Strategies For Managing Depression
Antidepressants are a popular treatment option for depression. While the pills are not a magic cure-all for negative moods, taking antidepressants can be highly effective for managing depression symptoms. There are many different antidepressants available. Patients may need to try more than one before finding the prescription that works best. Before starting antidepressants, make sure to ask the pharmacist some key questions.
1. How do antidepressants work?
Every person has neurotransmitters. These chemicals are responsible for communication between neurons in the brain. Some neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine correlate with more positive moods and lower rates of depression. The goal of antidepressants is to help balance neurotransmitters. In addition to prescription medication, some people may also try supplements. Some natural ingredients can help to boost serotonin levels and improve moods.
2. Are there any side effects?
If a person is prescribed antidepressants, that means the doctor has determined that the benefits of the drug will outweigh the side effects. Everybody responds differently to antidepressants. Commonly, physical side effects include headaches, insomnia, or nausea. For some people, starting antidepressants can temporarily increase negative feelings. Typically, these feelings subside as neurotransmitter levels adjust and the body gets used to the medication.
3. Will I have to take a prescription forever?
Antidepressants take 4-6 weeks to build up in the bloodstream and take effect. Most healthcare providers recommend that patients stay on antidepressants for at least 6 months. After a few months, some patients are tempted to discontinue using the antidepressants because moods have improved. However, patients should never stop taking medication unless under the supervision of a doctor. Patients should remember that, usually, mood improvement is a direct result of taking the prescription.
Because there are so many antidepressant types, patients should consider all options carefully with the help of a healthcare provider or pharmacist. Consider whether there are other symptoms that need to be treated along with the depression. For example, patients battling insomnia may benefit from prescriptions with a slight sedative effect. Ask the doctor about side effects. Patients may also benefit from finding out if a close relative, such as a sibling or parent, has had success with a specific medication.
Make antidepressants work for you
Finding the right antidepressant can be a process of trial and error. However, once patients find the right medication, the results are promising. Many people find relief from depression by taking antidepressants, as well as through managing and avoiding depression triggers. To learn more about antidepressants, speak with a pharmacist.