Anything especially drugs which are used to treat depression disorders, chronic pain conditions, and uneasiness and help to manage some addictions. This article covers the usage, types, and side effects of antidepressants.
Anti depression Medication
Doctors prescribe antidepressants to treat depression as it is suggested by the name “antidepressant”. The main cause of prescription by doctors is that antidepressants are considered the first step in the treatment of depression. Some researchers revealed that antidepressants may be used to relieve long-lasting pain in those people who don’t have depression. Antidepressants are majorly suggested by doctors to treat clinical depression in adults. Antidepressants can directly affect how your brain senses certain kinds of pain.
How do antidepressants work?
Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters which are usually serotonin that affects mood and emotions. In the depressing period which is correlated with emotions after carrying a message, serotonin is usually reabsorbed by nerve cells known as “reuptake”. SSRIs work by inhibiting reuptake, which means more serotonin is available to pass further messages between nearby cells. The main neurotransmitters of the brain are dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Different antidepressants seem to affect how these brain chemicals behave.
Types of Antidepressants:
Reuptake inhibitors are also used for the treatment of depression. As previously discussed that during depression neurotransmitters are usually reabsorbed by nerve cells after receiving messages. But reuptake inhibitors prevent this, reuptake inhibitors remain temporarily in gaps between nerves called a synapse and stop these neurotransmitters from getting absorbed thus more serotonin is available for brain usage and fluent mood. As more serotonin is available thus this can improve communication between associated nerves and strengthen the brain’s circuit to respond better in case of mood regulation. There are three main types of reuptake inhibitors that target different neurotransmitters.
1. SSRIs ( Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors):
SSRIs stand for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. These are sometimes used in combination with therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy. SSRIs are mainly prescribed for the treatment of severe case depression. Some main SSRIs approved by FDA( Food and drugs administration) are Citalopram( Celexa), Paroxetine( Paxilpexeva), Sertraline( Zoloft), Fluoxetine ( Prozac), Escitalopram( Lexapro), etc to be used as SSRIs. These are specifically called “selective “ which means that they only affect serotonin and not another neurotransmitter.
Side effects of SSRIs:
Side effects may also be experienced due to the usage of SSRIs. Abruptly stopping or misuse of SSRIs may cause annoying side effects such as :
- Feeling disturbed, faint, and anxious
- Reduced sex drive
- Bleeding from bottom
- Blurred sight
- Headaches etc.
2. SNRIs ( Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors):
SNRIs are serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. SNRIs are types of antidepressants and are inhibitors that are specifically targeted for both serotonin and norepinephrine. These are casually five SNRls approved by FDA named Venlafaxine (Effexor), Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khadezla), and Levomilnaapran ( Fetzima), Milnacipran( Sarella), Duloxetine( Cymbalta).
Side effects of SNRIs:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sex desire
- Sleep disorder
3. NDRIs ( Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors):
Another class of reuptake inhibitors that affects the reuptake of dopamine norepinephrine are NDRls but only one drug is approved in this class bupropion ( Wellbutrin).
Some older antidepressants:
These are the first ever used drugs for the treatment of depression. Besides their effectiveness, they can have serious corollary which may prove adverse. There are some elderly prescribed antidepressants which are given below:
- Tricyclic antidepressants
Like reuptake inhibitors, tricycles also work by reabsorption of serotonin and epinephrine back to nerve cells after their release. Due to some side effects, doctors may occasionally ask for some blood tests to notice the level of tricycles in the blood system, he may check your blood pressure and ask for ECG because these drugs are not safe for people with definite heart rhythm disorders. Protriptyline, Doxepin, Amuxapine, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline( Pamelor), and Imipramine( Tofranil) are some tricyclic antidepressants.
MAOIs( Monoamine oxidase inhibitors):
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors discard the effects of monoamine oxidase which is a natural enzyme and breaks down neurotransmitters 9dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine). This very strong class of antidepressants works by inhibiting this breakage of the brain’s chemicals. Here are some MAOIs is given below:
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Selegiline ( Emsam)
- Tranylcypromine( Parnate) etc.
MAOIs also should not be combined with other medications that give rise to serotonin, because in this condition there may be an excessive build-up of serotonin called serotonin syndrome. Have a quick glance at serotonin syndrome given below:
Serotonin syndrome because of excessive SSRIs :
Serotonin syndrome is a serious reaction caused by drugs that build up a high level of serotonin in the body. Serotonin is a natural chemical in the brain which performs the function of working in nerve cells and the brain but when medication or antidepressants cause a high level of serotonin in the brain it may be mild to life-threatening according to severity. This accumulation of serotonin in brain cells causes a vast range of mental, autonomic, and neuromuscular changes. There are some common changes to the body that can occur by serotonin syndrome.
- Shaking or muscle spasm
- Implaceableness of muscles
- Rapid heart rate
- High body temperature
Antidepressants can be life-shortening:
Recent analysis and evidence found in the general population those who are taking antidepressants had a 33 percent higher risk of dying too soon than people who were not taking such medication to lower depression. Additionally, antidepressant users are 14 percent more susceptible to adverse cardiovascular diseases such as stroke and heart attack.
Adverse side effects of antidepressants on male and female reproductive system:
Effect on female reproductive system:
Besides treatment of depression with antidepressants, these have negative effects which are correlated with reproduction, including reduced or loss of sex drive (libido), erectile dysfunction, etc. In the case of the control study, Grodstein et al. found that women who intake antidepressants for a time period of six months had 2.9 times the odds of infertility ( 95% Cl 0.9- 8.3). There are no obvious clues that antidepressants can affect your conceiving process but some antidepressants have associations with the sexual and reproductive system.
