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8 Things About Antidepressants Everyone Needs To Know

According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) global health estimates of 2017, an estimated 322 million people were affected by depression in 2015. India is home to an estimated 57 million people (18% of the global estimate) affected by depression. It is a mental health condition that can affect people of all age groups right from kids to adults to pregnant women and the elderly.

Antidepressants are one of the most widely used medications to treat major depression along with psychotherapy and counseling. They are generally indicated in patients with major clinical depression especially in people who have severe symptoms and those who have not responded with other treatment options namely psychotherapy and counseling, as per a psychiatrist advice. However, many people who are diagnosed with depression or are prescribed/taking antidepressants have many fears and questions regarding the use of these medications.

In this article, we tackle some of the common myths and misconceptions about antidepressants.

#1. Antidepressants are addictive.

No. Antidepressants are not addictive like alcohol or tobacco because you don’t experience any cravings for the medication.  Moreover, antidepressants do not cause tolerance, which means you don’t have to take a higher dose of the medication for the drug to be effective in the long term. However, if you stop taking antidepressants suddenly you may experience withdrawal symptoms like nausea, which is why it is important to take a doctor’s advice while going off antidepressants.

#2. Antidepressants are “happy” pills.

This is completely wrong as antidepressant do not give you a high or euphoria. They are medications which help to correct the chemical imbalance in the brain and reduce the constant negative feelings a person with depression goes through. They help a person with depression to actually make it through the day feeling relatively normal and not a merely happier person.

#3. Once on antidepressants, I have to take them for the rest of my life.

Not really. As a general rule, antidepressants are usually taken for one to two years, sometimes longer, to prevent relapses. Moreover, a person has to take antidepressants for about six months after the symptoms of depression go away or as advised by the doctor. It is after this, that the expert will start to wean off the antidepressants by slowly monitoring the dose. In a few cases, especially for people who have two or more relapses of major depression, long-term use of antidepressants is recommended.

#4. Antidepressants give you quick relief.

Not many people are aware of the fact that antidepressants can take around four to six weeks for the medication at a clinically effective dose to start showing any signs of improvement. However, you might experience the side-effects of the medication much earlier. Hence, it is advised to stick to the medications for at least six weeks before you consider changing the medication.

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