Major depressive disorder, commonly known as depression, is a mood disorder which makes a person experience sudden mood swings and inability to handle everyday tasks, such as eating, sleeping, etc. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 16.1 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2014.
The NIMH figure highlights the magnitude of the problem. As such, the treatment for the mental disorder is not common for everyone, but is designed according to the patient’s requirements. One of the common treatment options available for this condition includes a combination of antidepressants and some form of therapy.
While a person might be comfortable using prescription drugs for his or her condition, it is difficult to judge the effectiveness of the medication. Most of these medications take weeks and sometimes even a month or more to show their effects.
Here are some of the signs to understand if the antidepressant prescribed to a patient is working fine or not:
- Understanding the response time: The effectiveness of antidepressants can be understood depending upon one’s response time. Usually, the time period for witnessing relief from depression due to an antidepressant is two to 12 weeks. Any kind of quick response to antidepressants is most of the time a side effect or a placebo effect. Antidepressants make a person feel better by increasing the level of feel-good neurochemicals, such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. Since this process takes some time to show its effects, consulting an expert is advisable if one notices immediate signs of relief.
- Experiencing no relief: It is common for antidepressants to take some time to begin showing their effects. However, if an individual has been taking these medications for long with no signs of relief, then it is time to consult a doctor. One should ensure that such issues are shared with the doctor so that he or she may advice the most suitable option. Additionally, it is important to not stop taking the medication as this might cause some uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, such as headache, dizziness, nausea and anxiety.
- Feeling unexpected high on energy along with sadness: There is a possibility that a person taking prescribed medications for depression might feel high on energy, but is still unable to recover from his or her condition. This is probably due to the imprecise working of the antidepressants. Such feelings also increase the suicidal tendencies in people. Therefore, it is crucial that one reports any of these symptoms to his or her doctor as soon as noticed.
- Developing tolerance to antidepressants: If one has been consuming a certain antidepressant for quite some time, it is possible that he or she might develop tolerance to the antidepressant. Therefore, if one thinks that taking the same dosage fails to display similar effects as it used to, then it’s time to consult a doctor and check if the dosage can be increased for better results.
- Witnessing adequate relief: Owing to the high tolerance level, it is possible that a person is unable to witness the satisfactory level of relief due to antidepressants. By consulting a doctor, one might be able to undergo additional ways to improve the condition, such as another medication, counseling sessions, psychotherapy, light therapy, etc.
Antidepressants not the only solution
One can avoid depression by getting enough sleep, exercising regularly and eating a well-balanced diet. However, if the condition has increased to severe levels in the person, it is important to seek help from an expert.