There is an answer to this question, yet some nuances still exist. It all depends on what you mean by «cure» depression.
For example, antibiotics fight infections by eliminating the cause of the disease. They destroy the structure of bacteria or inhibit their reproduction. Antidepressants work in a different manner.
Important facts about antidepressants:
- They do not address the underlying causes of mental disorders.
- They help, but not to everyone and not every time.
The action mechanism of the most commonly found and used antidepressants is the normalization of the neurotransmitters balance in the brain. Neurotransmitters are thought to be involved in the transmission of nerve impulses and regulation of mood.
Treatment with antidepressants can speed up your recovery. However, the effect of mood regulation is temporary. When you stop treatment, your brain chemistry returns to its previous state.
Long-term effects of antidepressants
If you want to know whether they can provide long-term mental health relief, then the answer is yes.
The average treatment course reaches 12 months or more.
Unfortunately, when people begin feeling better and the emotional stress disappears, they want to stop the treatment. This desire is understandable, yet such decision can be a big mistake, and here’s why:
- The risk of mental disorders recurrence increases.
- Muscle pain, nausea, and other new symptoms may manifest.
To avoid these problems and achieve optimal treatment results, doctors usually give the following recommendations:
- Before concluding that the drug is not working, give it enough time to start working. The response to treatment is not immediate. This usually takes 2 to 8 weeks.
- Follow the recommendations and instructions. Treatment requires strict adherence to the dosing schedule (at a certain hour or at a given time before or after a meal). It is impossible to independently adjust the dosing schedule and change the dose.
- Do not stop treatment unless directed by your doctor, even if symptoms have disappeared. Many drugs, when abruptly withdrawn, can cause withdrawal symptoms and severe adverse reactions.
- If the medication does not help maintain a stable and positive mood, do not stop. People respond differently to different types of antidepressants. You need to find one that can help you cope with anxiety, depression, and stress.
Depression and similar mental disorders are the result of serotonin deficiency in the brain.
This substance affects our mood, emotions and sleep.
There are people who have to take antidepressants for many years. Does this mean that it will be the same for you?
Not at all!
If you are having your first episode of depression, treatment may take 6 to 12 months. In repeated episodes of depression or a family history of illness, longer treatment may be recommended.
Either way, antidepressants do really work. Yes, it is not a perfect medicine, and it can cause side effects.
However, correctly selected medications really help people get back to their normal life.