Antidepressant Medication: Finding The Right Fit

Antidepressant medications are SSRIs, which stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. The way Anti-depressant pills work is to increase the neurotransmitter called Serotonin by a cellular process. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that is made biochemically through Tryptophan.

Serotonin is made naturally by the body, but a lower level of it is thought to be linked to depression. It is primarily made in the brain and the gastrointestinal tract, with about 80% of it coming from the gastrointestinal tract.

Serotonin is also responsible for mood, appetite, sleep, memory and sexual desire. Too low a level can affect these important components of human life. So antidepressant medication is supposed to help balance the right amount of Serotonin levels that the brain produces to restore normal, biological functions in the human brain and body.

What Are The Most Well Known Antidepressant Medications?

The most well-known SSRIs are as follows..

  • Sertraline also known as Zoloft
  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)

And there are many more. The first mentioned name is the actual name of the drug itself, while names such as Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac are brand names.

What Are The Side Effects Of SSRIs?

Antidepressant medication isn’t perfect and sometimes can cause a person to have certain side effects. The most common side effects of SSRIs can be as follows:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Dry Mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Low Sex Drive

In men antidepressant medication can cause erectile dysfunction and in women can reduce sex drive and make it difficult to reach orgasm.

Are Antidepressants Expensive?

Brand name forms of SSRIs can be expensive. Depending on whether you have health insurance or don’t – this is something that can affect the cost of medication designed to treat depression and anxiety.

Costs can range from $40 – $300 per month, depending on the product, what your insurance will cover and the dosage. The numbers presented here are a rough estimate, as you will need to do your own research.

Are Generic Versions Of Antidepressant Pills Available?

Yes, in most cases there are generic versions of SSRIs, which can be a lot cheaper and many times can yield the same benefits, although finding the right medication for you can be trial and error sometimes.

List Of Generic SSRI medications:

  • Citalopram
  • Desvenlaxafine
  • Fluoxetine
  • Mirtazapine
  • Paroxetine
  • Sertraline
  • Escitalopram
  • Duloxetine
  • Buproprion
  • Nefazodone

However it’s important to note that generic versions of these drugs must come at the request of your family practitioner.

Can I Switch Antidepressant Medication To See What Works Better?

Yes, you can, but you need to do so with the close advisory of your doctor. You may find that one antidepressant is not very affective for your situation, or may notice side effects that are not worth the trouble.

However, a doctor is important and necessary to be involved in the process, simply because they are expected to understand the pharmacological information tied to specific SSRIs.

This is of great benefit to you to make sure that there are no conflicts with other drugs you may be taking. It’s also important from the standpoint that your family doctor will be privy to your family medical history and your own, personal medical history.

Figuring out the right antidepressant can be a trial of error, but it’s a working process with your family doctor in working together to find the right fit. The good news is that once you do find a good medication to take, it can greatly help you in controlling anxiety, depression and making your day-to-day life a lot easier.

Is There Such A Thing As Withdrawal If I Stop Taking An Antidepressant?

Yes, although this may not be true for everyone. If you suddenly stop taking your medication then you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as..

  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • Returning to an original state of depression

This process is sometimes referred to as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, and runs a greater chance of taking effect if you have been taking SSRI medication for longer than a period of 6 weeks.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you were addicted to the drug in the first place however. In fact, if you are considering making the choice to get off of your antidepressant medication, it’s wise to consult with your doctor first so that you can monitor the process.

Your doctor may even have you reduce the dosage little-by-little to see what the effects will be.