Types of Anti-Depressants and Their Purpose

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Types of anti-depressants and their purpose
Since the discovery of depression there have been a variety of ways to treat the various conditions whether that is through therapy or in modern times through medication. There is an almost endless list of medications used to treat these disorders and these are broken down into a few different categories. You have anti-depressants which are broken down into to five different categories (Townsend, 2008). Within these different types are a variety of different medications that do a lot of different things. Some control the release of different hormones in an attempt to alter the chemical processes in our body, while others work directly with the nervous system.

The most widely prescribed of the medications used to treat psychological disorders are anti-depressants. There are around 23 different anti-depressants available on the current market, according to an interview with Dr. Abbott Lee Granoff (Schimelpfening, 2012). The actual effect the medication has on a person varies with the different medications but the general idea is that they will increase certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Each medication effects different parts of the brain and will have a different effect on the consumers body. Some of the most widely used anti-depressants that are available today include; selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s), Atypical antidepressants, Tricyclic antidepressants, and Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s). SSRI’s are the most commonly prescribed anti-depressants and include drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil. Prozac, whose scientific name is fluoxetine hydrochloride, first was available to the public in January 1988 and was developed by Ray Fuller (Bellis, 2011). Zoloft, whose scientific name is sertraline hydrochloride, was developed by the Pfizer pharmaceutical company and was first approved by the FDA in 1991 and was the most widely used anti-depressant in 2007 beating out both Prozac and Paxil. These three different drugs do basically the same thing the only real difference is the company that produces them and their effect on certain people. For example Prozac may not work for one person but Zoloft fixes the same persons problem. This is why it is a great thing to have a variety in the different drugs that are available. These medications work by blocking the presynaptic serotonin transporter receptor and this makes SSRI’s much different than the other drugs because it only affects the release of serotonin in the brain causing an influence in sleep, appetite, aggression and mood. These medications also differ from tricyclics because SSRI’s do not affect histamine and acetylcholine which means that there are far less side effects associated with these medications. This reason is why these are the most prescribed anti-depressants and why most people consider these “miracle drugs”. Even though they do not have as many side effects associated with them this does not mean that they come without their share of them. According to the Mayo Clinic some side effects that SSRI’s present include; nausea, headache, dry mouth, diarrhea, nervousness, agitation, reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, rash, increased sweating, weight gain, drowsiness, and insomnia. Some would say that with all of these side effects that these drugs would not be the best decision to take them but they aren’t very common and will not all present themselves at the same time. The biggest factor is the person and their sensitivity to medications. If someone is very sensitive to medications they might see a few of these but most people will only encounter drowsiness, nausea, and sexual problems. Sexual problems occur in about 50% of the people that take SSRI’s or any anti-depressant for that matter it is just a risk worth taking to ease your depression (Mayo, 2011). Even though SSRI’s are the most widely used anti-depressants atypical anti-depressants are another commonly prescribed...
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