Modern medicine uses psychotropic medications for curing people who suffer from different mental diseases, including depression. However, doctors still argue about whether psychotropic medications are safe for this purpose and whether drugs do more harm or good. The purpose of this research is to learn how effective psychotropic medication for the patients with depression is and what the values and dangers of the method are. It also aims to reveal important issues connected with such kind of treatment and provide details that a patient should know before agreeing to the psychotropic medication as the main method of treatment. It is important to understand the most visible risks and dangers that a person may face while using medications. The results and conclusion of the paper may be useful for the patients with diagnosed depression since it may help them decide whether psychotropic medications are appropriate for their case.
Different mental disorders are treated with the help of medications, and depression is not an exception. Depression, which is also called a major depressive disorder, is a dangerous medical illness that causes a negative emotional impact on the way one feels, thinks and acts. It makes one’s life less enjoyable and makes them feel very sad. One also loses interest in his or her favorite activities that used to make one smile before the illness. It is dangerous because it does not allow a person to live a normal functional life and causes a number of emotional and physical problems every day. The researches of American Psychiatric Association show that in the case of depression, medication plays an enormous role, but the drugs usage alone is not the most effective way of curing. Psychotherapy and brain stimulation therapies together with the medications show better results than drugs only. Sometimes, medications are not necessary at all, and psychotherapy alone is the best treatment that a patient suffering from depression can receive. The treatment depends on every individual case (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016). The most common psychotropic medications that are usually prescribed for curing depression are antidepressants. Due to this it is useful to learn about their types, side effects and termination of recommended and appropriate usage.
There is a wide amount of different antidepressants. According to the National Institute of Mental Health selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly spread. Fluoxetine, Citalopram, Sertraline, Paroxetine, and Escitalopramare are a few of the most well-known drugs of this group. The other group is serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These two types are similar because of venlafaxine and duloxetine content. There is also bupropion that works in a different way than the previous two kinds of drugs, and because of this belongs to a separate group. SSRIs, SNRIs, and bupropion are believed to be among the most safe and convenient antidepressant medications, because they work both softly and effectively. There is another group called older antidepressant medications that cause more side effects: tricyclics, tetracyclics, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) (National Institute of Mental Health, 2016).
There is a huge variety of side effects that antidepressants may cause. Nausea, vomiting, weight gain, diarrhea, sleepiness, sexual problems are among the most usual cases of physical effects. The behavioral ones are even more scary. People suffer from panic attacks, worsened depression, thoughts about suicide, insomnia, aggression, mania, mood changes and many other things. In case of any side effects a patient should contact the doctor.
There is an important factor people should remember when starting treatment with any type of medication. The effectiveness of the medical situation improvement differs from case to case. Individual features including way of life, health conditions, and personal acceptance of the medication play their role in the success of the result. Thus, in spite of the fact that all of mentioned drugs show high results as antidepressants, the important thing is to choose an appropriate treatment for every single case. For example, according to the information from Beyond Blue support service specialists, if symptoms show responsibility only for depression, 4-6 weeks of taking the psychotropic medications may be enough for complete healing. But if the symptoms include depression combined with another disease, the treatment will definitely take more time. Moreover, the support team warns the patients, that “just because a treatment has been shown to work scientifically, that doesn't mean it will work equally well for every individual” (“Medical Treatments for Depression,” n.d.).
Some patients may have side effects and different other problems during the treatment. While it may be acceptable for individual patients, it will not fit the others. Some researchers advise picking a group of people with similar symptoms and medical situation and trying to followi the most suitable treatment. Some time may pass before a health professional finds the right treatment for an individual. However, even when a medication fits the patient perfectly, the improvement may not happen, if he or she does not follow the medication adherence. Every single case counts and it is very essential to understand that non-adherance may cause damages to the health of the patient instead.
Hazelden Foundation names different reasons for non-adherance of taking medications. While some people just forget about it, others stop taking medication on purpose. These purposes may be different: suffering from side effects, feeling better and refusing further treatment, thinking that the disease is already over, not taking medication if a person returns to any other substance, thinking that the medication is not helping, suffering from a lack of family support, and others (Hazelden Foundation, n.d.). If there is a possibility that a person suffering from depression may be under the risk of medication non-adherence, he or she should consult a health professional and get some corrections to their medical plan according to the circumstances. Otherwise serious harm to mental and physical health may be caused and depression may only get worse.
The prescribers should be very attentive to the patients that suffer from side effects and do changes in the medicine-taking schedule. The doctor should react immediately to address the issue. Close empathic helpfulness is sometimes enough to assure the patient that the problem will pass soon if it is not severe. However, if a side effect of taking psychotropic medications is serious the prescriber may take measures by varying treatment. The timing or dose may be changed. In some cases the best way to improve the situation is changing the medications. Nevertheless, unfortunately there is even more serious danger than suffering from side effects; it is the risk of becoming addicted.
Drug companies invented the term “discontinuation syndrome” instead of admitting the withdrawal problems that may cause bad sales and unprofitable public relations according to Mick Bramham. Many people suffer from not being able to stop taking the drug after it becomes unnecessary for them, when they already got cured or for some reason decided to stop using psychotropic medication (Bramham, n.d.). The drug companies should pay more attention to informing people that this or that medication may cause addictiveness. This measure will help patients understand the risks that they may face. People will feel prepared for any kinds of withdrawal problems and they will simply have more respect and trust for the medical companies that produce strong drugs. Unfortunately, in most cases the patients do not get informed about the right and safe ways of stopping the usage of psychotropic medications while suffering from depression. The reducing happens too fast and the patient experiences some troubling withdrawal effects. Because of this the patient has to start taking the drugs again, although he does not need them. The negative effects may even worsen if the treatment before the quick withdrawal was long-termed. Therefore, Bramham (n.d.) states that “Although mental health problems have not, in the main, been shown to be neurobiological diseases, psychotropic drug use does in a sense create medical problems, including the possibility of a physical dependency.” If serious permanent damage occurs, some people will have to continue using medications during their lifetime. The effects may be less harmful. Definitely, one will not necessarily have symptoms of “discontinuation syndrome”, when he is cured and stops taking the medication. The cases differ and the organisms of the patients react individually. But even if a person starts suffering from a withdrawal, a little patience and willpower will help defeat this problem. On the other side, it is a tough challenge to continue living without drugs that one’s organism has got used to.
To summarize, the researches show that in the case of depression medication plays a massive role, but it is not the only possible treatment. The most common psychotropic medications that are prescribed for curing depression are antidepressants. In spite of the fact that all of mentioned drugs show high results as antidepressants, the important thing is to choose an appropriate treatment individually. There are risks and dangers that psychiatric drugs can cause while curing depression: from simple mood waves to strong life-time addiction. So, a person should be very careful and precise if he or she decides to start using the drugs. It is extremely important to follow the medical plan, otherwise he or she risks to damage the health instead of improving it.