In a post-pandemic world, the concept of dose adjustments to existing medications seems somewhat laughable. Since every doctor’s visit costs an unreasonable amount of money, you might be wondering if the current dose that you’re at is something you can stay on for the rest of your life. Chances are, this perception is just that, a perception with little grounding in the truth of your brain’s chemistry. So, let’s go over the best reasons why you should visit the doctor and receive a proper dosage level of your preferred antidepressant.
Sensitivity and Pathways
The brain is often referred to as having “pathways” that allow for certain hormones or signals to pass through and reach a specific destination. For chemicals like dopamine, that pathway is in the brain and produced by receptors that move signals along like a train to make your consciousness work. For others, the goal is the gut, and for even more than those two, the destination is somewhat varied. Each organ has a goal, and for some of these pathways, the goal is mood regulation, which you can read about more if you click this link and see some of the imaging techniques used for these systems.
So what does this set of definitions have to do with antidepressants? Well,
antidepressants nowadays fall into many categories varying in power and potency. Some of the most common in the modern medical sphere are called SSRI’s, or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. You can parse through the pathway by reading the name closely, but serotonin is, briefly, the chemical that produces happiness or satisfaction. Most of the time, it is used once and then reabsorbed for use elsewhere, but the SSRI gets in the way of the reabsorption.
Fine Tuning Dosage
The SSRI is working off of previously used serotonin, allowing it to stick around longer or be reused or any combination of the two, but how much serotonin do you need? Too little serotonin and you have what the medicine treats, depression, but too much and you can get chills, headaches, or fever up to the possibility of death. You can click this link: https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/serotonin to find specifics concerning Serotonin syndrome, as well as how to prevent it.
For most people, it’s a fringe possibility, but antidepressants are manually adjusting hormonal signals so dosage becomes important. So, therefore doctors and psychiatrists ideally want their patients to be on as few psychiatric drugs as they can reasonably allow. The ideal is 1 or 2 to regulate mood and allow for normal function but fine-tuning fine-tuned medication can often require additional modifier drugs like Abilify to boost or impair other pills. That is the worst part about antidepressants since showing up to a psychiatrist’s office every so often will end with you having a handful of pills but remember that the alternatives can be genuinely horrifying.
Honesty in Practice
The fact is that depression, though fundamentally very treatable and can be very minor, is a disorder of the brain. In many ways, you are missing a chemical that is vital to having the energy and happiness you need to actually live your life. Psychiatrists understand this and will work tirelessly to get you the correct antidepressant dose. But, as with many medical professionals, they will want to talk to you face-to-face in order to gauge your general and specific health. This means that for many people, a doctor’s visit is necessary, and let’s be honest, taking that kind of appointment can be a pain, but it’s extremely important to maintain an active
communication line between you and someone with the resources to help you.
Psychiatrists, therapists, and other pros are always hard-at-work providing what they can to those who need it, so taking them up on this kind of offer can make your life better and give them the satisfaction (and job security!) of making your life better.
Points of Importance
For individuals who suffer from depression, the way forward can become clouded in a sea of despair and saying “just don’t!” is as unhelpful as it is condescending. Yet, you may be very comforted to know that options exist and that this won’t continue forever. The first step is making the call for a refill of your prescription or for a visit to the doctor. The journey to recovery starts simply, and whether or not you want that recovery, you do deserve it.
Never be afraid to call a pro for an issue that you can’t work out yourself. You wouldn’t be so lax if your arm were bleeding out, so why do we all accept the idea of a disorder that eats at you from the inside? Depression is serious, the call may be simple, and the world may be crushing, but don’t give in!