Effect on male reproductive system:
Not all antidepressants affect the male reproductive system but in 2017, the study of six antidepressants that were studied at that time, researchers found that all of them caused a lower level of testosterone. If you ever have symptoms of low testosterone while taking SSRIs don’t hesitate and talk to your doctor because it may be a starting step of mess in the reproductivity system.
A well-known Fluoxetine is thought to be gonadotoxic effects, including lessening the concentration of sperms and motility, increased rate of deoxyribonucleic acid fragmentation, and reduced reproductive organ weights. Some other noticeable effects in males are delayed ejaculation, impaired libido, and erectile dysfunction.
How do antidepressants cause weight gain?
It is an irrefutable fact that some medications and most antidepressants have an association with weight gain. This is because antidepressants interfere with the brain’s natural chemical serotonin which has many effects on the body. As serotonin is low level causes premenstrual syndrome, obesity, anxiety, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, etc. and an excessive level may lead to serotonin syndrome. Besides this weight gain is a possible side effect of nearly all antidepressants such as SSRIs, SNRIs, NDRIs, etc.
When the serotonin level is varied by antidepressants, then the neurotransmitter ( serotonin) is considered a responsible factor for anxiety and mood regulation and also controls appetite. Specifically, these sudden and abrupt changes sometimes increase the craving for carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, desserts, etc. which are major causes of weight gain. It would be better to clean the fact that each person responds to antidepressants differently. Some people are at greater risk of obesity while others are at fewer risk.
How do antidepressants disturb your memory?
Another negative impact of depression-treating antidepressants is that they do mess with your memory whether directly or indirectly. A study by Popovic et al. showed that over 20% of patients with depression or anxiety disorders reported memory loss after 6 months of SSRI therapy. Sometimes prescribed pills can develop “medication fog” in older adults who are intaking such medicines. Medication fog mimics dementia symptoms.
Many tricyclic antidepressants are believed to cause memory issues because they inhibit the functioning of serotonin and norepinephrine which are key chemicals of the brain involved in memory development. Patients with depression who are taking antidepressants may loss concentrating will on new things. Thus never underestimate such things they may be fatal for your mental health as these are leading causes of serious brain disorders including syndromes.
If you ever suspect that the intake of antidepressants is taking the edge off your memory then you must consult your doctor or pharmacist instantly without any delay to wait for severe symptoms to be prominent.
Antidepressants can cause sleep disorders!
It is well known that some classes of antidepressants with their beneficial effects may also deteriorate sleep quality which is mainly due to activation of serotonergic 5- HT2 receptor and increases noradrenergic and dopaminergic neurotransmission. Drugs that are intricated in the regulation of serotonin activity can develop obvious and sometimes unfavorable effects on sleep. People who took fluoxetine antidepressants are mostly found to have insomnia as an unpropitious effect, whereas other patients reported daytime sleeplessness and lethargy. Some antidepressants also caused REM(Rapid eye movement) sleep behavior disorder.
What is a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder? Just have look at it!
REM sleep behavior disorder in which you physically act out vivid, often irksome dreams with hallucinations and vocal sounds. Sometimes sudden arm and leg movements during REM sleep which is also called dream enacting behavior. In 55% of people, the main cause of REM sleep disorder is unknown yet but 45% is correlated with sedatives and alcoholic consumption, tricyclic antidepressants ( such as imipramine), or SSRIs use ( such as paroxetine, sertraline, and fluoxetine) or other types of antidepressants ( such as mirtazapine).
Alternative treatments to lessen the use of antidepressants in a natural way:
We have discussed earlier in detail how these depression-treating antidepressants can make you vulnerable to other severe and life-threatening disorders in a direct or indirect way. That s why you must adopt some other alternative method to reduce depression and yes obviously to reduce the use of antidepressants because these antidepressants which are mostly prescribed by your doctors or psychiatrists have many negative impacts on your health. Never be disappointed in such an arduous situation because it’s not going to change the situation thus keep patient and modify your regular life to allay the use of antidepressants. These alternative methods may be home-based remedies or simple talking therapies.
- Exercise to keep your blood regulation at an average level which may naturally reduce depression.
- Appeal to scents because in modern times and in previous eras aromatic therapies were famous for reduction of depression. Still, now many psychiatrists suggest aroma therapies for the treatment of depression. In the United States, it is estimated that almost 62% of adults are suspected of therapies which are mostly aromatherapy by using essential oils, etc.
- Nourishment of body
- Adequate sleep may help you to improve your mental state because it is thought that sleep is a natural therapy to forget many painful events which may be sometimes depressive for you. But it is temporary till you do not revise them in your mind.
- Yoga is similar to exercise in different ways or you can say that these are classes of the same branch.
- Healthy diet intake
- Taking food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids ( found in cold water fish, walnuts, flaxseed, flax oil, etc.)
These are some natural ways that can be proved as helpful guidelines for you that how can you cope with depression to an extent in a friendly way without the usage of antidepressants. But keep in your mind that not all antidepressants are life-threatening. If you have chosen the wrong psychiatrist or you are overdosing on that prescribed medication then it would be risky. Always be moderate in using these antidepressants and follow up with natural methods to manage depression.