You may already know that using antidepressants may pose a risk for side effects, which vary from one drug to another. As with all drugs, some of the side effects are rather typical, and some don’t occur often. With antidepressants, most patients will experience side effects of sorts.
If you’re on antidepressant pills or are just searching for information about them, we’re outlining their side effects in this article, so you can make an informed decision. We’re also showing the alternative of our all-natural way to cure depression, so read on for the details.
Antidepressants are part of various categories, and each of the drugs in a group presents specific side effects.
Citalopram (Celexa), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Prozac (Fluoxetine), Effexor (Venlafaxine), Duloxetine (Cymbalta), and Levomilnacipran (Fetzima) are some of the drugs to name.
The possible adverse effects that patients taking antidepressants from the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRI (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) categories are listed below:
It includes amitriptyline (Elavil), desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), and nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor). Protriptyline (Vivactil), doxepin (Sinequan), and trimipramine (Surmontil), amoxapine (Asendin), are also this type of antidepressant.
Keep reading to find out the possible additional reactions when taking medication from this category:
They are also known as the new antidepressants, with Selegiline (Emsam), Phenelzine (Nardil), and Isocarboxazid (Marplan), as the most common to name. Here are the typical side effects that may occur in some patients (in arbitrary order):
Antimuscarinic reactions, commonly known as anticholinergic effects, refer to results that may happen with several kinds of drugs, but mostly with tricyclic antidepressants.
Here are the possible reactions:
The reactions may occur as the antidepressants don’t affect just the brain chemicals connected to mood, but also the brain chemicals controlling various functions in the body.
People taking antidepressants may feel unable to focus as they cannot stay alert. The side effect can alter the ability to drive, and other tasks requiring specific skills.
Patients over 30, taking tricyclics or SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), may end up with diabetes, especially if they have been using them for many years.
Antidepressants may trigger mania or hypomania in some people. The patients may stop taking the medication, and the symptoms may be seen as a sign of the bipolar disorder. Dual-diagnosis is fundamental for the best treatment plan.
Even if the reaction is infrequent, it’s also quite severe. It may appear when taking anti-psychotic drugs (neuroleptics), but may also happen from the antidepressants.
Here are the symptoms of this syndrome:
Serotonin syndrome doesn’t occur often, but it can be fatal, so it’s essential to consider it. SSRI, along with antidepressants, like MAOIs, and lithium may lead to serotonin syndrome.
The signs of the serotonin syndrome are as follows:
Unfortunately, the symptoms may occur suddenly, which is why serotonin syndrome is so important to consider.
SSRI and SNRIs drugs may also lead to sexual problems, such as:
Some of the side effects may go on for a very long time, even if you’ve stopped taking the antidepressants.
Tricyclics, SSRIs, and SNRIs may cause SIADH syndrome. The syndrome will make your body produce too much antidiuretic hormone, which makes your body look for water, as your sodium level decreases.
Confusion, convulsions, coma, hallucination, drowsiness, memory problems, falls, and even death are the effects of SIADH syndrome.
Here are the main criteria to use when making a general idea on antidepressants:
The more you know about antidepressants, the easier it will be for you to decide on the drug that you will take. Here are the situations where it’s mandatory to do due diligence and gather as much info as you need for making a decision:
Keep in mind that drugs don’t give everyone the same results, so it may take some trial and error until you find the best choice for you.
Mixing alcohol and antidepressants is rarely a good idea. It may aggravate the depression symptoms, but it can also pose a risk for your overall health.
Here’s what may happen when you take antidepressants and consume alcohol too:
Many medications require patients to avoid alcohol, such as sleep medications, anti-anxiety, and medications for pain. The side effects may get worse when drinking alcohol, on top of your antidepressants.
Consuming alcohol could eliminate the benefits of antidepressants, so your symptoms become more challenging to address. Alcohol can indeed improve your mood for the moment, but it can also increase your depression and anxiety feelings.
Patients taking MAOIs should never consume alcohol and specific foods, which may cause a severe increase in blood pressure. When you take MAOIs, it’s essential to know what you’re allowed to drink or eat precisely and stay away from alcoholic drinks.
Some antidepressants may lead to drowsiness and sedation, and the symptoms get worse if you’re adding alcohol.
Combining alcohol with antidepressant will alter your coordination, judgment, motor skills, and reaction time. Sometimes, you may feel sleepy and unable to drive or engage in activities that require you to concentrate and pay attention.
It’s never a good idea to stop taking your antidepressants (or any other kind of medication) only to drink. The majority of antidepressants require you to take it regularly daily to control the balance in your brain and get the anticipated results. When you stop taking your meds, the symptoms of your depression can get out of control.
