Sunday, March 23, 2014

Medications for Depression and Anxiety - Five Major Categories

Chronic depression and anxiety are debilitating mood disorders that need to be treated with the help of a licensed therapist. There are different modes or approaches in treating these orders. One of the most common is psychotherapy and administration of medications. There is a wide array of medications for depression and anxiety that your therapist may prescribe - the different types are described below.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

The current standard medication for depression and anxiety is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI. An SSRI belongs to the class of antidepressant that aims to maintain high levels of 5-HT in the brain's synapse. To do this, the main component of SSRI inhibits or prevents synaptic nerves (presynaptic) to reuptake serotonin. With low levels of serotonin in the brain, the brain will have difficulty or will slow down in its transmission of signals between neurons.

SSRI has been proven to be effective and much safer than other types of anti depressants. Which is why more doctors or therapists select this first before resorting to other medications for depression and anxiety.

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) is a newer form of medications for depression and anxiety.

In SSRI, the only focus is on maintaining levels of 5-HT. With SNRIs, however, there is an increase in level of both norepinephrine and 5-HT to treat depression and stop anxiety attacks.

For side effects, SNRI resembles that of SSRI since they are similar in a number of chemical components. What makes this medicine different from SSRI is that it needs tapering when there's a plan to discontinue this medicine. With SNRIs, patient can experience withdrawal syndrome.

Noradrenergic and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants (NASSAs)

Makers of noradrenergic and specific serotonergic antidepressants (NASSAs) claim that these new forms of medications for depression and anxiety works as effectively as SSRI and SNRI yet are much safer.

Like SNRI, this medicine works to increase levels of norepinephrine in the body and serotonin in the brain. Just like SSRI, it does its job by blocking presynaptic receptors (an alpha-2 adrenergic). However, what makes it different from SNRI and SSRI is it doesn't have the withdrawal syndrome effect of SNRI (when discontinuing the medicine) and serotonin related side effects in SSRIs. It also blocks serotonin receptors responsible for common side effects in SSRIs that patients experience within the adaption phase.

Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline) Reuptake Inhibitors (NRIs)

Norepinephrine (noradrenaline) reuptake inhibitors (NRIs) work by increasing levels of norepinephrine in the body. This medicine is said to be effective in treating depression but not anxiety. Because this medicine focuses mainly on noradrenaline, it can cause or increase thoughts of aggression in a depressed, more so an anxious patient.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

The oldest form of medication for depression and anxiety is tricyclic antidepressants. Tricyclics works by inhibiting the reuptake of norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and serotonin neurotransmitters. This medicine, however, is now rarely prescribed because of side effects that are attached into it. However, tricyclic antidepressants are known to effectively treat depression and anxiety, especially the severe cases. This medicine is usually the last resort in the event the patient didn't respond well with safer antidepressants such as SSRIs.

Caution When Buying

All antidepressants are prescription drugs. This means that you can not buy them over the counter. If for some reason someone offers you antidepressant at a low price, don't accept it. It may be a fake or it may contain ingredients that can do you more harm than good.

Select with the Help of your Doctor

It is not easy to select the medications for depression and anxiety that will work for you. Usually, in this form of therapy, it's only through trial and error that you and your therapist would know if the medicine works for you. In this regard, whenever a new medication for depression and anxiety is prescribed to you, ask your doctor or therapist to brief you thoroughly about the drug. Ask what it does, how it works, what are the expected side effects and what are the things that you should do in the event that major side effects are manifested or when there's a suspicion of overdose.

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