What is depression medication?

Depression medication, also known as antidepressants, are prescription medications used to treat moderate to severe depression. When taken under the supervision of a medical professional and according to their prescribed dosage, depression medication can work well to help people manage their symptoms and lead happy, healthy lives.

Depression is more than just feeling sad, or needing to be cheered up. Often times, people can become frustrated that nothing is making them feel better, when in reality depression is a chemical imbalance that needs to be treated. Depression symptoms can include:

  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Too little sleep, or too much sleep
  • Overeating or under-eating
  • Muscle aches
  • Unkempt appearance
  • Isolation
  • Lack of interests
  • Pessimism
  • Forgetfulness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Suicidal thoughts

Because of these symptoms, one’s life can easily become disrupted. Losing friends, a job, family, or a break up of a marriage can happen if depression symptoms aren’t being treated. If you are feeling these symptoms, it is important to go see a medical professional right away to start treatment. Help for depression is available, and depression medication can be a good option to help get back on track.

Types of depression medication

When someone decides to get treatment for their depression and medication is presented as an option, there are two types of common forms of depression medication that a doctor may prescribe. They are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also known as SSRIs, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, also known as SNRIs.

SSRIs work to help depression symptoms by altering the brain’s chemical balance of serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical that nerve cells produce that regulates mood and behavior, and having low levels of this is known to cause depression. By slowly increasing the levels of serotonin, the patient is able to feel an elevated mood and depression symptoms tend to go away.

SNRIs work to help depression symptoms by impacting chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) used to communicate between brain cells. They essentially work to block the reabsorption (reuptake) of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain.

Common types of depression medication include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)

Side effects

When someone is about to start taking depression medication, there are many side effects that your doctor will make you aware of. It is important to speak to your doctor about all of these, and whether or not any of them start arising. Since there are many types of depression medication, your doctor may want to switch to something that may agree with you more. These side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

Addiction VS Dependence

Depression medication is one of the most prescribed medications in the United States, and are considered to be much safer than benzodiazepines. This is because depression medication does not offer an instant, euphoric feeling – in other words, a “high” – that benzodiazepines do.

Taking more of the medication does not give a “better” result. Instead, they are a long-term solution and meant to build up over time. They are considered to be safer than benzodiazepines because of this, and therefore addiction to antidepressants is very unlikely.

Even though depression medication does not offer an instant high, this unfortunately does not stop people from self-medicating. People may try to take higher doses in order to achieve an instant effect, or even mix it with other substances such as alcohol.

This will then increase the tolerance and chemical dependency on antidepressants, and will lose its effect on the user. This is unfortunate, because someone who could otherwise benefit from its positive effects is no longer able to.

Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for the need to chase a high from depression medication, as well as the depression itself, is available. When a patient has two co-occurring issues that need to be treated, it is called dual diagnosis treatment.

Treating one issue without treating the other will eventually exacerbate both problems, and nothing will be solved. That is why it is essential for the patient to treat both the need to be high as well as the depression itself. Cliffside believes that treating the root cause of addiction, and not just the addiction alone, is the best way to ensure a happy, healthy life free of substance abuse.

About Cliffside Malibu

Fighting depression can be a lifelong battle, especially if there is an issue with depending on your depression medication. Luckily, there is help, and we will be with you every step of the way.

Each patient is then matched with one of these five stages of the Transtheoretical Model: Precontemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action and Maintenance. An individualized treatment plan is created based on their current stage of change. This process is in place to ensure that all our patients receive the best treatment path possible for their own specific need. Our goal is to move individuals through their treatment by assessing their readiness for change and formulating stage-matched interventions in order to move them through their respective stage.

It is the policy of Cliffside Malibu to ensure that all individuals who present with chemical dependency issues are assessed for the appropriate level of care. We strive to provide continuum of care including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment and outpatient services. Services are provided to individuals with a primary diagnosis of substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction. Individuals seeking treatment are assessed by qualified staff to ensure program criteria are met and that each individual admitted is placed in the appropriate level of care for treatment. The program is designed and structured for individuals who are in need of a supportive environment in order to maintain Sobriety.

For more information on Cliffside Malibu, visit cliffsidemalibu.com