Depression Medication (A comprehensive Guide)

In this brief guide, the depression medication will be discussed in detail, with its symptoms, diagnostic criteria, types, causes and treatment.

When to use Depression Medication?

The depression medication can be used to relieve the symptoms of depression.

These symptoms make the person feel down and decreased the efficiency level in even regular daily activities.

The depression medication is usually prescribed to deal with the symptoms triggered in depression.

Following depression is discussed in the detail with the different types people use to experience.

What is Depression?

Major Depression is a term is mostly misused by the layman, but the meanings of Major Depression is different in the mental health field.

As per diagnostic criteria given in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM 5, 2013), Major Depression is termed as low mood, lack of interest in doing anything, sleep disturbance and emotional dysregulation.

How to know if you have Major Depression?

Major Depression is more than sadness and the diagnosis needs a number of symptoms.

Without meeting a mental health professional, a person can take help from the self-assessment tests for Major Depression available online for initial screening.

Symptoms of Major Depression

The symptoms of Major Depression are massive and affects the person’s functioning in different domains of life.

There different types of symptoms, such as psychological, physical, and social symptoms.

Psychological Symptoms

Person experiencing Major Depression experience, low mood, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, irritability, tearful, unable to focus, having no motivation, disturbed sleep pattern.

Physical Symptoms

Unable to perform required tasks, lack of pleasure in the activities they once enjoyed, disturbed appetite, crying spells, and suicidal intention or suicidal attempt.

Social Symptoms

Lack of interest in socialization

Neglecting hobbies

Difficulty in relationships

Diagnosis of Major Depression

Diagnosis can only be given by the professionals in the mental health field on the basis of criteria given in DSM-5 (DSM 5, 2013).

Following this criteria following summary has been extracted:

A. The condition of a person needs to be monitored or reported by themselves considering the last 2 weeks, and five or more symptoms are required to be diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder.

a.  Depressed or low mood either reported by the person or observed by others around.

b.  Lack of interest in doing any activity at all, or we can call this anhedonia

c.  Increase or decrease in body weight

d.  Sleep disturbance, either getting overly sleep or not getting sleepy at all

e.  Decreased physical or motor activity, restricted oneself to bed or slowed down

f.   Overly exhausted, or tired

g.  Excessive feelings of remorse or guilt

h.  Extremely low self-esteem and self-worth

i.   Inability to concentrate or focus on the tasks at hand, as well as unable to make decisions

Self-assessment tests such as the Goldberg depression test are used for screening purposes.

j.   Continuously or excessively experiencing thoughts of death

B. These symptoms are disabling the person to work efficiently in their environment

C.  The condition is not because of any medication or substance use

On the basis of above criteria, mental health practitioners diagnose the client with Major Depression.

Types of Depression

There are several types of depression which are recognized:

1.  Clinical Depression / Major Depression

2.  Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

3.  Postpartum Depression

4.  Seasonal Depression

5.  Psychotic Depression

6. Catatonic Depression

7.  Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

8.  Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

9. Anaclictic Depression

There is another type of depression, a combination of depression and anxiety, known as the agitated depression.

Animals, like humans also suffer from this mental health issue , such as dogs.

Hence, this type of depression is called dog depression.

Clinical Depression / Major Depression

The type of depression discussed above is called clinical depression or major depression.

The clinical depression is unipolar and characterized by an intense feeling of sadness and lack of interest.

The symptoms are lack of pleasure in the activities they once enjoyed, disturbed appetite, crying spells, low mood, feelings of worthlessness, guilt, irritability, tearful, unable to focus, having no motivation to work and disturbed sleep pattern.

Dysthymia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)

It is known as persistent because the symptoms of major depression are mild in intensity by the lasts for more than 2 years.

This is also called chronic depression. The person is considered as gloomy, sad, complainer.

Another main condition is that the person didn’t remain without the symptoms for more than 2 months.

Postpartum Depression

This type of depression is linked with the childbirth. This is also known as “baby blues”.

This is quite common and because of hormonal changes, the mother starts feeling down, sad, depressed, anxious for a number of weeks after childbirth.

Seasonal Depression

This is based on the changes in the season, this is experienced at a particular time in year.

Mostly the symptoms appear at the start of winters and remain there for months.

Person experience fatigue, low mood, hopelessness and progress towards getting severe.

Psychotic Depression

This form of depression is experienced in people around 20%.

The depression gets so severe that they start experiencing psychotic symptoms and start having hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thinking.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

This is based on the cyclic hormonal disturbance during the menstrual cycle.

Around 85% of female experience this disorder but only around 5-6% get the diagnosis of the disorder.

The disorder causes low mood, irritability, frustration, mood disturbance, and anxiety.

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder

DMDD disorder is for the first time introduced in DSM 5.

This diagnosis is specifically for children and symptoms includes the dysregulation of mood expected for their age.

Excessive temper tantrums, behavioural and emotions disturbances are experienced.

Causes of Major Depression

There are a number of different causes of Major Depression.