Here are some other aspects to consider:
Some patients will seek help at the conventional centers for depression and addiction, but the high rate of relapse makes them look for alternatives. Non-traditional centers like Holistic Sanctuary provide customized treatment, with proprietary protocols for addressing addiction and co-occurring mental health problems such as depression. The procedure is complete and aims to find the deep causes of the addiction and the depression, healing the brain. The center also provides a great variety of natural methods and substances, making no compromises in terms of no-use of medications (antidepressants too).
Sadly, the majority of antidepressants may cause weight gain. Once again, every patient is different, and the reaction to antidepressants may be different too. Not all patients taking a specific antidepressant will end up with weight gain.
However, some of the antidepressants out there will cause weight gain more often than others:
Even if some patients notice weight gain after antidepressants, they may not always be the direct cause. Some factors will also lead to weight gain when on treatment with antidepressants:
Should you notice weight gain after starting an antidepressant, you should talk to your doctor about the benefits vs. Side effects. When the advantages are more than the downsides, you may control the weight by switching to a healthier diet. You may also develop more physical activities so that you keep your weight under control.
Many centers for depression would provide access to the gym, spa, and healthy food for the patients. At The Holistic Sanctuary, though, patients switch to a raw, plant-based, vegan, non-GMO, and organic diet to get the healthiest nutrients and heal from depression. They also engage in physical activities, yoga, meditating and walking to give the body the positive energy it needs for recovery.
If you stop taking your antidepressants all of a sudden, the risk for antidepressants withdrawal is quite high, especially if you’ve been taking it for more than six weeks.
The antidepressant discontinuation syndrome may span for a couple of weeks, and some antidepressants pose a high risk for the withdrawal symptoms.
Suddenly stopping from taking antidepressants may cause one or two of the following symptoms:
Just because you’re experiencing withdrawal symptoms doesn’t mean that you’re addicted to your medication. Addiction causes chemical changes in the brain that last for a long time, so the treatment is so challenging to give results. On the side note, at alternative centers for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and so on, like Holistic Sanctuary, the treatment aims to take the brain to the pre-addicted state. GABA repairs, Myers cocktails, mitochondria repair protocol, and sacred plant medicine are some of the therapies used for taking the brain to the pre-addicted stage.
You should always tell your doctor if you’re planning to stop taking your antidepressants. The doctor will probably suggest to gradually lower your dose of medication throughout several weeks so that your body adjusts to the lack of drugs. He/she may also recommend another antidepressant for a short amount of time to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms.
It’s not always easy to differentiate between withdrawal symptoms and the return of the depression symptoms after you no longer take your medication. You should still communicate with your doctor about the signs and symptoms so that proper treatment is provided.
Even if your depression symptoms improve after you begin taking antidepressants, you shouldn’t stop the treatment.
There’s also the category of people who no longer have results after taking a specific antidepressant for a long time. Currently, doctors don’t explain the antidepressant tolerance, and why only some of the patients develop the resistance.
Some aspects will alter the efficiency of the medication, so keep reading for the details.
Most of the time, adjustments to medication will make the antidepressants work once again. The doctor may change the dose of the current antidepressant, add another one, or simply switch you to a new antidepressant.
As you can see, many factors impact the efficiency of antidepressants, so it’s essential to see your doctor when you no longer see results.
For many years, medical professionals believed that antidepressants don’t modify the personality of the patient. However, recent studies suggest that some antidepressants may alter one’s character for a long time, even if the changes are for the better.
It seems that patients taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) will become more outgoing, experience positive emotions more often, and become emotionally stable for a longer time.
The results push the doctors to develop a new model for how the antidepressants work. It’s believed that antidepressant work because they can also correct fundamental risk factors of depression.
Patients on Paxil, for example, notice that they feel more outgoing, less stressed, full of energy, and self-confident. But the recent studies suggest that it’s not because they are less depressed, but because the antidepressants modify two fundamental personality traits connected to depression: extraversion and neuroticism.
Antidepressant may modify the patient’s personality, even if the changes are for the better. As the personality shifts, the lower the risk for relapse becomes, which is good news for the depression patients.
Pregnancy is a wonderful and challenging time in life, especially if you’re dealing with depression or other mental health conditions.
Some women may get pregnant as they’re already on antidepressants, or can be recommended to start treatment for a problem they develop while pregnant. Some women may also deal with postnatal depression (PND), so antidepressants are also prescribed.
No matter the case for you, you should also talk to your GP to see the risks and options you have for treating your depression while pregnant/breastfeeding.
