You’ve spent most of your life feeling a little out of place and out of sorts. You would have occasional bouts of sadness, but you would also go several days being happy and content. Therefore, you figured the “sad days” were just normal off days that everyone had. That is until Robin Williams died and the facts about depression began to become more mainstream. It was then that you realized that your “sad days” weren’t all that occasional—they were actually most days. Your happy days were the ones that were few and far between. That’s when you decided to get help.
Your doctor diagnosed you with depression and social anxiety. He referred you to a therapist and prescribed you an antidepressant to help control the depression. He told you that he was confident that the pills would level you out, but he made it a point to also tell you to call him immediately if you felt any strange or unnerving side effects.
What kind of side effects was he talking about? Are the pills he gave you dangerous? Is it worth the risk?
The National Institute of Medicine estimates that over 16-million people are afflicted with depression, making it one of the most common mental disorders in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that antidepressants are the third most common prescription drugs taken by Americans. They estimate that aver 11 percent of the population over the age of 12 have, are, or will take antidepressants within the next year.
Although the majority of people with depression benefit from antidepressant use, the sheer volume of different medications and types of antidepressants inevitably increases the risk of varying side effects. Most of these effects are minor and clearly don’t compare with the effects depression can have on you. However, some antidepressants can have extreme mental and physical effects that could wind up altering your health, well-being, and future. This is why it is important to not only understand the common side effects of the drug you’re taking, but also know what side effects are not normal and need to be treated.
When taking a new drug, especially an antidepressant, it’s important to monitor how the drug affects your body as well as discuss these affects with your physician. The majority of antidepressants should help stabilize your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being. However, occasionally some drugs sneak by the Food and Drug Administration without being properly tested. These rogue drugs, once circulated within the depression market, could not only find their way to you, but could also hurt your friends and family. Make sure they know the risks and signs of a defective antidepressant before their prescriptions cause more harm than good.