Anti-depressants work by slowing the removal of neurotransmitters from the brain, to help make these chemicals more available. This restores the brain´s chemical balance, and relieves the symptoms of depression. There are many different anti-depressants, but they are categorized into different groups including: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), and Tricyclics. There are also natural herbal remedies that treat depression.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
SSRIs have fewer side effects than other anti-depressants. The only chemical they effect in the body is serotonin, a neurotransmitter. The side effects that are caused by SSRIs include: nausea, nervousness, dry mouth, insomnia, sexual problems and headache. While taking Prozac, a person might have the inability to sit still. People taking Paxil might feel tired, and people taking Zoloft might have diarrhea.
Some of the names of SSRIs include:
- Prozac (Fluoxetine)
- Zoloft (Sertraline)
- Lexapro (Escitalopram)
- Celexa (Citalopram)
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
MAOIs were developed after Tricyclics. Like Tricyclics, MAOIs effect the neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine. They also effect the neurotransmitter, dopamine. MAOIs work by blocking these neurotransmitters from being recycled back into the brain, so that they pile up. Depression is associated with low levels of monoamine, so the increase of monoamines in the brain, eases the symptoms of depression. However, when these monoamines are blocked, levels of tyramine increase the blood pressure and can be fatal. Patients taking MAOIs are urged to stay away from certain foods containing tyramine that can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
Side effects that are caused by MAOIs include: headaches, dizziness, weakness, and tremors.
Some of the names of MAOIs include:
- Parnate (Tranylcypromise)
- Nardil (Phenelzine)
Tricyclics effect the serotonin and norepinephrine in the body, both are neurotransmitters, and it might effect other chemicals too. Tricyclics were first released in 1958, but today they are a less likely choice because of new anti-depressants. Side effects that are caused by tricyclics include: blurred vision, impaired thinking, dry mouth, tiredness, difficulty urinating, constipation and worsening of glaucoma.
Some of the names of tricyclics include:
- Elavil (Amitriptyline)
- Norpramin (Desipramine)
- Tofranil (Imipramine)
- Aventyl and Pamelor (Nortriptyline)
- Vivactil (Protriptyline)
- Maprotiline (Ludiomil)
Side effects that are caused by these anti-depressants include: loss of appetite or increased appetite, anxiety, nervousness, nausea, dry mouth, sedation, headaches, tiredness, blurred vision, insomnia, agitation and constipation.
These anti-depressants include:
- Effexor (Venlafaxine)
- Serzone (Nefazodone)
- Wellbutrin (Bupropion)
- Remeron (Mirtazapine)
- Desyrel (Trazodone)
St. Johns Wort is a natural remedy for depression. It contains hypericum that inhibits monoamine oxidase. People taking St. Johns Wort should not take it if they are taking other prescription anti-depressants. They are also urged to avoid sunlight, because photosensitivity has been reported, and they should avoid food containing tyramine, alcoholic beverages, narcotics and medications like tyrosine and over-the-counter cold and flu medicines.