Other Ways To Treat Depression
It bears repeating: none of the over-the-counter antidepressants you read about above should replace an actual visit with your mental healthcare provider, and also shouldnt be taken without their supervision or guidance.
That said, the below options are more commonly recommended to address depression by mental health professionals.
Do I Need This Treatment
If you are distressed for more than two weeks by feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness, or by excessive worry that is hard to control, see a doctor for an assessment of your symptoms and situation and to discuss treatment and support options. Early treatment can help to ensure treatment success.
Be sure your doctor knows if you have had times where you felt a reduced need for sleep in combination with an unusual amount of energy, or where your mood changed from feeling depressed to feeling unusually happy or irritable. Mood stabilizer medications may be more suited to your needs, either on their own or in combination with antidepressants. Antidepressants alone can cause some people to switch from depression into mania.
Medications are only one way of treating depression and anxiety. Talk therapies, such as interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy, can be just as effective. Peer support, school and job counselling, and housing and employment supports can also help to deal with problems that may trigger or worsen depression or anxiety.
Is It Effective For Depression
While better-quality studies are needed to firmly establish its effectiveness as an antidepressant, a 2019 review found that there is some evidence that 5-HTP supplementation, along with creatine, may improve the effectiveness of SSRI medications in some cases. However, it’s essential that you speak with your doctor before adding this or any other supplement to your treatment program.
5-HTP is generally safe and well tolerated, although side effects can occur. Some potential side effects include:
- Sexual dysfunction
5-HTP can also lead to drug interactions when taken with some other medications, including antidepressants like SSRIs and MAOIs, tramadol, and dextromethorphan .
5-HTP could lead to a dangerous build-up of high serotonin levels if it is used in conjunction with other medicines that impact serotonin.
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Taking Other Medicines With Antidepressant: Sleeping Tablets Medicines For Anxiety Antipsychotics Mood Stabilisers And Over
Sleeping tabletsMedicines for anxietyDid they make you feel different?Antipsychotic medicinespsychosisAnd you didnt get those side effects that you mentioned using that drug, the shakes?Mood stabilisersThats the lithium?What was your objection to that had you looked that up or?Over-the-counter remediesDo you feel that there is an effect from those?
Which Supplements Are Commonly Used For Depression
Studies show that certain dietary supplements, including omega-3s, vitamin D, rhodiola, B12, and saffron, may be helpful for reducing depressive symptoms in some people.
However, these supplements may not be appropriate or effective for everyone.
Be sure to clear any new dietary supplement with a healthcare professional before taking it. This is especially important if youre taking antidepressants or other medications.
A healthcare professional can help you decide which supplements may be the most appropriate based on factors like your medical history, medications, and laboratory values.
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What Do Antidepressant Medications Do
Antidepressant medications increase the activity of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine seems to help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the brain is a very complex organ and the reasons why these drugs work are not yet fully understood.
We do know that these drugs help to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in up to 70 per cent of people who try them. This rate is even higher when people who dont get relief with one type of antidepressant try a second type.
Can Primary Care Physicians Prescribe Antidepressants
Yes, primary care physicians can work with you to prescribe antidepressants, when necessary.
This is great news for anyone working closely with their primary care doctor to create a comprehensive healthcare plan. If you or your doctor feel that your mental health treatment plan may benefit from the addition of an antidepressant, your primary care doctor can prescribe one for you.
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How Is Depression Diagnosed
If your mood has been low for a while and you are having difficulty coping with day to day activities, talk to your doctor or a trusted professional. Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms and your medical history and may ask you to complete a questionnaire that may help to diagnose depression or refer you to a psychiatrist.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or have an online chat . All information is confidential and free.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SSRIs are the most widely prescribed type of antidepressants. They’re usually preferred over other antidepressants, as they cause fewer side effects. An overdose is also less likely to be serious.
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Communication With Your Doctor
Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
SNRIs affect two chemicals in your brain. They are serotonin and norepinephrine. Your doctor may prescribe them because they dont interact with your other medicines.
Types of SNRIs are:
Common side effects of SNRIs include:
- Loss of appetite
These medicines are called atypical because they dont easily fit into their own category.
Types of atypical antidepressants are:
Each drug has different side effects. Like most antidepressants, side effects include nausea, fatigue, and nervousness. Dry mouth, diarrhea, and headaches are common as well.
Trazodone may be used along with an SSRI. This can help with insomnia with depression.
