antidepressant

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Related to Anti-depressants: Zoloft, Lexapro

antidepressant,

any of a wide range of drugs used to treat psychic depressiondepression,
in psychiatry, a symptom of mood disorder characterized by intense feelings of loss, sadness, hopelessness, failure, and rejection. The two major types of mood disorder are unipolar disorder, also called major depression, and bipolar disorder, whose sufferers are
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. They are given to elevate mood, counter suicidal thoughts, and increase the effectiveness of psychotherapypsychotherapy,
treatment of mental and emotional disorders using psychological methods. Psychotherapy, thus, does not include physiological interventions, such as drug therapy or electroconvulsive therapy, although it may be used in combination with such methods.
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. Before the introduction of such drugs in the late 1950s, most patients with major depression had no recourse but hospitalization; only 45% improved after one year. In contrast, 80%–90% of such patients can expect significant relief from depression with one of the medications now prescribed.

Antidepressants act on the flow of the neurotransmitters epinephrineepinephrine
, hormone important to the body's metabolism, also known as adrenaline. Epinephrine, a catecholamine, together with norepinephrine, is secreted principally by the medulla of the adrenal gland.
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, serotoninserotonin
, organic compound that was first recognized as a powerful vasoconstrictor occurring in blood serum. It was partially purified, crystallized, and named in 1948, and its structure was deduced a year later.
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, and norepinephrinenorepinephrine
, a neurotransmitter in the catecholamine family that mediates chemical communication in the sympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system.
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 across neural synapsessynapse
, junction between various signal-transmitter cells, either between two neurons or between a neuron and a muscle or gland. A nerve impulse reaches the synapse through the axon, or transmitting end, of a nerve cell, or neuron.
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. Common antidepressants include monamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) such as isocarboxazid (Marplan), tricyclics such as imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Elavil), and the newer selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline HCL (Zoloft). Venlafaxine (Effexor) inhibits both serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake.

The choice of antidepressant often has more to do with its side effects (variously sedation, constipation, hypotension, tachycardia, weight gain, sexual dysfunction) than efficacy, as they are generally regarded to be equally effective. The newer drugs, especially SSRIs, are tolerated better and are currently by far the most widely prescribed, but SSRIs also appear to be less effective in children and teenagers and may cause some of them to become suicidal.

antidepressant

[‚an·tē·di′pres·ənt]
(pharmacology)
A drug, such as imipramine and tranylcypromine, that relieves depression by increasing central sympathetic activity.

antidepressant

any of a class of drugs used to alleviate depression
References in periodicals archive ?
Long before the advent of modem anti-depressants, the reformed drunk, the religious convert, and Ebenezer Scrooge raised similar questions.
Anti-depressant medications for 48,575 patients were funded under the Drugs Payment Scheme at a cost of [euro]6,018,199.
It found that the areas with the greatest use of WCA had seen the sharpest rises in suicides, mental health issues and anti-depressant prescribing.
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"It is worrying that anti-depressants can be the first port of call for some doctors, despite the fact that 'watchful waiting' and talking therapies are recommended as the first line of treatment for mild to moderate depression."
Analysis showed people taking tricyclic anti-depressants had a much lower risk of glioma and lower risk of bowel cancer.
Specialists have always known it sometimes takes up to three tries to find the correct anti-depressant for a patient.
The plea comes as a new canine anti-depressant pill - beef flavoured, to make it more palatable - is made available on prescription.
He defended his suggestion that anti-depressants may also help, explaining: "We try a variety of psychological therapies first but won't rule out anti-depressants, even in a child of four years."
She had been prescribed the anti-depressant Clomipramine, which she regularly took herself.
JOANNE, Bournville A ISSUES about anti-depressants and their potential hazards have been in the news a lot, Joanne, and your question is one that everyone prescribed antidepressants should ask.
This is of huge importance for us in Ireland because, believe it or not, we are big consumers of anti-depressants. Prescriptions for anti-depressants hit 1.5million in 2003.

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