If you suffer from depression, you may feel that no one else understands the pain you’re going through. Yet, the reality is that depression affects 40 million adults in the United States alone. This makes it the country’s most common mental illness.
Are you on the fence about whether to get help? If so, it’s important to know there are medications, such as Escitalopram, designed to reduce anxiety and depression. They work by restoring the balance of chemicals in your brain, helping you feel more like yourself.
This knowledge could be lifesaving. Though the condition is prevalent, only one-third of those in the U.S. suffering from depression seek medical treatment.
In Canada, one in four residents suffers from a form of depression serious enough to need medical attention. Yet almost half (49%) of the population avoids seeing a doctor about the issue.
Myriad factors, from embarrassment to the high cost of prescriptions, may keep them from finding the help they need.
Today, we’re breaking down the far-ranging benefits of Escitalopram. We’ll also reveal how this powerful drug can not only lift your mood but positively affect other parts of your makeup as well.
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in!
What is Escitalopram?
Before we begin discussing the advantages it can bestow, let’s begin with a brief overview of what Escitalopram is.
In short, it’s a medication designed to restore your brain’s natural balance of serotonin. Its most common brand names are Lexapro and Cipralex.
Seratonin is the neurotransmitter in your brain responsible for influencing many of your brain’s major functions. In addition to your mood, serotonin also helps control your appetite, your sleep patterns, your perception, and your pain tolerance.
As suspected, an imbalance of serotonin can wreak havoc on your body both emotionally and mentally. As such, Escitalopram acts as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This means that it restores the substance to a natural balance, essentially “resetting” the functions that depend on it.
In addition to helping you fight depression by better balancing your mood, it is also used to help treat many other conditions. Let’s explore some of the ways it can help!
Treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder
When people think of anxiety, they tend to think of the nervousness they feel when a big event comes up.
Consider those butterflies in your stomach and the racing pulse that you get just before a big presentation. That’s normal anxiety, which spikes in appropriate times of great nervousness. After the nerve-wracking moment is over, the nerves typically go away.
Persons that suffer from generalized anxiety disorder experience these feelings on a daily basis. They feel this way with or without a specific trigger that sets such emotions off. As a result, their daily life is disrupted by thoughts, fears, and apprehensions that can keep them from living life to the fullest.
Generalized anxiety disorder stems from a brain imbalance and is very much a mental illness. Yet, its effects can also create physical strain and stress.
Sufferers often experience fatigue, headaches, and difficulty sleeping. They can also get muscle aches as a result of carrying around excess tension.
Scientists have linked an overactive serotonin system to both depression and anxiety. As such, taking anti-anxiety drugs called SSRIs to restore that balance can help keep generalized anxiety disorder at bay. As it does so, it can also help reverse the negative physical effects that take their toll as emotional trauma sets in.
One of the most prevalent aches and pains stemming from depression and anxiety: migraine headaches.
A migraine is different from a normal headache. It typically only affects one side of your head and can cause moderate to severe pain. In addition, you may also experience nausea and light sensitivity when going through a migraine.
Is your anxiety or depression triggering migraines? If so, you may find some relief and prevention through Escitalopram, though keep in mind the following note:
Important Note on Using SSRIs to Treat Migraines
Escitalopram can help reduce the occurrence of depression or anxiety-induced migraines. Yet, the FDA warns against using the medicine in conjunction with other drugs meant to alleviate migraines.
These drugs are known as 5-hydroxytryptamine receptor agonists, or triptans. They can trigger a life-threatening disorder known as serotonin syndrome when taken with SSRIs like Escitalopram.
Symptoms of serotonin syndrome range from changes in your mental status (such as hallucinations) to rapid heart rate, muscle stiffness, lack of coordination, and even death.
Common triptans include almotriptan, eletriptan, frovatriptan, and others.
Before using Escitalopram to prevent migraines, be sure to talk to your doctor about all other medications, especially triptans, you are taking.
Improved Sleep, Energy, and Appetite
As discussed earlier, depression affects more than just your mood.
Your serotonin levels can increase and return to a balanced state while taking Escitalopram. You may also experience other health benefits as a result.
For instance, fatigue and restlessness may give way to a more regular and refreshing sleep schedule. As a result of the extra shut-eye, your energy levels may also improve, as well as your appetite (which depression can often decrease).
Health experts reveal that these improvements should begin about one to two weeks after starting your treatment.
These effects typically show up before emotional reactions do. So while your mood might take a while to catch up, take notice of the physical changes you’re experiencing. These are often a good sign that your body is responding well to the medication.
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