Here’s What You Don’t Know About Antidepressants

depression and Antidepressants

What is depression and what are some common symptoms? Learn about effective treatment options including antidepressants, their side effects and why consistency is key when it comes to taking them.

On an antidepressant? Here’s what you need to know.

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. Depression alters all aspects of life such as motivation, sleep, energy levels, sex drive, appetite, and ability to cope with life stressors. Patients have no conscious control over these symptoms as they are due to an imbalance of a mood regulating neurotransmitter in the brain. Thankfully, modern antidepressants are effective and safe when used under the guidance of a health care professional to normalise this neurotransmitter. However, 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 as prescribed.

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.

Medmate home medication delivery

Medmate helps patients with home medication delivery.

Get Online Prescriptions For Mental Health Medications.

It’s important that we take a holistic approach to the treatment of depression. Providing the right supports is a critical arm of the treatment plan.

Medmate’s online mental health services are quick, easy and convenient, ensuring you get the medical support and online prescriptions you need without the hassle of going to a doctor. Medmate also offers medication delivery from our partner pharmacy network with delivery options available when you book an appointment or request a prescription.

Key Takeaways

Depression is a real illness that affects all aspects of patient’s lives. We are fortunate that modern treatments combined with psychological counselling and social supports are highly effective and safe. However, antidepressant medications need to be take regularly to work properly and to avoid side effects. A General Practitioner is always available to talk to you about your feelings and guide you with a mental health treatment plan.

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


About the Author

  • Dr Ganesh Naidoo

    BSc(biomed), MBBS, FRACGP is an Australian General Practitioner. He has significant clinical experience in multiple regions of Australia and has a passion for health transformation to improve clinical outcomes for all patients.

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