Loneliness, restlessness, and hopelessness can disrupt completing tasks and even your everyday routine. Doctors might suggest patients to try antidepressants if they’ve tried lifestyle changes and counseling but aren’t effective in reducing signs and symptoms of depression. However, many people fail to comply with the right dosage when they administer or take antidepressants.
Therefore, before you take antidepressants, it’s crucial to know important things such as the ones discussed below to set your expectations. This way, you’ll also be on full medication compliance, giving you only the best results.
Antidepressants Don’t Only Treat Depression
Antidepressants, which include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), are medications usually given to depressed patients. Unlike the popular belief, antidepressants also work in treating anxiety. However, anxious patients usually require higher doses than depressed ones.
Anxious or depressed patients who are under antidepressant medications should be aware of antidepressant withdrawal side effects. Flu-like symptoms, tremors, tingling sensations, sweating, nausea, and hypertension may occur when a patient suddenly stops or drastically reduces the dose after regularly taking antidepressants for at least a month. So, it’s highly advisable to talk to the prescribing physician about any dosage changes before lowering the dose.
Antidepressants Don’t Immediately Take Effect
An antidepressant drug isn’t a magic pill that can instantly make you happy or less lonely. Until the drug builds up in your body, which can take four weeks, you can’t expect to feel the desired effects of antidepressants.
However, don’t be discouraged from taking your medication if you don’t see any effects yet. You can talk to your doctor if you can be on a temporary fast-acting medication for anxiety-related symptoms while waiting for the antidepressants to kick in.
Avoid Cheese And Chocolate
If you love cheese and chocolate, as many people do, skip them while you’re taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Aside from cheese and chocolate, you should avoid beer, smoked fish, processed meats, and red wine. This is because these foods have high tyramine content that can cause high blood pressure when combined with MAOIs.
Antidepressants Won’t Make You Euphoric
Antidepressants help alleviate depressive symptoms and associated anxiety. These drugs won’t cause euphoria. Instead, this medication will help you react more realistically and make you less worry about the situations and things that severely bother your thoughts and emotions.
Antidepressants Won’t Make You Feel Like A Zombie
Another myth about taking antidepressants is that it numbs your feelings. This is why people think twice about seeking depression treatment. The goal of antidepressant medication treatment is to make you feel good and enjoy life.
If you feel too lethargic, you likely have a higher dose than your body can tolerate. Hence, you can talk to your doctor to lower the drug dose.
You Can’t Take Antidepressants As Long As You Want
Most psychiatrists advise patients to take antidepressant drugs for six to 12 months after they no longer feel down or depressed. According to a research study, antidepressant drugs may cause permanent brain damage like antipsychotics that shrink the brain for dose dependents.
For this reason, psychiatrists only prescribe antidepressant drugs in the acute phase–when the patient is seriously disturbed.
You Can Gain Weight While On Antidepressants
SSRIs may cause weight gain and exercising can be more difficult because you’ll feel drowsy when you’re on this medication. However, you still need to exercise to help boost your mental well-being.
Sweating and dry mouth are other possible drug effects, so you need to drink plenty of fluids when you’re planning to work out.
You Can’t Buy Antidepressant Over-the-Counter
Antidepressant drugs always require a doctor’s prescription. Even if you have a good reason to use one, you can’t buy any OTC antidepressant drugs. This is because most antidepressant medications have some drug interactions and side effects that only a licensed doctor can determine.
During this pandemic, you can speak with a doctor via telemedicine or telehealth services through videoconferencing. The doctor can give you an online prescription of antidepressants so you can also order your medication online. To ensure drug safety, just make sure to deal with reputable telemedicine hubs and companies, preferably the one affiliated with your local doctor.
Before you take antidepressants, you have to be aware of the indications, effects, side effects, and contraindications. Food can interact with medications, so there are certain foods you should avoid while taking antidepressant drugs. Seek depression treatment and don’t hesitate to ask your psychiatrist any questions to clear your doubts and concerns about your medication.