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An antidepressant is a type of medication that helps alleviate the symptoms of various mental health disorders such as, depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, serious phobias, such as agoraphobia and social phobia, bulimia, and lastly, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They try to address chemical imbalances in the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are thought to be the cause of mood and behavioral shifts.

Understanding the Side Effects of Antidepressants

Though antidepressants help to alleviate the symptoms of your mental health disorders, you must understand its side effects which may cause positive and negative outcomes before diving head-on into medications.

Excessive mood elevation and behavioral activation

This unmasks a condition that has not yet been revealed or diagnosed. This can either help you to address an underlying issue  or it can add more load to your already heavy load.  But, you should note that antidepressants do not cause bipolar disorder, however, consuming them may involve mania or hypomania.

Suicidal Thoughts

Antidepressants don’t make your problems go away, the same goes with your suicidal thoughts. You might think that taking antidepressants can make your problems vanish but that is just false hope. It may not be able to get rid of your problems but it can make it easier for you to deal with them because depression can warp your perception of your problems and drain your energy which can lead you to have suicidal thoughts.

Withdrawal

Antidepressants are not addictive as they do not require you to get a higher dosage to get the same effect, unlike other medications. However, 1 out of 3 people who have used SSRIs and SNRIs reported to have experienced withdrawal symptoms after stopping treatment. Even so, the symptoms are usually mild cases but doctors do reduce the dosage to minimize the risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Serotonin Syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is when your body has too much serotonin because of a certain medication or a combination of medications. Too much serotonin in the body can lead to shivering and diarrhea for mild symptoms while it can cause muscle rigidity, fever and seizures for severe symptoms. Antidepressants that are SSRIs and SNRIs in combination with other medications are usually the trigger to serotonin syndrome. 

Weight Changes

Just like any medication, antidepressants may cause weight gain as a side effect of consuming it. Some antidepressants are more likely to cause weight gain than others, while some can potentially cause you to lose weight. 

Increased Risk of Diabetes

In line with weight gain, antidepressants may cause diabetes. Long-term use of SSRIs and TCAs has been linked to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, though it’s unclear whether these antidepressants cause diabetes to develop directly. It may be because of the weight gain some people experience that has linked them to experience type 2 diabetes.

Overall

Antidepressants may help and alleviate the symptoms of your mental health disorder, but it is not a quick fix to your problems nor can you rely on them for too long. It causes both short-term and long-term side effects. Some may go away after a few weeks but some do not. It is no joke to start using antidepressants, so you have to consult a doctor and be informed of its effects and its pros & cons. 

June 24th, 2021

Posted In: blog, Child Mental Health

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