A warning after research on monkeys found that antidepressants may alter the brain if taken by those who are not depressed. But, there is a new reason to be cautious about popular antidepressants in people who are not really depressed. For the first time, research has shown that widely used antidepressants may cause subtle changes in people’s brain functioning and structuring when taken by those who are not really depressed.
It is commonly known as Zoloft and is present in 16 generic forms in Australia. Some researchers to learn about how antidepressants work on the healthy brain conducted research. The research revealed that these drugs could have unwanted and unexpected effects. The drug used in this research was an SSRI, and professionals say that other drugs in this class work on the exact mechanism and would likely have the same effect.
Antidepressant is a drug that helps relieve the symptoms of depression, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, mild chronic depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions. The main aim of these drugs is to correct the chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to be responsible for changes in behavior and mood.
Antidepressants were first developed in the 1950s. Their use has become progressively more common since the last 20 years. According to the CDC, the percentage of people aged over 12 years taking these drugs in the USA increased from 7.7% in 1999-2002 to 12.7% in 2011-2014. In the same study, it was stated that females use these drugs two times more than males.
They are the most commonly recommended type of antidepressant. SNRIs or serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors are widely used to treat depression, less severe ADHD, mood disorder, and chronic neuropathic pain. It raises the level of norepinephrine serotonin in the patient’s body. These two neurotransmitters in the brain play a vital role in stabilizing mood.
Some examples of SNRIs include venlafaxine, duloxetine, and desvenlafaxine.
On the other hand, SSRIs or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most commonly used antidepressants. They effectively treat major depressions and possess fewer side effects than other antidepressants.
It blocks the reuptake of serotonin in people’s brains, making it easier for the brain cells to receive and send messages. It helps in stabilizing the mood. The word selective in SSRI is used as this type of antidepressant mainly affects serotonin, not other neurotransmitters.
Some examples of SSRIs include escitalopram, citalopram, fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, sertraline, and paroxetine. Some reports that people who take SNRIs and SSRIs may experience thoughts of suicide, especially children under the age of 18.
TCAs are so named because there are three rings in the chemical structure of these drugs. It is used to treat fibromyalgia, depression, anxiety, and some also help to control prolonged pain.
Some examples of TCAs include desipramine, amitriptyline, amoxapine-clomipramine, doxepin, nortriptyline, impramine, and trimipramine.
MAOIs are commonly used before the introduction of SNRIs and SSRIs. It inhibits the action of monoamine oxidase, a brain enzyme. It also helps to break down neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. If less serotonin breaks down, there will be more circulating serotonin. This leads to less anxiety and stabilizes moods.
Experts now use MAOs if SSRIs have not worked. It is generally saved for cases where other antidepressants have not worked because it interacts with several other drugs and some foods. Some examples of MAO inhibitors include tranylcypromine, phenelzine, selegiline, and isocarboxazid.
It is used to treat anxiety, depression, and some personality disorders. The most severe adverse reaction includes white blood cell reduction, seizures, allergic reaction, and fainting. Some examples of NASSAs are mirtazapine and Mianserin.
If you are being treated for major depression, taking an antidepressant may be part of your treatment. It works by balancing the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that affect people’s emotions and moods. These drugs help to improve your mood, increase your appetite, help you sleep better, and concentrate.
Antidepressants help kick-start mood and give them a boost they need to get over the symptoms of major depression. It allows them to start doing the things they enjoy and make better choices for themselves, which also helps contribute to a positive mood.
If you are taking this drug, it is essential to know what to expect and how it will affect your life.
If you do not notice any changes in your mood after a few weeks, consult an expert. When you are taking your first antidepressant does not work well, another one likely will. Approximately 60 percent of people who take these drugs feel better with the first drug they take, but others need to try more than one before noticing a change.
Some studies in 2008 stated 50 percent of patients who did not feel better after using one drug noticed an improvement in their symptoms when they took a new one or added one more medicine to the first one. You and your health care provider can work together to find the best drug that is right for you.
Antidepressants are not only used to treat depression but also treat other mental conditions too. These drugs’ primary and approved usage is agitation, childhood enuresis, OCD, generalized anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, social anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorders.
Many times a drug is used for “off-label” purposes; this means the FDA does not approve the user, but an expert may decide that it should be used as it may be an effective treatment.
Some off-label uses of antidepressants include:
Some studies suggest that 29% of antidepressants are used for off-label purposes.
According to some research in the USA. About 8 percent of pregnant women reported taking antidepressants medicines during this period. SSRI usage during pregnancy has been linked with a higher risk of pregnancy loss, low birth weight, preterm birth, and other congenital disabilities.
The most common problem of taking these drugs during pregnancy include excessive bleeding in mothers. After birth, infants may likely experience some ling problems, also known as pulmonary hypertension.
