Depression and anxiety disorders affect more and more people around the world every year, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not everyone who has depression or anxiety knows that medication may help them. Some people are hesitant to try antidepressants, thinking they might do more harm than good.
Antidepressants are an increasingly widespread way to treat depressive disorders, especially chronic depression. Although they do not promise to cure depression, these medications may reduce symptoms and help people recover a better quality of life. Because of the variety of antidepressants, talk to your doctor about which you should try, and work with them to adjust the dosage or try a different medication if it does not ease your symptoms.
Are Antidepressants Safe?
The most widely prescribed antidepressants include fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro). They treat depression as well a range of other symptoms including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, and many other mental health conditions
These common antidepressants are safe, but this does not mean they are without side effects. Depending on which you take, common side effects may include indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, drowsiness, insomnia, loss of libido, or weight gain. For each medication to become fully effective, you must take it for four to eight weeks. If the antidepressant begins to cause side effects that concern you, your health care provider can determine if you should try a different medication.
Other common medications for depression and anxiety include benzodiazepines, buspirone, hydroxyzine, and beta-blockers. Some help relieves stress and anxiety for a few hours by enhancing the activity of a certain neurotransmitter in the brain or by generating a sedative effect. People who take medications like benzodiazepines and stop suddenly may experience withdrawal symptoms. Antidepressants are nonetheless tested and safe and are the first line of treatment when physicians offer prescription medications to people with depression.
Can I Heal from Depression Without Using Medications?
Depression is a very complicated mental health condition. Sometimes your symptoms of anxiety and depression may not be caused by psychiatric factors. Other problems such as Calcium deficiency, Vitamin D deficiency, low blood sugar, or certain heart diseases can trigger depressive moods and may be remedied with non-medication treatment.
Besides medications, nutritional therapy and psychotherapy are also considered important approaches for treating depression. These main methods of treatment should be accompanied by lifestyle modifications, including daily exercises, a healthy diet, self-care, and a sufficient, regular sleep pattern.
How Do You Practice Self-Care?
One helpful self-care practice for people who have clinical depression is progressive relaxation combined with breathing techniques. You begin by tensing and then relaxing one part of the body, usually beginning with the toes. Follow the order of a body scan in meditation, until the entire body is consciously free of tension.
Meditation can also be combined with relaxing visualization. For this, work with a therapist or meditation coach who suggests relaxing images for you to hold in mind. You are asked to imagine soothing sensations such as sunshine, a pleasant fragrance, and pleasing sounds. Given enough practice, you may learn to do this without a coach.
Self-care also means distracting or removing yourself from stressful situations. People with dual symptoms of depression and anxiety should pay attention to what occasions contribute to a buildup of stress in life. Whether that’s poor time management or overcommitment, a toxic relationship, certain social situations, or anything else, one should always prioritize their mental health and step back from some things if need be to protect themselves.
Can Anxiety and Depression Be Treated at the Same Time?
Although depression and anxiety are two different mental health disorders, they often co-occur. This means that depression symptoms can be worsened by anxieties. To treat both conditions at the same time, specialized diagnosis and treatment are necessary.
Sometimes antidepressants can reduce anxiety, but the two conditions often need separate but concurrent treatment. It is common for physicians to prescribe two medications: one for depression, another for anxiety. Take bupropion for example. This is a common antidepressant that may increase feelings of anxiousness. It is often used in conjunction with another anxiety medication.
Finding the medications that work for you takes a lot of patience. Once you and your physician have chosen an antidepressant, give it time to see whether it works for your condition and whether you can tolerate the side effects. If you do not see a significant improvement, tell your doctor and have them help you switch to a different medication or add a second medication. Meanwhile, follow a holistic approach to wellness by using other non-medication treatment methods and lifestyle modification.
Depression can often be treated with medication. If you struggle with both depression and anxiety, some antidepressants can alleviate symptoms of both, but you may need to use two medications in conjunction with one another. Finding the right medication and dosage for you can be a process of trial and error. Don’t try this process on your own: talk to your doctor and let them help you find the right fit. If your depression or anxiety has led you to substance abuse, Laguna Shores Recovery can help. Our licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists have helped many people find the right treatment for substance use disorder co-occurring with depression and other mental health problems. We value our clients and always seek to design custom treatment plans that fit your needs. Our full medical residential facility offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, and 12-step programs. Call us at (866) 906-3203.