Mental health is one of the most complex issues in medicine as the correct diagnosis is always difficult to identify. In particular, it relates to such conditions as depression and bipolar disorder, which present a problem for doctors to distinguish between them and find the right way of treatment for a patient. Medications, which are used to cure people with such diseases, always include a combination of various drugs. Typically, all of the substances have different mechanisms and effects and involve a big amount of side effects. One of such medications is paroxetine, which represents a group of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), often used for treating symptoms of depression in adults. The drug is regarded as one of the most efficient ways of helping patients with the diagnosis, although, there are concerns about its safety considering its side effects and potential long-term consequences, capable of damaging cognitive skills.
Depression is a complex mental diagnosis, presenting a serious problem to scientists as it is still not completely understood. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 264 million people of different ages suffering from this disease all over the world (Depression, 2020). Among the factors, which are capable of increasing the chances of depression occurrence are physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, stressful life events or a serious conflict with friends or relatives, substance abuse, and genetics. The symptoms of the disorder may include such signs as a feeling of sadness, angry outbursts, irritability, loss of interest in most daily activities, sleep issues, lack of energy, eating disorders, anxiety, difficulties with concentration, and suicidal thoughts (Depression (major depressive disorder), 2018). Establishing the diagnosis is always a difficult task as the manifestation of the disorder can vary in each case. After the correct diagnosis is established, it determines future curative measures, which typically include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and antidepressant medications, such as paroxetine, also known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.
Paroxetine is one of the most effective medications for treating many mental diseases. It is an approved serotonin transporter (SERT) antagonist used for cases of such conditions as depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (Coleman, et al., 2020). According to experts in the field, “an imbalance among neurotransmitters is the cause of depression” and the medication works by “preventing the reuptake of one neurotransmitter, serotonin, by nerve cells after it has been released” (Cunha, 2021, para. 3). The reduced uptake, caused by the drug, increases free serotonin, which stimulates nerve cells in the brain, aimed at helping with many symptoms of the disorder. Paroxetine works by improving the patient’s mood, sleep, and appetite, and may also decrease the level of fear or anxiety, as well as the number of panic attacks.
Due to this wide range of potential benefits, the medication is considered to be one of the most efficient tools to increase the quality of life. Paroxetine comes as liquid and tablets and should be taken each morning orally. The drug is also known by the brand names Paxil and Seroxat (Paroxetine, 2018). The medication can be prescribed only to adults over 18 years old and doctors should ascertain that the patient does not have such conditions as heart problems, allergic reactions, glaucoma, epilepsy, or pregnancy. In addition, the drug should not be prescribed if the individual has been taking other antidepressants as they can cause high blood pressure when combined with paroxetine.
Despite its high level of effectiveness, the medication can also cause a big number of side effects, which may be mild or more severe. Among the common reactions are headaches, a feeling of weakness, dizziness, anxiety, problems with concentration, sleepiness, confusion, nausea, stomach pains, appetite issues, weight gain or loss, a decrease in sexual activity, sensitivity to light, and others. There are also signs, which should not be neglected and require immediate consultation with the doctor. They include problems with breathing, seizures, fever, fast or irregular heartbeat, abnormal bleeding or bruising, uncontrollable shaking, numbness, or swelling of a part of the body, painful urination, skin rash, black or bloody stools, and bone pain.
When taking paroxetine, it is critical to stay alert to any unusual symptoms as it can also cause worsening of the condition by increasing the intensity of suicidal thoughts. There is also a high risk of undesired behavioral changes as a side effect. According to one of the recent studies, paroxetine may play a serious role in the appearance of emotional abnormalities, cognitive issues, and memory dysfunction (Ai, et al., 2020). From this perspective, a patient, prescribed such antidepressants as paroxetine, should consult a doctor in case they notice any side effects or changes in their mood or behavior to be able to change the scheme of treatment.
In conclusion, depression is a complex mental diagnosis, which is still not completely understood by scientists. It can be manifested through a wide range of symptoms, such as mood swings, loss of interest in hobbies, aggressive behavior, suicidal thoughts, and many others. Treatment of the disorder also presents a serious problem as it often involves medications with many side effects, for example, paroxetine, one of the most efficient selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors approved for prescribing to patients with the diagnosis. The drug helps to increase the quality of life of such individuals as it eliminates many of the symptoms. However, it has a big number of side effects, which may worsen the condition and result in long-term consequences, such as memory deficit. From this perspective, the use of paroxetine should be strictly controlled by the doctor, and patients taking the medication must be attentive to any undesired effects while taking it.
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Coleman, J. A., Navratha, V., Antermite, D., Yang, D., Bull, J. A., & Gouaux, E. (2020). Chemical and structural investigation of the paroxetine-human serotonin transporter complex. eLife. Web.
Cunha, J. P. (2021). Side effects of Paxil (paroxetine). Web.
Depression. (2020). World Health Organization. Web.
Depression (major depressive disorder). (2018). Mayo Clinic. Web.
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