When used by people who need them, antidepressant drugs can be a very important part of treatment for a variety of mental health issues. They have helped countless people feel better about themselves and their environments, and contributed a great deal to holistic, therapeutic treatments that have helped many people thrive. However, for some users, these drugs can have some unwanted side effects. If you are taking, or considering taking antidepressant medications, here are some side effects you might expect, to be prepared and know how to adapt and care for yourself.
Sometimes the medicine will upset your stomach, particularly for the first few weeks of taking the drug or increasing dosage. This can be helped by taking the medication with food. Eating frequent small meals and drinking a lot of fluids, especially water can also help.
A common side effect is the feeling of chapped lips or a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva stimulation can be stimulated by sucking on ice cubes, chewing sugarless gum, and breathing through your nose instead of your mouth. Drinking water is also very helpful. Eat vegetables and fruits with a high water content, such as celery, grapes, and cantaloupe.
Some people find the medicine makes them drowsy, and other people experience insomnia. You can experiment with taking the medication either first thing in the morning or right before going to sleep, to see which diminishes this effect. You can engage in a rigorous physical exercise during the day, and a more gentle activity like yoga, tai chi, or meditation closer to bedtime. If you do feel like a nap, wake up in 30 minutes so it does not keep you from sleeping at night.
Antidepressants can sometimes interfere with your sexual performance, and these issues may last for the entire treatment. Some people experience decreased sexual desire, have to work harder to achieve orgasm, or experience some erectile dysfunction. These things makes sexual activity a challenge, but definitely not impossible. Talk openly with your sexual partner about how the medication affects your sexual needs, and explore ways to adjust your sexual activity accordingly. It might be helpful to spend more time or foreplay before intercourse.
Headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision:
Generally, blurred vision or a sense of dizziness will go away within a couple of weeks of starting the medication. If it gets too overwhelming, talk to your doctor about lowering your dosage. Be careful to rise slowly from sitting or standing positions. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as these can increase these disorienting feelings. Rest in a dark room if you need to, and ask your doctor what over the counter pain medication works best in conjunction with your antidepressant.
Taking an antidepressant can can increase your energy level, and this can sometimes lead to moving from feeling lethargic to becoming more anxious and worried. Meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise can all help to focus your attention on the present and help to make you feel calmer. Have a circle of safe and supportive friends, and tell them you are starting an antidepressant so they can be prepared to offer help and encouragement.
Communication with doctor:
For a wide variety of reasons, different people can respond to medication in very different ways. Monitoring your side effects carefully is an important part of helping a qualified doctor, psychiatrist, or psychopharmacologist find the medication that works best for you. Communicate in detail with him or her about any side-effects that occur. Be careful to talk with your doctor before increasing, decreasing, or supplementing your antidepressant, since these can have unexpected effects if done carelessly. With open communication, you will be able to find the right medication, and learn how to manage its effects to best support your thriving.