Depression and Antidepressant Medication

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Dr. Kathy Maupin and Brett Newcomb discuss depression: its symptoms and the best way to treat it as patients age.

Most people have been depressed at some point in their lives. Often, when there are major changes in life, people can feel depressed and out of control. When that happens, many people go to their physician and request some kind of anti-depressant medication to help them get through their crisis. Usually, this is helpful, and in a short period of time, they can come off of the medicine because the situation has resolved.

Other people have a more serious problem with depression. It is chronic and durable and feels like a cancer in their lives. Depression is hard because it is not  visible to others and there is often no support nor sympathy for people who are suffering. Even loved ones get tired of dealing with the symptoms of a person’s depression. Many who suffer thus have difficulties in eating, sleeping, thinking clearly, and having the energy to function.

Medication is often necessary, and there are many kinds of medicines that help. In this podcast, we briefly review the four main types of anti-depressants: the MAOI inhibitors, the Tricyclics, the SSRI’s (Selective Seritonin Reuptake Inhibitors), and the SNRIS (selective Norepinephrine Re-uptake inhibitors). These drugs help adjust the amount of neurotransmitters that impact alertness, energy, and mood so that more of them are available and remain accessible to the brain. These important neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) are released into the synaptic cleft when there is neuronal activity and are then re-absorbed by the brain. Anti-depressants slow down this process and leave more of the active neurotransmitters in the brain to help elevate mood and restore functioning.

There are reasons for choosing each type of anti-depressants and there are side-effects for each of them as well, ranging from suicidal thoughts to loss of sexual desire. Always work with a physician to obtain the proper drug and the proper dosage. Never, never stop taking these meds without consulting your physician. It is important to take them when and how they are prescribed. The side effects of playing around with these meds can be quite dangerous.

There are also several physiological illnesses or breakdowns of the body’s regular hormonal activity that can look like or cause depression. In this podcast, we examine several of those and share the necessary information to have a conversation with a physician to see if depression is caused by one of these reversible and treatable problems. Examples of these issues are loss of testosterone, malfunctioning of thyroid, and disruption of the functioning of the adrenal system.

Watch our podcast to learn what you need to know regarding depression and your general health as you age so that you can speak with your doctor in an informed way and help them find the right treatment for you.

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