Posted by: jedwardswright | July 27, 2011

Do I Need to Take Antidepressants Forever? Part 2

You can find Part 1 here.

The Effectiveness of Antidepressants For You

While most people eventually respond well to one of many different antidepressants, a smaller group is treatment-resistant.  Before concluding that medication is not for you though, keep trying new meds for a while. Many people find that while their first attempt with a drug is less than satisfactory, the second or third medication makes all the difference in the world.

If you discover that an antidepressant has unpleasant side-effects, let your doctor know ASAP, but don’t let that experience discourage you, because not all antidepressant meds will have that effect.

There is also the definite possibility that a medication may lose it effectiveness over time. Medical professionals have a number of theories why, but it is not clear what really happens in these cases. Chances are another antidepressant will help though, so again keep trying other options.

Why Does the Possibility of Taking Antidepressants Concern You?

Will I be addicted? In another post, Can I Become Addicted to Antidepressants? I addressed this topic. Please check it out for details, but the short answer is “No.”

I don’t like the idea of chemicals in my body. Fair enough, but would you take insulin for life if you had diabetes, or blood thinners to avoid a stroke? If your doctor advised you that you needed to do so, odds are that you would.  Taking antidepressants is the same thing.

I feel as though I should be able to handle this myself.  Depression is not a weakness or a character flaw. It is a physical condition caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain. You can’t lower your blood pressure by trying harder, and you can’t change the level of serotonin in your brain either. It is a medical problem that needs a medical solution.

I feel better now, so I don’t need the meds anymore.  You feel better because you are taking antidepressants. This medication is not a cure, and it can’t fix what is wrong in our brains. Talk to your doctor about your progress and get a professional opinion, but do not ever go off of antidepressant medication cold turkey or without being monitored by your doctor. It is dangerous.

Conclusion

I believe that it is not worth it to remain in misery because of a fear of the unknown. 

That is why I tried antidepressants originally. That is why my personal choice has been to stay on the medication which makes my life not only bearable, but in so many ways actually happy.

No one can tell you for certain how long you will need to be on antidepressant medication, but medical professionals can make educated estimates. If you are still concerned, try committing to a short period of time, say a few months, to give meds a chance and then review the results with your doctor. At that point the two of you can reassess your needs.[i]

Jodi Edwards Wright is not paid by or associated with any pharmeceutical interests. 

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