What Are Antidepressants?
Medications that work in the body to eliminate symptoms of depression, social anxiety disorder, anxiety disorders, dysthymia, mild chronic depression, and other similar conditions. Antidepressants primarily work on the brain chemicals and steady the imbalance thereby altering the mood and behavior of the person.
It was first brought into the market in the 1950s and since then there has been a significant rise in the number of prescriptions.
Antidepressants can be broadly classified into five main types SNRIs, SSRIs, Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and Noradrenaline and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs).
Top 5 Antidepressants
This type is the most commonly prescribed and majorly used to treat depressive disorders. Serotonin and Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors(SNRIs) are to treat major depressive disorders, ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders, and fibromyalgia. The components of this drug increase the activity levels of norepinephrine serotonin, the two neurotransmitters that play a major and vital role in mood elevation. Examples are duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors as the name suggests work to block the absorption of serotonin in the brain. This activity enhances effective communication of messages between brain cells resulting in a stable and better mood. It is called ‘Selective’ as they target only serotonin and not any other neurotransmitters.
In comparison to other similar medications, SSRIs are known to have fewer and milder side effects.
Examples: , fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), fluvoxamine(Luvox), and sertraline (Zoloft)
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
They are named so because their chemical structure consists of three rings. TCAs help in the treatment of depression, certain types of anxiety, treat chronic pain, and fibromyalgia.
Examples: desipramine (Norpramin),imipramine (Tofranil), amitriptyline (Elavil),trimipramine (Surmontil), amoxapine- clomipramine (Anafranil), doxepin (Sinequan),protriptyline (Vivactil) and nortriptyline (Pamelor)
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
This was the first kind of its kind before SSRIs and SNRIs came into existence. These drugs work to inhibit the action of monoamine oxidase enzymes in the brain and break down the serotonin neurotransmitters. This action increases serotonin circulation which helps stabilize a person’s mood.
Some commonly prescribed MAOIs include phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (EMSAM, Eldepryl), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and isocarboxazid (Marplan).
Noradrenaline and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants (NASSAs)
This type of medication is used for the treatment of certain personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and depression. Some commonly used NASSAs are Mirtazapine (Remeron, Avanza, Zispin) and Mianserin (Tolvon).
Do Side Effects Occur With Antidepressant Usage?
Side effects are likely to be experienced up to 2 weeks after the initial usage of the drug. The most commonly experienced side effects are nausea and vomiting, however other effects are based on the type of medication used. Tolerable side effects are such as headaches and dizziness are quite common but on the other hand, if severe side effects such as mania or suicidal thoughts occur, medical attention should be administered immediately.
Some of the best antidepressants.
The commonly prescribed effective ones that are used in the States are
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Remeron (mirtazapine)
- Trintellix (vortioxetine)
Note: Antidepressants are highly effective drugs. Consult your doctor before you start the usage of them. Read the instructions provided in the medication guide carefully to know the pros and cons of using such medications.