What is the best antidepressant for women? (3+ possible side effects) 

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In this blog post, we are going to answer the question, “What is the best antidepressant for women?”. Antidepressants are one of the most commonly prescribed medications nowadays, because of the widespread depression and other mental health conditions. 

However, mental illnesses are different for men and women and they may develop different kinds of symptoms. This is why some antidepressants are considered more beneficial for women and this is all we are going to cover in this blog. 

What is the best antidepressant for women?

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The best class of antidepressants for women is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This is one of the most commonly prescribed classes and a huge number of women have gained benefits from SSRIs. Some common SSRIs include:

  • Zoloft (Sertraline) 
  • Lexapro (Escitalopram) 
  • Celexa (Citalopram) 
  • Paxil (Paroxetine) 
  • Prozac (Fluoxetine) 

These antidepressants are not only used for the management and treatment of depression in women but are used for many other reasons that we will discuss shortly. If we specifically talk about the most commonly used SSRI for women, the name Zoloft should definitely be mentioned. 

According to a recent survey, it was observed that most of the women seemed happy and satisfied with Sertraline. Some revealed how they had a hard time at first, but once their bodies were completely adjusted to this SSRI, they actually started feeling good. 

Some women claimed that they have been using Sertraline for more than 10 years now. That literally makes a decade. However, not every woman was on the same page. 

Some women revealed in the same survey that they could not bear Sertraline even for a week, but the same women got good results from Lexapro, another SSRI. 

This indicates that if one SSRI does not work for some women, they can switch to another one, which may work perfectly well for them. The only way to find out the right antidepressant is to actually try them out. 

This is because all women have different body types and they all respond differently to antidepressants. Some suffer from mild side effects and then successfully adjust to the drug. 

Some women, on the other hand, suffer from severe side effects from the start of their treatment and they don’t go that far with SSRIs. It is not absolutely necessary that SSRIs are the only good choice of antidepressants for women. 

If you can’t seem to get any benefits from the entire class of SSRIs, don’t be hopeless. There are other antidepressants like Venlafaxine (Effexor) that can also be used in women. Venlafaxine is actually considered a good antidepressant for the management and treatment of depression in women. 

This is why you should always consult your healthcare provider for such matters and should always remain hopeful. If you don’t get the therapeutic response from an antidepressant you were hoping for, it doesn’t mean your journey ends there. Not at all! 

What conditions are treated by SSRIs in women? 

As stated earlier, depression is not the only condition treated by SSRIs in women. There are plenty of others. Some of these include:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

OCD is one of the most disturbing mental health conditions, especially if the disease is not treated properly. OCD at first may seem like the repetition of some actions, like continuously washing your hands, making your bed, cleaning your house, etc. 

However, it goes far beyond that. As OCD progresses, the most difficult thing people go through is intrusive thoughts. A study revealed that as women are more susceptible to hormonal changes, they can show pretty disturbing behaviour. 

Some OCD women have even thought of killing their own children. A case study from the early 90s revealed that a woman wanted to throw her 9-month-old baby in a burning fire. 

This indicates how disturbing that condition can become, especially for women, who are very much controlled by their hormones and how they make them feel. SSRIs have been treating women with OCD for decades now. 

These meds balance the chemical disturbances in your mind that are linked with OCD. If we particularly talk about Sertraline, it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management and treatment of OCD. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 

PTSD is another condition treated by SSRIs in women. This condition is also far more difficult than it may seem. People may call it just the grief of something bad that once happened to you, but PTSD is much more than that. 

As the disease progresses, people suffer from panic attacks and blackouts. Their blood pressure may rise incredibly high, which can increase the chances of having a stroke. 

This condition is actively managed by SSRIs and some women have called these drugs life-saving drugs. If you’re a woman reading this and you think your PTSD ‘grief’ will just go away with time, I would still ask you to visit your mental healthcare professional.

 A therapist can help you out and can make you release that negative energy that has been building up inside your head. 

I always recommend people seek help because releasing that negative energy through therapy may seem uncomfortable at first, but it is better than your mind exploding like a bomb. The aftermath of that explosion can make your life a living hell. 

Generalised and social anxiety disorders

SSRIs can also help calm down women who suffer from anxiety disorders. We have a lot of such case studies to talk about. One case study included a woman who used to bite her nails out of an anxiety attack. 

