Antidepressants: myths and reality


Antidepressants: myths and reality

Notes of a psychiatrist

One of the most frequent reasons for treatment to a psychologist or therapist are anxiety and depressive disorders of different severity and duration. If in the process of therapy remain pronounced symptoms of depression, increasing anxiety, apathy, or suicidal thoughts may appear, there is a need of a consult and appointment of psychotropic drugs, including antidepressants. People often are afraid to go to psychiatrists, and the option of prescribing antidepressants is just awful, because about psychiatry and psychotropic drugs, there are plenty of myths and most of them are far from reality. So what is true and what is fiction?

the first Myth: Antidepressants: medications for "wimps", with any depression can be overcome with willpower.


there are three degrees of severity of depression:

1. Mild depression – symptoms of depression are mild and do not violate social adaptation of a person. Mild depression need not to be prescribed psychotropic drugs, is sufficient psychotherapeutic interventions, and sometimes these depression subside spontaneously and do not require treatment to a psychologist/therapist. br>
2. The average degree of depression – symptoms of depression expressed stronger feelings of apathy and anxiety, insomnia is so strong that it lead to reduced performance and literally "don't allow a person to live a full life." With this degree of depression a person needs not only the help of a psychologist/therapist, but in consultation with the psychiatrist and the prescription of antidepressants. br>
3. Severe depression – depression symptoms reach maximum severity, there may be suicidal thoughts and psychotic disorders (delusions and hallucinations). With severe depression, psychotherapy can not cope, and prescription of antidepressants can save lives.

the second Myth: antidepressants are the St. John's wort, lemon balm, hawthorn, motherwort and other herbal preparations.


All of these herbs treat herbal "antidepressants", but they do not eliminate the root cause of depression -- a violation of the metabolism of serotonin and norepinephrine. Herbal antidepressants help to cope with the increased anxiety, and more are adaptogens. They are effective only in mild depression. br>
third Myth: Antidepressants cause addiction, "it's really tough to get down", "you can appoint or cancel the antidepressant".


With proper appointment antidepressants do not cause addiction or dependence, because they do not cause a "high" or feelings of "euphoria". People with personality disorders, accentuated character may develop only a psychological dependence. Antidepressants, like any medication, it is impossible to abruptly cancel, because the body no time to readjust, and perhaps a sharp increase in side effects. With the gradual abolition do not have such serious effects. Self-prescription of antidepressants is ineffective and even dangerous, because without knowing the action of the drug and the required dosage, you can only harm the body. Antidepressants the doctor selects individually! Discontinuing antidepressants can also be a dangerous experiment for your body. br>
the fourth Myth: If you are taking antidepressants, the person becomes "zombie", can not experience normal feelings and live a normal life.


Antidepressants do not affect feelings thinking and human behavior, with the exception of those senses, which is caused by a pathological depression and anxiety. There is a "strong" antidepressants, which are mainly used in severe depression and in small doses in the treatment of depression of moderate severity. In large doses and early treatment, they can cause drowsiness, apathy, fatigue. Within a few weeks, these sedative (calming) effects become less pronounced. Antidepressants, which are used primarily to treat depression any special "mind-numbing" effects have not. And the people receiving them, experiencing the normal joy and sorrow like ordinary men.

the fifth Myth: Antidepressants are dangerous for human health.


As with other drugs, while taking antidepressants experience side effects such as drowsiness, confusion. But in severe depression, the most dangerous are suicidal thoughts and psychotic disorders, and the appearance of side effects is in second plan. Some antidepressants are contraindicated in conduction disturbance in the heart muscle, arrhythmias, disruption of the kidneys and liver, and then are assigned to antidepressants causing minimal impact on these organs. There are antidepressants that are allowed to take even after myocardial infarction. Antidepressants hazardous to health only in the self-appointment without consultation from a specialist.

the sixth and last Myth: If you start taking antidepressants, you have to drink a lifetime.


Duration taking antidepressants is largely determined by the severity and type of depression. The "average" depression requires 6 months of continuous medication, without "experiments" and independent decrease or increase the dosage of the drug by the patient. If you take less than 6 months, the risk of recurrence of depression increases significantly. If symptoms of depression persist in a patient after 6 months of treatment or after discontinuation of the antidepressant resumes depression, there is a need to think about more severe mental illness, requiring the appointment of other psychotropic drugs.


Modern medicines quite subtly and differentially affect the human body and their side effects are much less pronounced than that of drugs "in the old days". If you feel bad, anxious, upset, if your life a difficult period, or you think you do not cope with stress, please consult a doctor (neurologist or psychiatrist) on all these issues. The doctor does not appoint unnecessary drugs, but if you really shown any medications their competent reception can significantly improve the quality of your life and will not bring you harm.


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