Depression is a serious medical condition affecting an increasing number of people all over the world. It has various effects on the patient’s life since it may cause severe anxiety and frequent mood swings. Fortunately for depression patients, medical scientists have invented a way to battle it in the form of antidepressants. In order to understand how they work, first we must present some details about the function of the human brain.
Our brains contain around ten billion cells, each of which has up to twenty five thousand connections with its adjacent cells. So, in total, we have 25 trillion cell connections. In order for a signal to “move” from one cell to another, it must travel through a very tiny area between the two cells called synapse. In order to help the signal cross the synapse, every cell has neurotransmitters at its ends. These are chemicals that help the signals go through the synapse effectively. One of these transmitters is called serotonin. In the case of depression, serotonin is very important since it is controls the state of our emotions and our mood.
Depressed patients have been observed to have low levels of serotonin, not allowing the signals to be transferred from one cell to another in a normal way. In other cases, serotonin is re-absorbed by the transmitting cell way too fast causing the same issue.
There are different kinds of drugs that help resolve this problem. Some of them are the following:
1) NASSAs (Noradrenaline and Specific Serotoninergic Antidepressants)
Mianserin and Mirtzapine are two examples belonging in this category. NASSAs are used to treat some types of personality or anxiety disorders and also depression.
There are a few possible side effects like sudden gain of weight, feeling of dryness in the mouth, dizziness and vision blurring. Some extremely rare side effects include fainting or even seizures.
2) SNRIs (Serotonin and Noradrenalin Reuptake Inhibitors)
An SNRI drug increases the levels of norepinephrine and serotonin, thus greatly reducing the effects of depression.
Depression has not been permanently defeated yet, but an increasing number of ways to battle it offers hope to the millions of people suffering from it. According to a recent study, the number of people using antidepressants back in 1996 was 13.3 million. This almost doubled in 2010, reaching 23.3 million. It is extremely important to help people accept following treatment especially for such a “sneaky” condition like depression.