Most likely if you are asking the question, “Do I need anti-depressants?” you are familiar with the depths of clinical depression and its myriad effects.
The grip of depression can lead you into a pit of anxiety, anger, and despair. And there are times when it feels like you would accept anything that could help you simply get out of bed without the dark cloud of nothingness surrounding you.
The short answer is, if you have feelings of depression for extended periods, antidepressants can help improve the quality of your life.
There is a difference between the emotions behind anger, depression, and anxiety and a clinical diagnosis by a qualified professional. While antidepressants can help you find relief, only a medical doctor or psychiatrist can prescribe them.
Of course, neither of these kinds of practitioners offer long-term psychological therapy. A psychiatrist may, but often they refer their patients to psychologists, counselors, or an outpatient mental health program.
Read on to find out when and how antidepressants can help.
What Are Antidepressants?
As the name suggests, antidepressants are a type of medicine that help treat clinical depression or prevent it from recurring. Antidepressants increase the activity of neurotransmitters (serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine) to reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. They work in different ways to balance your brain chemicals and give you relief.
Similarly, you can treat the symptoms of mild depression with a positive behavior change. Lifestyle adjustments like an improved diet, sleep schedule, and routine workouts can help lift your spirits on bad days. Additionally, your doctor can give you a short-term prescription to help develop life-changing habits.
Here are 8 ways to break the cycle of depression without medications.
Do I Need Antidepressants?
Depression is more than a few days of feeling blue. It is a critical illness that affects your mood, mental health, and general well-being. It comes with bouts of fear, hopelessness, worry, and endless exhaustion. The disease affects how you think, feel, eat, and sleep.
Often, you find yourself trapped in a loop of drifting between the past and present or the real and delusionary. When asking the question, “Do I need antidepressants?” make sure you examine your clinical depression symptoms. These may include:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling guilty about how you live
- Lack of pleasure in what you previously enjoyed
- Indecision or reduced concentration
- Negative thoughts about yourself and the world
- Insomnia or too much sleep
- Lack of appetite or overeating to cope
- Feeling worthless
If you experience these symptoms and can’t shake them off, its likely you would benefit from antidepressants. But taking any medication or handling mental health issues—these are deeply personal. There is no blanket answer for everyone on this topic.
There will be side effects to consider. These range from nausea to insomnia to anxiety to reduced sex drive.
Other Options for Treating Depression
There are alternative options as well that have wonderful results in various settings.
TMS – Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (rTMS) is a treatment commonly used to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Using magnetic pulses for anxiety and similar mental health conditions works by stimulating certain nerve cells within the brain.
EMDR – Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a psychotherapy technique initially developed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And it has proven results in helping with depression, as well.
How Long Do I Need Antidepressants?
Once you start your treatment, it can take time to feel like your best self again.
It is usually suggested that patients stay on antidepressants for around 4-6 months. Ideally your more acute symptoms will have alleviated in that timeframe. While this is still a deeply personal decision, it is important to make the decision about how and when to stop taking medication with your psychiatrist or doctor.
In the midst of your journey, you may be in the place where a more expansive and intensive mental health program is the best option to help accelerate your healing. At Lido Wellness we offer three different options of intensive mental health programing.
PHP, IOP, and outpatient—ranging from most involved to least, feel free to find out more information on each or simply give us a call. Located in Newport Beach, California, our mental health facility is a balance of peace and treatment that can lead to deeper healing.