Anti-depression pills or antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, abbreviated as SSRIs. These are among the most prescribed medicines in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and many other developed countries. There are over the counter antidepressants as well. Anti-depression pills are deemed to be safe and they can be effective for many people. It is not without a reason that such pills are approved by regulatory authorities around the world and prescribed by doctors. However, antidepressants have side effects. Most medicines do but the severity of side effects of anti-depression pills makes them much less desirable.
- The immediate physical side effects are the first reason why you should avoid antidepressants. Most people will experience some of these physical side effects. The severity may vary. Common among these are headache, muscle ache, joint pain, rashes on different parts of the body, nausea and diarrhea. It is possible you would experience one of these side effects. Most people experience several or all of these symptoms. It is not unusual for these side effects to subside in some time but they may persist. If they do, then you should discontinue the medication. Even if they subside, recurrence is quite common. Milder side effects may not be troublesome but some of these experiences can be severe enough to render you incapable of doing normal professional and household work.
- Anti-depression pills interfere with sleep. Many people who have been diagnosed with depression may already have problems with sleep. These problems may worsen in the first few days. While some people develop a certain degree of tolerance and overcome the sleep disturbance, many don’t get accustomed with the pills and continue to have poor sleep.
- Lack of sleep or serious problems while sleeping, such as waking up abruptly for no reason and failing to sleep again for the rest of the night, can lead to sleepiness during the day. There can be sleep deprivation and this can be a severe issue. Serious cases of lack of sleep can lead to fatigue and distraction while performing vital tasks. Drowsiness and distraction during driving can be particularly concerning.
- People who have been diagnosed with depression are often suffering from migraines and other types of headache. Anti-depression pills can worsen headaches and migraine. Antidepressants can increase the heart rate rapidly, cause hot flushes and worsen headaches. It is necessary to note that anti-depression pills can interact with medication for migraine.
- Anti-depression pills can contribute to weight gain. Those who are already overweight will be more vulnerable. Even those who exercise at times or are reasonably healthy may not be able to continue with their healthy lifestyle because of the other side effects of antidepressants. Many people who stop taking anti-depression pills often do so because they gain substantial weight in just a few weeks. There are some antidepressants that are worse than others. Any anti-depression pill containing paroxetine hydrochloride can lead to almost 10% increase in bodyweight.
- One of the worst symptoms of anti-depression pills is the suicidal thoughts and tendencies. Most people, especially young adults, have suicidal thoughts in the first few days of starting on an antidepressant. Doctors always recommend patients to report such thoughts and tendencies immediately but not everyone does so. Many doctors around the world are advocating against the use of antidepressants among teenagers and young adults for this reason.
- There are sexual side effects too. Long term consumption of anti-depression pills can lead to a substantial decrease in sexual desire. Men may experience delayed ejaculation. Women may not be able to experience an orgasm. Many people discontinue the medicine, only to be plagued with the symptoms. Discontinuation should always be planned. If you stop taking anti-depression pills, then you may suffer from worse symptoms of depression than before.
- Antidepressants are usually a long term medication. They are recommended for a short term but discontinuation is rarely effective. Most people experience the symptoms again and they want a refill. Doctors oblige and this continues forever. Very few people have stopped taking anti-depressions pills because they have been cured of depression. The pills are more regulatory than an effective treatment.
- Since anti-depression pills become chronic in the nature of its consumption, they tend to become an addiction. People who have been taking such pills for a long time would feel restless, anxious and uncontrollable when they would not get their antidepressants. There are physiological and psychological impacts of antidepressants. Such side effects make discontinuation harder than it already is.
- Antidepressants can often become the de facto choice for people who feel anxious, sad or just depressed. Temporary feelings of sadness do not amount to depression. Only those suffering from clinical depression should be prescribed anti-depression pills. Since there is little regulation to prevent people from getting over the counter alternatives, many people who should not take antidepressants end up consuming them. This can become an addiction, not very different from a quick fix that banned drugs offer. It is possible to overdose on antidepressants.
There are many ways to battle depression. Medication may seem to be the most obvious remedy but given the side effects, one should really explore the natural solutions. From therapy to taking up new hobbies, making changes to lifestyle and being more social, there are many simpler and noninvasive ways to counter the symptoms of depression. There are self help books that can be useful.