Treatment Through Medications
Consumption of antidepressant medication is one proven approach of curing recurrent major depression. Research indicates that depression occurs owing to alteration of neuronal functions in the brain caused by stress. Antidepressants reverse this neuronal degeneration by increasing the availability of neurotransmitters.
Consumption of antidepressants can however cause side effects such as decreased sexual desire, delayed orgasm, digestive problems, jitteriness, restlessness, headache, and insomnia. Since most of such side effects are already symptoms of major depression, such symptoms increase before the depression subsides. For this reason, the best type of antidepressant medication are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro), which cause fewer such side effects compared to other types of antidepressants.
A study at Virginia Commonwealth University reveals that long-term maintenance treatment with the SSRI escitalopram may reduce the risk of recurrent depression in patients with major depressive disorder.
At times, however, SSRIs may remain inadequate, and treatment of recurrent major depression may require other categories of antidepressants, such as
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), and venlafaxine (Effexor).
- Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs) such as bupropion. These antidepressants do not cause sexual side effects but may instead cause seizures.
- Atypical antidepressants such as trazodone (Desyrel) and mirtazapine (Remeron), which do not fit into any other antidepressant category. These have sedative property.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as tranylcypromine (Parnate) and phenelzine (Nardil). These have severe side effects and need a strict diet regimen, and as such are prescribed as a last resort.
Other stimulants, mood-stabilizing medications, anti-anxiety medications, or antipsychotic medications may also find use to treat recurrent major depression, as appropriate.
Finding the right medication may require some trial and error as individual constitutions vary, and most medications would require about eight weeks or longer to take full effect and for side effects to ease. Patient and perseverance through this time is of critical importance for successful treatment