Antidepressants are prescribed medications that are used when a person suffers from depression. These medications are used to treat people with mood disorders. Doctors prescribe them according to the level of depression that a person is suffering from. Small doses of medicines are given to those who exhibit mild symptoms of depression. In case a person has been suffering from major depression, for a long time, the dose of the medicines is increased accordingly. These antidepressants generally show a delayed onset of action (2-6 weeks). Apart from depression, these medications are also used to cure other conditions, like chronic pain, eating disorders, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder and dysmenorrheal. In this article, we bring you the relevant information about the common types of antidepressants.
Common Types Of Antidepressants
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are the latest type of anti-depressants available in the market. As the name suggests, SSRIs work in a selective way. Their prime focus is a neurotransmitter located in the brain serotonin. Selective Serotonin Reuptake is the medication most opted for treating depression, as it is associated with the least side effects, which are limited to headaches and sexual problems.
Tricyclics are used if a person has been suffering from major depression for a long time. It is a chemical composition, which is not used for targeting the neurotransmitter. The side effects associated with the use of this antidepressant include those related to the consumption of SSRIs. While using TCAs, a person may encounter sexual dysfunction, blurred vision, dry mouth, headaches and intestinal problems.
Mono Amine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Also known as monoamines, MonoAmine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI) is the first antidepressant that was developed to treat depression. This antidepressant provides relief to the depressed patient, by breaking down the brain chemical neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood swings. MAOI serves as the last resort, when other medications, like tricyclics and SSRIs, fail to cure depression. MAOI is named for its functionality - blocking or inhibiting brain monoamineoxidase.
Noradrenergic And Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants (NaSSAs)
This is a new class of antidepressants, which work by increasing the serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmission. These antidepressants block presynaptic alpha-2 adrenergic receptors and block some certain serotonin receptors as well. Some side effects associated with these antidepressants include increased appetite, drowsiness and weight gain.
There are some antidepressants that work better when used in combination with other drugs. Some common names in this list include Trazodone (Desyrel), Nefazodone (Serzone), Gepirone (Ariza), Tandospirone (Sediel) andBuspirone (Buspar).
Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms
People taking antidepressant can face some problems if they become addicted to them and discontinue them suddenly. A better idea would be to gradually lower the dose and then finally stop taking them, rather than abruptly discontinuing the use of antidepressants. Some of the common withdrawal symptoms found in people who discontinue the use of antidepressants abruptly are listed below:
- Anxiety, agitation
- Depression, mood swings
- Flu-like symptoms
- Irritability and aggression
- Insomnia, nightmares
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dizziness, loss of coordination
- Stomach cramping and pain
- Electric shock sensations
- Tremor, muscle spasms