Top 5 anti-depressant “must knows”

Your doctor has prescribed anti-depressant medication for you and if you take your prescription correctly, it will make a big difference to your quality of life. To get the best results, there are some things that you need to know.

1. They take time to work

Anti-depressants act on the chemicals in your brain by readjusting the balance, and this takes time! It can take 4-6 weeks before you start to feel a major difference in your mood. You can help this along by taking your medication at the same time each day – many people prefer the evening as anti-depressants can make you feel drowsy, a bonus when you think that insomnia is a common problem in depression! If you’re not feeling any better after a month let your doctor know, as he may want to adjust the dose

2. You can’t just stop them or change the dose by yourself

It takes time to feel better and, for the same reason, it’s not a good idea to stop your medication cold-turkey or to change the dose on your own. If you want to stop your anti-depressant then you’ll need to take yourself off them slowly under your doctor’s directions. This is to avoid side-effects such as return of depression, anxiety, headaches, nausea and insomnia. Putting your dose up or down by yourself is also dangerous as too much can lead to overdose and too little can lead to your symptoms returning

3. There are many different types

There are many different classes of anti-depressant, and each one works in a slightly different way. It can take some time for your doctor to find the one that works best for you – balancing side-effects with symptom management and cost! You may be lucky and the first one you try works well, but then again you may need to try a few before your find the perfect fit.

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4. Some foods/drugs can interact with them badly

Be sure to tell your doctor about any medication you are already taking and its best to avoid alcohol and other drugs whilst on ant-depressants. Why? It’s because these can make your symptoms worse and prevent the medication from working properly. For the ladies: tell your doctor if you are planning on falling pregnant or if you fall pregnant whilst on treatment – you may need to change to an alternative drug.

5. You may have to be on them for life

Once you are started on anti-depressants you should take them for at least 6 months before you think about stopping-this can help prevent a relapse. If your symptoms return after stopping the medication your doctor will most likely advise that you re-start them for at least a year- if you stop after that year and again your symptoms return your doctor may advise you it is best to stay on them long term.