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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

Speech Writer/Senior Editor

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

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Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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