Depression is a constant battle that may feel as if it will never go away. Most people suffering from depression can find relief from traditional therapy or counseling.
In some cases, your doctor or psychiatrist may prescribe medications to alleviate symptoms. These medications may include prescription medication such as Wellbutrin. While prescription medication can improve symptoms of depression, they also come with a handful of side effects and little to no long-term relief.
Fortunately, TMS therapy provides a great alternative to traditional depression treatment. This article will be discussing the side effects of medications like Wellbutrin and how advanced TMS therapy is a great alternative.
What Is Depression?
Every year, approximately 16 million Americans experience at least one major depressive episode. Characterized by feelings of hopelessness, depression is a mood disorder that can distract you from your day-to-day requirements. Symptoms include:
- Limited interests
- Suicidal thoughts
If left untreated, depression can grow and disrupt different parts of your life, from social relationships and career objectives to general life goals and aspirations.
Although depression is difficult to contend with, symptoms can be relieved through treatment. Many doctors prescribe antidepressants, which is a type of medication used to manage conditions such as:
- Major depressive disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Chronic pain conditions
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over 13% of Americans over the age of 18 reported taking antidepressants between 2015 and 2018. There are different types of antidepressants available, each of which affects the brain differently.
Types of Antidepressants
Antidepressants work by balancing chemicals in your brain called neurotransmitters, which in turn improve your mood. When prescribing this medication, doctors typically choose between five different classes:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): These drugs improve mood by preventing the reuptake, or reabsorption, of serotonin into the body.
- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): Like SSRIs, these drugs work by limiting the reuptake of serotonin. They also prevent the reuptake of norepinephrine.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs block the absorption of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, norepinephrine and acetylcholine.
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): This medication inhibits the metabolism function of enzymes that break down monoamines, a neurotransmitter that can improve mood.
- Atypical Antidepressants: This class of antidepressants doesn’t fit into any of the above options. It encompasses a wide group of drugs that affect serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels.
When prescribing a drug, doctors will typically examine medical history, as well as your demographic information (such as age and gender) and pick a drug they feel will work best with your body. One of the most popular options is Wellbutrin, an atypical antidepressant used by over 5 million Americans.
Wellbutrin for Depression
Wellbutrin is a brand name of a drug called bupropion, an antidepressant that balances your serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine levels. While the drug has proven to be effective in patients struggling with depression, it can also come with a myriad of side effects.
Wellbutrin Side Effects
When introducing a new medication into your body, it’s normal to experience side effects. This is often the result of your enzymes metabolizing the drug poorly — if you cannot break down the medication in the proper timeframe, your body will likely respond negatively. Here are some of the side effects commonly found in Wellbutrin:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Dry mouth and sore throat
- Headaches and join aches
- Blurred vision and dizziness
- Increased blood pressure and weight gain
In some cases, Wellbutrin may even cause mental side effects — in patients under the age of 25, there is a link between the drug and increased suicidal thoughts.
When Are Wellbutrin Side Effects A Problem?
While it’s normal to experience a few side effects when trying a new medication, they should go away after a period of time. If you’re still experiencing adverse effects after a few weeks, you should contact your doctor to discuss switching your medication.
In rare cases, Wellbutrin can lead to severe side effects that put your health at risk. You should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- Agitation and anxiety
- Tremors and shakes
- Ringing in the ears
If your side effects are overwhelming, you might be taken off of antidepressants entirely. While this can be frustrating, the good news is there are alternative treatments available.
TMS Therapy: An Antidepressant Alternative
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy is a painless, non-invasive method that uses magnetic fields to energize brain nerve cells that are known to help treat depression.
During the procedure, an electromagnetic coil is pressed against the scalp (near the forehead area). An electromagnet then delivers a magnetic pulse that activates nerve cells located in the area of the brain responsible for mood control. By stimulating these cells, TMS therapy helps patients feel more relaxed and less depressed.
Side Effects of TMS Therapy
Similar to antidepressants, TMS therapy relieves depression symptoms by affecting the brain. Unlike antidepressants, however, it does not require the metabolism of foreign substances, which helps prevent the side effects commonly found in medications. However, patients may still experience some side effects, such as:
- Scalp discomfort
Side effects tend to be minimal and go away shortly after the session is completed. However, to reduce the risk of any dangerous side effects, a physical and psychiatric evaluation is usually conducted before starting TMS therapy. Of course, for the treatment to work effectively, you should receive it from a reputable provider.
TMS Hudson Valley: Depression Treatment the Right Way
Whether you’re considering trying Wellbutrin or are currently suffering from side effects, it’s important to take precautions to protect your health. You deserve a treatment that makes you feel better, not one that makes you feel miserable both physically and mentally.
At TMS Hudson Valley, we are dedicated to helping treat depression the right way. With over 10 years of experience in TMS therapy, our team understands the unique needs of every patient and can adjust to meet them. Not only are we FDA-cleared, but we also accept most major insurance plans. Learn more about how we can help you by contacting us today!