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How Antidepressants Work to Restore Your Quality of Life

Jan 12, 2024
How Antidepressants Work to Restore Your Quality of Life
Depression affects millions of Americans, taking a toll on work, relationships, sleep, and every other aspect of their lives. Fortunately, antidepressants can help. Here’s how they work and how they can help you improve your overall well-being.

Millions of Americans suffer from depression, a chronic mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and low self-worth. Depression affects every aspect of an individual’s life, triggering feelings of fatigue, disinterest, moodiness, and a sense of emptiness and futility.

Living with depression can be a bleak experience, but fortunately, today there are medications that can help. In fact, over the past few decades, antidepressant medications have improved and broadened considerably, making it easier to find a medication or combination of medications that works to relieve symptoms and restore a better quality of life.

At Cora Health Solutions in the Biltmore area of Phoenix, Arizona, Betsy Serrano, PMHNP, helps patients find relief for depression symptoms with antidepressant medications, either alone or in combination with psychotherapy. Here, learn how antidepressants work and how they could help you find relief for your depression symptoms.

The science behind antidepressants

Antidepressants work by regulating the production and activity of specific brain chemicals, typically serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. These chemicals play pivotal roles in regulating your mood. 

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are among the most widely known antidepressants, working by inhibiting or slowing the “absorption” of serotonin and effectively increasing the chemical’s availability. Serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants work similarly, but on both serotonin and norepinephrine, while serotonin modulators regulate the nerve receptors that absorb or react to serotonin.

While these antidepressants can be very effective for most people, they may not work for women and men with treatment-resistant depression. In those instances, our team offers nasal spray ketamine, a medication traditionally used as an anesthetic but which is widely recognized as an effective treatment for depression that doesn’t respond to traditional medications. Ketamine also works faster than oral antidepressants, helping people with severe depression and suicidal thoughts find fast, meaningful relief.

Benefits of antidepressants

Antidepressants don’t work immediately. In fact, most medications take a few weeks to achieve their full effects. Once they “kick in,” the benefits you experience can be dramatic.

Improvements in mood and outlook

One of the most noticeable benefits of antidepressants is their ability to improve your mood, your outlook on life, and the way you perceive yourself. The right antidepressant can provide relief from persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, and low self-esteem that seem to plague your everyday life, so you feel more positive.

Greater emotional stability

Depression is often marked by bouts of crying or irritability that can take a toll on your relationships, your work performance, and even your senses of self-esteem and self-control. Antidepressants work directly on the chemicals and nerves involved in mood regulation so your mood and emotions are better regulated. 

Improved sleep

Many people with depression have difficulties regulating their sleep, either having difficulties sleeping or sleeping too much. Antidepressants help you regulate your sleep patterns, so you feel rested rather than exhausted.

Increased energy

Depression is almost always accompanied by feelings of fatigue and weariness, along with low interest and motivation to engage in any type of activity. By regulating brain chemicals involved in depression, antidepressants help increase your energy along with your motivation to take part in daily activities.

Better memory and clearer thinking

The fatigue and moodiness associated with depression can take a major toll on your thought processes. Antidepressants help clear away mental “fog,” so you can focus better and enjoy more organized thought patterns.

By helping you function and cope, antidepressants also help elevate your senses of self-esteem, self-worth, and self-confidence, so you feel more positive overall.

Finding the right treatment option for you

Because different antidepressants work in different ways to relieve symptoms and improve your overall well-being, it can take some time to find a therapy that works for you. Our team uses GeneSight®, advanced genetic testing to evaluate genetic variations in your DNA. These variations can help predict which medicines will work best for you, so you can feel better faster. 

To learn more about GeneSight or to find relief for your depression symptoms, call 602-907-5300 or book an appointment online with Cora Health Solutions today.