Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
SSRIs affect serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in many things, including your mood. Neurotransmitters act as chemical messengers within your body.
When your brain releases serotonin, some of it is used to communicate with other cells, and some of it goes back into the cell that released it. SSRIs decrease the amount of serotonin that goes back into the cell that released it, leaving more available in your brain to communicate with other cells.
Experts arent completely sure about the role serotonin plays in depression. But many believe that low levels of serotonin are a contributing factor.
SSRI antidepressants include:
- sexual problems such as low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or ejaculation problems
- weakness and fatigue
SNRIs can cause sexual side effects, but not as often as SSRIs. Some people who take SNRIs may also gain weight, but weight loss is more common.
In some cases, people taking SNRIs may notice increased blood pressure.
Finding The Cause Of Memory Loss
If you find that you are increasingly forgetful or if memory problems interfere with your daily life, schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the cause and best treatment.
To evaluate memory loss, your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical exam — including a neurologic exam — and ask questions to test mental ability. Depending on the results, further evaluation may include blood and urine tests, nerve tests, and imaging tests of the brain such as computerized axial tomography scans or magnetic resonance imaging .
You may also be sent for neuropsychological testing, which is a battery of tests that help pinpoint the memory loss.
Blood Sugar & Diabetes
Several studies have noted what appears to be a link between antidepressant use and problems with blood sugar regulation, including type 2 diabetes.
A systematic review published in a 2013 edition of the journal Diabetes Care examined this relationship to get a better feel for what’s going on. They looked at 22 studies, including a couple with more than 4,000 participants. Here’s a look at some of the findings that prompted the review:
- Antidepressants may worsen blood sugar control because they can cause significant weight gain.
- SSRIs and Pamelor reportedly worsen blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
- Tricyclic antidepressants cause hyperglycemia in humans.
- In mice, tricyclic antidepressants cause a condition called hyperinsulinemia, in which the blood contains too much insulin relative to the amount of sugar.
The aim of the review was to determine whether antidepressants raise the risk of diabetes in people who didn’t have it when they started on the medications. They concluded that some antidepressants affect blood sugar regulation and that the drugs could be a risk factor for diabetes. However, the larger and more recent studies they looked at suggested that the risk was small.
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Do Antidepressants Cause Hair Loss
Many antidepressants have been linked to insomnia, nausea, and dizziness, but hair loss is usually a rare side effect.
A team of researchers in New Zealand conducted a study to better understand how a group of 180 long-term antidepressant users felt about the experience. The five most commonly selected adverse effects were withdrawal effects , sexual difficulties , weight gain , emotional numbness , and failure to orgasm . Hair loss didnt make the list .
A 2018 comparative retrospective cohort study examined a large U.S. health claims database from 2006 to 2014 to review the risk of hair loss among various antidepressants . Among one million people on ten different antidepressants, researchers found an increased risk of alopecia among those taking bupropion compared with SSRIs and SNRIs.
Compared with bupropion , all other antidepressants had a lower risk of hair loss, with fluoxetine and paroxetine showing the lowest risk. Conversely, fluvoxamine , had the highest risk compared with Wellbutrin .
Brain Structure And Function
Depression is linked to widespread changes in brain structure and function including in the prefrontal cortex, hippocampus, and amygdala. These regions are all involved in cognition, executive function , and emotion processing.
These regions are interlinked via neural circuits, and they send and receive messages from each other, so problems in one region will impact on others. And, the neural circuits responsible for cognition and emotion processing overlap with those that control our stress response systems. So periods of high stress can also impair cognitive function and worsen mood.
The changes in these brain regions seen in depression can have a big impact on how well our brain works during memory tasks. For example, people with depression often have a smaller hippocampus, and had increased activity extending from the prefrontal cortex during a working memory task in which they were asked to remember specific letters. This meant the brains of people with depression brains had to work harder during the memory task by recruiting the help of additional brain regions to perform at the same level as participants who didnt have depression.
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Telogen Effluvium = Temporary Hair Loss
Antidepressants typically cause a type of hair loss called telogen effluvium. It is one of two types of drug-induced hair loss and can develop as a possible side effect of many widely used medications and supplements. The second type of drug-induced hair loss is called anagen effluvium.
Telogen effluvium occurs when hair follicles are in the resting phase and fall out too early. Its more common than anagen effluvium, which involves actively growing hair and affects not only hair on the scalp, but eyebrows, eyelashes, and other body hairs as well.
Normally, around 85% of a persons hair follicles are in the actively growing phase, and the remaining 15% are resting hair in the telogen phase. During telogen effluvium, roles can reverse with as many as 70% of the anagen hairs can be precipitated into telogen .
