What mechanisms of action do they use to operate? Is it true they can cause dependency? The answers to these questions here.
The consumption of this type of medication has
increased considerably over the las two decades, and, we’re very sorry to
report that depression is affecting more and more people every day. The cause
of this is unclear: we know that it’s a multifaceted condition in which
different variables intervene including personality, exposure to stressful
situations and biological susceptibility. Without treatment, the symptoms can
last for weeks, months and even years, which is why it’s fundamental to seek
professional help as soon as possible so that a therapy of some kind can be
In general terms, depression is treated with a combination
of medication and psychotherapy. As far as pharmacological treatment goes,
there are actually a multitude of options to treat this illness. Below, we’ll
analyze how each one of these medications act on the brain.
Classic tricyclic antidepressants are made up of a
central ring formed with seven elements and a nitrogen terminal that contains
three elements (tertiary amines) or two elements (secondary amines). The
tertiary amines include amitriptyline, imipramine, doxepin, trimipramine and
clomipramine, while the secondary amines include desipramine, protriptyline and
Although these medications are quite effective, they
also present a range of side effects that is greater than that of other
antidepressants. These medications
impede the reuptake of serotonin and noradrenaline, and as a consequence,
allow for an increase in the levels of these neurotransmitters in the
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
Safe and effective, SSRIs are usually the go-to
medications when treating depressive symptoms for the first time. Concretely,
these antidepressants act by increasing
extracellular levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. To do so, they
inhibit the reuptake of this neurotransmitter by the presynaptic cell.
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors got their
name (selective) because they only act on this neurotransmitter (serotonin) and
have a more potent impact than SSRIs and are considered as effective as
tricyclic antidepressants. They act on two
neurotransmitters that play a fundamental role in mood – serotonin and noradrenaline
-, and the mechanism it uses is similar to that of tricyclic antidepressants.
These medications offer a great advantage: the
majority result in little sedation and in general, the side effects are less
severe than the ones associated with tricyclic antidepressants. However, they
can cause blurred vision, headaches, nausea, changes in appetite and trembling.
antidepressants create dependency?
The short answer is no. However, it’s important that
when discontinuing treatment, that the removal of these medications is
progressive. In the event that you should experience any type of dependence,
you should know that it’s probably psychological. Even so, it’s ideal that you
consult with your doctor about any questions you have about the medication
you’re taking. Your doctor is the best person to go to for answers.
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