The difficulties of modern life often are reflected in the high prevalence of mental health disorders, particularly anxiety disorders and major depressive disorders. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that an estimated 40 million adults suffer from one of the eight disorders within the anxiety spectrum. In addition, depression impacts approximately 16 million, about 6.7% of the U.S. adult population.
These statistics translate to a vast number of the American population reliant on psychotropic medications. In fact, one in ten adults now take an antidepressant regularly, with women aged 40-60 taking them at a rate of one in four. While these medications do help manage symptoms for anxiety and depression in about half of the patients prescribed them, the drugs are not effective in reducing symptoms in the remaining 50%. The following is a list of the most popular anxiety and depression medications.
Anxiety and Depression Medications List and their Side Effects
Anxiety. Medications that treat anxiety fall into four categories:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) include citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, and escitalopram. Side effects include sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) include duloxetine and venlafaxine. Side effects include headache, insomnia, stomach upset, and hypertension.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants include imipramine, amitriptyline, and nortriptyline. Side effects incaude sudden drop in blood pressure, inability to urinate, constipation, blurry vision, and dry mouth.
- Benzodiazepines include diazepam, lorazepam, alprazolam, and clonazepam. The primary side effect of this class of drugs is its dependency potential as tolerance increases and higher dosing results.
Depression. Medications that treat depression fall into nine categories:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) include citalopram, fluoxetine, sertraline, escitalopram, paroxetine, fluvoxamine, and trazodone. Side effects include sleep disorders, sexual dysfunction, nausea, nervousness, tremors, and weight gain.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) include desvenlafaxine, duloxetine, levomilnacipran, and venlafaxine. Side effects include headache, insomnia, stomach upset, drowsiness, constipation, and hypertension.
- Tricyclic antidepressants include imipramine, amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, protiptyline, trimipramine, and nortriptyline. Side effects include sudden drop in blood pressure, inability to urinate, fatigue, irregular heart rate, constipation, blurry vision, dry mouth, and seizures.
- Tetracyclic antidepressant called maprotiline. Side effects include drowsiness, lightheadedness, dry mouth, headache, weakness, and blurry vision.
- Dopamine reuptake blocker called bupropion. Side effects include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, blurry vision, and constipation.
- 5-HT1A receptor antagonist called vilazodone. Side effects include sleep disorders, nausea, and vomiting.
- 5-HT2 receptor antagonists include nefazodone and trazodone. Side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, and dry mouth.
- 5-HT3 receptor antagonist called vortioxetine. Side effects include sexual dysfunction and nausea.
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOIs) include isocarboxazid, selegiline, phenelzine, tranylcypromine. Side effects include sleep disturbances, restlessness, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness.
Prescribing challenges exist for mental health practitioners treating anxiety and depressive disorders who strive to match the most effective medication with the patient, yielding the least number of side effects. As the anxiety and depression medication list above demonstrates, these drugs may be somewhat efficacious in treating the conditions but do potentially produce unpleasant side effects in the patient. Treatment professionals continue to consider alternative methods of treatment for anxiety and depressive disorders for individuals who are found to be medication-resistant.
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