Anti-Depressants – How They Work and the Types

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Anti-depressant medicines are one form of curing depression, however it needs to be understood that these are not the only forms nor are they the fist recommended option, especially in children and young adults; for them the psychological treatments are the first choice. However for the older adults anti depressants are recommended often and are useful too. However these are not ‘happy’ pills which can be taken just because you think you need to, they have to strictly taken under the supervision of the doctor and in the recommended doses only. Also, for quite a lot of cases medication and therapy work hand in hand. Also a lot depends on the severity, for the mild and moderate cases only therapy should be able to help but for the more severe ones medication is the first choice mostly because it acts quickly.

In the simplest terms depression can be described as a chemical imbalance in the brain, antidepressants work towards correcting this imbalance. They slow down the removal of certain chemicals from our brain. Basically these chemicals are serotonin and norepinephrine which are also called neurotransmitters, and are responsible for looking after our mood swings and also certain other activities like eating, sleeping, aches and pains and our thoughts, if these are maintained in the brain for longer they can act as mood enhancers making the depressed person feel better and happier. When these are made more readily available in the brain they restore the natural chemical balance giving the sufferer some relief. These medicines also work on restoring the person’s interest in the regular, day to day activities and help them live a fuller and happier life.

There are some other ailments as well for which anti-depressants can be used like compulsive disorder, premenstrual syndrome and eating disorders etc. Consumption of pills is mostly recommended for about 4-6 months however in some cases the medication maybe requited to persist after this as well. However their use should be stopped under the guidance and supervision of your doctors, sudden discontinuation can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms at times more serious than depression itself.

The types of anti depressants include
1. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – this is the most famous variety of anti depressants and is also the one with the least side effects. They increase the level of a chemical named serotonin in the brain which helps combat the depression symptoms
2. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) – Their working is similar to that of the SSRIs but they work on two types of chemicals- Serotonin and norepinephrine.


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