Anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs

We’re living in the New Age of the Pill (no we’re not referring to the birth control pill- that was the 1960’s). In this new age, the pill we’re talking about controls your negative emotions, such as anxiety and depression.

Antidepressants such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs for short), including Prozac and Zoloft, are powerful drugs designed to change your negative moods.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. “Selective reuptake inhibitor” means the drug is designed to pick out this particular neurotransmitter, serotonin, in your brain. To inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, the drug works by taking the spot on the brain receptor where the serotonin usually goes. This means that there is more serotonin available in the synapse, and the chemical transmission of the nerve signal is enhanced.

Antidepressant drugs aren’t known as drugs of abuse because they don’t produce a physical dependency. They do help restore normal mood states via their effects on the neurotransmitter system of the brain. However, these effects aren’t addictive.

Anti-anxiety drugs, on the other hand, do result in tolerance and dependency. They have mind-altering effects described earlier in the chapter in the sedatives/tranquilizers section. Thus, the addiction potential of anti-anxiety drugs is considerably higher.