At present, the clinical drugs used to treat depression can effectively relieve the depressed state of mind and the accompanying anxiety, tension and physical symptoms, with an efficiency of about 60% to 80%. However, during the treatment process, we often encounter some patients who do not know enough about depression and medication, and do not understand the necessity of taking medication. Some patients do not have sufficient treatment and stop taking medication without authorization soon after the effect is seen, which leads to the “rekindling” of the disease; others change medication frequently, which causes the medication to fail to fully play its role …… This article will address whether depression needs to take medication and the common questions patients have about antidepressants. This article will address whether depression requires medication and the common questions patients have about antidepressants.
Is it really necessary to take medication for depression?
The causes of depression are many and involve biological, psychological and social factors. Changes in the social and objective environment and changes in the individual’s physical condition can cause mental stress, psychological trauma or unpleasant emotional experiences, all of which can be the cause of depression, with the biological factors that lead to depression becoming more and more prominent. Some people believe that depression can resolve on its own and there is no need for medication. In fact, antidepressant medications act directly on the brain to improve abnormal neurological function by altering the levels of neurotransmitters, helping to alleviate the patient’s depressed mood and the accompanying anxiety, tension, and physical discomfort during depressive episodes, resulting in a gradual improvement in energy. Therefore, the vast majority of depressed patients need to be restored to a normal state with the help of medications.
Currently, antidepressants are the treatment of choice for depressed patients. For patients with severe conditions and multiple relapses, it is important to carry out medication as early as possible to avoid delaying the condition and leading to deterioration or even serious consequences. Depression medication should be administered under the guidance of a psychiatrist or pharmacist. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, clinical manifestations of the disease, ancillary tests, etc., the doctor and pharmacist should guide the patient in selecting appropriate medication and give advice on its use, and the patient should not change the antidepressant dose at will.
How to take antidepressants to be effective?
1, Single medication should be used as much as possible
In the process of antidepressant treatment, one antidepressant should be used as much as possible, in full dosage and for a full course of treatment; if the ideal therapeutic effect is not achieved after full dosage and full course of treatment with one drug, another drug should be changed for treatment at this time. It is generally not recommended to combine antidepressants, because the combination of antidepressants is not more effective than a single drug, and the incidence of adverse reactions will increase after the combination of drugs. When the combination of antidepressants with different mechanisms of action is still not effective, the combination of antidepressants with different mechanisms of action can be considered, and the adverse effects should be closely monitored during the process.
2, Dose adjustment after adequate assessment
The dose of antidepressants should be gradually increased, and the lowest dose that can bring out the clinical efficacy should be used as much as possible to reduce the risk of adverse reactions and improve the compliance of medication. If the efficacy of small doses is not satisfactory, increase the dose to the upper limit of the effective dose of the drug according to the adverse effects and tolerance, and treat for at least 4-6 weeks; if it is still ineffective, promptly follow up and consider switching to other drugs of the same type or drugs with different mechanisms of action under the guidance of a doctor.
3, The dose should be reduced or stopped under the guidance of a doctor
In different stages of depression onset, different treatment plans should be adopted. The acute phase should be treated for at least 3 months; patients whose symptoms have completely disappeared should enter the consolidation phase for 4-9 months, and the consolidation phase should preferably be treated with drugs that were effective in the original treatment and continue to be taken at the same dosage as before; the length of the consolidation phase should be decided according to the patient’s specific condition, and the consolidation phase should be extended as much as possible if the patient is female, has a young age of onset, has a family history, is accompanied by psychotic symptoms, and is relatively difficult to treat.
Patients with depressive relapse should undergo maintenance treatment for at least 2 to 3 years in combination with the number of relapses and frequency of onset. Antidepressants act on the brain and take some time to gradually restore their own level of function. Antidepressants are a powerful weapon to fight against depression. Patients must have enough patience and perseverance to take antidepressants under the guidance of doctors and not to stop them privately.
4, Changing medication should be careful
When using antidepressants, be careful not to change them too often. Most antidepressants are slow to take effect, usually 4-6 weeks, and a few patients may see the effect of the drug only in 1-3 months. Because of the slow onset of antidepressants, patients must be patient and adhere to the medication for at least 4 weeks to determine whether the medication is really effective, and should not change the medication frequently. Only when there is no obvious effect of a certain antidepressant medication after a full dosage and a full course of treatment, can you consider switching to another medication, but you must do so under the guidance of a doctor. You should stay on a different medication for a certain period of time to facilitate the clearance of the medication and prevent drug interactions.