Thursday, June 21, 2018

Understanding Depression Medications

Depression medications are many, and they all have many pros and cons. 

What Antidepressant Drugs Can Do

Depression medications are often the frontline treatments for depression. This is especially the case with a severe depressive episode.

Why are depression medications necessary?

It is like you cut your finger. You need to use a Band-Aid to stop the bleeding. You don’t think of how or why you cut your finger; you just want to stop the bleeding first. That is exactly how people start using antidepressant drugs to treat their mind disorders. But the problem is that depression is an addictive disorder of the mind in that it recurs repeatedly; it is like repeatedly cutting your finger.

What can depression medications do for your brain?

The human brain has two major functions:

Monitoring and regulating body functions
Ensuring survival by looking out for potential dangers

Unfortunately, a depressive mind does not function normally: it fails in three aspects:

Thinking clearly
Solving problems
Controlling emotions

Therefore, when an individual is severely depressed, there is abnormal functioning in the brain due to: 

Faulty brain mechanism to regulate the productions of certain brain chemicals, such as serotonin
Brain damage, often a result of recurrent and repeated depressive episodes

Depression medications, therefore, may play a critical role in managing severe depression in the following ways:

They protect the brain from further damage due to repeated depressive episodes. It is like you repeatedly cut your fingers, so thick and heavy bandage, instead of a Band-Aid, has to be used.
Certain mood-stabilizing drugs, such as lithium, promote the production of a certain protein conducive to the growth and rejuvenation of damaged nerve cells in certain areas of the brain.

All depression medications in some ways suppress serious symptoms of major depression, but they don't solve the problems.

In addition to improving the emotional well-being, depression medications may have other health benefits, such as:

Controlling stress hormone cortisol to prevent damaging blood vessels
Reducing cortisol to strengthen the immune system.
Lowering cortisol to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Controlling the strong emotions that depend on the interactions of certain brain chemicals responsible for emotional response, clear and logical thinking, and a host of biological functions, such as sleep, appetite, energy level, and sex drive.

The imbalance of the chemicals responsible for your emotional well-being may be triggered by any one or all of the following:

Deprivation or disruption of sleep
A stressful life event
Abnormal functioning of certain brain chemicals in h

Depression medications may play a pivotal role in depression, especially if the conditions are severe, which may lead to suicidal thoughts.

What Antidepressant Drugs Cannot Do

All depression medications are designed to regulate your emotions and get your brain back on the right track so that it can respond appropriately to life events.

However, no depression medication can change how you look at the realities of life, or your personality. Above all, antidepressant drugs cannot change your life events  — they still happen to you, with or without your medications.

The Side Effects of Antidepressant Drugs

Any depression medication, irrespective of the type, is a drug, and, as such, is a chemical that may have impact on your overall health and well-being.

Take Prozac as an example. Nearly everyone knows someone who is taking Prozac. It is one of the most widely prescribed and controversial prescription drugs for major depression.

Prozac, including Zoloft and Paxil, is a new generation of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI), which “selectively” utilize the serotonin in your brain by blocking the degradation of serotonin, and hence improving any mental disorder due to the lack of serotonin.

Given that the serotonin system is the most widespread neurotransmission system in your brain, it affects many of your body functions, resulting in many adverse side effects.

The bottom line: avoid all antidepressant medications, wherever possible because they don't solve your life problems, and, worse, you may become addictive to them. Remember, depression is an addictive mind disorder that strives to escape from the inescapable.

Stephen Lau
Copyright©2018 by Stephen Lau

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