Antidepressants represents a group of drugs used for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, and also may be provided as a supplementary treatment of chronic pain. These organic molecules are specifically designed to act on specific brain structures, thereby creating a physiological balance.
Irritability, nervousness, poor appetite and digestion, headache, drowsiness and insomnia are some of the symptoms of depression that are usually associated with negative emotional experience of reality. Depressed person will perform daily tasks with difficulty, shall be demotivated, and experience mood changes which may significantly jeopardize the quality of life. Medical specialists in such situations may prescribe antidepressants.
During the last two decades the application of these drugs has increased by 400 per cent in industrialized countries. In Slovenia, France and Germany about five percent of the population older than 12 years takes antidepressants, in Belgium, Spain and the UK, this figure rises to seven per cent, while in the US 11 percent of people take some kind of drugs for depression. Given the fact that taking antidepressants became therapeutic trend, side effects of this therapy are increasingly common phenomenon, so it is necessary to know the most important things regarding these drugs.
One should take the therapy every day at the same time. Some antidepressants are taken in the same dose from the beginning of treatment while the others should be gradually increased during the first week. The full effect is achieved seven days after initiation of the therapy. Sometimes it is necessary to wait four to six weeks to experience the full benefit.
Side effects when using antidepressants may be sleep disturbances, headaches, increased appetite, decreased libido and others. If symptoms occur at the beginning of treatment, it is necessary to be patient and to continue taking the drug because side effects often go away in a few days. It is not recommended to discontinue the therapy without consulting a doctor or pharmacist.
Dosage is determined by the patient`s profile, and it is particularly adjusted in case of pregnancy or breast feeding, and taking some other drugs. During the therapy it is not recommended taking preparations based on St. John's wort, or consuming grapefruit juice due to possible interactions. One should avoid alcohol because it can cause headaches, confusion or nausea.
A medical specialist will determine the type of drug according to the existing symptoms and possibly whether there is another condition. In the case of side effects, the doctor will correct the first choice and replace it with another. It is necessary to have an open collaboration with a doctor and inform him/her about the real progress of the treatment.
Sometimes antidepressants cannot remove the cause of depression, but can only successfully remove the symptoms and allow the patient to achieve the desired quality of life. In this case the drugs are taken over a longer period until the real cause is eliminated by other methods.