Depression 101: Understanding the Symptoms and the Medications

See also “Down With Depression: A Malvern Company Develops a New Treatment.”

Symptoms of Depression

While some of these symptoms are common, a diagnosis of depression is made if a patient suffers from at least four of them for a minimum of two weeks.

• Persistently sad, anxious or “empty” mood.
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness.
• Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable, including sex.
• Decreased energy or fatigue.
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
• Trouble sleeping, early-morning awakening or oversleeping.
• Changes in appetite and/or weight.
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts.
• Restlessness or irritability.
• Persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment, like headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain.

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

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See “Depression Meds 101” on page 2 …

Depression Meds 101

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
are thought to block the reuptake of serotonin from the synapse to the nerve. SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed medications for depression, and include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro and Luvox.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors block the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine, increasing the amounts of both. SNRIs include Effexor and Cymbalta.

Norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors increase the amount of both chemicals. The most common NDRI is Wellbutrin.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors deactivate enzymes in the brain that erode serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Nardil, Marplan and Parnate are MAOIs.

Mirtazapine targets specific serotonin and norepinephrine receptors. Remeron is the most commonly prescribed mirtazapine.

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Nonantidepressant adjunctive agents can be combined with the above medications to fine-tune their effects or alleviate side effects. These include Abilify, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Geodon, Risperdal, Buspar, Ritalin, Aderall and lithium.

Source: National Alliance of Mental Illness
» Down With Depression: A Malvern Company Develops a New Treatment
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