Here’s What You Don’t Know About Antidepressants.

Take antidepressant medications regularly to avoid side effects

On an antidepressant? Here’s how to take them the right way.

Depression is common and treatable. It is common in all communities and in all walks of life. One in seven Australian’s take antidepressants for anxiety and depression daily. Patients often suffer side effects when they commence antidepressant treatment or do not take their medications regularly as advised. Let’s take a look at some of the common side effects and why patients need to take antidepressant medication regularly.

How is depression treated?

Depression is an entirely treatable disease. Evidence shows that a biopsychosocial approach is best used in a treatment plan. The mind and the body are not independent, but are connected and dependent. As doctors, we ensure that patients receive the best social support, access psychological counselling services and are prescribed the right medications for the treatment of depression. Modern antidepressants are highly effective and safe. Common antidepressants include Zoloft, Lexapro and Effexor amongst many others. A holistic treatment plan can see people’s lives totally transformed from the depths of despair and social isolation back to happy, fully functional capacity within months.

The side effects – why it’s important to take you antidepressants regularly.

Common side effects when commencing antidepressants include nausea, agitation, diahorrea, dizziness, loss of appetite and headaches. Symptoms related to low sex drive and difficulties with erections are also common. Thankfully, with the majority of antidepressants, these side effects are not present after 2-3 weeks of regular usage. The medications start to have a good effect on improving mood. It’s important that patients continue their regular regieme – on time, every day. Antidepressants are only effective if they are taken regularly. If they are missed, or taken irregularly, patients experience side effects. The treatment becomes ineffective leading to a regression in the treatment plan.  Sudden cessation of medications (even for a day or two) can lead to withdrawal symptoms and a relapse in depression symptoms.

Why do some patients find it hard to maintain regular usage of their medication?

The problem we face is that clinical features of depression can include low mood, agoraphobia, poor concentration and impaired judgement. Couple this to side effects on commencement and the unfortunate stigma of mental illness that patients face.  It can be daunting for patients to coordinate their presentation to a busy social environment, like a pharmacy, to pick up their medication and maintain their regular treatment regimen. Often they simply run out. This sudden medication cessation leads to side effects and relapse.

Get it delivered.

It’s important that we take a holistic approach to the treatment of depression. Providing the right social supports is a critical arm of the treatment plan. Can we make it easier for patients with depression to coordinate their medication supply so they don’t run out? Interestingly, the most common prescription medications ordered on the Medmate app are medications for mental health. The highest volume of these orders are occurring in after hours periods. Why? Do patients value the privacy that ordering medication online provides? Do patients tend to order once they have run out and are experiencing side effects? Is it simply easier when you are feeling down in the dumps and don’t want to face the world? These are important questions that Medmate is trying to answer. What do you think?

If this article has prompted concerns about your mental health please contact your local General Practitioner or visit the Beyond Blue website.