Last Updated on August 30, 2016
A person about to begin taking depression medication than likely will not receive the correct drug or dosage to treat all her symptoms the first time out. Figuring out which melancholy medication matches all the patient’s needs is a continuing process, which includes trying various drugs to see what works best. This investigation procedure can take months, weeks, or even years, says Melva Green, MD, former chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Committee on Women and a psychiatrist in Baltimore. “It’s a genuine trial and error process. It’s ongoing.”
Depression Drug: Beginning Your Treatment
To start you on an appropriate first medication, your doctor or therapist will take a medical history that is full. You’ll find various considerations when prescribing antidepressants, including:
- Complete well-being
- Current medications
- Use of drugs
- Mental health history
At this time, your doctor might determine instead, and melancholy drugs would not be valuable recommend that you just seek counseling or make some other change in your life. “We rule out whether someone’s lifestyle may be leading with their symptoms of depression,” says Dr. Green.
If depression medication is the path your doctor chooses for you personally, he will most likely first prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs typically are first-line drugs for depression as they are really powerful and don’t have as many negative effects as a number of the older melancholy drugs. By allowing serotonin to keep in the brain a little longer, which improves disposition they work.
Depression Drug: Fine Tuning Your Treatment
Doctors will watch to find out how well the very first drug that is prescribed functions to handle your symptoms. “By and large, we should find some development within the very first four to six weeks,” says Green. “If we don’t find anything improve, and we’ve been steadily increasing the dose, the general operating rule is to switch to a different SSRI or add something else to the SSRI.”
Additional medicine your physician might add to assist antidepressants do their job contains:
- Non-SSRI antidepressants like bupropion (Wellbutrin) or mirtazapine (Remeron). These medicines can reinforce the efficacy of your first antidepressant by handling depression symptoms that are constant.
- Mood stabilizers like lithium or valproate (Depacon), if you experience uncontrolled mood swings.
- Stimulants like methylphenidate (Ritalin), in the event the antidepressant causes sluggishness or sleepiness.
- Antipsychotic or anti-anxiety medication, depending on symptoms.
If you don’t have any response to SSRIs, your physician might have you try other types of antidepressants before you find something that works. Also, physicians will change you to another medication if any side effects are harming your standard of living.
Once your doctor discovers a drug or mixture of drugs that function, he likely increases the dosage to ensure that satisfactory levels of depression medicine are in your bloodstream.
Depression Medicine: The Importance of Staying on the Right Meds
All this drug-swapping might be frustrating for those who are trying to manage their depression. However, keep taking your medication as directed and you must stay with it. “In order for antidepressants to actually work, they have to get up to and sustain a therapeutic amount,” Green says. “That can’t occur if you are not diligent about your medicines.”
Talk with your physician so he can create a plan to wean you off the melancholy medicine if you do decide to avoid taking antidepressants. Do not go “cold turkey,” as that can result in a melancholy even deeper and more painful than what you were initially coping with.
Keep in mind, also, the method of tweaking depression medicine most likely will never finish. “The body is forever shifting — we are multidimensional beings. There are a lot of things going on that you just can’t command for,” such as hormonal or metabolic changes, Green says. Instead, she notes, obtaining the right help for your depression means having the ability to make any changes that are required and having a partnership with your doctor.