Essay: The Benefits of Antidepressants

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  • The Benefits of Antidepressants
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Benefits of Antidepressants
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which is responsible for ultimately determining a person’s mood as well as their social behavior and memory. Depression is caused when there are low levels of serotonin. America is the leading country with the most patients diagnosed with depression. Over “19.7 million people in the United States suffer from depressive disorders” (Darnay 169). Which is 9.5% of the United States population. The United States saw an increased demand after September 11th, 2001 attack (Blachford and Krapp 31). Adrienne Z. Ables and Otis L. Baughman III stated that, “Ten to Twenty percent of adults will experience depression in their lifetime.” Depression is curable between psychotherapy and various medications. There are over 15 prescription antidepressant drugs with mild to severe side effects. The side effects vary to small headaches to seizures and bronchitis. Antidepressant drugs affect patients individually. Some patients with mild depression do not require medications; they benefit to psychotherapy. Whereas severely affected patients benefit from antidepressants. However most patients will benefit from a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressant medications. Although antidepressants have their disadvantages, the most benefits are found through use of Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and psychotherapy.
Prozac is the most effective antidepressant. Not only does it ease patient’s feelings but it also gives them a more optimistic outlook on themselves and their life. Additionally it eased patient’s suicidal thoughts and has minimal side effects. Prozac is a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) so it increases levels of serotonin “enhances not only mood but energy, assertiveness, and optimism, anxiety, panic attacks, social discomfort, rejection sensitivity, and obsessive thoughts” (Riggs). Unlike other antidepressants, Prozac does not have “sedative effects, weight gain or loss, or dangerous interactions” that other medications have (Riggs). Overdosing has a minimal risk of death, although overdosing is unlikely. “Prozac is the second best selling drug of any kind in the world with a reported one billion prescriptions a month” because its desired ability to increase energy and decrease appetite. (Riggs). Prozac is not perfect as it’s side effects include “insomnia, nausea, nervousness, uncontrolled body movements, and less commonly mania, hypomania, and seizures resulting from central nervous system overstimulation” (Riggs). Despite these side effects it has still cured numerous patients and has given patients an improved self concept.
Zoloft is better for children and teenagers than other drugs. Like Prozac, Zoloft also increases serotonin levels to improve mood. Although Zoloft does work for adults, it studies show that adolescents ages 10-19 have benefitted more from it. Zoloft has decreased suicidal thoughts and has helped people with obsessive compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD. Zoloft also helps patients with panic disorders, reduces overstimulation and anxiety because it contains monoamine oxidase inhibitors and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Common side effects include nervousness, agitation, irritability, mood instability, sleeplessness, dry mouth, nausea and insomnia.Similar to Prozac, Zoloft has unlikely yet severe side effects such as “panic attacks, aggressive behavior and dangerous allergic reactions” (Riggs 87). However Zoloft has relieved patients of chronic depression and symptoms of major depression.
Paxil is good for severe depression, but patients use it for other reasons. Paxil helps people with serious, ongoing depression, anxiety disorders, panic disorders, OCD, and posttraumatic stress disorder. It also helps with hot flashes, headaches, and nerve problems. Paxil is a very strong medication, so use on children, teenagers, and those with mild depression is discouraged. It can cause adolescents to hallucinate and have increased aggression. On the more severe side, teenagers that have taken Paxil have been committing violent acts such as suicide. A pregnant woman taking Paxil increases the risk of her child being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This is because it changes the naturally occurring chemical messengers in brains. A patient may experience “severe withdrawal symptoms” (McHenry) when they suddenly stop Paxil. It may take 3-4 weeks to see improvement in the individual. Paxil is less risky and more beneficial to patients over 25.
Because the health risks add up, antidepressants are not always the best choice. The side effects include but are not limited to “allergic reactions to the drug, blurred vision, decreased appetite, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, rashes, high blood pressure, fevers, weight gain or loss, nervousness, increased heart beat, fatigue, seizures, increased or decreased, and asthma.” (Antidepressant Drugs, Narins) Although side effects are rare and uncommon there are huge, life impacting, effects that can come with antidepressants. For example, pregnant women on antidepressants are not recommended. Although they are not harmful during their first trimester of pregnancy, in the second and third the risk of autism spectrum disorder in the child is increased by 87 percent according to Anick Berard. This is because the baby’s brain is developing and the antidepressants change the chemical messengers in brains. Fortunately for those that are not willing to risk their health for antidepressants, there are other options such as psychotherapy. Various types of therapy include interpersonal therapy, behavioral therapy, cognitive therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Cognitive therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy all help the individual focus on how your own thoughts and behavior contribute to their depression. Interpersonal therapy focuses on the relationships with other people and how they may affect their depression. It focuses on practical issues. It also helps the family become aware of the situation and how they can help. The therapist helps the patients explore behavior problems that are contributing to the depression. Unfortunately psychotherapy takes about 12 weeks to see a significant improvement whereas medication only takes about 3-6 weeks depending on the patient.
Many people and cultures believe it is unethical to use antidepressants, because they believe in more natural solutions such as relying on a god to create results. Although, antidepressants are beneficial to the patient. Not only are patients happier, but their energy, optimism, assertiveness, hygiene, mood, eating and sleep habits and most importantly their self value and outlook on themselves and their life have improved drastically. Even though the antidepressants bring undesired side effects, they bring desired solutions to the overall problem. According to the National Institute of Health, 80% of patients are cured through antidepressants and psychotherapy. Antidepressants are significant to our culture, because they affect so many people. A vast amount of people are depressed and have lost their lives from depression such as overdosing and suicide. It is important that doctors and scientist find a way to create antidepressants without the side effects, because it would help a large amount of people.

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