What depression drug and medications for depression are used to improve depression symptoms?

What depression drug is available to improve symptoms of depression? Learn about the different types of depression treatment medications for you.

The depression drug lithium has been one of the medications prescribed frequently for treating bipolar disorder. Lithium may help smooth out mood swings that often are a symptom of this disorder.

Besides the drug lithium, the majority of persons with bipolar disorder will be taking more than one of the medications such as an anticonvulsant, which is a medicine for treating anxiety or insomnia.

The health care provider must closely monitor the patient to try and find the best possible combination of the medications for depression.

However, the quantity of lithium taken must be closely observed since the difference between an effective dose quantity and a toxic dose quantity can be small.

Persons with preexisting health conditions such as epilepsy, thyroid, kidney or heart problems may not be prescribed lithium. Lithium also has side effects like weight gain, tremors, dry mouth, nausea, confusion, drowsiness and restlessness.

Lithium also has other less common side effects like - blackouts, seizures, memory difficulties, loss of coordination, blurred vision, vomiting, anorexia, ringing in the years, hair loss, hypothyroidism, water retention and cardiac arrhythmias.

Other medications for depression exist that can benefit a persons suffering from mood swings. For example, one is the depression drug called carbamazepine (Tegretol). Another is named valproate (Depakote).

Both of these medicines are anticonvulsants that are widely prescribed by mental health professionals. In addition, abapentin (Neurontin®) and lamotrigine (Lamictal) are two other anticonvulsants that are being used for treating bipolar disorder.

There are three categories of depression treatment medications or depression drug available:

• 1- TCAs or tricyclics depression drugs (drugs in this category are called amitriptyline, imipramine, buproprion, nortriptyline, doxepin TCA, desipramine) - brand names are called Wellbutrin, Norpramin, Elavil, Parmelor, Sinequan, Surmontil, Vivactil, Tofranil.

• 2- MAOIs or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors - these depression treatment medications are suppose to destroy an enzime called monoamine oxidase.

There are two types of monoamine oxidase - type A and type B. Monoamine oxidase metabolizes or breaks down the chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain which is believed to regulate mood and other physical functions.

According to the experts developing these drugs, by destroying monoamine oxidase, the depression drug is supposed to improve depression by increasing the amount of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine - phenelzine is a MAOI for example.

There is a newer type of MAOI called RIMAs (Reversible Inhibitors of Monoamine Oxidase Type A) that doesn't destroy the body's supply of monoamine oxidase. Moclobimide is a RIMA, for example.

• 3- SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (depression drug fluoxetine SSRI, sertraline SSRI, paroxetine SSRI, escitalopram, paroxetine SSRI, fluvoxamine SSRI, citalopram SSRI) - these depression treatment medications are better known by the names Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro and Luvox.

How long should a person take a depression drug medication? Stopping the depression treatment medications too soon may happen if they begin to feel better.

Sometimes, people feel that the medicine is doing no good at all or they don't like the side effects that they are experiencing. One must realize that giving the drug a chance to work is important rather than stopping it prematurely.

In general, even once the patient starts to feel better, it is recommended continuing taking medications for depression for up to 9 months to keep the depressive disorder from returning.

Unfortunately, depression is a recurrent illness and most depression treatment medications do not cure you - in most cases you should consider staying on the medication for life. Always follow your doctors advice on how long to take the depression drug.

Does one just stop taking the medicine all at once? How to stop depends on which depression drug is being taken.

Always consult with the prescribing physician on how to discontinue the medicine safely.

If bipolar disorder or a chronic major depression is being treated, the medication may have to be taken indefinitely.

Are depressant drugs habit forming? The answer is - no. Well, some tranquilizers, mood stabilizers and minor tranquilizers are considered addictive - but these are not considered depression drugs by the medical profession.

However, always remember that antidepressant medicines must be observed very carefully to know that the correct dose has been given.

A kind of depression drug called a MAO inhibitor works great for certain people. However, certain foods like pickles, aged cheeses, wine and certain decongestants have a nutrient called tyramine, which can react with some of the medicines and increase blood pressure sharply, leading to a stroke. If certain foods are restricted, the physician should provide the patient with a list of foods to avoid.

Questions about any antidepressant prescribed, or problems that may be related to the medication, should be discussed with the doctor.

Another potential problem for a depression drug or medication of any kind relates to combining different drugs. Some drugs are safe when taken alone, however, if taken with other drugs, dangerous side effects can occur.

Street drugs or alcohol should be avoided as they can reduce the medication for depressants effectiveness. Check with your doctor to see if moderate alcohol consumption is permitted while taking antidepressants.

Certain drugs used for treating anxiety or insomnia are not considered to be antidepressants. They are not effective when they are taken alone for a depressive disorder. They are, however, sometimes prescribed to be taken along with the depression drug.

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