Welcome to Ketamine Dictionary, presented by KetamineNews. Ketamine Dictionary is a free resource designed to make it easier than ever to understand medical procedures and definitions related to mental health treatment without ever stepping foot in medical school or opening a textbook.

Editor’s Note: here at KetamineNews, we cover news and topics related to ketamine treatment and the broader field of mental health in general. Our word should not be taken over the advice of mental health professionals. If you’re struggling with depression, talk to a professional or reach out to the National Helpline – 1-800-487-4889. There is no shame in admitting you need help, and you are worth it.

What is an antidepressant?

Yes, this one seems like an easy answer. Anti means against, so antidepressant means something that counteracts depression. That is the simple definition, but not the most comprehensive one. Antidepressants are complicated, complex beasts that can’t be summed up in a short sentence.

History of Antidepressants

For thousands of years, there were some substances thought to help reduce the symptoms of depressive disorders and even some proto-antidepressants, if you will, during the period directly after World War II.

The modern antidepressant movement was kickstarted in 1987 with the introduction of the first SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drug Fluoxetine – better known as Prozac.

SSRIs quickly became the most widely used form of depression treatment, and today are used to treat depressive disorders as well as PTSD, OCD, anxiety disorders, social phobias, and some pain conditions.

Types of Antidepressants

According to our friends at MayoClinic, the different varieties of antidepressants include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

The Bad Side of Antidepressants

As with any substance that has ever existed, there are potential side effects that antidepressants may induce. For instance, the FDA requires that every antidepressant be shipped with black box warnings because of the potential side effects such as increased depression or suicidal thoughts.

Common side effects of antidepressants can include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased orgasm
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Is it all bad?

Definitely not. In fact, up until very recently, antidepressants have seemed to be the most efficient depression treatment – not that they’re particularly efficient, it’s just that hard to treat depressive disorders.

New treatments or previously unthought-of substances like ketamine, psilocybin, or other psychedelics may point to a new era of mental health treatment with more effective success rates.

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