Antidepressant medications are used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. They include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Each of these is taken up separately on this page.
Antidepressant dependencies can occur in people who never needed the drug in the first place. Unfortunately, doctors misdiagnosed close to two-thirds of their patients with depression and prescribe antidepressants. The condition treated may be due to a physical ailment, visit this page for more information: HELPGUIDE.ORG.
The addictive nature of antidepressants is still debated in the medical field. Some consider the drugs non-addictive while others consider the withdrawal symptoms as evidence of addiction.
There have been reports that people who use SSRIs and SNRIs, and especially those under the age of 18, may experience thoughts of suicide, especially when they first start using the drugs. Before starting anyone on antidepressants visit the HELPGUIDE.ORG website, a trusted guide to mental and emotional health for alternatives.
It is not recommended to stop antidepressants without supervision in a medical detox or a supervised medical program to taper off of it. Research has shown that stopping antidepressants suddenly may increase the risk of suicide by 500 percent.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most prescribed antidepressants, some SSRIs include:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem)
- Citalopram (Celexa)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
- Paroxetine (Paxil)
- Sertraline (Zoloft)
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
These may have the following side effects:
- hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
- low sodium
- dry mouth
- constipation or diarrhea
- weight loss
- sexual dysfunction
- anxiety and agitation
- abnormal thinking
Atypical antidepressants are prescribed to patients who haven’t adequately responded to other antidepressants or who could not tolerate the side effects. These medications are in a class of antidepressants of their own. They are each unique medications that work in different ways from one another. Each atypical antidepressants have unique characteristics and varying possible side effects.
Here are some atypical antidepressants:
- Bupropion (Wellbutrin, Forfivo XL, Aplenzin), which under the name Zyban is used to aid in smoking cessation
- Mirtazapine (Remeron)
- Trazodone, which is also used to treat insomnia
- Vortioxetine (Trintellix)
Side effects may vary depending on the medication:
- Dry mouth,
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Some help you sleep
- Some may cause insomnia.
- Increased risk of diarrhea.
- Increased appetite
- Sexual side effects.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are used to treat depression, fibromyalgia, some types of anxiety, and help control chronic pain.
Tricyclic antidepressants, also called cyclic antidepressants, is one of the first antidepressants developed. These have been replaced by antidepressants that have fewer side effects. They are generally thought to be good for some people in certain cases where other medications haven’t worked.
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Amoxapine-clomipramine (Anafranil)
- Doxepin (Sinequam)
Tricyclics may have the following side effects:
- arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat
- nausea and vomiting
- abdominal cramps
- weight loss
- urinary retention
- increased eye pressure
- sexual dysfunction
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs, MAOI) are a class of antidepressants. They are not often prescribed because of their interactions with some foods and other drugs.
Here are a few of the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) on the market:
- rasagiline (Azilect),
- selegiline (Eldepryl, Zelapar),
- isocarboxazid (Marplan),
- phenelzine (Nardil), and
- tranylcypromine (Parnate).
- A sudden drop in blood pressure upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension)
- Lack of strength
- Abnormal voluntary movement
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Change in mood or behavior
- Weight gain
- Impotence (erectile dysfunction, ED)
Is overdose possible?
Especially when taken with other drugs or medications it is possible to overdose on any type of antidepressant.
Fatal overdoses happen more frequently with older tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), but newer generations of antidepressants (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) can also be misused and provoke an overdose.
Signs of Overdose:
- Dry mouth
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Vomiting and
Other symptoms of toxicity may include:
- Involuntary eye movement
- Increasingly worsening heart pace (dysrhythmia)
- Respiratory distress
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