The resting hairs are attached to the hair follicles on the scalp. Then, once the medication triggers the telogen effluvium, the new hairs will push out the resting hairs. This will result in an increase in hair loss within 23 months. The good news is that telogen effluvium usually occurs without any scarring and is typically reversible.
Anxiety And Insomnia Medications
Benzodiazepines, a class of medications used to treat anxiety or insomnia, comprise another group that has been linked with cognitive difficulties. Although these medications are truly a blessing for some individuals immobilized by anxiety, their use can be accompanied by sedation and mental slowing. A recent study even suggested that prolonged use of benzodiazepines might be a risk factor for later dementia, although experts have questioned the significance of this finding and clinicians continue to prescribe anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam or sleeping pills such as temazepam and consider them very beneficial when used properly.
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Do Antidepressant Pills Cause Memory Loss
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Physical Trauma And Memory Loss
Physical trauma can greatly affect your memory, especially if brain damage occurs as a result of the injury. Physical trauma such as a head injury or stroke can damage the brain and impair a persons ability to process information and store information, the main functions of memory.
Another form of brain damage that directly affects memory is Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, which is a consequence of chronic alcohol abuse. Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a combination of two disorders: Wernickes Disorder, in which poor nutrition damages the nerves in both the central and peripheral nervous system, and Korsakoffs Syndrome, which impairs memory, problem-solving skills and learning abilities. Severe injuries and physical trauma can also produce post-traumatic stress disorder, which can cause temporary memory loss to help a person cope with the traumatic event that caused the injury.
In the case of physical trauma, the length of memory loss depends on the severity of the injury.
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If Youre Experiencing Forgetfulness Or Confusion Check Your Medicine Cabinet
by Dr. Armon B. Neel, Jr., February 9, 2016| 0
For a long time doctors dismissed forgetfulness and mental confusion as a normal part of aging. But scientists now know that memory loss as you get older is by no means inevitable. Indeed, the brain can grow new brain cells and reshape their connections throughout life.Most people are familiar with at least some of the things that can impair memory, including alcohol and drug abuse, heavy cigarette smoking, head injuries, stroke, sleep deprivation, severe stress, vitamin B12 deficiency, and illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
But what many people don’t realize is that many commonly prescribed drugs also can interfere with memory. Here are 10 of the top types of offenders.
What Should You Do About Benadryl And The Risks Of Dementia
In 2008, Indiana University School of Medicine geriatrician Malaz Boustani developed the anticholinergic cognitive burden scale, which ranks these drugs according to the severity of their effects on the mind. Its a good idea to steer clear of the drugs with high ACB scores, meaning those with scores of 3. “There are so many alternatives to these drugs,” says Dr. Berry. For example, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors like citalopram or fluoxetine are good alternatives to tricyclic antidepressants. Newer antihistamines such as loratadine can replace diphenhydramine or chlorpheniramine . Botox injections and cognitive behavioral training can alleviate urge incontinence.
One of the best ways to make sure youre taking the most effective drugs is to dump all your medications prescription and nonprescription into a bag and bring them to your next appointment with your primary care doctor.
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What To Do If You Or Your Relative Is On These Medications
So what should you do if you discover that your older relative or you yourself are taking some of these medications?
If its an over-the-counter anticholinergic, you can just stop it. Allergies can be treated with non-sedating antihistamines like loratadine , or you can ask the doctor about a nasal steroid spray. PM painkillers can be replaced by the non-PM version, and remember that the safest OTC analgesic for older adults is acetaminophen .
If you are taking an over-the-counter sleep aid, it contains a sedating antihistamine and those are strongly anticholinergic. You can just stop an OTC sleep aid, but in the short term, insomnia often gets worse. So youll need to address the insomnia with non-drug techniques.
You should also discuss any insomnia or sleep problems with your doctors its important to rule out pain and serious medical problems as a cause of insomnia but be careful: many of them will prescribe a sleeping pill, because they havent trained in geriatrics and they under-estimate the risks of these drugs.
If one or more of the medications above has been prescribed, dont stop without first consulting with a health professional. Youll want to make an appointment soon, to review the reasons that the medication was prescribed, alternative options for treating the problem, and then work out a plan to reduce or eliminate the drug.
Now go check out those medication bottles, and let me know what you find!
The Management Of Antidepressant
It is estimated that 30% of people treated for depression may be noncompliant with treatment minimization of antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction could be an important factor in successful treatment and health outcomes. The management of antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction is complex. Balon suggests that given the scarcity of evidence-based treatments the management of sexual dysfunction is still an art rather than a science .
As stated earlier, the normal sexual response cycle consists of four successive phases: desire, arousal, orgasm, and resolution. The management of antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction should endeavor to address sexual dysfunction equating to each stage of the sex cycle. However, this is not entirely possible as, as Jespersen suggests, poor overall sexual satisfaction is a common complaint of clients with antidepressant-associated sexual dysfunction.
