What you should know about antidepressants

What you should know about antidepressants



There are many types of antidepressants, and none of them work the same for everyone. Sometimes you and your doctor will work to find a balance between an antidepressant that helps you feel better and its side effects and potential risks.


The answer will be different for everyone, so knowing a little about what others experience can help when you next talk to your psychiatrist.

Medication likely won’t be the only aspect of your mental health treatment, but if you and your doctor decide it’s right for you, it’s helpful to know what you might expect.

What you should know about antidepressants

  • The antidepressants are ordered in alphabetical order by generic name. 
  • All of these antidepressants are FDA approved for certain mental health conditions but often doctors may choose to prescribe them “off-label” based on research showing it helps other conditions even though it isn’t FDA-approved for that specific use.
  • Unless otherwise indicated the antidepressants take about six to eight weeks until you feel the full effect, though you may start noticing small changes after a couple of weeks.


ALSO READ: Preventing suicide: Expert recommends mental health awareness as antidote



What to Know About Side Effects for All Antidepressants

  • To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start taking this drug at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.
  • This isn’t a complete list of side effects for any medication and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects of it you have concerns. 
  • Serotonin syndrome may occur with the use of certain medications that affect your serotonin levels, which include all the antidepressants on this list. Serotonin syndrome symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome.
  • Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome occurs in approximately 20% of patients after abruptly stopping your antidepressant. Typical symptoms include; flu-like symptoms, insomnia, nausea, imbalance, sensory issues and hyperarousal. These symptoms usually are mild, last one to two weeks, and typically go away quickly when you restart the medical. This condition can occur with other antidepressants, so talk to your doctor before stopping your medication.
  • All antidepressants may also increase suicidal thoughts. If you’re feeling suicidal, reach out to your doctor or emergency medical services right away.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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