Although there is limited evidence from research studies to guide the treatment of women with depression during pregnancy or lactation, there are many available treatment options that can decrease suffering and improve quality of life. Research focused on women during pregnancy or postpartum poses substantial ethical and practical challenges for the investigator, thus compromising the rapid accumulation of reliable data (Yonkers, 2007). Because of the absence of a large evidence base, the clinician must rely on weighing the available treatment options with the woman suffering from depression during pregnancy so that an understanding of the risk/benefit ratio of treatment versus no treatment is achieved.
Two common treatments for depression include either talk therapy (psychotherapy) or medication (often an antidepressant medication). Interestingly, despite the lack of a large evidence base to guide clinical decision making, antidepressant use during preg...
Medications Selective Serotonin-Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) Selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the first-line treatment for major depression. They work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Because they act specifically on serotonin, SSRIs have fewer side effects than older antidepressants, which have more widespread effects in the body. SSRIs include fluoxetine (Prozac, generic), sertraline (Zoloft, generic), paroxetine (Paxil, generic), fluvoxamine (Luvox, generic), citalopram (Celexa, generic), and escitalopram (Lexapro). There do not appear to be significant differences among SSRI brands in effectiveness, although individual drugs may have different side effects or benefits for specific patients. At this time, fluoxetine and escitalopram are the only antidepressants approved for treatment of major depressive disorder in adolescents (ages 12 - 17). Fluoxetine is also approved for children age 8 and older. Candidates for SSRIs. SSRIs appear to best help people ...
Christos Ballas, MD, is an academic and forensic psychiatrist.
He graduated from Jefferson Medical College and completed his
residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He
joined the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania School of
Medicine as an Assistant Professor. He works as inpatient and
consult/liaison psychiatrist, in addition to maintaining a private
practice dedicated to forensics.
Dr. Ballas has published and lectured extensively. His medical
interests include forensic issues and violence, pharmacology, and
healthcare policy. Dr. Ballas is also a talented artist and a
technology enthusiast. One of his current projects include a novel
about the end of the internet.
Dr. Ballas looks forward to answering your questions about
depression. You can send your questions to
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