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Types of Depression Medication

For many people, the use of depression medication can make all the difference between feeling trapped within oneself and being able to enjoy life. Because depression can take many different paths, there are different types of depression medication on the market today. Here are some examples of the more common products that are likely to be recommended by a physician.

One of the more common classes of depression medication is know as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Antidepressants of this type are designed to impact the levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter produced in the brain. When serotonin is out of balance, melancholy is very likely, and the best way to correct the situation is to restore that balance. Once that is accomplished, the individual begins to experience more even moods, and often begins to recover interest in hobbies, family, and other cherished aspects of living that has lost their appeal.

There are several different SSRI medications in common use today. Fluoxetine is one of the more popular, and is sold as the brand Prozac. Paroxetine, sold under the brand name Paxil, is also a very popular choice today. An up and coming member of this family of antidepressants is escitalopram, which is marketed as Lexapro. For many people, one of these medications will begin to make a positive impact in as little as two weeks.

However, some people do better with depression medication that addresses more than one neurotransmitter. These types of drugs are known as tricylic antidepressants. Bupropion is a popular example, and can often be helpful for patients who find that the use of SSRIs either triggers severe side effects or does nothing at all for their depression. Sold under the brand name of Wellbutrin, bupropion can help regulate serotonin levels, while also helping to regulate levels of the neurotransmitter norepinephrine. While originally developed to help people with withdrawal from nicotine and alcohol, this drug often can help ease the episodes of extreme anger and hopelessness that sometimes are manifested with depression. At the same time, bupropion has the advantage of being less likely to cause sexual side effects, something that is somewhat common with SSRIs.

An older type of depression medication is the family known as monomine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs. These are often helpful in situations where the depression is accompanied by panic disorder, or when the patient is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Of all the antidepression options, MAOIs are the most likely to have interactions with other medications, as well as some foods. For this reason, anyone taking an MAOI like phenelzine, isocarboxazid, or tranylcypromine will have to follow a strict diet that excludes any food or drink that could trigger an adverse effect.

For some people, the herbs for depression are an alternative to the use of nuclear medications. The benefit of herbs is that the nutrient content helps to gradually correct neurotransmitter imbalances and restore an even mood. Herbs like St. Johns Wort, Valerian root, lemon balm, and scullcap are all known to have both antidepressive and antianxiety properties that can ease the suffering associated with these forms of mental illness. However, it is important to remember that natural substances can also trigger side effects and interactions with food and other medicines. For this reason, it is often a good idea to only go with herbs for treating depression under the care of an alternative physician.

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