Myth: Once on antidepressants – always on antidepressants.
Fact: The length of treatment depends entirely on the type of depression a patient experiences. A majority of those on antidepressants stop treatment after six months, while those who have experienced several major depressive episodes are often candidates for longer-term treatment. If someone begins an antidepressant regimen and starts to experience a positive change in mood, it’s no surprise that they wonder if they can feel good after ceasing treatment. Normally, doctors recommend that people stay on their antidepressant for at least six months to a year. Beyond that, stopping treatment is a personal choice, and it’s important to take into account the other factors that were contributing to depression before continuing to rely on the newly medicated feelings of recovery. Because of potential side effects from withdrawal, it’s important to not abruptly stop taking antidepressants. Instead taper down with the help of a doctor. Remember that just because antidepressants may have helped you through a depressive episode, they aren’t always needed to feel normal.
Myth: Antidepressants decrease sex drive.
Fact: We’ve established that some antidepressants carry possible sexual side effects. But that list doesn’t normally include lack of sexual drive. More common is the inability to achieve an orgasm. On the other hand, simply being depressed can demolish a person’s libido, and introducing an antidepressant when depressed can sometimes actually improve sex life.
Myth: Antidepressants are dangerous to combine with other medications.
Fact: It’s always important to discuss other medications you may be taking with your doctor first. Any drug can interact with another drug. But the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, SSRIs, rarely interact or cause any problems with other medications. One exception is the potential for elevated blood pressure when SSRIs are taken with MAO inhibitors. Overall, SSRIs are safe to take with almost all medicines, but always be sure to consult a doctor or pharmacist to be certain.
Related Slideshow: Commonly Confused Mental Health Medications
Holohan, Ellin. (August 5, 2011). Study: Americans’ use of antidepressants on the rise. Retrieved from usatoday.com
The Royal College of Psychiatrists. (n.d). Antidepressants. (N.D). Retrieved from http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mentalhealthinfoforall/problems/depression/antidepressants.aspx
JAMA (2012). Antidepressant drug effects and depression severity: A patient-level meta-analysis. Retrieved from: http://jama.amaassn.org/content/303/1/47.full.pdf
M.I.N.D. (n.d) Making sense of antidepressants. Retrieved from: http://www.mind.org.uk/help/medical_and_alternative_care/making_sense_of_antidepressants