Depression is a condition that affects more than 20 million adults in the United States. Life with this condition may make you feel like it’s not worth living and that it’ll never get better. You may struggle to find joy in activities, and you may feel tired all the time and anxious.
Antidepressants are prescription medications that can help reduce the symptoms of depression. Our specialists at Alpha Care Medical, with locations in Seaford, Millsboro, Harrington, and Dover, Delaware, provide evidence-based psychiatric and behavioral health services, and sometimes we include antidepressants in our treatment plans.
In this blog, we explain the basics of antidepressants and go over four potential benefits.
The basics of antidepressants
Every type of antidepressant alters the chemical messengers inside your brain in some way. Three of the most prescribed classes of antidepressants are tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).
All of these medications increase your brain’s supply of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for regulating your moods. A lack of serotonin is strongly associated with depression, so ensuring your brain has enough of these neurotransmitters may be able to help reduce symptoms.
If we prescribe antidepressants, they usually need to be taken consistently for a few weeks to see if they’re effective in reducing your symptoms.
Benefits of taking antidepressants
Antidepressants can help in a number of ways. Here are four of them:
1. Reduce anxiety
Anxiety frequently occurs with depression along with other symptoms, such as restlessness. Fortunately, you may be able to tackle these conditions with a single antidepressant medication. Many antidepressants work well for managing anxiety, chronic pain, and other conditions that can go hand in hand with major depression.
2. Reduce suicidal thoughts
For some people, depression becomes deadly because of suicidal thoughts and actions. Antidepressants can remove the sharpest edges of your symptoms and improve your mood, so you may no longer feel completely hopeless.
In some patients, certain antidepressants can increase suicidal thoughts. This is one reason why close monitoring is very important if you start taking any medication for your mental health. The providers at Alpha Care Medical offer ongoing support and can adjust your medication as needed.
3. Improve sleep
When choosing an antidepressant, your provider considers your most prominent symptoms and their impact on your well-being. One common symptom of depression is insomnia, which is trouble falling or staying asleep. As a result of insomnia, you might have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning, staying focused during the day, or have general feelings of unwellness.
Furthermore, if you don’t sleep well, this may cause your depression symptoms to get worse. The good news is some antidepressants may be able to improve your ability to get a good night’s rest.
4. Prevent a relapse
Let’s say you’ve been taking antidepressants consistently for several months. You feel happier, more motivated, and more capable of fulfilling your responsibilities. Depressive symptoms feel like a distant memory, and you want to keep it that way.
Although you may start feeling better after just a few weeks of taking antidepressants, continuing to take them according to your doctor’s recommendations may help prevent your symptoms from returning.
If you suffer from depression and want to see if taking antidepressants can help you, contact Alpha Care Medical to book an appointment today.