People who suffer from depression often have difficulty sleeping, are tired, lose interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed and feel drained and pessimistic. Depression can also be accompanied by physical symptoms such as weight loss, headache and stomach pain. Depression can be caused by a combination of factors such as stress, a shortage of particular neurotransmitters, hormonal imbalance and traumatic experiences.
Fortunately there are things you can do about depression. You can talk to your GP, a psychologist or other expert. Relaxation exercises or a change of lifestyle may also help. These forms of therapy can also be supported by medication. Drugs that are used to treat depression are called antidepressants.
How do antidepressants work?
Most antidepressants act on neurotransmitters: chemicals that are involved in passing messages between nerve cells. A shortage of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and noradrenaline is known to impact mood. Antidepressants increase the level of these substances in the brain. This improves the transmission of messages between the nerve cells, which reduces or eliminates the symptoms of depression.
Other uses for antidepressants
Antidepressants can also be used for conditions other than depression that are also caused by neurotransmitter deficiency. Premature ejaculation is an example of this. Antidepressants may also be used to treat anxiety disorders, phobias or menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes.
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