Can Antidepressants Make You Depressed?

When taken under the guidance of a mental health professional, antidepressants work well to relieve severe symptoms of depression. Even then, antidepressants have their own set of side effects and dangers. Moreover, several studies have confirmed that antidepressants may not be effective as a long-term solution, and it is usually not enough to rely on medications alone for the treatment of your depression symptoms. It proves effective when take in combination with therapy and lifestyle changes. Some people may wonder if antidepressants can make you depressed. Let's find out now.

Can Antidepressants Make You Depressed?

Yes, it is possible to experience depression when taking antidepressants. You can be depressed while taking the medication and soon after you stop taking them. The drug changes your brain chemistry and there may be a surplus of serotonin while on the medication. This may make your depression symptoms to become worse. Similarly, you may notice a chemical imbalance soon after your treatment, and this again leads to depression.

It is important to know that though most antidepressants are safe, the FDA still requires these medications have black box warnings. These are the strictest warnings for prescriptions, and are important considering the fact that antidepressants may intensify suicidal behavior and thoughts in teenagers under 25. 

How to Find the Right Antidepressant

Even though the answer to "can antidepressants make you depressed" is yes, it doesn't mean that you should avoid taking antidepressants. Work with your doctor to find the right one can help you recover better. In order to select the right antidepressant for you, you need to work with your doctor and keep the following things in mind.

1. Symptoms

It is important to select an antidepressant considering your particular symptoms. Some of these drugs are better at relieving certain symptoms as compared to other drugs. For instance, you may require an antidepressant with slightly sedating effect if you have trouble sleeping.

2. Side Effects

Side effects may be severe at the first few weeks. You may not want to go for an antidepressant with side effects such as weight gain, dry mouth, and sexual side effects because they make it difficult to stick with your treatment. So try to talk with your doctor to shift the antidepressant when you're troubled by the side effects. Moreover, you need to switch antidepressants if you notice no change in your symptoms in 4-6 weeks. 

3. How Effective It Was for Someone in Your Family?

You may want to start with an antidepressant that may have worked just fine for someone else in the family. The chances are it will work for you as well.

4. Interaction

It is important to consider how a certain antidepressant interacts with other medications you are taking, such as medications for diabetes or hypertension.

5. Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Not all antidepressants are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so tell your doctor if you are pregnant or are planning to become in the near future.

6. Other Health Conditions

Be sure to consider your other mental health conditions while selecting antidepressants. Some antidepressants help treat depression as well as other mental disorders such as ADHD, migraine headaches, or fibromyalgia.

What's more, you also need to consider the cost of taking antidepressants. See what benefits you get from your health insurance and how you are going to continue paying for the treatment.

Possible Side Effects of Antidepressants

Can antidepressants make you depressed? Yes. Along with making your depression symptoms worse, antidepressants can cause a number of other side effects as well. Here is more about them:

1. Physical Symptoms

You may experience some physical symptoms soon after starting your treatment. The list may include joint pain, headache, nausea, muscle aches, diarrhea, and skin rashes. The symptoms are not severe in most cases and go away on their own.

2. Sleep Disturbances

You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep after you start taking an antidepressant. If you are taking SSRIs, you may also experience issues such as sleepwalking and nightmares.

3. Daytime Sleepiness

Due to the sedative effect of certain antidepressants, you may experience daytime sleepiness as a side effect. Try taking the medication at bedtime to avoid dealing with this side effect. Some antidepressants such as SSRIs may include both side effects, including insomnia that makes it difficult to sleep and sedation that leads to daytime sleepiness.

4. Migraine Headache

People with depression are more susceptible to migraines, so it is important to take special care when taking migraine medications with SSRIs because both lead to an increase in the serotonin. This may cause rapid heart rate, flushing, and headache.

5. Weight Gain

You usually experience this symptom after taking antidepressants for months. Many people stop taking their medication to overcome this issue. Regular exercise may help keep your weight in control. The type of antidepressant you are taking may also determine how much weight you will gain in the long-run

6. Suicide

Can antidepressants make you depressed and more prone to suicide? Studies have found that taking an SSRI doubles the risk of having suicidal thoughts as compared to taking a placebo. This side effect is more common in teens. Some studies also believe that antidepressants may provide a person with enough energy to make and carry out a suicide plan, which is why regular follow-up with your doctor is important.

7. Decreased Libido

You may notice several sexual side effects for taking SSRIs on a long-term basis. The most common problems included delayed ejaculation in men, decreased sexual desire, and the inability to reach an orgasm in women. About 60% of people taking antidepressants experience some of these sexual side effects. 

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