Medication Management for Depression

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Depression is a common mental health condition that impacts people at all socioeconomic levels. Researchers have found that the lifetime prevalence of depressive episodes is an estimated 30% among men and 40% among women. The symptoms of depression can be debilitating and interfere with daily functioning. Fortunately, depression is treatable with medication management and therapeutic intervention.

Medication Management

What Is Depression?

Depression involves a persistent state of sadness that can affect how people feel, think, act, and sleep. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual 5 (DSM-5) classifies depressive disorders into the following five conditions:

  • Major depressive disorder (clinical depression) – The most severe form of depression
  • Persistent depressive disorder – Mild to moderate depression lasting for two or more years with milder symptoms than major depressive disorder
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder – A form of childhood depression characterized by outbursts and irritability that typically begin around age 10
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder – Depressive symptoms that occur before menstrual cycles and subside once a period begins
  • Depressive disorders caused by other conditions – Depression that occurs as a symptom of another medical condition such as hypothyroidism, cancer, or heart disease

What Are the Symptoms of Depression?

The severity of depression symptoms can vary based on the type of depression people suffer. The following are among the most common:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Irritability, frustration, or angry outbursts beyond what is situationally appropriate
  • Restlessness, agitation, or anxiety
  • Disinterest in activities that you previously enjoyed
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in standard eating patterns, including loss of appetite or increased cravings
  • Fixation on past failures, self-blame, or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Slowed movements, speaking, or thinking

People need to seek medical help as soon as they begin experiencing symptoms of depression. While the symptoms can feel overwhelming, effective treatments, including medication management and talk therapy, are available.

How Is Depression Treated?

Fortunately, all types of depression, including the severest forms, are treatable. The treatment of depression is most effective when it begins early. The most common treatments used for depression include a combination of antidepressant medication management and psychotherapy. Other treatments that can also be helpful include exercise, healthy nutrition, and holistic therapies.

Antidepressant medication management interventions are particularly helpful for treating severe depression, especially when started during the beginning treatment phase. For example, med management technology can help buoy the mood of someone struggling with symptoms that interfere with their daily functioning so that they can feel more motivated to work in therapy.

Researchers have found that a combination of antidepressant medication management and psychotherapy works better to treat depression than trying either medication management or talk therapy alone. Complementary treatments for depression that have been shown to help include regular outdoor exercise and eating a nutritious diet.

What Is Medication Management?

Antidepressants play a crucial role in the treatment of depression. Patients can eliminate or reduce symptoms and significantly improve their quality of life when prescribed the proper medication.

However, the efficacy of different types of antidepressants varies between patients. Medical professionals understand the factors to account for, including the patient’s medical history and other medications.

medication management

To determine the efficacy of a particular antidepressant, medical professionals engage in medication management as a form of outpatient treatment. The patient’s need for antidepressants will be initially evaluated, and the doctor will prescribe antidepressant medication. The patient’s medication use will be monitored continuously to check whether the patient achieves the desired outcomes.

Medication management requires a thorough analysis of the prescribed medications and their potential side effects to create effective treatment plans so that their efficacy and safety can be monitored. If an antidepressant does not have the desired effect, the treating doctor might change prescriptions to find one that provides more relief.

What Medications Are Used to Treat Depression?

Medications used to treat depression fall into three primary drug classifications, including tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Effective Medication Management is essential for optimizing treatment outcomes and minimizing side effects.

TCAs work by blocking the norepinephrine reuptake pumps and the serotonin reuptake pumps to a lesser degree. They can help to reduce the symptoms of depression but also have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease for people with certain underlying heart conditions. Some of the side effects of TCAs include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight gain
  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Reflex tachycardia

The dosage of TCAs is gradually increased from an initial low dose.

SSRIs have been the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants since the introduction of Prozac in 1986. SSRIs inhibit the brain’s serotonin reuptake, so more serotonin can remain in the system and improve mood levels. SSRIs can cause the following side effects:

  • Weight gain
  • Reduced libido
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia

SNRIs inhibit the reuptake of both norepinephrine and serotonin from ameliorating symptoms. Some common side effects of SNRIs include the following:

  • Reduced libido
  • Mild blood pressure increases
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

What Is the Best Antidepressant?

SSRIs are the most common type of antidepressant prescribed. However, the best antidepressant for patients depends on their biochemistry, medical history, underlying conditions, and other factors. Because of this, doctors use med management technology to track symptoms and monitor patients’ use of antidepressants and progress. This process can help pinpoint the right antidepressant to prescribe to an individual patient to achieve the best outcomes.

Med management can help doctors and patients determine the most appropriate medication to treat depression. When antidepressants are combined with talk therapy and other complementary treatments, depression can be effectively treated so patients can enjoy a better quality of life.

At Mind Body Optimization, we specialize in treating a broad range of mental health, addiction, and co-occurring disorders by taking a holistic approach. Incorporating a variety of different therapeutic interventions helps us to support whole-body healing and successful recovery.

If you or your loved one would like to begin healing from depression and achieve sustainable well-being, contact Mind Body Optimization today.