Depression is a very unpleasant condition, which, along with other diseases, requires medical intervention and further treatment. Medication for Depression carried out with the help of special medications – antidepressants, which improve the patient’s depressive state or completely eliminate it. So how do antidepressants work? The human brain consists of nerve cells – neurons. Information is transferred from one neuron to another through a small space between them – the synaptic cleft using chemical intermediaries – neurotransmitters. Science knows about 30 different mediators, but only three of these substances are related to depression: dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotin. So, according to scientists, a person is faced with depression when a decrease in the concentration of mediators occurs in the synapses. Antidepressants help restore the biochemical background in the brain and make up for the lack of concentration of mediators.
Tricyclic antidepressants are the very first among these drugs. They were first used in the 50s of the last century. Among the tricyclic antidepressants, the most common are: imipramine, nortriplitin and amyltriptyline.
Tricyclic antidepressants help reduce neuronal uptake of mediatorserotonin and norepinephrine by neurons in the brain, as a result of which their concentration in the brain increases dramatically.
Drugs in this group can also have a calming and stimulating effect. The rate of onset of the effect of taking an antidepressant depends on the condition of the person and on which disease is treated with it. Sometimes the symptoms of depression can disappear after a few days of taking the drug, in other cases – only after a month.
Among the side effects of tricyclic drugs are noted: drowsiness, lethargy, tachycardia, dizziness, nausea, sweating and others.
Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAO)
Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme involved in the destruction of biogenic neurotransmitters (amines). MAO inhibitors can slow down the action of the enzyme in the nerve endings, which will prevent the destruction of serotonin and norepinephrine. Among MAO inhibitors, the most common are: moclobemide, tranylcypromine, metralindole, isocarboxazide and others.
MAO inhibitors are usually prescribed to patients in whom taking tricyclic antidepressants did not give a positive result in treatment. These drugs are prescribed for patients who have dysthymia and atypical depression. Usually, improvement occurs 10-14 days after the start of administration. This group of antidepressants also has a number of side effects: sleep disorders, weight gain, pressure fluctuations, decreased potency, and others.
Selective Serotonin Absorption Inhibitors
Inhibitors of selective (selective) absorption of seratonin are among the new generation of antidepressants. Their action is due to blocking in the sips of reverse absorption of seratonin, as a result of which there is an increase in neurotransmitters in the brain. A positive feature of the drugs of this group is that, unlike other groups of antidepressants that do not have strict specificity, selective absorption inhibitors act exclusively on seratonin, without affecting other mediators. The most popular selective absorption inhibitors are paroxetine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine and sertlanin.
These antidepressants have fewer side effects that are less pronounced.
Other groups of antidepressants
There are also some other groups of antidepressants that differ from the rest in the mechanism of action and chemical composition.
It is important to remember that treatment of depression with antidepressants can be carried out only on the recommendation of a doctor, in combination with the use of psychotherapy.