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Alternative Uses for Antidepressants

By Nikhil Mehta, 9:00 am on

Individuals who live with depression often require a prescription for antidepressants. The formulas are effective because they balance neurotransmitters in the brain. Surprisingly, physicians learned that the various categories of antidepressants also prove useful in treating other medical conditions. Providers of in-home care in Palm Desert explain how antidepressants may help other conditions that are common among seniors.

Allergic Reactions

While antihistamines are the most common treatment for alleviating itching, respiratory irritation, and skin inflammation associated with allergic reactions, the tricyclic antidepressant medication known as doxepin has become a second line of treatment. Similar to antihistamines, the medication suppresses both the H1 and H2 receptors that are responsible for allergy symptoms.

Chronic Pain

When taken routinely, antidepressants can aid pain relief formulas that manage chronic pain. The tricyclic antidepressant known as amitriptyline relieves the discomfort in those diagnosed with diabetic neuropathy. In fact, the group of medications was originally created as pain relief treatments. Amitriptyline has also been successful in managing the pain associated with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and peripheral neuropathy.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome

In small dosages, antidepressants benefit individuals with irritable bowel syndrome. The medications relax the bowels and cause mild constipation, which eases diarrhea and the development of painful flatulence. By calming the gastric nerves, painful symptoms subside.

Sleep Aid

Amitriptyline is also prescribed for individuals who experience insomnia. When norepinephrine and serotonin levels in the brain are low, the medication normalizes these levels, which induces drowsiness and sleep. Antidepressants have the added benefit of maintaining their potency, unlike common sleep aids and insomnia medications that wear off once the user builds up a resistance to them.

Smoking Cessation

In recent years, smokers who want to quit can take bupropion, another common antidepressant. The medication interferes with the nicotine receptors in the brain that provide mental and physical pleasure from smoking. Bupropion also reduces the psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with smoking cessation.

Urinary Incontinence

Many elderly people experience incontinence, which causes involuntary bladder leakage. Stress incontinence is often treated using anticholinergics and tricyclic antidepressants that interfere with the contractions of bladder muscles. Tricyclic antidepressants also alleviate pelvic spasms and pelvic muscle dysfunction in women who experience stress incontinence.

While it’s common for people to use antidepressants for these and other disorders, seniors should only take them when prescribed by a medical professional. Seniors may also benefit from other resources like Home Care Assistance to manage symptoms associated with various illnesses and disorders. As the leading provider of comprehensive Parkinson’s, stroke, Alzheimer’s, and dementia care in Palm Desert, we tailor flexible care schedules to meet your loved one’s individual needs. Learn more about our home care when you call (760) 345-0001 today and schedule a free consultation with an experienced Care Manager.