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What is an Antidepressant?

Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a common mood disorder that can affect the way you feel, think and handle daily activities. To be diagnosed with a depression disorder an individual must have symptoms that are present for at least two weeks or more. As clinicians have attempted to learn more about this and other types of mood disorders, the medical community discovered that there are several different forms of the disease and that while some individuals have less severe symptoms, there are those who have major life-altering bouts with depression.

Knowing and understanding the type of depression that a person has can help during treatment.  Though there are some similarities between the different types, the disorder can also develop under unique circumstances. Though the list below is not complete, it does contain some of the most common forms of depression.

  • Dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder is generally characterized by episodes of major depression as well as having periods of less severe symptoms that last for at least two years
  • Postpartum depression is a critical condition that many women experience after giving birth. They often have extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that inhibits their ability to care for themselves as well as their child. 
  • Psychotic depression occurs when someone who has depression is also plagued with some form of psychosis (delusions and/or hallucinations). The psychosis usually has a “depressive” theme that may include delusions of guilt, poverty or illness. 
  • Bipolar depression occurs when someone who is bipolar experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression. They can experience extreme high moods called mania or a less severe form called hypomania. 
  • The seasonal affective disorder occurs during the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. In the spring and summer, the symptoms of depression lift only to return once again during late fall and winter. Symptoms may include increased sleep, weight gain, and withdrawal from social situations. 

For patients that are living with these or other types of depressive disorders, a series of drugs called antidepressants has been developed to use in conjunction with other therapeutic or psychological treatments such as counseling.

Lexapro - An antidepressant
Antidepressant Effectiveness

What is Lexapro?

Escitalopram (Lexapro) is in a class of medications called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs are the most widely prescribed form of antidepressants in the world. Classified as being a third-generation antidepressant, they are preferred due to the lower amounts of side effects they cause when compared to older medications. Lexapro is designed to help correct the serotonin imbalance that causes depression or anxiety. 

What does Lexapro treat?

Lexapro can be used to treat a Major Depressive Disorder in adults and youth who are at least 12 years old as well as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) in adults. In the brain, Lexapro acts on a chemical called serotonin, a substance required to send messages from one nerve cell to another. As messages travel along the nerve, it causes the end of the cell to release serotonin and the receptor on the end of the next cell to activate. This process continues from one nerve cell to another. The first cell absorbs any serotonin that remains behind in the gap between the two cells as the message moves along, a process called “reuptake.” If the serotonin levels become unbalanced several conditions, including depression, can be the result. Lexapro is designed to help block the reuptake of serotonin allowing the receptors on the next nerve cell the opportunity to activate and continue the process of transporting the message. 

Lexapro (Escitalopram) Dosage 

Lexapro is taken once a day in either tablet or liquid form. The dosage will depend on

  • Age
  • The conditions being treated
  • Other medications that have been prescribed
What is Lexapro (Escitalopram)?
Lexapro (Escitalopram)

Lexapro (Escitalopram) Side Effects

Some individuals may experience side effects of using this medication.

Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Unusual sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Heartburn
  • Dry mouth 
  • Increased appetite
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Lethargy 
  • Ejaculation problems

Lexapro is generally well-tolerated, but if the side effects are too much or the medication doesn’t seem to work, the healthcare provider may recommend another medication. As with all medicines, it is essential that the prescription directions be followed otherwise severe complications can arise such as dizziness, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, rapid heart rate or irregular rhythm, renal failure, seizures, coma or even death. 

How to ask your doctor for Lexapro?

For some, seeing a doctor can be a very distressing act. If you’re one of the thousands of people who struggle with knowing how to talk to your doctor, you don’t have to worry.

Here are a few steps that you can take before your appointment that will help you get the most out of your visit:

  1. Make a list of the things you need to talk about with them. If you’re like most people, you’ll get home and realize that you didn’t ask the one thing you needed to.
  2. Take the time to be open and honest with your provider. The only way to receive the best treatment for your needs is to be sure they understand how your depression symptoms are affecting your daily life.
  3. Be sure to take all your medications, including over-the-counter and vitamins with you. If you don’t want to carry them at least write down all the information on the bottle including the milligrams in the dosage and how often you take them.
  4. Remember not to feel bad about the amount of time that you are taking with your doctor. They may have a room full of patients waiting on them, but this is your time, and you shouldn’t have to rush so much that you leave out an essential piece of information. After all, it’s your health you’re discussing. 