Therefore, the first stage of effective management is a thorough assessment to ensure that the reported sexual dysfunction is indeed a consequence of antidepressant treatment. This will involve a re-evaluation of the depressive episode, including a physical and sexual health assessment. As Zajecka states, the first step in management is to define the actual complaint and then attempt to determine the aetiology . This may not be as easy as it appears.
A thorough assessment will focus on:
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Infections Of The Brain Or Its Lining
Infections like HIV, tuberculosis and herpes can cause memory problems. HIV puts the function of nerve cells at risk by infecting the cells that protect and support them. The virus can also trigger inflammation that can damage the brain and cause forgetfulness. With tuberculosis, memory loss can be a complaint. However, prompt treatment can resolve these problems. Meanwhile, herpes simplex virus can cause a rare neurological disorder called herpes simplex encephalitis. This inflammation of the brain can lead to memory loss. Antiviral drugs may help if treatment is started right away.
Trauma And Memory Loss
Memory loss is a frustrating and sometimes scary experience, especially if the memory loss is caused by a traumatic event. Research shows that there is a definite relationship between occurrences of emotional, psychological or physical trauma and memory. Some of this memory loss may be a temporary way to help you cope with the trauma, and some of it may be permanent due to a severe brain injury or disturbing psychological trauma. Knowing how trauma can affect your memory can guide you in choosing an appropriate treatment to help you cope with trauma and heal your memory problems.
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Which Common Medications Are Linked To Dementia
Emily Hong & Meg Seymour, PhD
You may have heard the media coverage that common medications may increase the risk for dementia. These medications include a variety of drugs, including antihistamines , some antidepressants, and drugs that help people with Parkinsons.1 What do these drugs all have in common, what do you need to know about them, and are there really risks to taking them?
The drugs in question are called anticholinergic medications. They block the action of a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is important for memory, attention, and learning. Because of this connection to memory and the brain, the side effects of some anticholinergic drugs can include dementia-like symptoms, such as memory loss and confusion.
In most cases, these side effects go away after people stop taking the medications.2 However, people taking some anticholinergic drugs may have an increased risk of developing dementia later.2, 3, 4 It is important to note that there are many types of anticholinergic drugs that treat many conditions. The risk may be specific to some drugs. So, its important to assess each type of anticholinergic drug separately.
A 2019 study conducted in England included 284,343 patients.4 It looked at 56 different anticholinergic drugs to see their effects on risk for dementia. The study found that people had a higher risk for dementia if they took:
Do All Antidepressant Cause Memory Loss
- #1 01-25-2006 03:50 PM by College boyHi,Ive been on effexor for 5 months now and i’m having a hard time in university cause of that!! I study but nothing stays on my mind!! Whats the best thing to do? is there anything i can take??? and some say that A’D causes brain damage..wow didnt know that!Thanx!
- 01-25-2006 04:27 PM by Jecca1Re: Do all antidepressant cause memory loss?????I have just bought my college son something natural to take from the General Nutrition Center store. It helps him focus. The main ingredient is ginko biloba, but it has a few other things in it. It seems to be helping him. Gingko Biloba by itself would be cheaper to buy and probably work just as well. My son is not on any antidepressants at this time, so you may need to ask a doctor that is a naturalist about taking ad’s with the gingko biloba. A regular M.D. probably wouldn’t recommend gingko biloba. Just a thought.
- #3 01-25-2006 05:35 PM by Bernadette12Re: Do all antidepressant cause memory loss?????College Boy, every antidepressant that I’ve studied, can cause memory loss. It can be a sign of brain damage. AD’s are powerful drugs. It would be difficult to combat this problem with supplements.
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Suicidal Thoughts And Behaviors Risk
Some antidepressants, including SSRIs, may cause an increase in suicidal thoughts or actions. This risk is higher in children, teenagers, and young adults. Its also higher within the first few months of treatment or during dosage changes.
You and your family members, caregivers, and healthcare provider should watch for any new or sudden changes in your mood, behaviors, thoughts, or feelings. Call your healthcare provider right away if you notice any changes.
Can Antidepressants Stop Working
If your antidepressant is no longer working as well as it did when you first started taking it, you could have developed a tolerance for the drug. Some people refer to this as antidepressant “poop-out,” although the medical term is tachyphylaxis. It has not been determined how many people taking antidepressants experience this phenomenon, but studies show rates ranging from 9% to 57%.
While no one knows for sure why this decrease in effectiveness occurs, one theory suggests that receptors in the brain become less sensitive to the medication. Other culprits include:
- Alternative or cooccurring mental health diagnosis
- Drug interactions
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