Can FDA-approved medications help cope with depression

Can FDA-approved medications help cope with depression

Depression is frightening, a long drop into the deep dark chasm with no end in sight. It can affect anyone irrespective of age, gender, caste or religion and the person may not realize what’s happening. Then one fine day, it completely takes over an individual, who is so drained to even step out of the bed, let alone the house. The loved ones also bear the brunt of the depressed person’s extreme mood swings but only the sufferer knows how difficult it is to live with the condition and feel helpless. 

Sarah had battled periods of melancholy ever since she lost her father in early childhood. She was attached to him and wanted to follow his footsteps. Things got worse when she failed to secure the scholarship she desperately wanted. Later in college, she found it hard to adjust to the environment. Though she was a high achiever, she wanted more. Slowly she sunk deep into depression and started neglecting everything — her appearance, food, sleep, family. Startled with a drop in grades, her mother took her to a psychiatrist. Sarah was diagnosed with clinical depression and recommended a course of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Six months later, her mother saw a difference seeing her daughter gain back her confidence and the infectious smile.

Understanding antidepressants

Antidepressants are the most popular means of treating clinical depression. They may not fully cure the illness but definitely reduce the symptoms. Major depression or unipolar depression, a more serious form, is a debilitating disorder affecting 16.1 million American adults. While there are many reasons for a person to be depressed, one prominent reason is depleting levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Therefore, the aim of any treatment is to set this right.

Certain medications approved by the FDA for treating depression are:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs):These are commonly prescribed to depression patients as they have fewer side effects. They are responsible for increasing the amount of serotonin. However, one should be careful about the dosage and use the medication only as prescribed. Excess could lead to dependence or addiction.
  • Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These increase the concentration of both serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs): These were one of the first approved antidepressants. They supplement norepinephrine and serotonin. Although these are effective, newer antidepressants that cause fewer side effects are now being commonly used.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): MAOIs work by stopping the breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters, which helps keep the brain’s concentration of neurotransmitters at levels that help improve mood.

However, the widespread use of antidepressants is a cause of concern. According to Robert Whitaker, author of Anatomy of an Epidemic, “antidepressants (AD) are being prescribed for general unhappiness, or for people going through some difficulty. And then, once a person starts an AD, a significant percentage continue to take the drug long-term, partly because it can be so difficult to withdraw.” Careless use of antidepressants can lead to side effects like nausea, dry mouth, sleep difficulties, loss of sexual desire and appetite digestive problems. Clinicians should be cautious to prescribe the required dose and inform patients about the dangers of misuse.

Finding right treatment for depression

Recognizing depression in time is necessary for speedy recovery. While most people tend to dismiss it as a case of blues, clinical and major depression have severe repercussions. Instead of trying to grapple with the situation on one’s own, it is necessary to ensure proper screening and follow the diagnosis with proper treatment and therapy.

If you know someone who is battling symptoms of depression, it is time to help them. The Florida Depression Helpline representatives can connect you to the finest depression treatment centers in Florida, which specialize in delivering holistic recovery plans. You can reach us via 24/7 helpline 866-267-5177 or online chat with an expert and get more information on credible depression rehab centers in Florida.

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