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Depression Care and Treatment: Antidepressants
Medication may help relieve some of the symptoms of moderate and severe depression quickly in the short term and may seem to be the fastest solution. However, it doesn’t cure the underlying problem and it’s usually not a long-term solution.
Antidepressant medications also come with side effects and safety risks. Research suggests that some medications may clash with your current condition and worsen your depression symptoms.
Side effects of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
The most widely prescribed antidepressants come from a class of medications known as SSRIs, which include drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox and Paxil.
The SSRIs act on the brain chemical serotonin, which not only helps to regulate emotion, but also plays a role in digestion, pain, sleep, mental clarity, and other bodily functions. As a result, SSRIs can cause a wide range of side effects, including:
Side effects normally improve with time when your body has adjusted to the medication.
If you go “cold turkey” or stop taking SSRIs abruptly, you may experience serious withdrawal symptoms.
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Antidepressants and Suicide Risk
Antidepressants treatment may cause greater negative effect on people, in other words, worsen their depression symptoms. Anyone taking antidepressants should be monitored closely for any suicidal thoughts or behaviour especially if they’re taking it for the first time or has increased their dosage.
There are warning signs for you to spot in yourself or people around you and if spotted, contact your doctor or your therapist immediately. Antidepressants suicide warning signs includes the following:
Other Alternate Treatments for Depression
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1) Relaxation techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga or tai chi to reduce stress and boost feelings of joy and well-being
2) Acupuncture which uses fine needles on specific points on the body for therapeutic purposes by a licensed qualified professional
First, it is important to understand and learn about your depression. You will need to know the root cause of your depression and how it affects your mood and your actions in order to pick the right treatment. Every patient is different, and it takes time to find the right treatment or the right therapist.
Always remember that you’re not alone on this journey. Get support from people around you, don’t hesitate to talk to your family and friends or reach out to a depression support group. Seeking for help is not a weakness and it is never a burden to others.
Dr. Khairi Rahman
Ms. Usha Ponnudurai
Mr. Paul K. Jambunathan