Have you, or someone you know, been suffering from depression and been prescribed anti-depressants? Then you’re no stranger to their side effects, we’d assume. They claim to ease depression by outsourcing energy through your body, elevating your mood and giving you that feel-good factor, but many people often suffer from their side effects which can range from mild to deadly ones. And yes, there are a lot of them.
How do they work? Anti-depressants, although do not claim to cure depression on a permanent basis, may elevate the symptoms. They work to correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain that are believed to cause changes in mood and behavior. They are often used for psychiatric conditions such as social anxiety disorder, mild chronic depression and so on. There are different kinds of anti-depressants that may fall under any of these four major categories:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) Most widely used and considered to be a safer choice out of the lot, this one presumably has fewer side effects and works to elevate and stabilise moods.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) A relatively newer type of anti-depressant class used to treat mild to severe depressive disorder.
Tricyclics Mostly used to treat depression, and sometimes even anxiety.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) Not so widely used, this class includes anti-depressants that have a higher number of side effects and may clash with other medications and sometimes, even food.
Your doctor might give you a subtle warning before you take them, but it can actually get more serious. Here are some of the most common side effects that anti-depressants can cause.
Common side effects They include nausea, sleeplessness, agitation, dry mouth, upset stomach, headache, weight gain, muscle aches and more.
Depression worsened Because of the placebo effect, a lot of patients may feel a flush of energy for a short period of time until they fall back to being even more depressed.
Suicidal tendencies Studies prove that patients with depressive disorders may experience a stronger urge to commit suicide if prescribed the wrong meds.
Loss of libido Known as one of the long-term side effects, patients may lose interest in sex or be unable to orgasm.
Addiction and withdrawal Have you ever heard of patients suffering from insomnia who have to increase their doses in order for their sleeping meds to work? It’s because those pills make them dependent. Similarly, anti-depressants have properties that work the same way. They make you dependent on them and sometimes, highly addicted. If stopped, patients may experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms that can last for months.
That being said, all is not lost yet. Different people may show different sets of side effects and the trick is to thoroughly explain your doctor about your condition and finding the right anti-depressant for you. Once your doctor prescribes you an anti-depressant, do some research before you actually start to take them. Look for their side-effects. Be patient, it may take a while to find the right one. But remember not to stick to something that’s doing more bad than good, because it doesn’t get worse before it gets better.