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How to Choose a Depression Medication and Depression Treatment

By Edited Sep 10, 2016 2 3

Choosing the appropriate depression medication and subsequent treatment is crucial to recovery. There are several steps you can take to be proactive in your own  treatment.

Frequently prescribed depression medications fall into one of four groups. Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) and Atypical Antidepressants. TCAs and MAOIs are prescribed less often in treating depression due to severe side effects. They are used as a last resort. Know what each group of medications targets in the brain's chemistry (ie: Serotonin, Dopamine, Norepinephrine). The cause of depression will determine which  medication is prescribed and treatment course.
Depression no longer carries the stigma it once did, so names of medications have become familiar to many. Some of the most common are; (SSRIs) Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, (Atypical) Effexor, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, (TCAs) Elavil, Tofranil, (MAOIs)Marplan and Nardil. Depression medications have many of the same side effects, become familiar with them and any possible drug/food interactions and risks.

Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome can occur when depression medications are stopped abruptly. Know the withdrawal symptoms of the most commonly prescribed meds. Medication withdrawal must be supervised by your doctor. Be aware of which medications carry a dependency risk.

Visit your physician. Ask if the depression may be the result of an underlying medical condition. If so, the depression and the medical condition will be treated concurrently. Discuss the different medication options and treatments with your physician. Ask for a referral to a psychiatrist. It is best to have a psychiatrist prescribe meds and depression treatments. Discuss all possible drug and food interactions, risks and side effects of the prescription. If uncomfortable with the medication, discuss other options.

Depression is not always due to chemical imbalance, it can also occur as a result of various life stressors and situations. Get a referral to a psychologist or other certified counselor. Combining medication and therapy to fight depression is more successful and there is less chance of relapse once meds are stopped. Surround yourself with the support of groups, friends and family during your recovery.

Tips & Warnings

Do not attempt to treat depression alone, see a physician.

If you, or anyone suffering depression, exhibit any of the following warning signs, seek medical attention immediately: suicidal thoughts or attempts, new or worse depression, anxiety or irritability, aggression, anger, highly agitated, hyperactivity, acting on dangerous impulses and any other unusual change in behavior. Children and young adults have a higher risk for suicide during the first one to two months of treatment.



Sep 1, 2009 11:23am
Good health information. Depression is a very serious condition.
Apr 10, 2010 10:08pm
I enjoyed reading your article on depression.
Feb 24, 2011 12:14pm
Research also suggests that exercise is as good if not better than antidepressants.
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