Antidepressants: Should I Take Them?

My Depression Is Not Getting Better

Deciding to take antidepressants is a big decision. It means that you have reached the point in your life where you’re considering the help of a psychotropic medication to alleviate your symptoms. For some, this may be an embarrassing decision to make: the stigma of taking an antidepressant remains locked in their minds.

The stigma of taking antidepressants is not what it once used to be. About 10% of Americans take an antidepressant. But your decision to take one should not be influenced by how many people you know that take them. Even if you do decide to be prescribed to an antidepressant, it does not mean that you have to tell people about it.

It’s no one’s business whether you take psychiatric medications or not. And you should not be ashamed of it if you are! Many people are slowly coming out and revealing their mental struggles with their friends and family. Celebrities are also opening up about their life struggles, mental illnesses and addictions which they have battled throughout their careers.

First things first: have you given yourself a fair shot at getting over your depression naturally? This involves:

  • Talking it out with someone who you trust
  • Exercising and eating healthy on a consistent basis
  • Adopting a good sleep hygiene
  • Getting involved in extracurricular activities
  • Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist for psychotherapy

If you have tried all of the above and still find yourself trapped in a depressive state of mind, then it’s probably time for you to be prescribed to an antidepressant. There are several classes available:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs – currently the most widely used and recommended for major depression)
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs – almost as widely used as the SSRIs)
  • Norepinephrine dopamine reuptake inhibitor (Bupropion: effective for increasing energy in major depression and smoking cessation)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs – very effective antidepressants but not as widely used anymore due to potential cardiac side effects)
  • Tetracyclic antidepressants (Mirtazapine: effective for depression with weight loss and insomnia)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs – very effective antidepressants but not as widely used anymore due to interactions with tyramine-rich foods)

As with any medication, antidepressants do have side effects which have to be taken into consideration prior to being prescribed to one. However, not everyone is prone to experiencing the side effects. But on a positive note, they do work very well for depression and anxiety! However, it also takes about 4-6 weeks to see a difference in your mood.

And if you’re considering going on an antidepressant, don’t think that you can now stop the healthy lifestyle and psychotherapy which you were previously doing. Most people experience remission when they combine psychotherapy + antidepressants. And living a healthy lifestyle should always be a given!

If you have given yourself an honest effort at trying to defeat your depression, but still haven’t been able to do so, then it’s probably time to start considering an antidepressant.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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