As a person who was diagnosed with Depression, I have had many people comment on the use of medication and therapy for depression. I believe that it is extremely important to get our facts right before concluding anything. Anti-depressants are not a cure-all. They will not magically make anyone a non-depressed, non-anxious human being. But yes, they do help your brain untangle the knots in your neurons and synapses.
Have I been on medication? Yes. Did it help? Well, I changed 6 doctors, the 7th one worked. Can’t thank him enough.
Did I take therapy? No. Reasons : 1. Its pretty expensive 2. Could find Dr.Jehangir ;) I did read a lot of books on cognitive therapy to help myself.
So,I am writing this to break the most common myths around anti-depressants. Here we go —
Myth #1: Antidepressants are addictive.
Addiction is to be — physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance. Do anti depressants make you crave them or be dependent on them ? The answer is NO. Unlike alcohol, nicotine, and tranquilizers, antidepressants don’t require frequent dosage increases to maintain a certain effect. Those using antidepressants classified as SSRIs and SNRIs do experience withdrawal effects that sometimes can last for months. But rest assured that antidepressants aren’t addictive.
Myth #2 : Antidepressants Make You Happy
No. Yes, it would be amazing to have a happiness pill but thats not a thing. Otherwise it would be in MUCH higher demand, right? But no, that is not a reality. When a person has depression, they have an overall low feeling that causes constant distress. All an antidepressant does is lessen those constant negative thoughts and feelings so a person can actually make it through a day feeling relatively better.
Myth #3: Once on antidepressants, I’ll be on them for life.
Absolutely not. A general rule clinicians often use is that a person should be treated with antidepressants at least one-and-a-half times as long as the duration of the depressive episode before they can begin to be weaned off. Longer-term antidepressant usage is considered only for a smaller percentage of people who have two or more relapses of major depression.
Myth #4: Antidepressants have horrible side effects
Like other medications, antidepressants carry the risk of side effects. These range from fatigue to dry mouth to sexual side effects. Fortunately, newer brands of antidepressants have relatively few or mild side effects. Many of these lessen or disappear with time, or can be corrected in other ways. Be sure to talk to your doctor and pharmacist to learn more about what you can expect.
Myth #5: Once I start feeling better, I can stop taking the antidepressants.
The evidence is clear: just like you shouldn’t prematurely discontinue a course of antibiotics even if you feel better, clinicians recommend that you stay on antidepressants for the prescribed amount of time, even when you’re already feeling recovered. This will prevent a relapse. Then your doctor will instruct you on how to gradually wean off the medicine.
Myth #6: If the first antidepressant I try doesn’t work, others won’t work either.
Though the anti depressants available in the market have commonalities but they’re not all identical. In addition to that there are varying dosage levels and combinations of antidepressants. Clearly, there are countless variations within antidepressant treatment. Finding the right one is largely a process of trial and error. Many people including myself, have to try several different medications before they find one that works. Yes, its requires consistent effort and huge levels of patience.
Myth #7: Antidepressants will change your personality or prevent you from feeling “normal” moods
I have personally met a lot of people who are nervous to take any kind of psychotropic medication (medication for a mental illness) because they feel anything affecting the ‘brain’ may interfere with their identity and feelings. But its actually the opposite: antidepressants are designed to return you to your former demeanour or personality, not create a different one. Just as you will make efforts to fix any other part of you body, its important to understand that the “brain’ needs your attention as well!
Myth #8: Antidepressants are a quick fix and don’t solve the problem.
There are no short cuts! All medications take time to show the effect, and antidepressants are no different. Antidepressants can take weeks to go into effect, so that would hardly classify as a “quick fix.” While they can lift your mood a bit, they work most effectively when combined with therapy. While it is true that antidepressants won’t do much to alleviate the environmental circumstances that cause situational depression, they can be “enabling” medicine that alleviate symptoms of major depression enough to enable a person to pursue and receive more benefit from lifestyle changes, support groups, and counselling techniques.
Myth 9: All You REALLY Need Is Therapy
First thing — Not even therapists agree with this! so if you really believe you’re more aware than professionals and people actually suffering from depression, you need to rethink and get the facts right. Yes, some people can benefit from therapy, but there are some people who can benefit only so much from therapy, and thus need the assistance of antidepressants.
“If you don’t understand it fully, don’t speak on it. Too many people have full opinions with half the facts “ — Tony A. Gaskins Jr.