In the US, more than 250 million prescriptions of antidepressants are documented every year. But how effective are those treatments? Treating depression is more than popping up antidepressant pills every day. It should be done in an optimal way.
Most of the patients make the most out of antidepressants for a number of reasons. In many cases, a combination therapy is required. For example, combining exercise with medicines may lead to a miraculous cure.
But that is always not the case as many make usual medication mistakes rendering antidepressants ineffective. Naturally, this hampers recovery. A lot of thinking goes while prescribing the right antidepressant for a patient. Apart from the mental condition, several physical conditions also need to be factored in to make antidepressants most effective.
Where things generally go wrong with antidepressants?
However, having an understanding of usual medication mistakes will help you select the right form of treatment (s) to quicken your recovery.
- Do you need an antidepressant at all? Simple lifestyle changes and professional counseling can pull you out of the depression.
- Waiting too long to start the medication. Many people get angry or unnecessarily concerned when antidepressants are suggested.
- There may be some other hidden ailment mimicking depression.
- Too much concerned about side effects.
- Missing the necessary doses.
- Discontinuing medication without any consultation with the therapist.
Although most of the antidepressants are considered to be safe, FDA mandates all antidepressants to carry strictest warnings to prevent its misuse. Children, adolescents and adults below 25 years of age taking antidepressants need to be strictly supervised. Just by avoiding some simple medication mistakes one could make the most out of antidepressants.
10 tips to make the most out of antidepressants:
Judicious use of antidepressants is required to effectively cure depression. The consulting physician or therapist will prescribe the best one based on a logical sequence but that does not assure that it will work for you. You may not respond to the first antidepressant or there may be some unwanted side effects.
About 80% of people respond to these medications. Therefore, there can be no reason to think that you would be left out of this. The following line of thoughts would help you to make the most out of antidepressants.
1. Finding the right antidepressant:
Finding the right medication that will help to fight depression is the first step of your treatment. A wrong medication can do more harm than good. You may be tempted to select one from an ocean of drugs available in the market. It is highly recommended to get the suitable drug prescribed by your doctor or psychiatrist. After studying the symptoms, he may or may not suggest antidepressant. And that is what you need to be sure of!
2. Antidepressants take time:
To effectively cure depression with antidepressants, you need to maintain patience. Psychotherapy is often carried out to make the most out of depressants and you cannot expect results overnight. It may take 1-3 weeks for the results to show up and sometimes it may even take longer. Response to antidepressants varies from person to person. Therefore, maintaining patience and being optimistic is the best way to deal with the situation.
3. Time to alter the dose or medicine?
If the symptoms do not improve after 4-6 weeks of taking antidepressants, you may think of altering the dose or switching to some other medicine. You cannot do this of your own. Talk to your doctor. He would be the best person to make the necessary changes if necessary.
Sometimes, the first treatment with an antidepressant meets failure. Switching to a different medicine may do the trick. One has to give full three months to make the most out of depressants. Rarely individuals taking antidepressants for quite some time experience the drug to stop functioning.
4. Which one works better the generic medicine or the branded?
Some patients may experience better results with branded anti-depressants although FDA says both generic and branded drugs maintain the same level of safety and efficacy. Some studies have observed a slightly different absorption pattern of generic drugs than the branded ones which may make a difference in results. If the generic medicine does not work well, it would be wise to consult your doctor to make the most out of antidepressants.
5. Never quit antidepressants midway:
Your mood is upbeat. You are feeling a lot better. Should you stop taking antidepressants? No way. Treatment with antidepressants can last for months and years. You cannot even lower the dose when you start feeling better. The symptoms of depression are likely to reemerge in such cases. Your doctor will be the best person to suggest alteration or discontinuation of medication.
6. Talk about the side effects:
Experiencing a few side effects is quite likely but you need to open up. These may include an increase in appetite, sudden weight gain or weight loss, sleeping too much or having difficulty in sleeping or difficulty in sexual response. It would be grossly wrong to hide them from the doctor. These side effects may go away naturally or it may need a different medication, which your doctor can only prescribe.
7. Maintain a regular follow-up with the doctor:
Taking antidepressants religiously is not the ultimate way to treat depression. Maintaining a regular follow-up with the doctor is equally important. Anxieties and depression bring in suicidal thoughts which can be deadly. Dosages of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) need to be fine-tuned to prevent side effects and make the most out of antidepressants.
8. Exercising along with antidepressants:
Exercise is always good for treating mild depression. Some studies have even revealed that combining exercise with medicines gives better results. However, you need to go for a thorough health check-up before embarking on a workout regimen. You can start with walking or light physical exercises. This will help your brain release more endorphins and will make you feel better.
9. Careful weaning off antidepressants:
This must be done with utmost care to avoid withdrawal symptoms. You neither can get off from antidepressants too early nor continue them for an indefinite period. Consult your physician who will gradually lower your dose according to your condition finally advising you to quit them forever.
10. Stay away from alcohol and recreational drugs:
While these may seem to be mood-lifters for you, in the long run, it makes the situation worse. Do not hesitate to talk to your doctor in case you need some additional help to overcome these addictions.
Depression should never be left untreated as it can be life threatening. If you don’t need antidepressants, it is good enough. But if at all you need them, make sure to use them wisely.