How Do Antidepressants Work?
There are many types of antidepressants used by doctors that are divided into a handful of categories. The most common ones are called SSRIs. SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors work by stopping the re-uptake or removal of Serotonin -the happiness hormone- from the neural junctions.
This essentially increases the feeling of joy in the patient by maintaining the required amount of Serotonin in the body while also working in the long term to reverse the damage done by Depression to the Serotonin cycle. It does this by increasing the overall amount of Serotonin in the body and hence totally curing depression.
Antidepressants Don’t Make You Slow
It’s a common misconception that antidepressants make the cognitive ability of the patient and the functioning of the brain slow. However, it is not at all the case. While some medicines do make your thought process slow, antidepressants don’t do that. These medicines simply increase the amount of Serotonin in the patient’s body that naturally makes the patient happy and, in a position to fight the depression on a long-term basis.
You Can’t Skip a Day
Depression is a long-term disease and as such antidepressants even without any side effects have to be taken regularly and without any break. For these medicines to work, there needs to be a fixed amount of drug in the patient’s body at all times. If you skip a dose, take it as soon as you remember it or if missed by twenty-four hours merge it with the next day’s dose. No need to double the dose.
Antidepressants Are Long Term Medicines
Just as Depression takes a long time to set in and become a full-fledged disease, it takes some time to get it out of the system completely. Hence antidepressants have to be taken for the long term. But rest assured once depression goes away it will be for good, given that the patient follows the necessary precautions and doesn’t fall into the same bad mental health habits again.
Taking Antidepressants Is Not Enough
While antidepressants are necessary in some cases, they are but one part of the solution. Antidepressants do give you an edge over the constant stress and gloomy thinking but that edge remains as long as you keep taking the medicine. That happiness trigger that you achieve from the medicines needs to be replaced by another activity or behavioral trait in the long term.
These activities need to be healthy like yoga, meditation, and any other activity that gives you pleasure. Please be aware that antidepressants should not be replaced with unhealthy addictions like alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs; otherwise you’ll end up where you started.
Withdrawal Symptoms of Antidepressants
When after taking the antidepressants for the requisite amount of time you start weaning them off and ultimately stop them altogether, you are bound to get withdrawal symptoms. Don’t worry as this is quite normal and happens to everyone. Stopping antidepressants results in a set of side effects known as withdrawal symptoms.
These typically include night sweats, light fever, mental fog, and heart palpitations. These are natural reactions of the body to stopping these medicines and there is no reason to panic. With time the symptoms will go away. However, it’s highly important to stop taking these medicines only after advice from your physician so he can properly wean off the medicines.