Antidepressants are psychiatric drugs prescribed for patients who have depression, anxiety, and affective disorders. They help in correcting neurotransmitter imbalances caused by an abnormal chemical production in the brain. Aside from depression and anxiety, it can also address issues related to phobias, bulimia, agitation, obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD), childhood enuresis, peripheral neuropathic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder. They also help manage some long-term physical pain.
Essentially, antidepressants change an individual’s brain chemistry. By doing this, they can boost one’s mood and relieve them of mental distress.
There are various types of antidepressants, and mostly all of them have the same effect on the brain. However, some individuals may cope better using a certain antidepressant than others. The different types of antidepressants are the following:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic and tricyclic-related drugs
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
Most of these drugs require a prescription from a doctor or a psychiatrist. A specialist nurse prescriber and a specialist pharmacist can also prescribe certain antidepressants if necessary.
Side effects of antidepressants include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, sexual dysfunction and dry mouth. Dizziness and drowsiness are the most typical reactions of antidepressant treatment. However, a patient may also experience insomnia and eating disorder during the course of the treatment. Antidepressant medication usually takes 4 to 8 weeks to act with full effect.