Using Antidepressants

Monday, November 26, 2012

Woman taking medicine

Many people with depression find that taking medication is helpful for improving their mood and coping. Medications for depression are called antidepressants. Antidepressants cannot magically solve all your problems. However, antidepressants can help you even out your mood and be more able to handle things in your life that are making your mood worse.
Here are some things to remember about using antidepressants:

  • Get a prescription.
    Antidepressants are prescription medications. Talk to your healthcare provider if you want to take antidepressants. If your doctor writes you a prescription for an antidepressant, ask exactly how you should take the medication. There are many types of antidepressants, so you and your doctor have options to choose from. Sometimes, it takes trying several different medications to find the best one for you. If you are worried about cost, ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medication comes in a generic form. Generic medications can cost less than brand names.
  • Be patient.
    When taking these antidepressants, it is important to stick with them for a while. Many people start feeling better a few days after starting the medication. But it often takes several weeks of taking an antidepressant to feel a big difference. Maybe a month or more to feel the most benefit. It’s also common to have to change the dose, so you will want to work closely with your doctor.
  • Talk about timing.
    How long someone takes antidepressants differs from person to person. Many people take them for 6–12 months, and some people take them for a longer time. Talk to your doctor about a timeline that works for you.
  • Ask about side effects.
    Antidepressants are safe and work well for most people. But it is still important to talk with your doctor about side effects you may get. Side effects usually do not get in the way of daily life, and they may go away as your body gets used to the medication.

If you notice that your mood is getting worse, especially if you have thoughts about hurting yourself, it is important to call your doctor right away.

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