The modern living is anything but anxiety free. Be it family pressure or work pressure, we take too much of stress that leads to longtime anxiety and depression. The condition worsens over time so much so that it affects our daily life. And the next step involves seeking medical advice where doctors suggest we take anti-depressant pills. While depression is deep-seated and disabling at times, the thought that a small pill can lend substantial relief and a normal life once again is appealing, to say the least. We usually resort to that treatment option but seldom do we think if that is the only available treatment option and if it has any potential side effects.
If you have been going through depressive mental symptoms lately and been considering anti-depressant medications, then it is time you think over it and question yourself.
Are anti-depressants the only and best treatment option available?
Are there any potential side-effects over prolonged usage of antidepressants for anxiety?
Are there no no-pill options available to treat anxiety and depression?
Here are 10 points that will help you weigh the benefits against risks of using anti-depressant pills –
How to choose the right antidepressant medication for you?
Don’t ever try administering OTC anti-depressant or anti-anxiety drugs without a proper prescription. There are many anti-depressants available in the market that has different side-effects and works differently for different patients. Your psychiatrist is the best person who will closely take a look at your symptoms, study your medical history, your current health status before prescribing the correct medication best suited to give your relief.
Are there any side-effects associated with anti-depressant medication?
Most of the antidepressant medications prescribed act on the brain chemical serotonin that not only regulates the mood but also affects the digestion, pain, sleep patterns, mental clarity and other functions of the body. Therefore, the side effects of antidepressants are also many, the most common being:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased libido
- Weight gain
- Tremors and sweating
Also, complete the prescribed course of medication. If you stop taking medications abruptly, it might lead to symptoms of withdrawal.
Are antidepressants effective enough to treat anxiety and depression?
It is difficult to give a definite answer on whether antidepressants work or not. While for some people who suffer from severe depression, antidepressants might be lifesaving, but researches also prove that there are very few people who have said that antidepressants have alleviated their symptoms. It gets worse for some.
Again for some people, they might respond positively to antidepressants but soon after slip into a severe form of depression even after taking pills regularly.
So, whether antidepressants will work or not is subjective.
Will antidepressants affect pregnancy?
Pregnancy has its own set of depressive symptoms that need to be treated. If depression is untreated, it might harm the health of both the mother and the fetus. It gets important for most women to resort to antidepressant medications to battle the symptoms of pregnancy depression. Although researches show that antidepressants are safe to take while pregnant, there might be risks of birth defects.
Again postpartum depression is common after childbirth symptom among new mothers. For some mothers, it might be mild, whereas, for others, it may be severe that antidepressants should be administered to maintain a sane state of mind. But there are risks of maternal medications being exposed to infants through breast milk.
(Read more about post-partum depression)
Antidepressants should better be avoided when pregnant and after pregnancy. You must always consult a doctor before taking any medications.
How long should I take antidepressants?
Antidepressants are usually prescribed for a course of 6 months to 1 year depending on the severity of the depression. This course of time will be effective and prevent further recurrence of depression. However, in the first one or two months of taking drugs, you might not notice any benefit. The antidepressant medications take its course of time and you should be patient for the medicines to work effectively. You will be monitored closely by your doctor after stipulated time periods to detect if the depression is recurring.
Don’t discontinue medications abruptly if you feel it isn’t working. Always consult your doctor before doing so.
Some early symptoms of depression like lack of motivation, feeling of helplessness and loss of interest and chronic stress might happen due to low dopamine levels. Instead of visiting the doctor right away, do check our post on how to naturally increase dopamine levels.