What exactly are anti-depressants? They are a class of medications that are purposely produced and designed to alleviate or relieve the symptoms of depression.
Types of Anti-depressants.
There are various types of anti-depressants in the market. Every type, class or family helps to relieve depression in its own way. Within each class, each drug works slightly differently. Each class has side-effects and common warnings, and several of each drug have additional warnings and side-effects of their own.
Now let us look more closely at each class of anti-depressants, beginning with the one a lot of people have been talking about.
SSRI is an abbreviation for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. SSRI drug works by inhibiting or preventing your neurotransmitter serotonin from re-absorption by your nerve cell that released it, and by so doing, forcing the serotonin to continue working actively.
Examples of SSRI's are Fluoxetine and Sertraline (I use this one to manage my own depression).
2. SNRI and SSNRI.
These 2 medical terms are very synonymous. SNRI is an abbreviation for serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, while SSNRI is an abbreviation for selective serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, but there is really not any considerable difference.
Examples of SNRI’s are duloxetine and venlafaxine. I managed my depression with venlafaxine for three years before I noticed it no longer worked for me.
Of course, we have other family or classes of anti-depressant drugs, but those two mentioned above are the ones I have tried. I can mention more but I am trying to not to go too technical in my discussion on anti-depressants.
It is unfortunate that you cannot one particular anti-depressant that works for everyone! Only by trial and error you can find an anti-depressant that works very well for you, or by trying the ones prescribed for you by your psychiatrist or doctor. It is also through trial and error that you can determine the correct dosage of the drug. In my own case, my psychiatrist recommended starting with a small dosage every time he placed me on a particular anti-depressant and then asked me to increase it according to my need over time.
Do not forget that medications generally have side effects, so the ones prescribed here are not excluded. I had luck with both sertraline and venlafaxine in that the side-effects I experienced were just minor nausea and headache.
Those side-effects I mentioned lasted me only a few days, so they can be ignored when compared to the numerous positive benefits I got from those anti-depressants.
If you are having depression, It is very important your psychiatrist or doctor monitor your anti-depressant medication so that both of you will know if you are taking the correct dosage and if it is working well for you.
How Long Does it Take Anti-depressants to Work?
Anti-depressant medications, as already discussed above, help you alleviate the symptoms of depression. Please read the chapter Types ofDepression, Symptoms, Warning Signs and Effects for details. People having depression usually have an imbalance in some natural chemicals in their brains. So what anti-depressant medications do is help their brains to restore this usual chemical balance and in so doing alleviate the symptoms.
One question people often ask me is, "How long does it take anti-depressants to work?"
From my personal experience, it took me 2 to 3 weeks to see substantial improvements. From my personal researches however, I discovered it can take some people as many as 6 weeks after taking your first dose of anti-depressant medication before you will notice substantial improvements. Yet for some other people, it can take even up to 8 to 10 weeks before they begin to feel better. They however received the maximum benefit after taking the medications for over 6 months.
In general, Anti-depressant drugs have good tolerance and are very effective. From my research, about 71 percent of people having major depression begin to feel better after taking the first type of anti-depressant medication their doctors prescribed for them.