Antidepressant Medication

Antidepressant medications are used to treat many psychiatric illnesses such as depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsory disorder.

These medications help treat and prevent symptoms from returning. A patient and his or her doctor will choose the best antidepressant medication for the patient.

What are antidepressant medications used for?

These medications are used to treat many symptoms, including feeling sad, low energy, nervousness, repeated and unsetting thoughts and actions, thoughts of suicide.

How long will this medication take to work?

It can take four to six weeks before you start to feel better. Do not change the dose or stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor. Antidepressants take time to work.

How long do I need to take this medication?

The length of time you take an antidepressant will depend on what illness you have. You should talk to your doctor about how long you will need to take this medication.

What are the possible side effects?

Not everyone has side effects. If you do have side effects they usually are not serious. Most of the time side effects will get better with time.

Common side effects include:

  • Constipation (difficulty going to the bathroom)
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Feeling less interested in sex or difficulty having sex
  • Feeling nervous
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Upset stomach

(This not a complete list of side effects. If you are worried about these of other side effects talk to your doctor or pharmacist).

Some side effects can be serious such as:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin rash or itching
  • Change in mood to unusually happy or excited
  • Feeling very nervous, confused or upset
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or others.

If you have any of these side effects, you should tell your doctor right away.

Interactions with other medications

Antidepressant medications can change how other medications work. Antidepressants may not work properly when taken with other medications. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking other medications, vitamins or herbal medicines.

Things to consider:

  • Do not stop or change the dose of your medication without talking with your doctor
  • Tell your doctor about any changes in the way you are feeling or acting
  • If you feel sleepy, do not drive a car or do other things where you need to be awake
  • Do not drink alcohol while taking an antidepressant.

Terrible fish

Do not change the dose or stop taking the medication without talking to your doctor. Antidepressants take time to work. Illustration: Megan Jorgensen