Types Of Medication For Depression

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Prozac.  Norpramin.  Zoloft.  Lithium.  Luvox.  Wellbutrin.  The list of medications can be dizzying-and endless.  Here are a few things to think about if you’re considering medication for depression.

How Do I Know If Medication is Right For Me?

The best way to know if your condition requires medication is to see a doctor.  Although your family doctor can prescribe depression medication, it might be best to see a psychiatrist, who will be better able to pinpoint the proper medication for your condition.  Keep in mind, however, that although a chemical imbalance may be partly responsible for your condition, there are also lots of other factors that may cause depression:  thinking patterns dating back to childhood, poor coping mechanisms, low self-esteem, lack of exercise, and so on.

What Are The Different Kinds Of Medication?

There are basically four types of antidepressant medications:

? Selective Serotinin Reuptake Inhibitor (also known as SSRIs).  Some of the newest antidepressant medications to come on the market are in this category.  They work by increasing the amount of a chemical in the brain known as serotonin.  Although they tend to have fewer side effects than other types of medication, common side effects to be on the lookout for include sexual dysfunction or low sex drive.
? Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).  TCAs were among the first antidepressant drugs to be used, and tend to have more side effects than other medications.  These can include blurred eyesight, dry mouth, increased fatigue, constipation, difficulty urinating, weight gain, and others.
? Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs).  The most important thing to know about MAOIs is that some of them can have dangerous reactions with other drugs.  Over-the-counter flu and cold medications, and even some foods such as cheese and wine can be fatal if mixed with these antidepressants, so be sure to obtain the full list of dietary restrictions if your doctor prescribes one of these.
? Other antidepressants.  The most well-known of these is Wellbutrin, which has the advantage of being significantly less likely to cause the side effects usually seen with other antidepressants, such as sexual dysfunctions or weight gain.

Be sure to take any medication for the full length of time prescribed by your doctor (unless side effects pop up, in which case contact your doctor immediately), and don’t stop taking your pills just because you feel better.  And try to be patient:  sometimes it can take up to six weeks for a medication to begin having an effect.

No Medication Is A “Quick Fix”.

Regardless of what type of medication you end up taking, there is no such thing as a “miracle drug” that will cure you of depression.  The most effective results are usually obtained by combining medication with other therapies for depression, usually including some form of counseling.  Don’t get discouraged if what worked for someone else isn’t working for you; let your doctor know and the two of you can work out on a solution that’s right for you.

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