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Other Problems Antidepressants Can Treat

By Jennifer Thompson, 9:00 am on

Doctors have discovered that antidepressant medications are useful for more than just treating depression. Because of this, you may be surprised to find your loved one is being treated with an antidepressant even if he or she hasn’t been diagnosed with depression. Providers of live-in care in Nashville reveal a few surprising uses for antidepressants and how they help conditions beyond depression.

Sleep Issues

While there are medicines on the market designed to treat insomnia, some doctors are finding better results by prescribing antidepressants. Medications designed to treat insomnia often stop working after a period of relief, rendering them useless for chronic insomniacs. Conversely, some common antidepressants like trazodone and mirtazapine help with insomnia while retaining their potency over time. Likewise, antidepressants are often more successful for managing late-night insomnia, an area of the condition many traditional sleep aids aren’t effective in treating.

Pain

While the FDA hasn’t formally approved the use of antidepressants for treating pain, doctors are finding them useful for treating disorders such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. Research suggests that antidepressants have an effect on how nerve fibers communicate, especially in terms of blocking the transmission of pain signals. Generally, traditional analgesics merely block pain for a time, but with a chronic disorder, it will come back. Because antidepressants cause the nerves to communicate differently, they may be able to resolve the problem more effectively than a temporary pain blocker.

Smoking Cessation

It turns out that Wellbutrin, a common antidepressant, is also useful for helping people quit smoking. The medication is marketed as Zyban when it’s used to help with smoking cessation but is actually the same medicine. There are two thoughts among the medical community about why this medicine helps. The first is that people who smoke do so as a subconscious desire to self-medicate their anxiety or depression and are less inclined to light up when treated for these disorders. Another suggestion is that the medicine rewires the pleasure centers of the brain. These centers moderate how we experience pleasure, so the medicine can hinder smoking from triggering those centers and will then become less appealing.

Urinary Incontinence

Struggling with urinary incontinence can be a real problem for seniors, especially women who have had children. Doctors have found that antidepressants are a useful solution for men and women who haven’t had success with traditional incontinence medications. They believe antidepressants change the way the neurons communicate with the muscles and other nerves to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Strengthening these muscles can help decrease incidences of incontinence.

If your senior loved one is currently managing a chronic condition like the ones above, a prescription for antidepressants may help. Additionally, your loved one will benefit from compassionate care offered by expertly trained caregivers with Nashville Home Care Assistance. We are a trusted provider of live-in and hourly home care that enables seniors to age in place while assisting with daily tasks like housekeeping and personal care. Learn more about how we can help your senior loved one when you call us at (615) 656-4999 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.