Societally, we have grown. Generations before may have underestimated the importance of mental health, largely preferring to fight conditions like depression and anxiety alone than to actively use medication. In recent years, however, we have come to understand that the brain sometimes needs as much support and recovery as a broken bone or an open wound.
Some injuries are internal; they need an appropriate resting period, healthy habits and (most importantly) the right medicine. Medication is a big consideration for those suffering with either depression or anxiety. It has to be personalized to them and take into account their needs, current condition and lifestyle.
In this article, we explore and identify the specific forms of medication for both depression and anxiety.
Deciding between depression medication
If you are facing severe depression that affects your daily life with suicidal or self-destructive thoughts, or even if you have mild depression with repeated episodes that occur without a trigger, medication is something you may want to seriously consider.
While medication is situational, our pharmacists consider the following to be the most significant forms of antidepressant medication:
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) – MAOIs were one of the earliest developed antidepressants. Their effectiveness has been recognized in extreme cases of depression and phobia, particularly in post-traumatic stress disorder or bipolar depression circumstances. Due to its strength and powerful reaction to cold and cough medicines, it is typically prescribed once other methods have failed.
Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – Amitriptyline and desipramine are both examples of proven TCAs. They were created in the 50s and 60s at a time when cognitive psychology was dominating the approaches to the study of the mind. Tricyclic antidepressants work by blocking the reuptake of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine, increasing levels of both in the brain and helping to alleviate depression’s hold.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Similar to TCAs, SSRIs work by raising the amount of serotonin in the brain. Depression absorbs serotonin, and SSRIs (like TCAs) block this process. Where SSRIs have proven more successful is that they only raise serotonin, reducing the number and severity of side-effects on the user. This makes drugs like Prozac and Paxil often the first line of defense against depression.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) – Building from the foundations of SSRIs and TCAs, dual-action antidepressants work to increase norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. Boasting a stronger benefit and fewer side-effects than its predecessors, dual-action drugs are prescribed to those with chronic cases of depression. Pristiq and Effexor are two examples of SNRIs that are often prescribed for depression sufferers.
Atypical antidepressants – Atypical antidepressants are defined by their inability to be classified. They work differently to other antidepressants and are prescribed when other methods simply aren’t working. Desyrel is a Canadian atypical antidepressant we stock that is also used as a sleeping aid for example.
Choosing anxiety medication
Symptoms associated with anxiety rose 5% in 18-25-year-olds between 2009 and 2017. It is also reported that one of every five children will develop an anxiety disorder. What is causing this strong rise is debated, but we do know that this figure is rising.
Our pharmacists consider the following to be the most significant forms of anxiety medication:
Mirtazapine – Remeron is an example of Mirtazapine and, while it is primarily used for severe depression, doctors have found that it is useful for preventing insomnia and supporting those who suffer from anxiety. It can take some time to take effect however, making it a difficult choice for those suffering from sleep deprivation and extreme anxiety attacks.
Mood stabilizers – Used to help strike a balance for those suffering from bipolar depression and other forms of severe depression, drugs like Eskalith can be prescribed to those afflicted by anxiety symptoms. Due to the powerful nature of the medication, it is not a commonly prescribed drug, although it can provide some respite to those affected by debilitating attacks.
Benzodiazepines – Xanax, Librium and Valium are all commonly known examples of medication found under the ‘benzodiazepine’ banner. Their intended reaction is to leave you calm and almost lull you into a state of relaxation using a powerful combination of chemicals.
Antidepressants – All of the above medication under the bracket of ‘antidepressant’ may support you through anxious feelings. An anxiety attack is often described as being caught between your ‘fight’ and ‘flight’ states, and the usage of a strong antidepressant can help fight the anxiety during these intense periods.
Serotonin enhancers – Widely popular, these types of products are typically used to help people on a more recreational basis – supporting the foundations of serotonin production in the brain in a similar way to antidepressants, but on a smaller scale.
Establishing what works for you
If you are facing symptoms of either condition and are considering medication, it is important that you speak to one of our pharmacists about dosage and type. Medication is incredibly personal, and while one may be deemed more effective than another, that does not mean that it will necessarily benefit your mental health.
Be conscious of how you are feeling throughout the duration of your prescription, monitoring the differences in your mood and frequency of your depressed or anxious feelings. These drugs can take a varied amount of time to have an effect, so it is recommended that you assess your medication, usually over 4-6 weeks, to evaluate its benefit.
Looking for support with your depression or anxiety? Speak to a pharmacist today. Our team are best positioned to describe the nature of each different medication on the market. If your enquiry is urgent, please remember that our customer service is open 24 hours a day all week. You can contact us on 1-866-500-6633 (toll-free phone number) or +44 1438 500111 (international phone number).