There are a number of factors which plays their role in triggering Major Depression.

The causes of Major Depression are multiple, they range from physiological, to psychological, and environmental.

Brain Structure

The changes in the brain structure and its chemistry can cause Major Depression.

The neurotransmitter dopamine and serotonin are considered to be involved in the levels of Major Depression.

Physiological Causes

The causes can be altered level of hormones due to pregnancy or menstrual cycle, the effect of any medication of substance as well as there can be the genetic causes of Major Depression.

Psychological Causes

These causes include the environmental stresses, traumatic events, and death of loved ones, which can lead to reactive depression.

Substance abuse, such as an excess use of Marijuana can also lead to depression.

Treatment of Major Depression

There two different types of evidence-based treatments:

Medication

Psychotherapy

Depression Medication

After the right diagnosis of depression, it is equally important to find out the accurate diagnosis and finding the right depression medication.

Someone may have a serious medical problem, such as heart disease or liver or kidney disease, that could make some antidepressants unsafe.

The antidepressant could be ineffective for you or the dose inadequate; there may not have been enough time to see an effect, or the side effects could be too bothersome — leading to a failure of treatment.

Before we talk further about antidepressants, it is necessary to keep in mind:

1.     Only about 30% of people with depression go into full remission after taking their first course of antidepressants.

That’s according to a 2006 study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Those who got better were more likely to be taking slightly higher doses for longer periods.

2.     Some antidepressants work better for certain individuals than others. It’s not uncommon to try different depression medicines during treatment.

3.     Some people need more than one medicine for depression treatment.

4.     Antidepressants carry a boxed warning about increased risk compared to placebo for suicidal thinking and behaviour in children, adolescents, and young adults 18-24 years old.

Antidepressant use to be prescribed by the psychiatrist as depression medication.

There are about thirty different types, among which if the client doesn’t respond to one depression medication the other one is given.

Depression Medication (A comprehensive Guide)

When a person uses medication there are chances of side effects and psychiatric medication usually have adverse side effects.

Person needs to take depression medication for several months so their effect starts to get visible.

There are few common antidepressants as named here: Anafranil (clomipramine), Aplenzin (bupropion), Asendin (amoxapine), Aventyl HCI (nortriptyline), Celexa (citalopram), Cymbalta (duloxetine), Desyrel (trazodone), Effexor XR (venlafaxine), Mirtazapine and Emsam (selegiline).

For the drug Mirtazapine, it is claimed that it’s other form, Mirtazapine Orodispersible is more effective.

Apart from Antidepressants, the modern depression medication of SSRIs can be used.

They help the brain to naturally increase the levels of serotonin required for good mood regulation.

Some stimulants, such as Adderall can also be used under the doctor’s advice.

Then another type available is Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs), they are used to treat the moderate to severe Major Depression.

These help the person to lift their mood by increasing the level of hormones required for mood regulation.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) were some of the first depression medication used to treat depression.

Examples are amitriptyline (Elavil), and desipramine (Norpramin, Pertofrane).

Side effects include stomach upset, dizziness, dry mouth, changes in blood pressure, changes in blood sugar levels, and nausea.

Psychotherapy

Talk therapy can be beneficial and researches have been conducted where psychotherapy give equally effective results to medication or sometimes more efficient and long-lasting results.

In psychotherapy, Cognitive behaviour therapy is the evidence-based therapy which improves the condition of the person.

The focus of CBT is on the present and identification of thinking patterns.

Because according to CBT, the faulty thinking patterns makes one person sad or depressed.

The negative automatic thoughts are considered to be the cause of Major Depression.

There are a number of different psychotherapy which can be used along with the improvement in the lifestyle of the person is required.

Yoga, appropriate diet, exercise, and getting enough sleep also helps in the symptoms of Major Depression.

Many believe in the idea that crystals can also treat depression. Therefore, they make use of them.

The Major Depression is a disorder introduced in DSM, and its criteria improved in DSM5.

Depression has several types in DSM 5.

The causes of major depression are several as well as the assessment tools available to screen and diagnose depression are available for mental health experts.

Major depression can be treated with psychotherapy and medication.

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant?

The most commonly prescribed antidepressant are Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft.

What is the best depression medication?

The best depression medication is SSRIs are Prozac, Zoloft,Lexapro, Celexa and Paxil.

What are the 3 types of antidepressants?

The three types of antidepressants are SSRIs escitalopram, Zoloft, and celexa.

What’s the strongest antidepressant?

The strongest antidepressant are escitalopram, paroxetine, sertraline, agomelatine, and mirtazapine.

Please feel free to give your feedback and ask questions in the comments section below, we will be pleased to respond.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

WebMD

NHS

  Mind.org.uk

 Rethink.org

 Psycom.com

Recommended Readings:

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness

 Overcoming Depression – Get Happy Again: The Self-Help Workbook for Understanding Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Reasons to Stay Alive

Overcoming Depression: A self- help guide using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques

Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions

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