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5 Safety Tips to Avoid Drug Addiction While Taking Antidepressants

5 Safety Tips to Avoid Drug Addiction While Taking Antidepressants

Antidepressants are often given as psychiatric medication to deal with severe cases of depression. The drug is given to restore the chemical imbalance in the brain and help in providing the right amount of neurotransmitters. They are often thought to be responsible for changes in behavior and mood. But there are several concerns raised about antidepressants being the best cure for depression. There are often questions about the effectiveness of drugs in a long term and their potential side effects.

The use of antidepressants can sometimes lead to addiction as well. If that happens, the medication will cause more harm than it will do good.

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Causes of antidepressants abuse

Antidepressants are not addictive by nature, but it is possible that because of constant abuse of medication a person develops a dependency on the drugs. The antidepressants are responsible for enhancing the mood of a person. People try to abuse these drugs so they can elevate their mood even further. It is not helpful, and the increased consumption quickly becomes an addiction.

One type of substance addiction is inhaling it. Other ways of abusing it are self-medication and taking more dosage than instructed. It often happens because a person thinks that the medication is not helping with the depression. They think that abusing their medication is the answer to all of their depression-related problems. Things can become even worse, if the addiction is triggered by something personal and tragic like losing a loved one.

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The side effects of antidepressants

In the beginning, the antidepressants have an excellent effect. They elevate the mood and make a person much more calm and relaxed. If the medication is strong, then it can also end up sedating a person. In the beginning, there may be no side effects or reactions.

Many physical side effects of drug may show up after prolonged consumption of the drug. They may cause mild headaches, nausea or an upset stomach. Suddenly stopping the daily dosage of the medication can result in agitation, anxiety, dry mouth, constipation, and abdominal pain.

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Symptoms of antidepressant addiction

Using these drugs for an extended period can often lead to drastic consequences. It can impact the ability of a person to work regularly. There are several physical effects along with mental effects associated with long-term use of the medication. Some of the symptoms that indicate an addiction to antidepressants are excessive talking, mood swings, convulsions, tremors, vivid dreams, irritability, nausea, panic attacks, insomnia, and increased risk of suicide, cardiac arrhythmia, and erectile dysfunction.

It can also make a person psychologically dependent on the drugs. The medication alters the chemical balance of the brain, and this leads to increased consumption of medicines, because the person feels he cannot function properly without more drugs.

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Symptoms of withdrawal

When people stop taking the antidepressants, the body can have a particularly emotional and physical reaction. The body reacts to the decreased levels of serotonin which had been elevated by the consumption of antidepressants.

The physiological withdrawal symptoms are cravings, which are known as the drug seeking behavior. Psychologically there can be bouts of occasional depression. There are treatment groups that can help in coping with such situations.

Guidelines for taking antidepressants

If you have a better knowledge of antidepressants, then you are more equipped to deal with the side effects and can avoid addiction. Here are some tips for safety:

  1. Before taking the antidepressant medication, see a psychiatrist instead of a family physician. A psychiatrist specializes in mental illness and is more qualified to give you advice. They are also more familiar with the research on the medications related to depression and the probable safety concerns.
  2. The medication should always be taken according to the instruction of the doctor. Never alter your dosage.
  3. Keeping a track of emotional and physical changes is also important. Tell the doctor about any such changes that you observe.
  4. Patience is critical. Finding the right dosage is a trial and error procedure, so do not get impatient and alter dosage by yourself. The medication can take several weeks to reach their complete therapeutic effect.
  5. You can use drug test kits to make sure that there are no drug interactions. Some drug interactions can be dangerous, so it is important to know that the medication you are taking is not going to react badly with any other medications you are currently taking. A drug test kit will help you find if there is any substance in your blood that can cause a dangerous reaction.

Featured photo credit: http://www.imujer.com/ via imujer.com

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Last Updated on August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Reference

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