SSRI Drugs - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRI drugs, are a relatively newer set of antidepressants that are being used currently. The main function of SSRIs is to control the level of a neurotransmitter in the brain called serotonin.

The reason they are referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is because they function by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin. SSRI medications do not block the receptors in the human brain, but slow down, stop, or decrease the serotonin reuptake activity.

When compared to first generation antidepressants like tricyclic antidepressants (TCA), SSRI antidepressants have lesser side effects and work relatively quickly. Some of the widely used SSRIs are sertraline or Zoloft, fluoxetine or Prozac, citalopram or Celexa, and fluvoxamine or Luvox.

Like all antidepressant pills, or for that matter all pharmaceutical medicines, SSRI drugs still have their fair share of side effects and adverse reactions. Some of the common SSRI side effects include GI problems like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, insomnia, anxiety, headaches, and impotence in men.

One particular SSRI, namely Prozac, is found to have some other serious psychological side effects, like hypersensitivity to criticism, unexplained fear of abandonment and rejection, poor self confidence and self esteem issues, and generating suicidal thoughts in people; this, of course, is a cause of major concern.

Also, in people with a family history of bipolar disorder, Prozac can set off manic episodes. Therefore, extreme caution needs to be exercised while taking SSRIs, and it is mandatory to first consult a psychiatrist to understand the physiological and psychological side effects. Always check with one’s family physician on these matters before commencing drug usage.

In addition to the above side effects, one must note that SSRI drugs react strongly with the use of other drugs, and one must therefore check with a family physician and / or psychiatrist before taking SSRIs while one is already on other medications.

As always, it is a good idea to explore alternative and natural treatments for depression. It is always better to overcome a depressed state naturally and authentically, rather than have to rely on potentially dangerous drugs to artificially keep one uplifted.

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