Frequently Asked Questions

questionIn my next few blogs, I will provide answers to the most frequently asked questions fielded from conferences, seminars, e-mail and telephone contact. So if you’ve wondered about the answers to these questions or have encountered them in your work with clients, please read on! I’m delighted to be of service in this capacity.

Q. How long does it take for Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor and Wellbutrin to take effect?

A. At least 50 percent of those who will eventually respond to the above mentioned antidepressants will begin to demonstrate improvement within one week of treatment initiation. Users most often report an increase in energy and productivity, and a decrease in sensitivity (particularly to inappropriate comments from others), and anger within the first seven days of use.

Remission of mood symptoms is tougher. This may span over an 8-12 week period, because depression is neurotoxic. Depression suppresses levels of a key neural growth hormone known as BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), leading to the eventual death of neurons in critical memory and reasoning areas of the brain, including the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. Simply put, depression causes brain damage, and it takes 8-12 weeks for antidepressants to aid in the repair of this neurotoxicity.

Q. Should adults take ADHD drugs?

A. Absolutely adults should take ADHD drugs. Seventy percent of those diagnosed with ADD/ADHD in childhood or adolescence go on to experience symptoms in adulthood. If untreated, these adults will struggle with distractibility and inattention throughout their entire lives. Many adults do, however, “outgrow” the hyperactivity/impulsivity component of this disorder. Adults unable to manage can benefit from any of the medications typically prescribed to youth, such as the dextroamphetamine and methylphenidate psychostimulant preparations, the antidepressant Wellbutrin and the non-stimulant Strattera.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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