Bupropion may be recommended for people who have certain health issues. The most common is attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder . Other issues are nicotine or cocaine dependence. You should not take this kind of medicine if you have a seizure disorder or bulimia. Side effects include agitation, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. Bupropion typically has fewer sexual side effects.
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How Antidepressants Work
It’s not known exactly how antidepressants work.
It’s thought they work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.
Neurotransmitters may also affect pain signals sent by nerves, which may explain why some antidepressants can help relieve long-term pain.
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. This is why they’re usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions.
Path To Improved Health
Prescription antidepressant medicines are sorted into types. They are based on which chemicals in the brain they affect. Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that communicate information throughout your brain and body.
Your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant to treat your depression symptoms. Below are the different types of prescription medicines that regulate the levels of different neurotransmitters in your brain.
Always share with your family doctor if you have a family history of depression or bipolar disease. Antidepressants could make bipolar disorder worse.
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Seeds Serotonin And 5
What it does: The chemical known as â5-hydroxytryptophanâ â or 5-HTP â can positively affect serotonin levels in the brain. Although it’s naturally made as a byproduct in the body from the amino acid âL-tryptophanâ, it’s available commercially in pill form sourced from the seed of an African shrub, âGriffonia simplicifoliaâ.
Like most substances used to treat depression, 5-HTP is âonly useful for someâ. A 2016 study by Duke University showed that the OTC pills significantly helped roughly one-third of participants. It’s most effective in the form of a time-release capsule, thanks to extended bioavailability in the body.
5-HTP is generally safe in doses up to 400 milligrams per day, with the most common treatments being 100 to 300 milligrams. In larger doses, stomach and muscle problems can develop. Similar issues can also arise if you take the substance at 400 milligrams for more than a year.
Stop this supplement completely two weeks before surgery â side effects, such as anxiety, shivering and heart problems, can arise when there’s too much serotonin in the brain.
Side Effects Of Antidepressant Medications
All medications can have side-effects. Some people experience no side-effects. Others may find the side-effects distressing. In most cases, side-effects lessen as treatment continues.
Treatment is usually started at a low dose, to minimize side-effects, and then slowly increased until the ideal dose is found. The ideal dose is one that provides the greatest benefit with minimum side-effects.
If you are experiencing side effects, check the information given to you by your doctor or pharmacist on the specific effects of any drug you have been prescribed. If side-effects are not mild and tolerable, it is best to continue taking your medication as prescribed but let your doctor know as soon as possible. Your doctor may:
- encourage you to wait a little longer for the side-effects to fade
- adjust your dose
- suggest you take the medication at a different time of day
- prescribe other medications to help control side-effects
- change your medication
- stop medication treatment and suggest a different type of treatment approach.
Side-effects vary depending on the type of medication. More information on side-effects is included for each type of types of antidepressant.
You can help to control possible side-effects on your own by:
Do antidepressants increase the risk of suicide?
Before starting treatment, prepare for the possibility of feeling worse before you feel better. Know what supports are available to you and who you can call.
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How Do I Stop Taking Antidepressants
You should always stop taking antidepressants slowly, and under a doctorâs supervision. Stopping most antidepressants suddenly can result in unpleasant symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or feeling edgy.
Itâs important to work closely with a doctor to lower the dose, stop or switch antidepressant medicines.
Depression And Your Children
Like adults, children and teens can also feel depressed. You should watch your children for signs of depression. Talk to your children if you notice changes in their behavior. Talk to your childs healthcare provider if you are still concerned.
Prozac is the only medicine that is approved by FDA for use in children with depression. Prozac and Lexapro are the only FDA-approved medicines for teens with depression. Talk to your healthcare provider about important warnings for children and teens who take medicine for depression.
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Antidepressants Do They Work
As stated, antidepressants give your body a boost of specific chemicals that react with the hormones in you.
There are numerous studies surrounding this subject, and the goal of every expert is to find one that comes with the right blend of chemicals.
Some have honed in on the serotonin levels and believe that in order for the product to work, it must bring the levels back to normal.
While the meds can increase or lower serotonin levels within a matter of hours, it takes weeks before it can truly make a difference and handle depression itself.
Moreover, the kind of drug prescribed will differ from one person to the next. The doctor may give you the medicine based on the following:
- The Type of Depression you are Going Through If you feel as if you need an energy boost, then the antidepressant prescribed should stimulate your body. It also works the other way around. If, for instance, youve been losing sleep, then you might need one that comes with a sedative effect.
- The Side Effects You Need to Consider Talk to your doctor about your condition and see which brand your body responds to best.
