are suffering from depression you may not recognize the symptoms or could get the feeling you are suffering from problems because of a poor diet or lack of sleep. You could be ashamed to seek help even when you realize that you are affected by the condition called depression.

Every single case of depression does not require treatment with medication. However, the medications which have been approved by the FDA and are generally referred to as antidepressants can be helpful in improving the symptoms of depression in some people.

The Diagnosis Of Depression

The diagnosis of depression must be conducted by a healthcare professional and will depend on the number, the severity, and duration of the symptoms which are being experienced. The symptoms can include the following:

  • Depressed mood.
  • Changes in appetite and weight.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Restlessness.
  • Fatigue and loss of energy.
  • Trouble when thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • loss of interest in most activities.

When evaluating a possible diagnosis of depression doctors are generally considering the history of the patient and reviewing their behavior and mental status. Doctors will also be trying to rule out any physical causes which may have led to the depression before concluding if they have made an appropriate diagnosis.

Doctors will be screening the patient for bipolar disorder which also has the potential to cause unusual shifts in activity levels, mood, and energy as well as changes in the ability of the patient to complete everyday tasks. If patients suffering from bipolar disorder are prescribed wrong medications they can suffer from mania which could turn into psychotic behavior if the mania is severe.

Treating Depression With Medications

Medications which are known as antidepressants that work by chaining the chemicals in the brain identified as neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are involved in regulating the mood of the patient. Classifications have been provided to some antidepressants which are prescribed by doctors. The classifications are given below for your reference:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs]. Medications like Prozac, Celexa, and Paxil are examples of SSRIs.
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors [SNRIs] Effexor and Pamelor are examples of SNRIs.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants [TCAs]. Elavil, Tofranil and Pamelor are examples of TCAs.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs]. Parnate and Nardil are examples of MAOIs.

The medications approved for treatment of depressive conditions affect various neurotransmitters in different ways. SSRIs can enhance the signaling of serotonin in the brain and MAOIs can block monoamine oxidase which is an enzyme that can break down neurotransmitters.

Evidence is available to prove that doctors find it beneficial to treat patients with depression with medications as well as talk therapy and therefore patients are advised to talk to the doctors about the treatment options best suited for their condition.

The Effectiveness Of Antidepressants

Patients will be required to take the prescribed doses of the antidepressants for several weeks before they begin to notice any changes to their condition. The medication must not be discontinued without advice from the doctor because they could potentially create withdrawal symptoms. Some patients may not respond to antidepressants and may need to be switched to a different medication. It is quite possible that some people may not respond to antidepressants at all and patients who are concerned about this matter should be talking to their doctor.

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end.” Elizabeth Wurtzel,

Side Effects of Antidepressants

Antidepressants can also cause some side effects which includes nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, weight gain, changes in sleep pattern and sexual problems. Doctors will need some time to determine which medication will work best for the patient and therefore patients are advised to cooperate with their doctors when they have advised antidepressants for their condition.

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