10 Things you should know about anti-depressants?

  1. There are many types. One size doesn’t fit all and choice is made by the clinician based on one’s symptoms e.g. some are preferred when one has sleep problems; availability in the country of residence, age of the patient, other medical conditions, other medication being taken among other factors.
  2. Antidepressant effects take about 2-3weeks to be felt. Do not expect to pop a pill today and feel great tomorrow. Patience is key.
  3. You should be consistent with your antidepressant intake. Try to fix times when you take your medication whether it is once or twice a day. Use other activities you must do to remind you e.g. brushing teeth or taking a bath, meal times, etc.
  4. Antidepressants are NOT necessarily sleeping pills. Some anti-depressants are actually taken in the morning and serve to activate one/ make them more active whereas others increase drowsiness and are best taken in the evening. Inform your doctor of the effect each drug is having on you especially if you operate heavy machinery, require to drive, or engage in any activity that requires your alertness.
  5. Antidepressants are NOT addictive and you will not become a slave of this medication.
  6. Antidepressants work mainly on brain chemicals that are deranged (reduced or increased) during a bout of depression.
  7. Do not STOP anti-depressant medication on your own. Let a professional medical doctor step down the medication to avoid abrupt withdrawal symptoms.
  8. Inform your doctor of any other medication or alternative treatments including herbal pills and concoctions you may be taking. Antidepressants may interact with these are have unpleasant effects on your body.
  9. Avoid alcohol or any other substances when taking anti-depressant medication
  10. You may be required to take your medication for 6 months up to 2 years depending on the doctor’s assessment. This may be extended on an individual basis.

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