There are significant risks to consider when taking antidepressants, so keep reading for the details:
All in all, the risks are higher in the first trimester of the pregnancy and the last couple of weeks of pregnancy, when the newborn is more sensitive to changes.
Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant from the SSRI category, and it’s typically prescribed for depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Currently, scientists believe that the antidepressant may be effective against the “cytokine storm,” when the immune system is exaggerated and produces too many immune cell mediators (cytokine), as a response to COVID-19. The exacerbated immune response cause organ failure and even death, which are typical for some COVID-19 patients.
As they’re continually trying to find treatment (working against the clock), researchers found that fluvoxamine could work for COVID patients. The drug decreases the production of cytokines in patients with sepsis. The treatment has a high chance of being both productive and safe, not to mention that it’s also really affordable. The clinical trials are more than encouraging, especially if we take a look at safety and costs.
Additionally, the drug could also be used to treat other inflammatory conditions where cytokine storms occur, causing sepsis.
One significant part about the drug is that it is on the market for years, so it doesn’t pose any risks in terms of safety.
Utilizing antidepressants for treating COVID-19 may sound peculiar, but it’s the same as particular as using a drug for malaria. Fluvoxamine is efficient and can be the best shot for recovery for patients with COVID-19. The drug has already been approved for clinical use in the UK, and it works by controlling the level of specific chemicals (serotonin) in the brain.
People should still take the news with a grain of salt, as discovery on COVID-19 is even made every day. Also, patients should pay attention to the side effects, which are typical for many antidepressants. Dry mouth, nausea, headaches, appetite changes, and constipation are some of the side effects to mention.
Antidepressants may be the most common choice, but they’re not necessarily the most effective option. More and more patients look for alternatives, as conventional treatment with antidepressants often leads to relapse.
Mindfulness, arts therapies, eco-therapy, and complementary therapies are convenient alternatives to antidepressants.
For example, at the Holistic Sanctuary, we take a comprehensive approach to depression, using holistic all-natural methods. HBOT therapy, ozone therapy, or proprietary IV drips, sacred plant medicine, proprietary chakra rebalancing, acupuncture, or meditation are some of the many treatments used for patients with depression.
Patients with addictions will benefit from a natural detox, with sacred plant medicine as the primary method for cleaning the body. The innovative and proprietary protocols at the Holistic Sanctuary are the source of fantastic results in our patients. Read more about our 100% holistic depression treatment.
Ayurvedic herbs may not cure depression 100%, but they will definitely slow down and calm the patients. These herbs will heal the body in different ways.
When a patient is depressed, the feel-good hormones cannot handle life efficiently, altering the mood. Ayurvedic herbs and spices will alleviate the symptoms of depression, improving the efficiency of your treatment.
Ashwagandha contains active compounds that ensure anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant abilities, relieving depression, and anxiety. The list of ayurvedic herbs working for people with depression also includes Maca (Peruvian ginseng), Pudina (peppermint), Jatamansi (Spikenard), and Brahmi. Each of them has properties that reduce stress, alleviate insomnia and sleep disorders, and even cure the nervous system.
A: Truth be told, antidepressants will not make you erase from your mind your problems completely. However, they will affect the way you deal with them. When you’re depressed, your perception is altered, and you may see your problems more significant than they indeed are. People taking antidepressants will change their perspective on life and become able to handle their issues more accessible.
A: Depression is defined as a chronic condition, so taking the proper medication for it will give results. People with depression cannot get better by merely wanting it, as the chemical imbalances in the brain cannot be solved with your own will. On the contrary, it’s instead a sign of strength that one is determined to get professional help for depression. However, there is a better alternative to pill-taking.
A: For some time now, more studies show that antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in children, young adults, and adolescents. In 2009, a survey of 100,000 people revealed that children and young adults had a higher risk of suicidal thoughts when taking antidepressants.
When the patient is severely depressed, the motivation and energy levels are deficient, and the antidepressants can change that. Some professionals think that the antidepressants may give the patient the energy to act on suicidal thoughts, especially in the early stages of the treatment.
On the other hand, professionals think that specific antidepressants will cause suicidal thoughts and urges directly. SSRIs pose the highest risk, but several studies suggest that the risk for suicide is present for all antidepressants.
A: Most patients take their antidepressants in the morning, as it’s easier to include it in your daily routine. If your antidepressant makes you feel tired or drowsy, it’s better to take it at night before going to sleep.
A: Medications making your mouth dry will also cause tooth decay, especially if you take it for a long time. It’s the case of some antidepressants, with tricyclic antidepressants posing a higher risk for tooth decay.