Do Antidepressants Really Work?

If you are currently being treated for depression, antidepressants may be prescribed as part of the treatment process. If you are taking antidepressants, it is important to learn what they are all about and what you should expect after taking them.

Do Antidepressants Work?

For many people, antidepressants work well and reduce the symptoms associated with depression. This medication works to balance brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which affect your emotions and mood. These antidepressants help to improve your mood, make it possible for you to sleep better, and improve your appetite.  Having a good mood helps to get rid of the symptoms associated with depression and enables you to make better choices for yourself.

Even so, the results are not instant. It takes two to three weeks for the effects of the antidepressants to be felt. It is advisable for you to take the meds every day to increase the chances of success. In case you notice that there are no changes after a few weeks, you can consult with your doctor. They may prescribe a different antidepressant that may work.

Side Effects of Antidepressants 

Just like other medications, antidepressants do work and can cause a few side effects. They include:

  • Agitation
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleeplessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Low sex drive
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth

Different antidepressants cause different side effects. SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), show fewer side effects when compared to the older type of depression medication like TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) or MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).

Even so, different medications affect different people in different ways. Therefore, it is advisable to follow your doctor’s prescription to find the best combination for your depression.

Most side effects will go on for a week or slightly longer before they stop occurring. Some side effects can last as long as it takes for to finish the dose. If the side effects become unbearable for you, let your doctor know. They may adjust the dosage or the type of antidepressants administered. Taking the medication at a different time than what you are used to can also be recommended as a way of dealing with the side effects.

Do not stop taking your antidepressants without letting your doctor know. Talking to your doctor allows them to keep you under medication as they try to get the perfect blend for you. If need be, your doctor is best placed to wean you off the medicines safely.

Diet Tips for Depression: Things to Limit or Avoid

Do antidepressants work? Yes, they do but you also need to watch your diet. Below are some handy tips.

1.    Fruit juice

Whole fruits are rich in fiber which makes you fill up faster. When you consume fruit fiber, it slows down energy usage in the body. Fruit juice is made by squeezing the water from the fruits. This means that you are only drinking nutritious sugars. It causes a spike in your blood sugar and makes you hungry after a short while. Hunger makes you moody, and this is not good for depression.

It is advisable to eat whole fruits and choose water over juices when thirsty.

2.    Bread

Bread is made using processed white floor. This causes a spike in your energy levels. This leaves you feeling energized momentarily. After a while, it causes an energy crash that leaves you feeling low. This energy boost and sudden low moments are not good for depression.

It is therefore advisable for you to use whole grain for your pastries.

3.    Light Dressing

Most people who avoid using sugar dressing end up using light or sugar-free dressings. These are considered sugar-free because they derive their sweetness from artificial sweeteners as opposed to sugar. These artificial sweeteners are linked to depression and known to make the symptoms worse.

It is advisable to check the label for ingredients and also consider making your dressing at home from scratch.

4.    Coffee 

Coffee is known to make you nervous and jittery as it works to hyper-activate your brain cells to keep you alert. Coffee also disrupts your sleeping pattern and this is counterproductive for depression medication.

Consider switching to decaf until you overcome depression.

5.    Alcohol

Alcohol messes with your ability to enjoy a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough rest raises your anxiety levels and worsens your depression. As much as alcohol can sometimes calm your nerves, it is advisable to quit drinking as you recover from depression.

6.    Frosting

Not only is frosting loaded with sugars, but is also rich in trans-fats. These are linked to depression symptoms. It is important to check your product labels to ensure that partially hydrogenated oils are not in the ingredients.

Opt for healthy fats from fish, avocado, and nuts. 

How to Avoid Making Your Depression Worse

Do antidepressants work? While antidepressants actually work, it is best to avoid depression if you can. Here are simple ways to avoid depression.

  1. Exercising – exercise helps the body to release the feel-good hormone which works to elevate your moods. This is highly recommended for people with depression as it helps to get rid of the overwhelming sadness.
  2. Stay healthy – while you focus on your physical health, you also need to focus on your mental health. The mind and your body are connected. When you don’t take good care of your body, it will affect the mind and vice versa and can lead to a relapse.  Depression can cause heart conditions and diabetes.
  3. Reduce stress – it is important to avoid getting stressed over issues too often. Stress leads to depression. Always create plans for your schedules and day to day activities. This helps you to deal with only what you can manage every day as opposed to working without a plan, which makes you stressed. 
  4. Watch what you eat – it is important to avoid foods associated with depression. There are some foods that are ideal for mood-boosting. Go for foods rich in omega 3 and folic acid as they help to boost your moods. Foods rich in vegetables, nuts, whole grain, and fruits are also highly recommended.   
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