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Have you ever wondered how antidepressants make you feel? If you have, you are not the only one. There is no clear answer to how antidepressants will make an individual feel. Influential factors may include the type of antidepressant prescribed, the dosage, and the unique biological traits of the individual that is taking the drug.
Our Florida drug rehab experts have put together this guide to discuss what antidepressants are, how they are intended to make you feel, and which types are the most popular antidepressants used today.
What Are Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are prescription medications that are used to treat patients suffering from depression, anxiety, panic disorders, seasonal affective disorder, dysthymia, and other mental disorders. Though there are a number of different types of antidepressants, all drugs that fall into this category are designed to correct chemical imbalances of various neurotransmitters that are linked to mood and behavior.
Think of neurotransmitters in the brain as communication links between nerve cells. Nerve cells will release neurotransmitters, which can then be absorbed into other nerves or reabsorbed from where they came from. This process is referred to as “reuptake”, which is a common word you will frequently come across when researching antidepressants.
The three neurotransmitters that are believed to be linked to mood and behavior are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Most antidepressants help to improve an individual’s mood by alleviating the symptoms of depression and other related mental disorders. By preventing reuptake, there will be a larger amount of neurotransmitters in the brain.
How Antidepressants Make You Feel
In general, antidepressants are intended to improve mood and alleviate or control the symptoms of depression. Common symptoms of depression may include sadness, hopelessness, lethargy, and apathy. While taking antidepressants should help an individual feel happier, it is important to note that everyone is unique and will, therefore, react differently. Factors that may influence how an individual reacts to the drug can include the dosage, their overall health, genetics, or the specific mental illness being dealt with.
There are a number of different antidepressants available, all of which work in slightly different ways and come with their own set of side effects. It’s important to work with a licensed medical professional to find an antidepressant that successfully improves mood and alleviates symptoms with minimal side effects.
When prescribed an antidepressant, it will usually take 2 to 4 weeks for it to begin to take effect. The drug will usually reach its fullest potential at around 12 weeks. While side effects are normal, it is still highly advised to discuss your symptoms with your health care professional in case they need to make adjustments to your treatment plan. In some individuals under the age of 25, antidepressants may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior, especially during the first few weeks. In these cases, the dosage needs to be adjusted right away.
The Types of Antidepressants
Each type of antidepressant will make an individual feel differently. Below are a handful of the most common types of antidepressants and how they affect the body.
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) work by blocking the absorption, or reuptake of serotonin in the brain. This is one of the most commonly prescribed types of antidepressants.
- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work by increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain to stabilize the mood.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAS) are one of the earliest antidepressants developed but have been generally replaced with other medicines that have fewer side effects. TCAs block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine to increase their levels in the brain.
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) were prescribed more before the development of SSRIs and SNRIs. MAOIs work by inhibiting the action of monoamine oxidase, which is an enzyme that helps break down serotonin.
Whether you suffer from severe depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or any other type of mental illness, please know that treatment is always available. Do not try to self medicate with other drugs. Seek guidance from a professional medical team that can advise you on a strategic treatment plan.
It’s important to note that while antidepressants are very effective, they can also become addictive in some cases. If you have developed an addiction to antidepressants, the time to get help is now. At our drug detox center, our professional staff will help you get off antidepressants and advise you on a different path for treatment. Your mental health is our number one priority. For more information about antidepressants, contact our inpatient drug rehab facility today and speak to one of our treatment specialists.
- Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. “More Than a Happiness Boost: How Mood Medications Help When You’re Depressed.” Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/depression/more-than-a-happiness-boost-how-mood-medications-help-when-youre-depressed.
- Mayo Clinic. “Antidepressants: Selecting One That’s Right For You.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/antidepressants/art-20046273.
- Medical News Today. “All About Antidepressants.” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/kc/antidepressants-work-248320.
- RxList. “Antidepressants.” Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/antidepressants/drugs-condition.htm.