Anti-Depressant Drugs are
medicines that relieve symptoms of mental depression.
Anti-depressant Drugs are used to treat serious, continuing mental
depression that interferes with a person's ability to function.
Everyone feels sad, "blue, " or discouraged occasionally, but usually those feelings do not interfere with every day life and
do not need treatment. However, when the feelings become
overwhelming and last for weeks or months, professional treatment
can help. Although depression is one of the most common and serious
mental disorders, it is also one of the most treatable. If
untreated, depression can lead to social withdrawal, physical
complaints, such as fatigue, sleep problems, and aches and pains, and even suicide.
The first step in treating depression is an accurate diagnosis by a
physician or mental health professional. The physician or mental
health professional will ask questions about the person's medical
and psychiatric history and will try to rule out other causes, such
as thyroid problems or side effects of medicines the person is
taking. Lab tests may be ordered to help rule out medical problems.
Once a person has been diagnosed with depression, treatment will be
tailored to the person's specific problem. The treatment may consist
of drugs alone, counseling alone, or drugs in combination with
counseling methods such as psychotherapy or cognitive behavioral
Anti-depressant Drugs help reduce the extreme sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in life that are typical in
people with depression. These drugs also may be used to treat other
conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, premenstrual
syndrome, chronic pain, and eating disorders.
Anti-depressant Drugs, also called Anti-depressants, are thought to
work by influencing communication between cells in the brain. The
drugs affect chemicals called neurotransmitters, which carry signals
from one nerve cell to another. These Neuro-transmitters are
involved in the control of mood and in other responses and
functions, such as eating, sleep, pain, and thinking.
The main types of Anti-depressant Drugs in use today are:
- Tricyclic Anti-depressants, such as Amitriptyline (Elavil), Imipramine (Tofranil), Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
- Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs or Serotonin
Boosters), such as fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil), and
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO Inhibitors), such as
Phenelzine (Nardil), and Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
- Lithium (used mainly to treat manic depression, but also
sometimes prescribed for recurring bouts of depression).
Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors act only on the
Neuro-transmitter Serotonin, while tricyclic Anti-depressants and
MAO Inhibitors act on both Serotonin and another Neuro-transmitter, Norepinephrine, and may also interact with other chemicals
throughout the body. Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors have
fewer side effects than Tricyclic Anti-depressants and MAO
Inhibitors, perhaps because Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors
act only on one body chemical, Serotonin.
Because the Neuro-transmitters involved in the control of moods are
also involved in other processes, such as sleep, eating, and pain, drugs that affect these Neuro-transmitters can be used for more than
just treating depression. Headache, eating disorders, bed-wetting, and other problems are now being treated with Anti-depressants.
All Anti-depressant Drugs are effective, but certain types work
best for certain kinds of depression. For example, people who are
depressed and agitated do best when they take an anti-depressant
drug that also calms them down. People who are depressed and
withdrawn may benefit more from an anti-depressant drug that has a