[Chlug] What are Anti-Depressants?

Sanjohan info at sanjohan.com
Sat Mar 21 15:02:48 EST 2009

Dear Customer,

Anti-depressants are mood-stabilizing drugs used to treat a variety of
conditions, including moderate to severe depressive disorder, anxiety
attacks and post-traumatic stress disorder. First discovered in the
early 1950s, anti-depressants have become an effective tool in combating
depression and other disorders. Anti-depressants were first discovered
by accident when a drug called Iproniazid, originally developed to treat
tuberculosis, was found to ease symptoms of depression. Although
scientists are still not sure exactly what causes depression, it is
believed that some neurotransmitters — the chemicals that pass messages
between brain cells — greatly affect a person's mood. Anti-depressants
work by increasing the activity of these neurotransmitters.
There are four main types of anti-depressants used today. The earliest
mood-stabilizing drugs belonged to a group of medications known as
monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs work by stopping the
breakdown of monoamine neurotransmitters, thus increasing the amount of
these chemicals present in the body. Typically prescribed for depression
and social anxiety, MAOIs can cause very serious drug and food
interactions. Due to their dangerous nature, these drugs are usually
prescribed today only for patients who have not responded to other
After the discovery of MAOIs, scientists developed tricyclic
anti-depressants (TCAs). TCAs cause fewer side effects than MAOIs and
were therefore the preferred method of treatment for many years. TCAs
are also effective for treating chronic pain such as neuralgia. However,
they are dangerous in overdose and have largely been replaced by newer
Today, the most widely prescribed anti-depressants belong to a class
known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Very
basically, SSRIs work by keeping a larger amount of the neurotransmitter
serotonin in the brain's receptor areas, allowing the brain to better
utilize the serotonin. It is generally believed that serotonin directly
influences mood, so by keeping a larger amount of this chemical in a
place where the body can use it, patients may experience an improved
The last major group of anti-depressants used today belong to the class
of serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). SNRIs work more
or less the same way as SSRIs, except that they affect the way the brain
uses the neurotransmitter norepinephrine as well as serotonin. SSRIs and
SNRIs are generally safer than MAOIs and TCAs, causing fewer side
effects and drug interactions.
Some common side effects induced by anti-depressants include dry mouth,
drowsiness, changes in appetite and increased feelings of depression and
anxiety. However, many of these symptoms decrease after the body adjusts
to the drug. Anti-depressants may also cause sexual side effects, such
as decreased libido and erectile dysfunction.
Because depression and other affective disorders can be related to
situational causes as well as chemical imbalances, anti-depressants are
usually combined with psychotherapy in order to combat depression. As
with any medication, it is important that patients only take
anti-depressants under a doctor's supervision. When combined with
therapy, mood-stabilizers have been shown to produce very effective
results in depression sufferers.

Sanjohan - www.sanjohan.com <http://www.sanjohan.com> 
E-mail: info at sanjohan.com <mailto:info at sanjohan.com> 
Tel: +27 21 873 7124
Fax: +27 21 873 7124

We support a No SPAM Policy! If you would not like to receive
newsletters or promotional offers any more, please click here
Name=Customer&Email=chlug at lists.linux.org.au>  to remove your details
from our database. Alternatively just reply to this mail with REMOVE ME
in the subject line.


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.linux.org.au/pipermail/chlug/attachments/20090320/cf1e5798/attachment.htm 

More information about the chlug mailing list