Treating Endogenous Depression with Antidepressants

Treating Endogenous Depression with Antidepressants
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What is Endogenous Depression?

Endogenous depression occurs when people suffer from chemical imbalances in the brain. Although most people start exhibiting the signs and symptoms of depression when they face extremely stressful situations or traumatic events, the symptoms of endogenous depression often arise without any reason. Besides this, a person is said to be suffering from endogenous depression when he remains unresponsive to antidepressant drugs like Tricyclic antidepressants and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors. Patients suffering from endogenous depression often feel that their symptoms stem from negative feelings or emotions that come from within and that these feelings aren’t related to any events they come across in life.

Symptoms of Endogenous Depression

The signs and symptoms of endogenous depression are very similar to those symptoms exhibited by patients suffering from other types of depression. The symptoms do however, vary in terms of severity. The type and chronicity of the symptoms exhibited are influenced by many factors and the doctor will take all these things into account when confirming the diagnosis. Since the symptoms of endogenous depression are common to other forms of depression and related mood disorders, the doctor will prescribe the same medications that are used to treat depression in general.

Medications Prescribed to Treat Endogenous Depression

The medications that are used to treat depression are classified as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s), tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors. It is believed that patients with a family history of depression may be more responsive to certain antidepressant drugs that have been previously used to cure other members in the family. Although this is in part true, each person responds differently to the same medication and it’s best to work with the doctor to determine which medications are best suited to your personal needs. Some people may develop mild to severe side effects to certain drugs while others may respond favorably to the same medications. Let’s now take a look at some of the most common drugs that are used to treat depression and learn how they work on the human body.

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The brain releases certain chemicals like serotonin to transmit messages from one brain cell to the other. Patients suffering from depression often have low levels of serotonin and other biochemicals in the brain. To increase the serotonin levels in the brain, the doctor will prescribe Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Medications that contain the active ingredients sertraline, escitalopram, fluoxetine and citalopram are some of the most commonly prescribed SSRI’s. While most patients respond favorably to these drugs, they do cause certain side-effects.

Side-Effects of SSRI’s Include

  • Inability to fall asleep
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Serotonergic syndrome

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors

These drugs are generally prescribed to patients that don’t respond to all other antidepressant drugs. Since they cause severe side-effects they need to be taken with caution. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors work to slow down or decrease the production of monoamine oxidase in the brain. Monoamine oxidase is a type of enzyme that helps in the breakdown of norepineprhine-a chemical that’s present in decreased amounts in patients suffering from depression. Once the production of monoamine oxidase is inhibited, the brain will start accumulating the much needed neurochemical, norepinephrine and the patient will show signs of recovery. Some Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors that are prescribed to patients suffering from endogenous depression include drugs that contain the active ingredients tranylcypromine and phenelzine.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

These drugs not only increase the amount of norepinephrine that’s present in the brain but they also alter serotonin imbalances. Drugs that contain the active ingredients imipramine, desipramine and amitryptiline are a few tricyclic antidepressants that are mostly prescribed.

Other Treatment Options

If the patient doesn’t respond to SSRI’s or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors the doctor may prescribe atypical antidepressants that contain ingredients like nefazodone and bupropion. In some instances, the doctor may have to use a combination of two or more drugs to bring the patient back to normal. If the depression is of a very serious nature and the symptoms include thoughts of suicide, the doctor may use Electroconvulsive Therapy. Since a lot of research has been carried out regarding the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy, the procedure can now be safely conducted to help patients suffering from various forms of depression. Electroconvulsive therapy may also be used in conjunction with antidepressant medications to speed up recovery.


Although these are some of the most common treatment options that are used for patients suffering from endogenous depression, the type of medication and the dosage instructions given to individual patients differ considerably. Most medications are known to cause mild to severe side effects and should therefore be administered only under the guidance of a medical practitioner.