 Deciding to take Lexapro or any other medication should be discussed thoroughly. While most patients do well, others do not. Your doctor should evaluate you and your history to determine if it’s right for you. Patients should not take Lexapro if they’ve been diagnosed with Manic-Depression or have a history of suicidal thoughts, liver disease, or glaucoma. 

Lexapro can be an effective treatment for depression, talk to your doctor today to see if Lexapro is right for you.

 

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How effective is Lexapro for treating anxiety?

Lexapro is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medication that is used to treat anxiety in adults and major depressive disorder in adults and adolescents who are at least 12 years old. Anxiety disorders are estimated to affect 40 million American adults as well as 8% of teenagers and children.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety can be a complex disorder to understand because everyone has some level of anxiety at some point in their lives. Though it is hard to imagine, anxiety can offer a wide range of positive outcomes.

  • Protection:  Because anxiety is very often related to fear, it is nature’s way of protecting individuals from something dangerous.
  • Attention: Anxiety has a way of focusing our attention on the things that are important to us.
  • Motivation: Anxiety can be a mighty force that drives us to accomplish things. Fearing the consequences of our actions can be the motivation that we need to complete a task or project.
  • Preparation: For some people, concerns about how a scenario will play out will drive them to prepare for the situation. The adage, “prepare for the worst, hope for the best” always comes to their mind.
  • Communication: When people are anxious, they naturally feel compelled to talk to someone to find support or encouragement

Conditions of anxiety

Anxiety Risk Factors
Anxiety Risk Factors – What factors will trigger anxiety and how Lexapro can help?

Anxiety disorders are a classification of mental illnesses that are characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear. Several conditions can be classified as an anxiety disorder, including generalized anxiety, specific phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Though each may manifest in different ways, several physical symptoms tend to be associated with each of them, such as an increased heart rate, shakiness, numbness, or tingling in one or more extremities, sweating, and heart palpitations.

Causes of anxiety

The medical community has yet to determine the exact cause of anxiety disorders, but they believe that it is a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Certain risk factors can include abuse, family history of mental disorders, and brain chemistry. It is not uncommon for anxiety disorders to occur with other psychiatric diseases, particularly major depressive disorder, personality disorder, and substance use disorder.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety

In order to be diagnosed, symptoms typically need to be present for at least six months and decrease functioning in day to day living. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, counseling, and medications. While counseling, typically a cognitive behavioral therapy, is a valid option; medicines such as antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or beta-blockers can also help to improve the symptoms of anxiety disorders.

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro is an antidepressant medication that affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with depression or anxiety. It is a selective, serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). SSRIs enhance the function of nerve cells in the brain that regulate emotion. The body and brain communicate with signals through chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. As the neurons (brain cells) send signals to one another, they release a portion of the neurotransmitter. They then take the chemical messenger back that they released in order to send the next message; a process called “reuptake.”

In individuals who are living with depression, the area of the brain that regulates the movement of messages may not function properly. SSRIs inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, allowing it to build up between neurons and send messages correctly.

Effects of Lexapro

Several clinical studies have shown that depression and generalized anxiety disorder are effectively controlled by Lexapro. In fact, a long-term study concluded that it could help to prevent depression relapses in some patients. Although it is very effective in adults, Lexapro has only recently been approved for use in adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17.

Lexapro side effects

As with any medicine, side effects can occur with Lexapro use in some but not all patients. Typically, when side effects do occur, they are often minor and either require no treatment or can be treated easily. More severe side effects are less common in adults.

Reported side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Ejaculation problems

Conclusion

Lexapro is a useful tool in treating anxiety disorders. Individuals who suffer from severe or prolonged bouts of fear or anxiety should seek professional help. Although many people do not recognize the dangers of these disorders, or how they are affecting virtually every aspect of their lives, serious complications do occur. With such effective treatment options available, there is no need to allow anxiety to control your life.

EzCare Clinic in San Francisco has a wide range of services geared towards your well-being. The caring and dedicated staff can provide the necessary testing, therapy, and if needed, medications to treat all your medical or mental healthcare needs. Anxiety disorders aren’t something that is going to go away on its own, seek professional help today. Visit EzCare Medical Clinic in San Francisco to schedule your appointment with a licensed Anxiety Doctor today.

 

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