Is the Medicine Really Helping?

Giuliana Carmosino

If you are being treated for mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety, a part of your treatment may be to take antidepressants. These work by balancing the neurotransmitters in your brain that affect your mood and emotions. These depression medicines are catered to help improve your mood, help you sleep, as well as increasing your appetite and your concentration. Eric Endlich, a clinical psychologist based in Boston states that “Antidepressants can jump-start mood and give people the boost they need to get over the symptoms of depression. If you are taking an antidepressant it is very important to know the effects that it may have on your life and your body.

The Medication

While many find that the medications work to reduce the symptoms of depression, it may not work right away. With some medications it could take up to three or four weeks before you begin to notice a change in your mood, and in some cases it may take longer than the expected time for the medicine to kick in. Depression is a very complicated mental health illness that can be treated and reduced with a number of different medications. This being said, some patients will try medications that do not work for them, which in this case they will need to be switched to a new medication. About 60% of people who take antidepressants feel that their symptoms gradually get better with the first medication that they try, while others may need to try multiple medications before they begin to see any changes. A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health found that approximately 50% of patients who did not feel changes within the first medication, felt an improvement when either being put on a different medication or by adding a second treatment to the first. A question heavily asked is how long a patient will have to be on antidepressants, but the answer isn’t so simple. Most people are put on depression medications for 6-9 months, but some patients need to take it longer even if the symptoms lessen. Others are put on medications for multiple years, just depending on what type of depression they have and the severity of their depression.  

The Side Effects

Although antidepressants can be seen as highly effective, they have been known to have a handful of side effects, including.. 

  • Headache
  • Agitation 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleeplessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry Mouth 
  • Weight Gain    

Some antidepressants are more likely than others to cause certain side effects. Many of the side effects that may present itself for a person taking the medication may only last for a few days or weeks, while others may continue even after you finish taking the medicine. 

From all of the information above we can conclude that depression is a very serious mental illness that can be treated in a number of ways, with a variety of different medications. Although these medications can present themselves with side effects, oftentimes the severity of the depression calls for medicine in order to treat and make the patient feel better.