General Practice 2022

Antidepressants: what are they, how to take them and natural optionsções

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Antidepressants: what are they, how to take them and natural optionsções
Antidepressants: what are they, how to take them and natural optionsções

Antidepressants are drugs indicated to treat depression and other psychological disorders and exert their action on the central nervous system, presenting different mechanisms of action.

These remedies are indicated for moderate or severe depression, when symptoms such as sadness, anguish, sleep and appetite disorders, tiredness and feelings of guilt appear, which interfere with the person's well-being.

Therefore, it is important to consult a psychiatrist so that the correct diagnosis of depression is carried out and, thus, it is possible to be guided on the best treatment, medication dose and duration. Find out how depression is diagnosed.

Main antidepressants

All antidepressants act directly on the nervous system, increasing the amount of important neurotransmitters that improve mood. However, these drugs are not all the same and to understand how they work in the body and what effects they can cause, it is important to separate them into classes, according to their mechanism of action:

Class of antidepressant Some active substances Side Effects
Tricyclic Antidepressants Imipramine, Clomipramine, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline Drowsy, tiredness, dry mouth, blurred vision, headache, tremor, palpitations, constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, flushing, sweating, drop in blood pressure, weight gain.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Fluoxetine, Paroxetine, Citalopram, Sertraline, Fluvoxamine Diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, headache and insomnia, drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, ejaculation disorders.
Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) Venlafaxine, Duloxetine Sedation, headache, dizziness, nausea, dry mouth, constipation, increased sweating.
Serotonin Modulators Nefazodone, Trazodone Sedation, headache, dizziness, fatigue, dry mouth and nausea.
Selective norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors Bupropion Insomnia, headache, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting.
Noradrenergic and specific serotonergic Mirtazapine Increased weight and appetite, drowsiness, sedation, headache and dry mouth.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) Tranylcypromine, Moclobemide Dizziness, headache, dry mouth, nausea, insomnia.

It is important to remember that side effects do not always appear and may vary according to the dose and the person's organism. Antidepressants should only be used under the guidance of a general practitioner, neurologist or psychiatrist.

How to take it

The dose varies greatly according to the antidepressant used and in some cases it may be necessary to start treatment with a lower dose and increase it over time, while in other cases this is not necessary.Thus, one should speak with the doctor about the doses and expected duration of treatment, so that the person has no doubts when taking it.

In order to obtain the best results during treatment with antidepressants, a person should be patient if they do not see an immediate effect. Generally, antidepressants take some time to work, and it may take a few weeks to feel the desired effectiveness. In addition, some side effects may decrease or even disappear during treatment.

It is also very important never to stop treatment without talking to your doctor or contacting him if you do not feel any improvement over time, because you may need to switch to another antidepressant. You should also avoid the ingestion of other drugs or alcoholic beverages during this phase, as they impair the treatment.

Antidepressants in pregnancy

The use of medication for depression during pregnancy should be avoided, as they can interfere with the baby's development and, therefore, the medication can be replaced by another type of treatment, such as psychotherapy, for example.

However, in the most severe cases of depression, the psychiatrist may indicate the use of some medications that are not associated with major he alth risks for the baby and the woman. Understand how treatment for depression in pregnancy is done.

Natural Remedies for Depression

Some excellent natural remedies for depression are:

  • 5-HTP: This is a substance naturally produced by the body that participates in the production of serotonin, which can be reduced by situations such as stress, lack of magnesium and resistance to insulin, for example. By taking this supplement, the amount of serotonin, known as the pleasure hormone, is increased and the person feels better and happier. The recommended dose ranges from 50 to 300 mg, up to 3 times a day.
  • Damiana: This medicinal plant increases blood circulation, induces relaxation, relieves depression and fights anxiety. Its scientific name is Turnera diffusa and the recommended dose varies between 400 to 800 mg 3 times a day.
  • Hiperic√£o: It is a medicinal plant that helps in the treatment of mild to moderate depression, being useful in maintaining emotional balance, as long as it is used for at least 4 weeks. The recommended dose is up to 300 mg per dose, with a maximum of 3 doses per day.
  • Melatonin: Despite being more indicated to improve sleep quality, melatonin also helps to reduce bad mood, being a good help to help treat depression. The dose can vary between 0.5 and 5 mg before bedtime.

Although they are natural, these supplements should not be taken without a doctor's supervision, especially when the person is taking other medications, because they can interact dangerously with each other.

Another good way to fight depression at home is to invest in a diet rich in bananas, tomatoes, nuts and avocados, as they are foods rich in tryptophan, which is the precursor of serotonin.

Homeopathic Remedies for Depression

Homeopathic remedies are an option that can be used as a complement to a treatment for depression, however, they do not replace the medicines prescribed by the doctor. Some examples of homeopathic remedies that can be used in people suffering from depression are:

  • Ignatia amara: indicated in the treatment of depression caused by chronic pain;
  • Pulsatilla: indicated for bipolar depression, with sudden mood swings;
  • Natrum murlatlcum: indicated in cases where depression is caused by low self-esteem.

Homeopathic remedies, although not as effective, have fewer side effects than antidepressant medications. The use of these drugs must be indicated by a he alth professional after psychological evaluation of the patients.

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