A survey of 69,448 pregnant women found that taking SNRIs or TCAs during this state can increase the risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension or increased blood pressure, also known as pre-eclampsia. However, whether it is due to the medication or depression remains unknown.
A study in 2006 stated that about one in three infants whose mother took antidepressants during pregnancy experienced neonatal abstinence syndrome. Withdrawal symptoms included tremors, lack of sleep, or high-pitched crying. In many cases, the signs were severe.
However, for many pregnant women, the risk of continuing these drugs has minor than the risk of stopping. For instance, if her depression can trigger an action that harms herself or the unborn baby.
So, the patient should discuss all the information benefits and potential harms of suddenly discontinuing taking antidepressants during pregnancy.
If you are thinking about taking antidepressants and wondering are they correct and safe for your health, you want to get an idea of some benefits of taking these drugs.
Some expected benefits of taking these drugs are:
Several lifestyle changes could help manage depressive symptoms. Several activities like hobbies, exercising, and a balanced meal are known to be beneficial in dealing with mental problems.
A depressed person cannot get motivated enough to initiate these lifestyle adjustments. So, antidepressants can provide a start to implementing a healthier way of living. If an individual does workout their options to use drugs, ideally, that will be part of a holistic approach to their healthy life that includes attention to physical health and self-care.
Antidepressants are proved safe. Several studies state that these drugs can even be safe for specific vulnerable populations such as pregnant ladies or organ transplant recipients or those with active tumors or who have suffered from a stroke in the past.
Before you start taking antidepressants and know about their effect on your personality, it is necessary to understand that anxiety on its own can change things. Even you adapt natural remedies to support your mental health; anxiety can actually change your personality.
Anxiety and fear can stimulate certain parts of your brain to release stress hormones such as cortisol. These hormones affect the body. The prolonged stress duration can cause the body to break down and can even literally kill the brain cells.
Over the period, an increased level of cortisol also increases the size of the amygdala, which is the central part of the brain that helps to control emotions such as fear. It also encourages the flight to fight response, triggering much more efficiently in a larger amygdala.
Stress also affects some parts of the brain, such as memory. Without the memories, you can definitely notice the personality changes. Experience or memory form is an essential part of who you are, so having a low cortisol level in the brain may profoundly impact how you feel about the world.
After reading so much about antidepressants, you make be wondering, are they safe for your brain functioning? So, the simple answer to this is that the prolonged effects of antidepressants on your brain chemistry are not understood very well.
Some researchers found that this type of medical aids in neuroplasticity. In simpler terms, these medicines can affect how your mind organizes and form synaptic connections. Other researchers believe that this drug has no long-term effects on your brain once you stop using the medicine.
Many depressed people find it beneficial to use these medications for the remainder of their life. It is often used in combination with group support, lifestyle changes, and therapy. They experience dry mouth, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. In severe cases, their bodies may develop a tolerance against these drugs.
Antidepressants are usually prescribed when counseling psychotherapy does not work in case of mild depression. According to some surveys, about 40 to 60 percent of people with moderate to severe depression noticed some improvement in their symptoms within six to eight weeks.
There is a wide variety of antidepressants available, and each person has unique brain chemistry. It is difficult to predict how exactly a person feels after taking this drug. Your health care professional will make a prescription according to what they think will be best for you and what your body will likely be able to tolerate. You have to take certain medications before finding the best one.
The pharmacist prescribing your medicine will discuss its possible side effects with you. They will try to recommend drugs with the least number of side effects for your mental health conditions. Many times, more than one drug may be tested before the desired benefits are achieved.
Your health care provider may closely monitor you so that they can detect the development of harmful side effects and make necessary changes according to it. All drugs can cause some severe to moderate side effects. Keep one thing in mind that experts will only prescribe the medicine if it is expected to benefit the risk of side effects.
If side effects appear, they are usually mild. Some of these side effects may reduce after taking the drug for a while. Make sure you discuss the concerns with your provider before taking any medications.
Some moderate to severe side effects include nausea, sexual problem, weight gain, diarrhea, dizziness, headache, increased anxiety, insomnia, exhaustion, dry mouth, or tremors.
It is necessary to know that many patients taking these drugs do not develop any side effects. However, all people should be monitored carefully. Do not consume alcohol or any alcoholic beverages while taking these drugs. It may interfere with their beneficial effects.
Antidepressants are not proven to be safe and effective for mentally and emotionally healthy people. Once you or your expert have determined that you no further need to take these drugs, you should stop taking them after the expert’s consultation. Prolonged treatment with these drugs may recommend preventing further episodes of depression in individuals who already have two or more bouts of major depression and anxiety.Tags: Antidepressants, anxiety, brain chemicals