Sunday, April 21, 2013

Depression and Depression Medication Side Effects

Depression is a runaway condition that impacts the lives of an estimated 150 million people worldwide on any given day with women being somewhat more susceptible to the condition than their male counterparts. That said, it is estimated that 8 percent of the world's male population will suffer an episode of depression over the course of any given year according to World Health Organization. So with numbers like these it is easy to see why the pharmaceutical industry is racing to find a suitable treatment for depression. But thus far the side effects associated with depression medications make taking them an exercise in unpredictability and some might argue bravery.

Depression itself is a feeling of melancholy and intense sadness that lasts far longer than what would be considered normal. It has a direct impact on normal functioning, disrupts life, and substantially lowers quality of life. Treatments that claim to rein in this beast of a mental illness include antidepressants, mood elevators, and mood stabilizers. Other less risky options include natural and/or complementary treatments such as diet management, aromatherapy, light therapy, herbal supplements, and homeopathic remedies.

The vast majority of medications prescribed to treat depression attempt to re-balance neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain. In many cases the brain chemical targeted is serotonin.

The dosage of the medication that is prescribed is arrived upon through a trial and error approach making the risk of over correction or under rectification a real risk. Another hidden danger of depression medications is that additional drugs may be needed to counter the side effects which may materialize. This group of additional treatments can include, but will not be limited to, sleep aids.

While the current group of depression drugs leaves a lot to be desired they have come a long ways from the days when taking them in moderate dosage could prove lethal. These old school medications are rarely prescribed these days as the newer depression medications have more manageable side effects.

In some cases the side effects start to be felt before the medication has had a chance to take effect. If you find yourself in this situation you should not give up on the medication before contacting your doctor about managing the side effects or adjusting the dosage. For example depression medications may cause constipation which can be managed by increasing fiber intake. Dry mouth is another example that can be safely and easily managed.

Additional side effects associated with depression medications are fatigue, drowsiness, difficulty with urination, blurred vision, and sexual dysfunction.

As briefly mentioned above the newer drugs come with fewer side effect risks but still include some very unsettling possibilities. This list would include headaches, insomnia, nervousness, upset stomach, and suicidal thoughts.

Certainly natural remedies are not for everyone with depression but they are considered to be very safe and in some cases may even reduce the side effects caused by conventional medication.

If you do start to notice any unwanted symptoms associated with taking prescription depression medications they should be brought to the attention of your doctor.

Additionally, you medical professional will likely want to talk to you in advance about what to expect as you implement his treatment plan along with information about the possibility of behavioral changes and how best to cope.

On last point that is often left out of the depression medication discussion and that is withdrawal. You should know that on occasion the withdrawal symptoms associated with depression treatment drugs can be as challenging as the side effects themselves.

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