Faster and faster pills against depression are becoming a part of the everyday life of many people on the planet. Despite the fact that nowadays exist many proofs regarding their efficacy in treating depression for many using these pills is not considered as something healthy. Many of those who take these medicines are hoping to improve their mental state but face with lack of empathy from relatives and friends who often consider the state of deep sadness a whim, or even the result of “a conspiracy of pharmaceutical companies”. No wonder that in our modern society there are so many unanswered questions about this kind of medication. In this article are listed the most popular issues, that need to be explained.
How do the antidepressants operate?
Since the 50s of the last century, when the “happy pills” were first invented, their amount became much larger and qualitatively they have changed considerably. Therefore, method of impacting of a whole class of medicines could be described only in general terms. So, our brain consists of nerve cells neurons, which are not in contact with each other. In order to transmit impulses from one neuron to another, are required intermediaries mediators. This function is fulfilled, among others, by norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. In people sick with despair the number of mediators is significantly decreased and this fact influences the brain not in the best way. Antidepressants regulate the number of intermediaries and the gray matter can operate normally again.
How does the doctor prescribe the antidepressants?
Depression is not a uniform concept; in different people it may manifests in different ways: some types of the disease do not require the use of pills and psychotherapy is sufficient. In other cases, medical products could not be avoided. Another thing: the physician may suggest monotherapy (treatment with one medication) or complex therapy, combining different means and psychotherapeutic care. As many patients as many options.
Why you should not pick up “happy pills” independently?
Firstly, you do not know what caused the depression in your particular case. The chemical process in general is not fully understood, and guessing which neurotransmitter system is broken down in your particular case is not a brilliant idea. Furthermore, “happy pills” will help only if the severity of the ailment is above the average. Most likely, the person whom antidepressants actually are able to help feels so bad that he or she is not able to think of any selection of pills.
The severity of depression could be determined in a number of ways. One of them is the so-called Hamilton scale. It includes 21 questions about the patient’s condition. Each possible answer gives a certain amount of points and the higher is the total scores the worse is the severity of the person’s condition. The maximum number of points is 23; light depression begins with 8 points, heavy with 19. The cure is considered effective if the patient’s score, thanks to it, on the Hamilton scale is at least three points lower than from the “treatment” with placebo.
Finally, like any substance that interferes with the brain chemistry, any antidepressant has a lot of various adverse outcomes ranging from constipation and provoked by antidepressants erectile dysfunction to realized desire to finish the life. Only an experienced professional will be able to choose the medicine that will be the safest.
Frightening negative outcomes are unavoidable?
Pharmaceutical companies are obliged to indicate each ever recorded in clinical trials undesirable phenomenon and it does not matter that it was manifested in one person in ten thousand. And it is not necessary that any of them will certainly develop in you. Just for reference: “side effects” are commonly listed in decreasing order of frequency.
Maybe, antidepressants do not work at all? Or even make everything worse?
There are studies in which it turned out that a certain remedy helps a single group of patients, reducing the severity of symptoms of the illness in the quarter, while for another group it was ineffective (while placebo worked perfectly). And the point is that the curve of recovery the degree of reduction of the manifestations of depression over time is individual for everybody, and it depends not only on the medicine itself, but also on psychotherapy, home environment, and much more. By this means, that the same medical product can work differently in people with post divorce depression and, for instance, those who suffer from despair due to other reasons. If we put together a lot of such individual curves, we’ll get an “average value”.
It turns out something like this: according to clinical indications only a one person out of hundred require antidepressants, but because of advertising or some other factors the pills are taken by ten men out of a hundred. For nine healthy people out of ten the pills do not work, and as a result the majority begins to believe that these pills are not effective at all. And this is not true.
How to take antidepressants?
Strictly according to the physicians recommendation and it is an essential point. Therapy starts with a rather low (starting) dose. Gradually, it is adjusted to the desired (therapeutic) level and it is kept during the entire course.
It is crucial stay in touch with the psychologist at the end of therapy. The fact is that the sharp cancellation of the pills could cause the risk of recurrence of depression by 20-50%. It is best to gradually reduce the dose reaching zero for at least 4 weeks (in some cases longer). If everything is done too quickly and, moreover, without specialist’s knowledge, you can encounter the so-called withdrawal syndrome. It includes a variety of unpleasant vegetative symptoms (flu-like condition, sleeplessness, nausea, sensory disturbances, weakness or hyper excitation) and sometimes mental disorders (delusions, hallucinations). As a rule, this outrage lasts from one day to a week or two. And with the syndrome of cancellation is connected the myth of addiction to antidepressants.