A further widely used form of therapy for depression involves the use of drugs, the so-called anti-depressants. There are various kinds of anti-depressants. Their effectiveness depends in each individual case on several factors: from the nature of the depression, the severity, the length of time involved, the reaction of the patient to the treatment and various other factors. The decision on whether an anti-depressant should be used and on the most suitable type of anti-depressant should be taken after close consultation with the doctor.
The effect of anti-depressants is not usually felt immediately, but often only after two to three weeks. Temporary side-effects can occur, particularly at the beginning of treatment. These side-effects can differ and range from dryness of the mouth, headaches, nausea and dizziness to digestive problems and sensory disorders.
Anti-depressants have an effect on the metabolism of the brain. They improve the cooperation of various nerve cells by means of the body’s own messenger substances (neurotransmitters), such as, for example, serotonin and noradrenaline. It is assumed that the supply of these substances is out of balance in the case of depressive patients; anti-depressants contribute to the restoration of that balance.