Choosing an Effective Antidepressant Medication

With so many antidepressant medications being advertised these days, it can be very confusing. With the help of your doctor you should be able to find one that works best for you so that you can resume a more enjoyable life.

Antidepressants are widely prescribed for people suffering from depression. They do not necessarily cure depression, but they can mitigate the symptoms to a great extent. The first one you are prescribed may work perfectly fine for you. But if your symptoms persist, or there are adverse side effects, speak to your doctor about changing.

Don’t get discouraged because there are other antidepressants you can try. There is an excellent chance you’ll find one that does work for you if you keep trying.

Finding an Antidepressant that Works for You

No two antidepressants are exactly alike, but most are equally effective in relieving depression. However, there are subtle differences between them that cause them to work differently and have different side effects. When your doctor prescribes an antidepressant to relieve your depression, he/she will likely consider the following:
Your individual symptoms: Depression can manifest itself in a variety of symptoms. One type of antidepressant may be more effective on certain symptoms than another. An example of this would be that if you’re not sleeping well, an antidepressant with a sedating effect may be a good choice.

  • Adverse side effects: Each medication comes with its own set of side effects that vary person-to-person. Adverse side effects, like weight gain, dry mouth or that affect sex drive or performance, can make it hard to continue with treatment.
  • How it interacts with other medications you may be taking: When some antidepressants are taken together with other medications, there can be dangerous reactions.
  • If you are pregnant or breast feeding: Antidepressants are often not prescribed for pregnant or breast feeding women because they may be dangerous for the baby. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, discuss with your doctor how to best manage your depression.
  • Any other health conditions you may be dealing with: Some antidepressants could be problematic if you are dealing with other mental or even physical health conditions. However, certain antidepressants may work to treat other physical or mental health conditions while relieving depression. An example would be bupropion (Wellbutrin), which may alleviate the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as depression. Other examples would be anitriptyline, which also helps prevent migraines or duloxetine (Cymbalta), which also helps relieve pain or the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
  • If it was effective for a first-degree relation: If a medication works well for a close relative, like a sibling or parent, it may also be an effective treatment for you.
  • Health insurance coverage and cost: There is no denying that some antidepressants are expensive, especially if there is no available generic version.

Classes of antidepressant medications

Depression is associated with certain chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. The three main ones are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Most antidepressants reduce depression by targeting one of these three neurotransmitters. Each class of antidepressant has a slightly different effect on these neurotransmitters.
There are many different types of antidepressants on the market today to treat depression. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist about the adverse side effects.

No Antidepressant must be considered as a “stand alone” solution to depression.

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