Depending on the severity of your diagnosed depression, and the amount of medication that your system will be judged able to physically handle, there may be several side effects which may arise as a byproduct of taking these prescribed medications. These side effects may occur as a normal consequence of taking these medicines, and may be well within the expectations of your physician. Thus, these particular side effects may give no cause for concern, and may even lessen or dissipate altogether as your system becomes used to the medication in question.
However, other, more troubling, side effects of depression medication may occur which were not provided for by your physician, and which you will certainly need to inform he or she about, to be sure that no physical or mental damage occurs that can’t be undone. Also, you need to be quite sure that you are taking these medications in the exact dosage, and at the exact times, that your doctor prescribes. You certainly don’t want to to overdose on powerful antidepressant medications, as this could lead to serious consequences, some of which may even be fatal. At the same time, you don’t want to take too little of the medication, as you will not benefit from its full healing properties.
Physical Side Effects Of Depression Medication
Many antidepressant drugs work by changing the way the body handles a naturally occurring chemical called serotonin. Serotonin helps to normalize your mood, and prevent sudden swings of euphoria or severe depression. It basically regulates your outlook on life, keeping you in a
Effects Of Depression
safe “medium” which is not too high or too low. Most productive citizens operate routinely at this “happy medium” without even realizing that there are others who cannot attain to this normalcy. At any rate, serotonin helps to restore the normal balance of emotional well being. However, because serotonin also plays a regulating role in maintaining such bodily functions as sleep, pain recognition and response, and digestion, it will also sometimes lead to physical side effects related to sudden changes in the amount of this natural ingredient in your body.
It should be noted that antidepressant drugs can be linked directly to some, or all, of the following physical side effects. If, after taking the medication prescribed by your doctor, you notice any of these, you should alert him or her immediately. You don’t want to take any chances with your health, so don’t feel as you’re just being a “hypochondriac”. Better safe than sorry!
Some of the side effects you may experience include: excessive nausea, inflammation of the stomach, knees, elbows, or joints, increased nervousness, anxiety, and restlessness, and a feeling of vertigo or dizziness. Some blurring of your vision may occur, which could lead to the symptoms of vertigo or dizziness noted above. You may also experience a temporary decrease in your libido (sexual drive or appetite). All of the above symptoms are normal and par for the course, when first adjusting to a new round of medications, so give them a few days to subside. If they do not, call your doctor immediately. You may need to be prescribed a completely new medication, or the dosage may have to be adjusted.
Mental And Emotional Side Effects Of Depression Medication
In additional to purely physical side effects, there are also several mental and emotional side effects which are associated with depression medication. You need to be especially vigilant of these purely mental and emotional side effects, because they are harder to “see”, especially when you are the one directly affected by them. Your family, coworkers, neighbors, and friends may be better able to judge any sudden changes in your behavior, so be sure to remain open to what they are saying about any changes in your attitude or sudden loss of motivation.
Because serotonin motivates the emotional response in normal human beings, a sudden dose of it can wreak sudden changes in the behavior and outlook of a depressed person who is being prescribed extra doses of it to normalize his reactions. Sometimes, too much may be prescribed at once, which can lead to certain mental side effects such as amotivational syndrome. This is a side effect which involves the patient suddenly becoming extremely apathetic, unmotivated, “lazy”, sluggish, and irritable. He or she may suddenly lose all interest in activities which formerly motivated their participation and involvement to a great extent. They may lie in bed all day, shutting off all contact with loved ones and friends.
At the opposite side of the spectrum, a patient who is prescribed antidepressants may suddenly become completely uninhibited, engaging in wild behavior which comes as a total shock to all who know them in their “normal” state of mind. This person may suddenly become extremely outgoing, friendly, and totally lose sight of their former inhibitions which kept their behavior grounded. They may exhibit extreme swings of mood, being outgoing and jovial one moment, and then suddenly, paranoid, argumentative, and even violent, the next. So, it is important for friends and family members to keep a close eye on the behavior of someone who is taking antidepressant medication for the first time. You definitely do not want to be in a cramped room or in a moving vehicle with someone who suddenly exhibits loss of self control!
There are other purely mental, non-physical, side effects associated with antidepressant medication. Some patients may experience a troubling loss of memory, either in the short or the long term. Others may notice an ability to concentrate on one topic for more than a few seconds. As with the symptoms of mood swing listed above, it may be that others who are in contact with the patient may be better able to notice these symptoms occurring than the one who is experiencing them.
Although all of the above noted mental and physical side effects of depression medication can possibly occur when taking antidepressant medication for the first time, this does not mean that these medications are automatically “not for you”. Remember that these medications have had amazing effects on past sufferers of depression, and have enabled them to live long, healthy, productive, lives. So, contact your doctor if you think something is happening that shouldn’t be, and work with them to get the dosage right.