9 Things Most People Don’t Know About Antidepressants

Full disclosure: always talk with your doctor to confirm the things listed here (or anywhere else). I am not a licensed physician and side effects vary among brands of medications. I am using my experience with Lexapro, a common antidepressant.

  1. You don’t have to see a psychiatrist to get them prescribed.
  • While psychiatrists are often the best way to ensure you find the best treatment, regular doctors can still prescribe them. For some areas, a psychiatrist is not readily available, and if they are, they may be booked up for a very long time. In my case, our insurance was no longer covered under the closest psychiatrist. I got them from my family practitioner by telling her about my therapy and we worked together to find the best fit for me.

2. You might gain some weight.

  • I gained some weight when I first went on antidepressants, but this is also partially to blame on my diet as well. Make sure that you take extra care of your eating habits. In addition, don’t let the fear of weight-gain deter you from taking antidepressants. I would rather be 30 pounds heavier than feel horrible all the time.

3. They’re nothing to be ashamed of and they aren’t better or worse than seeking therapy.

  • Some people believe that antipsychotics, in general, are bad for your body and that going to therapy is a better way to deal with your problems, but antidepressants really work for some people. Most of these critics don’t understand that depression is a serious illness, and while some respond better to therapy, some also respond better to medication.

4. Some antidepressants also help anxiety issues.

  • This includes Lexapro, a popular antidepressant that I am currently on. This medication has really eased both my anxiety and depression and has helped me through episodes that would usually turn me into an anxious mess.

5. It may take a while for you to feel the effects.

  • While some other medications work within hours or even minutes, antidepressants can take weeks to feel the effects. I personally didn’t notice a difference until about 2 weeks after I start taking the medication. You have to be patient.

6. You can be on them for a very long period of time, or a short period of time.

  • I have been on antidepressants for a little more than a year and my current therapist was on them for 6 years, so it really can vary from person to person.

7. Do not suddenly stop taking them.

  • This is extremely important. Antidepressants can be very powerful and you have to slowly wean yourself off of them with the help of a doctor or they can be lethal. While it’s okay to miss a dose every once in a while on accident, try your best to take them at a regular time.

8. Have someone monitor you very closely during the first month or so.

  • This mostly applies to those who have had suicide attempts or repeated thoughts. Antidepressants can give you an extra boost of energy, and they can be dangerous to those with suicidal behaviors because sometimes when you are depressive, you may not actually have the energy to commit suicide. It is crucial to pay attention to your behavior and make sure a loved one you trust is looking after you too.

9. Finally, it won’t cure all of your problems.

  • While antidepressants can literally be lifesavers, it won’t magically fix all of your mental health issues. I still go to therapy once a week. I still have anxiety attacks and depressive bouts. But they’ve become significantly less frequent and severe.
If you are struggling with depression and long-term therapy doesn’t seem to be doing much for you, strongly consider an antidepressant. Talk about it with a family doctor or therapist. Mine has made such a huge difference in my life and while it hasn’t fixed everything, I feel like a more upbeat and happier person. I feel more like myself again.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 or text a crisis line. You are not alone.

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Maggie Lambert
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Maggie is a 16 year high school student. Self-identified psychology nerd. Currently trying really hard to be optimistic about the future.

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