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Why It Is Important to Take Medications for Depression

If your doctor diagnoses you with depression, you are probably suffering from symptoms severe enough to inhibit your ability to function normally. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, extreme guilt and difficulty in concentrating are some of the more common symptoms reported by people experiencing a major depressive disorder. In addition, physical symptoms will often accompany depression, such as tiredness, headache, eczema and gastrointestinal issues.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

Prozac, Serafem and Lexapro are included in the SSRI group of antidepressants and contain fluoxetine, a chemical which stabilizes the amount of serotonin receptors release into the brain. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter which affects our moods, appetite and circadian rhythm. When a receptor “inhibits” the amount of serotonin issued into our nervous system, this lack of serotonin can lead to feelings of sadness, lethargy and ultimately depression. Fluoxetine essentially enables these receptors to release the normal amount of serotonin which counteracts the depression experienced by the affected individual.

Serotonin–Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Instead of acting on only one neurotransmitter like SSRI’s, SNRI’s work on two neurotransmitters—serotonin and norepinephrine. Effexor and Cymbalta are two of the more well-known brand names currently being prescribed for those suffering from depression. As the more widely used medication for depression today, SNRI’s allow the release of norepinephrine into the brain which has demonstrated to be more effective in clinical studies. Norepinephrine elevates one’s mood by releasing glucose and increasing blood flow to the brain.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors—(MAOI’s)

MAOIs are antidepressants which are used in treating depression indicated when someone presents atypical depression symptoms, such as overeating, oversleeping, social anxiety and oversensitivity. Dietary restrictions are associated with MAOI’s because they contain an enzyme called monoamine oxidase which regulates the level of tyramine, a chemical affecting blood pressure. A sudden spike in tyramine due to eating the wrong foods can result in hypertensive crises.


Discovered in the 1950’s, tricyclics are the oldest types of depression medication but are occasionally prescribed to patients who do not respond to other depression medication. Elavil, Anafranil and Sinequan are a few of the more commonly prescribed tricyclics, with Anafranil and Sinequan being used more frequently in treating schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders occurring with depression.

As with any type of medication, some individuals will experience side effects and others won’t. Common side effects of SSRI’s include insomnia, dry mouth, nausea and weight gain. These side effects usually recede in a few days for most people, who will generally begin to feel less depressed within several weeks of starting the medication.

Pill Pal Cares about Your Health and Well-Being

We know how difficult it is to cope with depression and remember to take your medication, especially when you are feeling better and don’t think you really need it anymore. Be aware that neglecting to take your depression medication every day at the time suggested by your doctor will result in your depression symptoms returning within several days accompanied by additional signs of withdrawing too quickly from your prescription. So you can concentrate on getting your life back to normal, let Pill Pal send you medication reminders via SMS or phone and stop worrying bout anything except living a full, happy life.

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