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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 December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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