This started getting worse and she started biting her own skin one day, as there were no nails left to bite. Yes, this may sound bizarre, but anxiety can make you do such things. 

The case study included a treatment plan with Sertraline in it. The researchers later revealed that Sertraline helped her calm down and after 20 weeks of treatment, her nail-biting habit started to decline. 

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) 

Imagine a woman PMSing, but 10 times more severely. This is exactly what PMDD is. It causes severe anxiety, depression, flushing, discomfort, irritability, and suicidal behaviour, usually a week or two before your menstrual cycle begins. 

We don’t know what triggers this condition and what women are more susceptible to it, but we do know that SSRIs, especially Sertraline, can help control the symptoms associated with PMDD. 

Sertraline is, in fact, approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the management of PMDD-related symptoms. 

What are the possible side effects in women caused by SSRIs? 

There are some side effects of SSRIs that affect women. They can vary in intensity from woman to woman, but there is no way to predict which woman will get what type of side effects. The only way to find out is to actually take the drug. 

However, if the side effects are not severe or you’re not allergic to any of the SSRIs, they begin to subside within 2 to 3 weeks of your treatment or when your body adjusts to the med. Some of the common side effects include:

  • Diarrhoea or Constipation 
  • Acid reflux or heartburn 
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Weight gain or loss 
  • Excessive sweating or night sweating (nocturnal/night hyperhidrosis) 
  • Frequent urination 
  • Polydipsia or excessive thirst
  • Tremors 
  • Muscle twitching and pain
  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Excessive tiredness or fatigue 
  • Insomnia or inability to fall asleep 
  • Xerostomia or dry mouth 
  • Dysmenorrhea or heavy periods
  • Flu-like symptoms, including irritation in eyes and a runny nose
  • Loss of libido and inability to have an orgasm. 

As stated earlier, these side effects can vary. Some women end up tolerating SSRIs quite well. For some who don’t, your doctor will prescribe another antidepressant that may help you recover from the symptoms associated with your mental health condition. 

You just have to make sure that you’re doing your part well. Take your meds on time, eat good food, keep moving, and always have a positive mindset. Taking care of yourself may seem like hard work, but it’s something you owe yourself.

Conclusion 

In this blog post, we have discussed the best antidepressant to take for women. We have learned that the most frequently prescribed antidepressants for women are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). 

These antidepressants are not only used for the management and treatment of depression in women but are used for many other reasons, like OCD, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and PMDD. 

These conditions can significantly damage a woman’s health and SSRIs can help you restore that health. However, SSRIs may not work for every other woman. If you’re one of such women, don’t worry. There are plenty of other antidepressants which can help you out just as well as SSRIs. 

FAQs: Best antidepressant for women 

What is the number 1 prescribed antidepressant?

Zoloft is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant, almost in the entire world. It is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). It works by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT). Zoloft is generally well tolerated and it has changed many lives, but it may cause serious side effects in some individuals. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider before using Zoloft. 

What is the safest antidepressant with the least side effects?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are considered the safest antidepressants. In SSRIs, Escitalopram and Citalopram are the safest, especially for people who are sensitive to antidepressants. SSRIs can be used for the treatment and management of depression, anxiety, and several other mental health conditions. 

What are the top 3 antidepressants?

The top antidepressants include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) 
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) 
  • Atypical antidepressants 
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) 
  • Dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (DNRI) 
  • Monoaminoxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) 

What are the stronger antidepressants?

SSRIs are the strongest and the most frequently prescribed antidepressants in the entire world. These drugs are very well tolerated and can significantly help restore your mental health. Even in the case of major depressive disorder, some doctors prescribe two SSRIs in combination, mostly Sertraline and Escitalopram, to help relieve the disturbing symptoms associated with persistent depression. SSRIs basically inhibit the reuptake of serotonin by blocking serotonin transporters (SERT).

What type of antidepressant gives you energy?

The type of antidepressant that treats your depression-induced lethargy can help boost your energy levels. The most common examples include Wellbutrin and Prozac. The kind of antidepressant you should take depends on the type of symptoms you have. If you suffer from depression-induced insomnia. There’s no point in taking a medication like Wellbutrin as it’ll make you even more restless. For such a person, taking an antidepressant that can help them fall asleep is a better choice. 

References 

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