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Antidepressants: The Pros and Cons

Researchers began developing a number of synthetic drugs for the treatment of depression in the 1950s – and they took off in a big way. At the time, they were seen as a breakthrough. Now, a large variety of antidepressant medications is available. Distinguished by how they affect the balance and function of specific neurotransmitters, they fall into four principal classes: the tricyclic drugs, the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), the monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and the noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor drugs (NARIs). There are other antidepressant drugs that are chemically distinct both from these types and from one another.

Antidepressants have helped many desperate people live happier lives. However, these powerful medications have also been greatly overprescribed. There is plenty of good scientific evidence that natural products will often work just as well and without the side effects.

The various types of antidepressants differ in their mechanisms of action and side effects. However, they all have several things in common: They are effective in reducing depressive symptoms in 50 to 80 percent of those who use them. They may take from four to six weeks to produce their full effects, although side effects and changes in mood can occur much sooner.

The Tricyclics
Competing only with the problematic MAO inhibitors, tricyclics dominated the market for some twenty years. Used less frequently now, they work in various ways to affect the actions of noradrenaline and serotonin. There are a number of frightening downsides to these drugs as revealed below.

Downside of Tricyclics
Tricyclics can induce drowsiness, dizziness, heart palpitations, dry mouth, blurred vision, confusion, weight gain, sweating, rashes, nausea, constipation or diarrhea, difficulty with urination, impotence or impaired erection in men, inhibited orgasm in women, nightmares, and anxiety.



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From NATURAL HIGHS: Supplements, Nutrition, and Mind/Body Techniques to Help You Feel Good by Hyla Cass and Patrick Holford. Copyright © Hyla Cass, M.D., and Patrick Holford. Used by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit www.penguin.com. Get a 15% discount with the coupon code FENPARENT.


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