Side Effects of Antidepressants: Things To Know Before Treatment
Antidepressants are recommended by doctors or psychiatrist for the treatment of depression. Although medication can relieve the symptoms and help in dealing with depression, like all medications, these are followed by some side effects as well.
The antidepressants side effects can be different for different types of medication and may affect every person differently. It’s important to keep the doctor updated with the side effects regularly to prevent any severe effects in the long term. If the side effects are hard to deal with, the doctor may change the medication or lower the dose to minimize the side effects. Here are a few side effects to watch out for when you’re taking antidepressants as a part of treatment:
1. Weight gain: Weight gain is considered a possible side effect of almost all of the antidepressants. Most people consuming them complain about gaining weight after they started using the drug. Though it is already proved that antidepressants cause weight gain, it’s not necessarily the reason in every case.
It may be the direct cause of weight gain, but it could also be due to other lifestyle factors that may or may not have changed due to the consumption of the drug. These factors may include overeating, inactivity, or due to an increased appetite.
Ways to cope with the issue:
- Engage in regular physical activity
- Maintain a healthy diet
- Cut back on junk food, sweets, and drinks
- Consult the doctor, if necessary
2. Sleepiness: Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects people face while taking the medications. Feeling sleepy throughout the day can reduce the quality of life and also make you more prone to accidents. It’s possible that the effect can be severe on some people causing excessive drowsiness, which also affects the quality of work.
The best choice to make is to consult a doctor for treating this problem, mainly by changing the dose or the medication that’s causing the drowsiness.
Ways to cope with sleepiness:
- Make time for naps during the day
- Go for Exercising
- Try taking the pill at bedtime
- Wait until the body adjusts to the medication
3. Nausea: Nausea is considered the number one side effect of SSRI antidepressants. Nausea and vomiting are common side effects that can also become severe in some cases, forcing the person to switch the medications or stop the treatment.
If the treatment is stopped suddenly due to any reason, it can also lead to nausea and vomiting. It could even trigger other side effects due to antidepressants withdrawal.
Ways to cope with Nausea:
- Take medication with food, unless prescribed otherwise
- Take the medicines at bedtime, unless prescribed otherwise
- Eat small meals, more frequently
- Take antacids as prescribed
4. Sexual side effects: Sexual side effects of antidepressants include erectile dysfunction, lower libido, and difficulty with orgasms. These effects can affect both men and women. Antidepressants boost the serotonin levels in the body, due to which the person experiences a feeling of calm and stability. It prevents the hormones to respond to sex and cause the sex drive to fall down.
Ways to cope with these effects:
- Take a lower dose
- Schedule pills after engaging in sexual activity
- Take other drugs to treat sexual problems like ED
- Take a break from medications
5. Blurred vision: With blurred vision, a person is unable to see clearly. There’s a lack of sharpness and clearness to the vision. Some people face sensitivity to light while others experience symptoms like burning, itching, redness, or scratchy sensations in the eye. Usually, it goes away on its own within a few weeks of starting the medication.
Ways to manage this problem:
- Get an eye exam to figure out the exact reason for the problem
- Avoid smoking, as well as secondhand smoking
- Consult the doctor about changing the dose, or the medication
- Use eye drops to relieve dryness, as prescribed
6. Constipation: Constipation means difficulty in having bowel movements or having them less frequently than usual. It comes as a side effect of antidepressants as they block the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.This results in muscular contractions which moves the waste matter is slowed and the intestinal secretions are dried, causing constipation.
Ways to manage constipation:
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume high-fiber foods
- Get regular exercise