Why do we take antidepressants?

Posted by aliali @aliali, Thu, May 30 8:47pm

Why did my physician and yours prescribe antidepressants for us rather than, say, suggesting a serotonin-food diet? I truly wonder why antidepressants are widely taken! Would not be a serotonin-food enough?

That seems like a good question. However the desired results is to regulate the amount of serotonin. It is not simply adding serotonin. It is similar to a diabetic who does not have the right amount of insulin. Simply controlling what the patient eats may be enough for those not too bad, but many need to regulate how much insulin they need. For those who are not that depressed psychotherapy may be enough; however, for those with severe depression there's a need to regulate by medicine. The ssri is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It thus selectively inhibits the uptake of serotonin, thus increasing the amount you have. The problem with depression caused by chemical imbalance is that your body produces too much and then tries to reduce the amount, but then ends up with too little. By increasing the amount of serotonin, we have broken that cycle. So it is similar to what happens in a diabetic controlling insulin. That is why as a diabetic cannot stop their insulin, so we should not stop our medication without a doctor's orders. I hope this helps with understanding how it all works.

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@johnhans

That seems like a good question. However the desired results is to regulate the amount of serotonin. It is not simply adding serotonin. It is similar to a diabetic who does not have the right amount of insulin. Simply controlling what the patient eats may be enough for those not too bad, but many need to regulate how much insulin they need. For those who are not that depressed psychotherapy may be enough; however, for those with severe depression there's a need to regulate by medicine. The ssri is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. It thus selectively inhibits the uptake of serotonin, thus increasing the amount you have. The problem with depression caused by chemical imbalance is that your body produces too much and then tries to reduce the amount, but then ends up with too little. By increasing the amount of serotonin, we have broken that cycle. So it is similar to what happens in a diabetic controlling insulin. That is why as a diabetic cannot stop their insulin, so we should not stop our medication without a doctor's orders. I hope this helps with understanding how it all works.

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@johnhans A very insightful answer. @aliali Sometimes we need a quicker relief of our symptoms, similar to overpowering the down feelings. We need a level supply of the ssri medication in our system, that can only come from a constant source like a medication. Of course, the same formula or medication may not work for each person, so there are many types of solutions [medication, exercise, journaling, therapy, etc.] that can be combined. That is why it is important for each person to honestly speak to their Dr about symptoms, and for each of us to take responsibility for our own health. Besides, it helps us feel better when we have a part in the decision making to feel better!
Ginger

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