Activating antidepressants are stimulating as opposed to sedating. In some cases, these drugs are known to cause what is called “activation syndrome,” a collection of symptoms that can leave a person feeling restless and uncomfortable.
Deciding whether you would prefer an activating antidepressant or something more sedating is important when you’re choosing your treatment. This article will discuss the use of activating versus sedating antidepressants so you can tell your doctor what you think would be best for you.
Which Are the Most Activating Antidepressants?
Antidepressants come in a variety of different forms. The most common antidepressants are SSRIs, which doctors tend to prescribe for patients who are seeking treatment for depression for their first time.
SSRIs affect the brain’s serotonin. This chemical is responsible for balancing mood and appetite among other things. By making the brain more effective in using serotonin, SSRIs help to balance mood.
SSRIs are not always stimulating. Prozac (fluoxetine) is generally considered the most active antidepressant. Doctors usually recommend its use in the morning. Other antidepressants such as Paxil (paroxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline) may produce stimulation. However, many people report that these drugs induce drowsiness and should be taken at nighttime.
Luvox (fluvoxamine) is an SSRI that should be taken before bedtime due to its sedating properties.
Another class of antidepressants are called SNRIs. These drugs affect serotonin as well as another brain chemical called norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is more commonly known as adrenaline. Adrenaline is one of our brain’s primary methods of producing stimulation. As such, SNRIs are generally more activating than SSRIs.
Activation syndrome is the name for a set of stimulating symptoms that occur when people use drugs. Some people are more likely to experience activation syndrome than others.
Though manufacturer Pfizer denies it, SSRIs such as sertraline may cause activation syndrome. Some of the symptoms include:
In serious cases, activation syndrome increases suicidal tendencies. This is more common in younger patients under the age of 25. Symptoms are also more common during the first few weeks of medicating. This is another reason for the term activation syndrome: it is more likely to occur during the activation phase while the drug takes effect.
SSRI-related activation syndrome tends to resolve itself within several hours of ceasing medication. If you experience activation syndrome as a result of a longer-lasting drug like an MAOI, the effects may last for longer.
In either case, if you are experiencing uncomfortable restlessness, let your doctor know. This is especially true if you are experiencing an increase in suicidal thoughts or depressive behaviors.
Activating antidepressants are stimulating drugs. They help people with lethargic depression find motivation and energy. However, some people find that they produce uncomfortable restlessness and discomfort.
It can take some time to find an antidepressant that works well with you. While some people report that antidepressants make them too stimulated, others find that antidepressants cause apathy.
When you’re starting a new antidepressant routine, it’s a good idea to be aware of all the risks and rewards. Make sure you’re aware of the possibility of antidepressant addiction.