Antidepressant Case Study Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 24 December 2016

Antidepressant Case Study

The debate over antidepressants has waged on for over more than half a century. Two heads of the Department of Psychiatry in Washington University discovered that depression was just as much biological as it was physiological meaning that people with depression had an abnormal chemical make-up in the brain. This discovery increased the demand for research on methods to alter this abnormality effectively and efficiently. Thus antidepressants were created, sparking a psychiatric revolution. Antidepressants work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for controlling human emotions. Our bodies make serotonin naturally but some particles are lost on the neuron, which is called reuptake. Antidepressants block the reuptake by placing a protein wall on the neuron, enabling a greater consumption of serotonin in the brain (Greenburg Manufacturing).

From their creation, antidepressants have given people a chance to recapture the enjoyment they once, or never, had. They help people find their goals, rediscover their futures, and enjoy special moments in life that should be cherished. Antidepressants should be prescribed to individuals suffering from depression because they are simple, safe, and effective. In years prior to the development of antidepressants, depression was treated through drastic hospitalization. Hospitalization involved patients enduring painful treatments such as electrotherapy and/or a lobotomy (Richard 54). In electrotherapy, an individual is pinned down to a bed and shocked whenever a negative or suicidal thought comes to mind. A lobotomy is an unpleasant form of brain surgery that involves a surgeon using a long rod to rewire brain functions. While these forms of treatment are grueling and pose a great risk to the health of the patient, they are successful in reconstructing the chemical make-up in one’s brain, which is a necessary component in curing most forms of depression.

These forms of treatment are expensive, complicated, and time consuming. Medications, on the other hand, do not demand a lot of time and are easily swallowed. Taking these medications is simple, easy and only requires a doctor’s prescription, which can be easily received upon an appointment. This form of treatment is quite simple, and is much less burdensome than treatment solely based on therapy. Therapy can be quite costly and, without the addition of antidepressants, ineffective. In order for it to be effective the child must meet with a professional twice a week (Martin 574). According to the American Academy of Psychology an average therapy session costs $150. In order to properly treat depression effectively via therapy and non-drug related means the patient requires up to one to three years of treatment. At $300 a week the individual will be spending $15,600 a year and $46,800 over three years. With medication, comes a cheaper and less complicated means of treatment.

Under medications, the average patient requires meeting one to two times per every two weeks at the same average cost of $150. This comes out to $3900 per year versus the $15,600 through just treatment. Although there is the cost of medications, the total cost for using medication and therapy is significantly cheaper than using just therapy. With antidepressants, treatment for depression becomes simply and easy to accomplish, making the road to recovery that much more achievable. Many individuals feel skeptical about taking antidepressants because they are a human-made substance, and they are full of chemicals. While this is true, the effects medications have on the body is different from person to person. From its creation antidepressants have had some serious side affects, scaring people away.

Today, 118 million people use antidepressants and between 1995 and 2002, the use of these drugs rose 48 percent (Cohen Antidepressants). Also this shows that people have been adjusting to these drugs, and that people see less risk in taking them. Many of the 118 million people on antidepressants have depression, but there are also many people take them for the other reasons. Antidepressants have known to help people quit smoking. (New York Psychiatric) writes, “Nicotine may have antidepressant effects that maintain smoking for some smokers. Antidepressants may substitute for this effect” (New York Psychiatric). These individuals take the drug as a safe means to quit smoking. Scientifically antidepressants contain bupropion hydrochloride, a chemical known for dissolving the nicotine addiction (New York Psychiatric). A smoker develops an addiction because nicotine is a powerful drug that speeds up the brain and central nervous system. It triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in your brain, boosting one’s mood. Over time the brain adjusts to the increase of dopamine and the smoker becomes addicted.

Antidepressants help by stabilizing the elevated levels of dopamine in the brain by having increased levels of the opposite neurotransmitter, serotonin absorbed. Also these drugs are safe to take because the FDA continuously runs tests to validate the drug’s safety. The FDA’s article on improving pediatric and child health states, “FDA has been committed to addressing the special considerations needed for assessing medical products for children and young adults. These include science to address how development, age and growth may affect how treatments work and effect health outcomes in children” (FDA Improving). Individuals everywhere take these drugs for a variety of reasons, and rarely do they harm an individual. There are many unexplained reasons an individual suffers from depression, but two theories the Monoamine Hypothesis and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Cortisol Theory, are prevalent in most cases of depression, and they explain the biological problems that cause depression (Koplewicz More).

The first theory, the Monoamine Hypothesis, was formulated in the 1960’s as a way to show how other chemicals in the brain inhibit serotonin. (Koplewicz More) explains, “ The monoamine (MAO) metabolites act as inhibitors, preventing serotonin and norepinephrin from crossing the synapse. In succession to this theory these MAO metabolites appear to be more prevalent in depressed patients” (Belmaker Future). The second theory, Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Cortisol Theory, was developed shortly after the Monoamine Hypothesis. This theory explains that the amount of cortisol produced is reduced in individuals suffering from depression. These two theories are seen in over 66% of cases of depression (Belmaker Future). This number encompasses the largest population of individuals suffering from depression, thus proving depression is largely a chemical imbalance ailment in the brain.

Because depression is a chemical imbalance, it can only be cured through certain means of treatment specializing in chemical reconstruction. Such treatments require the proper equipment and chemicals that therapy or other forms of treatment cannot supply. The combination of both antidepressants and therapy is proven to be the most effective means of curing depression. Author George Burns, in his book, Happiness, Healing, Enhancement: Your Casebook Collection for Applying Positive Psychology in Therapy writes, “43% more patients suffering from depression were cured with the combination of therapy and medication than patients only undergoing only one form of treatment” (Burns 47). The individuals undergoing both verbal therapy and drug therapy recover more often and faster than patients only undergoing one form of treatment. Antidepressants are an effective means of curing depression because they are easy to use, safe, and effective.

Antidepressants come mainly in a pill form and work most effectively alongside therapy or other forms of treatment. For an individual with depression who does not consume antidepressant medication, treatment can be difficult, time consuming, and expensive. These pills are easy to ingest and require the patient to do less work by the patient. On top of that, they have been frequently tested by professionals, and are safe in most individuals. Symptoms vary from user to user, however, they typically they do not cause bodily harm. Depression comes in many forms, but in most cases depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain. With this information and are known effects antidepressants have on the brain, it is evident that these drugs are extremely effective and much more effective than solely therapeutic treatment.

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