When Prozac became available to the public in 1988, it represented a watershed moment in the field of psychiatry and psychopharmacology. What was behind the medication’s unprecedented success? In this video, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about SSRIs.
The “Dark Ages” of Antidepressant Medications
Before Prozac and other Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, the only antidepressant medications available were known as tricyclics. These medications only treated major depression, but they had pronounced highly negative side effects. For many people suffering from mood disorders, the available treatments were often worse than the illnesses.
This kept many people from ever seeking any sort of treatment–psychiatric or otherwise. While society still maintains somewhat of a stigma against individuals with mental disorders, we’ve made leaps and bounds since the 1980s, and much of that is due to SSRIs overcoming tricyclics as the primary method by which to treat anxiety and depressive symptoms.
In this video, we examine how tricyclic medications actually worked on too many receptors in the brain, including areas that only brought about these unfortunate side effects.
Why SSRIs Are Different
Whereas tricyclics worked on five separate receptors in the brain, SSRIs work on fewer but work on them more effectively. It’s not sending any “junk” or unneeded signals to other parts of the brain that would respond negatively to chemical stimulation.
Prozac and other SSRI success stories remain somewhat of a mystery–one could chalk them up to good press, good results, and continued research; in reality, it’s all of these factors and more that have led SSRI medications to have a continued success story.
This video examines how the advent of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors allowed people with milder mood disorders and depressions to seek treatment from a psychiatrist, without the stigma and serious side effects they once feared.
Dr. McMullen also explains how SSRIs work on the brain to produce a positive effect. Some of the topics covered include:
- How an SSRI allows more serotonin to get into the brain and its synapses
- The length of time it takes to experience positive results (10 days for notable changes, then an upward climb over the following months)
- How SSRIs can benefit people with anxiety
Side Effects of SSRIs
While the side effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors doesn’t even come close to those presented by older-era tricyclics, we discuss the common side effects that around half of people on SSRIs may experience (at varying levels and degrees of severity). A few of these include:
- Diminished libido/sex life
- Difficulty or inability to maintain an erection
- Increased desire to sleep
- Agitation and irritability
- Increased appetite
We discuss further how finding the right medication is only the first step in the journey to combat depression symptoms. Medications often need to be augmented and supplemented by the right behavioral, nutritional, and even other pharmaceutical help–particularly for individuals with even a mild tendency toward bipolarism.
Are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Right for You?
While there’s no doubt that Prozac and similar medications represented a revolution in psychiatry, there’s an outside possibility that they aren’t the best choice for you. To learn more about SNRIs, atypical antidepressants, and more, we encourage you to view all of Dr. McMullen’s videos.
Actually, we encourage you to do even more.
If you’re dealing with depression’s intense and unpleasant symptoms and you live in NYC, or anywhere in the USA for that matter, you should reach out to Robert D McMullen MD to see if an SSRI medication might help you treat mood disorders, sleep disorders, and any other problems you might be facing in your life. You owe it to yourself to make the necessary changes in your life to become a happier, better-adjusted person, and we can help! Dial 212 362-9635 today.