Everything You Need To Know About Your Antidepressant Performance
Almost all antidepressants function by changing the chemical balance of the brain which is known as neurotransmitters. Those who suffer from depression have a brain chemistry that does not properly use neurotransmitters. But antidepressants make the chemicals easily available to the brain cells.
For normal depression any doctor can prescribe antidepressants, however, those who are entangled with severe symptoms need to see the psychiatrist.
Often, antidepressants work well, when used along with the psychotherapy. People suffering from symptoms including sadness, loss of interest, and hopelessness report a gradual improvement after the dosage of antidepressants. However, these drugs don’t work right away. It can take 1 to 3 weeks before they start feeling better and even longer before they feel a complete benefit. Though if no improvement is seen with antidepressants, patients should try other treatments with their doctor.
Do You Need to Switch?
If you see no improvement in your symptoms even after 4 to 6 weeks, consult your doctor. Possibly your dosage may be increased or a different medicine will be prescribed. Often some patients don’t respond to the first antidepressant they take. But these people do respond to different medicines. Remember, that it will take up to 3 months to feel the complete benefit of any antidepressant.
Also, antidepressants may stop working in some people who have been taking it for a while.
Brand Name vs. Generic
According to the FDA, both generic vs. brand-name drugs are same in terms of strength, safety, and quality.
However, some studies suggest there can be variations in how well the generics drugs are absorbed and utilized by the body. If you are using generic and it’s not working well, tell your doctor.
A successful course of antidepressant treatment usually lasts for several months to one year. Never quit on your own, even if you feel better sooner. If you are thinking of it, it’s likely your depression will relapse.
Your doctor can assist you in developing a suitable routine for staying on medication – for example, daily taking your medicines with breakfast.
Coping With Side Effects
Don’t feel shy about telling your doctor about the side effects. There are numerous ways to manage them. For example, antidepressant taken along with food can help nausea. If you are facing sexual problems, changing antidepressants can help.
If you feel fatigued, take your medicine 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. If an antidepressant is causing insomnia, better take it in the morning. Most side effects fade off on their own in a few weeks.
Antidepressants that are used these days have fewer side effects and drug interactions as compared to old antidepressants. Still, any antidepressant can unite with other medicines, even with herbal and dietary supplements. Drug interactions often lead to severe side effects and reduce the efficiency of your medicine.
Your doctor should know about over-the-counter medicine, any new prescription drug, or dietary supplement you are planning to take.
It is important to continue follow-up care while you are taking antidepressants. Relapses are possible. Your doctor may advise changing the dose if your symptoms return. Also tell your doctor about major changes in your life, like losing a job, developing another medical condition, or getting pregnant.
Some patients worry antidepressants will make them robotic. However, the truth is, antidepressants give relief from feeling sad, they don’t eliminate your emotions.
Another myth is you will have to take the drugs for rest of the life. A normal course last for 6 to 12 months only.
Benefits of Psychotherapy
Getting psychotherapy in parallel with antidepressants is the most effective way to cure depression.
Types of therapy cover cognitive behavioral therapy, focusing on changing negative thoughts and behaviors, and interpersonal therapy, which focuses on relationships.
Depression and Exercise
Exercise helps in releasing endorphins chemicals which cause improvement in mood and lower the rates of depression.
Studies also suggest that regular exercise, without medicine, is as effective as medicine for mild depression. It also helps your medicine to work better.
Coming Off Your Antidepressant
Your doctor will let you know when it’s the right time to stop your antidepressants. Quitting abruptly can cause severe side effects or even relapse. It is best to gradually reduce your dosage according to your doctor’s instruction.
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