The prescriptions of antidepressant drugs have been rocketing since the outbreak of the pandemic. Even if, to be precise, in Europe the sales of antidepressant and anxiolytic products have been a growing market phenomenon since 2010, as reported by the foundation. Openpolis (in Portugal the highest consumption). Not surprisingly, according to the data collected byWHOWorld Health Organization, 25% of the European population suffers from anxiety or depression. As it is easy to imagine, in times of alarming socio-political news (such as those coming every day from the Ukrainian front), people with a tendency to anxiety and depression are often faced with accentuated symptoms. But how to deal with the consumption of antidepressants? Obviously the golden rule is to rely on the psychiatrist, who after a consultation can proceed to draw up the prescription, evaluating the real need. We investigated the subject with an expert.
Useful information: how antidepressant drugs work
“It should be remembered that the cause of mental disorders is still intimately unknown and therefore the detailed functioning of the drugs capable of counteracting and treating them is unknown”, underlines the Dr. Emiliano Monzani, psychiatrist and director of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction at ASST Bergamo West. “However, a lot of scientific evidence indicates that there are multiple ways of attacking these molecules against diseases. Antidepressant drugs work by increasing the levels of a group of chemicals known as neurotransmitters in the brain. Some of them, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, can improve the mood of people suffering from depression ».
Antidepressants, when they are needed and when not
In which cases are these drugs really needed? «Antidepressants are indicated to treat depression or to prevent it from returning (in this case we speak of relapse prevention). When sadness, despair, distrust, despair, increase in intensity or persist, we speak of clinical depression, a condition that is not due to personal fragility or the sadness of the moment, but it represents a real disease. It is estimated that in Italy 10% of the population suffers from clinical depression during their lifetime. Recall that antidepressants they can also be used to treat a number of other ailmentsfor example the obsessive compulsive disorderthe panic disorder and the so-called post-traumatic stress disorder. Antidepressant medications can treat the physical symptoms of depression as well they are often used successfully in conjunction with other specialist therapies (psychological and / or psychiatric). The overall therapeutic plan must always be personalized by the specialist. In the case of mild depression, however, the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs has been shown to be modest, while psychotherapy is helpful. The use of these drugs in childhood and adolescence should be very limited, given the not fully known effect on the developing central nervous system ».
Antidepressants, when it is best to stop using them
One last point to clarify: how to understand if it is appropriate to interrupt the antidepressant cycle? «The interruption of a drug treatment takes place after evaluation by the physician of the efficacy, the time of taking the therapy and the clinical history of the patient (for example, the higher the number of relapses, the more prudent the management of the therapy must be, with careful evaluation of whether the drug is continued or not). It is true that, in the long run, antidepressants can be addictive. The psychiatrist has the task of carefully monitoring the effects and phases of the therapy. Better to reiterate it: do-it-yourself can involve serious mistakes and, above all, serious risks. It must absolutely be avoided ».
In the gallery we have collected some of the stars who spoke openly about mental health and reported taking antidepressants. By helping to break down a taboo and defending psychological health care as a fundamental right.
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Source: Vanity Fair