Will Antidepressants Fix My depression?
The short answer: no. Antidepressants alone will not fix your depression. What you really need are consistent, deliberate lifestyle changes.
It’s tempting to want to just take a pill to feel better. When you are suffering from severe depression, the hope of getting back control of your life through depression medication can be very appealing. And medication may be a good place to start. However, there are some things to understand about this treatment method:
Does medication really work?
Asking this question is similar to asking “will medication help me lose weight?” Unfortunately, the answer is no. Similar to losing weight, to overcome depression you need to make lifestyle changes.
Antidepressants may be a good place to start, but studies have shown that in the long term, medication alone will not be as helpful as counseling.
What are Antidepressants?
When you visit your primary care physician for depression diagnosis and treatment, he or she will often recommend antidepressant medication to combat depression symptoms.
Antidepressants are medicines which are meant for balancing chemicals in the brain or neurotransmitters which influence emotions and mood. They increase the level of serotonin which acts as a mood-enhancer.
How effective are these medications?
Studies have shown that Antidepressants helps relieve symptoms more quickly in the beginning, however, many people slip back into depression when they stop medication. Or in some cases the drug becomes ineffective after a while.
Mental health counseling has been found to be a more effective fix in the long run.
Are there any potential side effects of taking antidepressants?
Some of the potential side effects of antidepressant medication include restlessness, anxiety, weight gain, insomnia and nausea. The most common side effect of antidepressant medication is decrease in sexual desire. (big tradeoff!)
If severe depression is interfering with your daily activities at home or work, antidepressants might help you to normalize your life more quickly. But medication should be accompanied by psychotherapy, exercise and lifestyle changes so that its effects last longer, and so that side effects are minimized.
Is there any drug-free alternative to antidepressant medication?
Yes, see my post “Five Quick Tips For Dealing With Depression”
Is depression medication the correct treatment for you?
Make an appointment, together we’ll figure out which type of depression you’re suffering from, and we can discuss treatment options. Remaining longer in depression can extend your recovery time, so early intervention is important.