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Pros & Cons to Consider Before Taking Antidepressants

Anxiety and depression are mental illnesses that should be taken seriously. As any mental illness, anxiety and depression are characterized by a set of criteria. These conditions are more than just feeling ‘nervous’ or ‘sad’, and one must be clinically diagnosed along the guidelines of the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM). Talk therapy and antidepressants are helpful tools in coping with anxiety and depression.

There have been different opinions in the fields of Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry with regards to the overprescription of antidepressants. A shocking fact is that 2 year olds from Australia are being prescribed antidepressants, talk about overprescription. Cases like these contribute to the divide as to how much individuals should be prescribed in conjunction to other supplementary treatments such as Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This topic appears to be controversial as the stigma surrounding mental illness does not give the prescription of, nor consumption of, antidepressants a good reputation.

If you are interested in asking for a prescription for antidepressants, here are some pros & cons to consider!

Pros

1) Finding the ‘right’ dose will be effective. Sometimes, taking a very high or very low milligram prescription of an antidepressant may have adverse consequences.

2) Medication helps with insomnia.


3) Side effects subside within 2 weeks or so.

4) Antidepressants may help you with being able to  decipher between ‘anxiety’ and ‘depressive’ thoughts verses your own thoughts; however, so does CBT!

5) Once the medication kicks in, expect an increase in motivation and decrease in fear.

6) Increased ability to concentrate.

7) Literature on anti-depressants states that all medications are equally effective.

8) Can help with symptoms of fibromyalgia.

9) Medication is NOT addictive despite what people may tell you. The withdrawal symptoms that are felt while weaning off the pill are due to the psychological consequences of taking a drug. That is medical jargon for the fact that your brain has to create it’s own serotonin.

Cons

1) At first, your initial symptoms of depression/anxiety may increase.

2) It takes anywhere from 4-6 months for the medication to be effective.

3) It is not a “miracle” drug that will solve all your problems. Along with medication, coping with any mental illness requires a holistic approach as well.


 

4) They may not be effective for you. Not every drug will react perfectly with you, so you may have to experiment with different brands and doses.

5) Weaning off the drug is a long process and comes with withdrawal symptoms such as: increased drowsiness, brain zaps, and dizziness.

6) There are initial short-term side effects that include but are not limited to insomnia, weight gain or loss, and the possibility of increased depression. Additionally, there are unknown long-term side effects.

7) Having to take a pill everyday takes some getting used to- and it must be taken consistently in order to be effective. You will have to deal with a missed dose accordingly.

8) Having to purchase a prescription whenever you run out can be costly!

9) Suicidal thoughts. Yup, it’s true! That sounds counterproductive doesn’t it? Research tells us that antidepressants are only effective for those with severe symptoms of depression as opposed to those with notably less severe symptoms.

Believe it or not, a simple search made it easier to compile more cons than pros!

Hopefully, this article has given you a heads up and has motivated you to seek out your options. It is encouraged that you talk to a family doctor and/or your psychologist and research the different brands of anti-depressants before making the decision to take medication. Whether or not you choose to go on medications, it is important to be aware of what may happen. I want to strongly reiterate that having a mental illness does not make you “crazy” or “weak”. Recovery is best thought of as a journey than a destination; strength is found in your courage to seek help in the first place.

 

 

 

Melissa is a Social Work and Psychology student at the University of Windsor and just recently joined Her Campus! She describes herself as an empath, future thinker, and coffee connoisseur. Melissa enjoys staying up-to-date on the latest beauty trends, writing for Her Campus, hanging out with family and friends, and spending time with her Maltese Shih Tzu puppy. Contact: [email protected]
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