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Doctors Explain Why You Should Watch Out For Antidepressant Treatment

Doctors Explain Why You Should Watch Out For Antidepressant Treatment

For those struggling to cope with moderate to severe depression, more often than not, medication is a big part of the treatment.

Antidepressants (SSRI pills) are psychiatric medications given to patients with depressive and anxiety disorders in order to help ease symptoms. When they functioning properly SSRIs can correct chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain which are believed to be responsible for changes in mood and behavior.

In short, antidepressants alter your brain chemistry.

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While antidepressants are thought to be safe and effective in treating depression and anxiety disorders when coupled with therapy and/or psychological counseling, researchers and physicians are now aware of the very real and potentially devastating side effects antidepressants can have on patients.

Physical side effects of antidepressants

People taking antidepressants are prone to experiencing some or all of the following physical side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Decrease in sex drive– erectile dysfunction in men and decreased orgasms in women
  • Fatigue and drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred Vision
  • Constipation
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Improper bone development in children
  • Improper brain development in children and teens

To combat the effects of these drugs, patients are often prescribed additional drugs to counteract the physical symptoms caused by the antidepressant.

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But the most profound side effects patients are susceptible to experiencing are psychological and emotional.

Psychological and emotional effects of antidepressant medications

Researchers and doctors have found that antidepressant medications can have seriousadverse and potentially fatal effects on patients including:

  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Increased risk of suicide
  • Violent behavior
  • Increase in depressive episodes
  • Permanent brain damage

Psychologist and researcher, Professor John Read from the University of Liverpool Institute of Psychology, Health and Society has reported that “while the biological side-effects of antidepressants, such as weight gain and nausea, are well documented, the psychological and interpersonal effects have been largely ignored or denied. And They appear to be alarmingly common.”

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Multiple studies, including the one conducted by John Read, have found that feelings of emotional numbness, demotivation, apathy and other personality changes are widespread among antidepressant users. Over half of people aged 18 to 25 participating in the University of Liverpool study reported suicidal feelings and the figure was even higher among children and teens. Even more alarming is the studies found that people who are prescribed these drugs are not being warned about the potential psychological effects.

Antidepressants can cause dependency issues

Antidepressants aren’t addictive in the same way substances like alcohol and heroin are. Those abusing antidepressants do not experience the cravings that other drugs cause and withdrawal symptoms are mild or nonexistent. However, dependence can form especially in people who never needed the drugs in the first place. Some people are incorrectly diagnosed with depression and prescribed antidepressants. According to one study, doctors misdiagnosed almost two-thirds of patients with depression and prescribed unnecessary drugs.

Different types of anti-depressives work on the brain in different ways, which is what increases the addiction potential in some and not others. Genetic and environmental factors may also play a role in the development of a substance abuse or dependency problem. Researchers estimate that genetics are a factor between 40 and 60 percent of the time, making some people more prone than others to developing an addiction or substance abuse disorder, as published by the National Institute on Drug (NID).

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Dependence occurs when the brain begins to rely on the chemical changes initiated by the drug and the body becomes physically dependent on the drug in order to function properly. Dependence can lead to addiction, but not all the time. Someone who is physically dependent on an antidepressant, needs the medication in order to reduce symptoms.

Chronic use of antidepressants promotes dependency on the drugs rather than empowering people to make positive life changes. SSRI medications are often mistakenly referred to as “happy pills,” although they do not produce the same euphoric high or artificial happiness that other drugs do.

Antidepressants have been found to be less effective in treating depression and anxiety as was once believed. Researchers warn doctors and patients alike–when dealing with brain altering drugs– proceed with caution.

Featured photo credit: Kevin Lee via stocksnap.io

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Denise Hill

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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