- The Medicine that Works best Based on Your Medical History This is when you discuss your depression and whether or not it runs in your family. Doctors might even consider what worked best for a relative.
- The Way The Medicine Interacts with Other Drugs Give a list of medicines youre currently taking and see to it these dont disrupt anything.
Can Therapy Treat Depression
Yes, therapy is an effective treatment approach for depression. Many people with depression choose to try therapy instead of medication or do both at the same time for a faster recovery.
PlushCare is offers online therapy across the U.S. so you can get emotional support from a licensed professional. Our trusted therapists are highly trained to treat many mental health conditions including depression and anxiety. Book a free consultation or start your first session with a licensed therapist today.
Youll meet with your therapist once a week to receive on-going care and support as you work through your treatment.
Many therapy patients report improved mood, raised energy levels and reduced stress soon after starting therapy.
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What Can I Do To Take Antidepressants Safely
Antidepressants are generally safe when you use them correctly:
- Tell your provider about everything you take. That includes medicines, herbs, supplements, and over-the-counter medicines you take, such as pain relievers and decongestants. Be honest about recreational drugs and alcohol, too.
- Try to get all your medicines from the same pharmacy. That way the pharmacist can warn you and your provider if you take medicines that may cause problems when used together.
- Follow all instructions about how to take your medicine.
- Talk with your provider if side effects bother you.
- Never stop taking antidepressants without your provider’s help. Stopping too fast may make depression come back. You could even make your condition worse. To stop antidepressants safely, you need to give your body time to get used to being without the medicine. Your provider can tell you the safest way to go off an antidepressant.
NIH: National Institute of Mental Health
Will Anxiety Medications Ever Be Available Over The Counter
There may be a day when an over the counter anxiety medication is possible. Some medications, like Buspirone, are a bit less powerful and have fewer side effects. It is possible that a medication like Buspirone may someday be released, but given that it can also take several days for the medications to start working and they are not as powerful as benzodiazepines and other prescription medications, it still may not be the right choice.
Someday there will be an over-the-counter anxiety medicine, but as of yet, there are no medications that meet the criteria that would make them viable as an over-the-counter option.
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Antidepressant Prescriptions Available Today
Speak to a board-certified PlushCare doctor online and get antidepressant medications prescribed in 15 minutes. Anti-depression pills, also called antidepressants, are clinically proven to help with depression treatment. Our licensed doctors can also refill prescriptions and offer depression treatment online and ongoing mental health support.
We accept these insurance plans and many more!
Antidepressants For Children And Young People
Children and young people with moderate to severe depression should be offered a course of psychotherapy before antidepressants. This treatment should last at least 3 months.
In some cases, an SSRI called fluoxetine may be offered to young people aged 12 to 18. This should be offered in combination with psychotherapy.
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Like A Placebo: St John’s Wort
St. John’s wort increases your brain’s serotonin levels. It’s widely prescribed in Europe and is readily available as a dietary supplement in the U.S. The yellow flower is the medicinal part of the plant, which grows wild in Europe. Although it’s considered an exotic flower in the U.S., it can sometimes be found blooming from June through September in moist climates like the Pacific Northwest, the Northeastern U.S. and even northern Arizona.
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Ancient Greeks used the yellow flowers to make a tea, but the herb is most commonly used in pill form in the U.S. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies since 2000 have shown the pills are equally as effective as placebos in double-blind studies.
It’s essential to âtell your doctorâ if you’re using St. John’s wort. It interacts with many medications, including antidepressants, birth control pills, heart medications, cancer medications and more. In the worst instances, a life-threatening increase in serotonin can bring on symptoms such as an increase in body temperature, heart palpitations, diarrhea, high blood pressure and agitation. It can also worsen psychotic symptoms in schizophrenic or bipolar patients.
Side Effects Of Antidepressants
All drugs, including antidepressants, have some risk of side effects, even if you use them as directed. For most people, these side effects are usually temporary and manageable. But some may be serious.
If you have a side effect that bothers you, or you experience something unusual, talk to your health care provider about what to do. You can also report side effects to Health Canada toll-free at 1-866-234-2345 or online at MedEffect.
Family members should closely watch patients for any new or worsened mood or behaviour problems, such as unexpected hostility, agitation or anxiety. This is especially important in the first few weeks after a patient starts an antidepressant.
As a patient, it is also very important to follow up regularly with your health care provider and keep talking about how you are feeling.
More information on the potential side effects of a drug is available in its official Canadian “product monograph,” which contains important prescribing and safety information for health professionals and patients. Product monographs are available by searching Health Canada’s Drug Product Database.
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