Diagnosis of depression is usually done with a counselor, therapist, a psychologist or some other medical practitioner. A through psychological evaluation should be performed before the diagnosis is given. Most people with depression respond to a combination of therapies, which includes supplementation and ‘talk’ therapy with a counselor, therapist or psychologist.
Laboratory testing may be done to evaluate neurotransmitter levels, for example to check for levels of serotonin. Most often these tests are done when an individual is being monitored with therapies that specifically act on the neurotransmitter pathways, such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) or 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan (5-HTP).
Medications for depression
Conventional medicines can be prescribed by medical doctors or psychiatrists to treat depression.
Following is a list of common conventional medicines that may be used for depression.
Serotonin Selective Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
The most commonly prescribed antidepressants. These include: Citalopram (Celapram), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Aropax), Sertraline (Zoloft). These medications increase the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which elevates mood and energy. These medications at times can increase the level of serotonin so much that a serotonin syndrome presents, especially when used in conjuction with other medications that act in a similar fashion, or with the use of other mind altering drugs. The symptoms of the serotonin syndrome include tremor, changes in mental affect and cognition. In addt6ion SSRI’s can cause irritation and bleeding of the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, and cause lower libido as a sexual side effect.
The second most common class of medications prescribed is tricylic antidepressants.
These include: Amitriptyline (Amitrip), Clomipramine (Clopress), and Imipramine (Tofranil). Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) are rarely prescribed. They include Tranylcypromine (Parnate). Some other types of medication that may be used are Bupropion (Zyban), and Venlafaxine (Efexor).
A host of potential side-effects (or symptoms of withdrawal) accompany the use of many if not all of these drugs. Some of the most serious of these are: anxiety, asthenia – loss of bodily strength, blurred vision, constipation , decreased ability to think clearly, development of drug dependency, development or worsening of suicidal tendencies, dizziness, dry mouth, insomnia , loss of libido and other sexual side effects, nausea , nervousness, rash , somnolence – sleepiness or a lack of energy and activity, and sustained increase in blood pressure (hypertension).