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How Does Prozac Work Anyway?

No doubt, you've heard of the anti-depressant Prozac. But do you know how it works? That's okay. Science is still trying to figure it out too.

Assorted pills arranged on a blue cloth

Photo: Treasure Tia (flickr)

In 2008, antidepressants were the third most commonly prescribed medicine in the U.S.

Until relatively recently, people with mental disorders were often considered possessed or incurably insane. Diseases like schizophrenia were misunderstood and thus feared. Those who suffered from mental illness were treated more like criminals than patients.

We’ve come a long way in the last half-century. Many mental disorders are now understood to have a neuro-chemical component. And although effective treatments exist for a number of illnesses, perhaps none has been as widely acclaimed as Prozac, a drug used to treat depression.

Chronic depression involves brain chemistry. Neurons in the brain communicate with each other via neurotransmitters that are like chemical messengers sent from one nerve cell to another. To move between cells a neurotransmitter must cross the synapse — the junction between neurons. Depression has been linked to chemical malfunction in the synapse.

In the 1960s scientists developed anti-depressant drugs that increased the amount of neurotransmitters in the synapse, or prolonged or inhibited its actions. The drugs proved effective but had nasty side effects, including dry mouth, blurred vision, drowsiness and weight-gain.

Prozac entered the scene in the United States in 1987. Prozac is so effective because it selectively influences just one neurotransmitter. Unlike its predecessors, which affected a range of chemicals, Prozac targeted serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to depression.

But while Prozac has shown to be effective for many, it’s not a miracle cure. Science still has a long, long way to go before it can understand exactly what depression is, let alone eradicate it altogether.

Read More:

  • When It Comes To Depression, Serotonin Isn’t The Whole Story (NPR
  • Post-Prozac Nation (The New York Times)
  • Pingback: Food And Mood | A Moment of Science - Indiana Public Media

  • http://twitter.com/1_reflection Sergey Stepanov

    R E F L E C T I O N 
     
    Synapse transmission between neurons in different systems of  dimension .
    Music  Teaching  Technology  for  Beginners.

       Ukraine . 
    Mr.    S.M.Stepanov   
    E-mail : stepanovmusicreflection@gmail.com
    http://reflectionmusic.ucoz.com/
    tel :  +38 095 0570047 

    We  would  like to offer  the sci.articles                                                                                 
    “Digital Music Grammar “  and   “Algorithm of  Microcycles “                                                        
    for  your  review.

    A b s t r a c t
     
    Throughout  many centuries, the musical structure has had  numerous modifications. We can observe the constant use of  digits  for convenience of  notation of  the music sounds,  for example : digital organ bass, lute tablatures, guitar  jazz  ciphers. At nowadays the digital system of  music teaching  is absent  in  curriculum  and  is not applied   in practice because of  teacher’s  insufficient professional knowledge in the sphere of  child’s neurophysiology . The findings of our scientific investigations have permit  us to understand  the most delicate mechanisms of child’s mental activity  and  to detect  new creative abilities.Application of  the  information technologies  will  help schoolmasters  to improve the quality, speed  and efficiency of  music teaching  for beginners. The scientific methods    “Digital Music Grammar“  and  “ Algorithm of  Microcycles “ are dedicated  to children  on  the development  their  intellectual  and creative abilities.  
      
    http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/considering-the-benefits-of-digital-music-grammar-in-a-music-educational-program/

                                                                teacher of  music         Stepanov S.M.

  • http://twitter.com/1_reflection Sergey Stepanov

    R E F L E C T I O N 
     
    Synapse transmission between neurons in different systems of  dimension .
    Music  Teaching  Technology  for  Beginners.

       Ukraine . 
    Mr.    S.M.Stepanov   
    E-mail : stepanovmusicreflection@gmail.com
    http://reflectionmusic.ucoz.com/
    tel :  +38 095 0570047 

    We  would  like to offer  the sci.articles                                                                                 
    “Digital Music Grammar “  and   “Algorithm of  Microcycles “                                                        
    for  your  review.

    A b s t r a c t
     
    Throughout  many centuries, the musical structure has had  numerous modifications. We can observe the constant use of  digits  for convenience of  notation of  the music sounds,  for example : digital organ bass, lute tablatures, guitar  jazz  ciphers. At nowadays the digital system of  music teaching  is absent  in  curriculum  and  is not applied   in practice because of  teacher’s  insufficient professional knowledge in the sphere of  child’s neurophysiology . The findings of our scientific investigations have permit  us to understand  the most delicate mechanisms of child’s mental activity  and  to detect  new creative abilities.Application of  the  information technologies  will  help schoolmasters  to improve the quality, speed  and efficiency of  music teaching  for beginners. The scientific methods    “Digital Music Grammar“  and  “ Algorithm of  Microcycles “ are dedicated  to children  on  the development  their  intellectual  and creative abilities.  
      
    http://educationinjapan.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/considering-the-benefits-of-digital-music-grammar-in-a-music-educational-program/

                                                                teacher of  music         Stepanov S.M.

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