Is your antidepressant making life a little too blah?
Some drugs go too far, dulling emotions across the spectrum. A dose adjustment or a switch to a different medication can help.
When your doctor prescribes a medication for depression, the goal is to reduce painful feelings of sadness or hopelessness. The majority of people taking the most commonly prescribed antidepressants—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)—improve substantially. But sometimes, SSRIs go beyond improving mood and make a person feel too little emotion. "Some people feel like they've lost the richness of daily life," says Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
Serotonin and SSRIs
Serotonin is one of the brain's chemical messengers. It works along brain circuits that regulate mood and anxiety. SSRIs—including fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro)—help boost the availability of serotonin in the brain. This in turn helps those brain circuits tamp down uncomfortable moods.