There may be days when every person feels sad and unhappy. However, this state of sadness and depression continues for days and weeks in patients with depression. Although depression is taken lightly by some people, one in 10 people in the society experience depression in their lifetime. In a study conducted in England, depression was found at a rate of 4% even in children between the ages of 4-16. However, depression can be treated with correct detection, correct supportive treatment, and antidepressants. Medications used to treat depression are called antidepressants.
What diseases are antidepressants used for?
- Patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder: It is people with obsessive thoughts and movements that bother the person. They can do some repetitive movements to temporarily get rid of their obsessive thoughts. Such as cleaning disease, symmetry disease, sorting from large to small …
- People with generalized anxiety disorder: People are constantly worried in a way that is not appropriate for their situation. Issues of concern can be related to money, work, health, and family. Usually, they consider the most negative outcome. There is no obvious reason for these thoughts. Anxiety thoughts continue for at least 6 months.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder: It is a state of extreme anxiety that develops after very stressful, sad, and frightening life events. Serious traffic accidents, sexual assault, robbery, prolonged sexual abuse, witnessing violent deaths, terrorist attacks, earthquakes, floods, and fires are common in those who have experienced such situations.
- Patients with prolonged chronic pain
How does an antidepressant work?
Antidepressants act by increasing the level of chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and noradrenaline. These substances are called neurotransmitters. These chemicals have a mood-improving effect. Antidepressant drugs also reduce the pain signals sent from the brain. Therefore, antidepressants are used in the treatment of chronic pain. Since antidepressants do not eliminate the cause of depression, they should be used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
How effective are antidepressants?
Most people benefit from an antidepressant. While it is not very effective in mild cases of depression, it is very useful in severe cases of depression.
How to use an antidepressant?
Antidepressants are sold in oral medication form. Physicians initially start on a low dose. Usually, the benefits occur at the earliest one week after regular use. Sometimes this effect may begin after 2-3 weeks. Tolerance may develop over time to mild initial side effects. If no benefit is seen after 4 weeks of use, the drug may need to be changed or the dose increased. Generally, depression treatment can take up to 6 months. However, there are also people who need to use medication for life. It is inconvenient not to miss a dose and to take the forgotten doses together in depression medications.
What are the side effects of antidepressants?
Different antidepressants have different side effects. Most of the side effects disappear after a week of use. If the side effects are very severe, the physician should be informed. The side effects of each antidepressant are listed on the drug package insert. Common side effects:
- At first, patients may feel more anxious.
- Indigestion and stomach aches
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Binge eating
- Decreased sexual desire
- Difficulty having an orgasm
- Erection problems in men
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Excessive sweating
- Urination problems
- Symptoms due to salt loss from the body
- Suicidal thoughts: Rarely, patients using antidepressants may have suicidal thoughts initially. Especially young people under the age of 25 are at risk. When this symptom occurs, it is necessary to inform the doctor and the patient’s immediate environment. This side effect disappears over time.
The side effects listed above are not seen in every antidepressant. Antidepressants are divided into groups according to the chemical substance they contain and the mechanism of action. In addition, not every patient is expected to experience side effects.
What is serotonin syndrome?
It is a serious condition that occurs during the use of antidepressants that reduce serotonin reuptake. The main symptoms are:
- Clouding of consciousness
- Muscle twitching
- Having a seizure
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
- It is necessary to call the doctor for mild symptoms and call an ambulance for severe symptoms.
It has been observed that drugs that reduce serotonin reuptake can cause type 2 diabetes when used for a long time. These drugs are not used in the manic phase of bipolar disorder. It is not suitable for use in Type 1 and Types 2 diabetes patients. They can worsen the condition in patients with a bleeding disorder called hemophilia and in patients with epilepsy. They should be used very carefully in the presence of eye pressure (glaucoma), severe heart, kidney disease, and liver disease.
What should be considered when using antidepressants?
Antidepressants can interact with many medications, including the pain reliever called ibuprofen. It is necessary to read the package insert correctly before starting to use the medicine. Before prescribing medication, you should inform your doctor about the medications you use.
Can pregnant women use antidepressants?
Antidepressants are not used in the early stages of pregnancy. However, an exception can be made if the general condition of the pregnant woman is very bad and there is the potential to harm her pregnancy and its surroundings. Complications such as termination of pregnancy due to antidepressant use, congenital heart disease in the baby to be born, and pulmonary hypertension in the baby to be born may occur. However, these complications do not occur in all pregnant women using antidepressants. There are mildly effective antidepressants that can be used in pregnant women.
Can breastfeeding mothers use antidepressants?
Antidepressants are not normally used in breastfeeding mothers. However, there are antidepressants that can be used by breastfeeding mothers if the mother’s condition is very severe and there is potential to harm her baby. In some cases, breast milk can be cut by keeping the health of the mother at the forefront.
Antidepressant use in children and adolescents
Generally, antidepressants are rarely used in children and teenagers. This is because these drugs cause suicidal tendencies in young people. However, if the patient does not respond to cognitive and behavioral treatments, the child can use this treatment under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Psychotherapy should be done in addition to drug therapy.
Can alcohol be used with antidepressants?
Taking antidepressants with alcohol is not recommended. Alcohol is already a depressant. Symptoms worsen when patients with depression drink alcohol. If you take antidepressants with alcohol, you may experience drowsiness and dizziness. Antidepressant drugs are also not used with narcotic drugs. Drugs also have a depressant effect.
Can I use herbal antidepressants?
St. John’s Wort is the best known herbal substance in this regard. However, these are not recommended by physicians. Because the active ingredient they contain is not standard. Clinical trials have not been conducted. Moreover, its interactions with other drugs can have dangerous consequences.
Can antidepressants use vehicles and machines?
Antidepressants can cause dizziness, drowsiness, and blurred vision. For this reason, vehicles and machines should not be used for a while after starting the drug.
What happens if I suddenly quit antidepressant?
Withdrawal symptoms occur if antidepressants, like other drugs, are stopped suddenly. The most common symptoms are dizziness, unsteady gait, fatigue, and headache. In addition, the disease may recur for a short time. Depression and extreme irritability can be seen. Physicians slowly increase the dose of antidepressants, slowly taper off the dose while cutting. While using antidepressants, the thought of “I’m fine today, if I don’t take medicine” is very wrong.
Do antidepressants interact with food and drink?
A group of antidepressants increases the effect of caffeine. These patients experience palpitations and discomfort. However, this effect is not valid for all antidepressants.
What other treatments are effective for depression?
- Mild depression: Regular exercise, relaxation, and sleep
- Moderate depression: Both psychotherapy and medication are required.
- Severe depression: Medication and psychotherapy. The treatment can take longer than 6 months.
We wish you healthy days.
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