Sofie Wise

Leah McCabe

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About Author — Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.

Most PlushCare articles are reviewed by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, N.P.s, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. Click here to learn more and meet some of the professionals behind our blog.
The information provided, or in any linked materials are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

What Are Antidepressant Common Side Effects?

Warning: The use of certain antidepressants to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) in adolescents may increase the risk of suicidal ideations and behaviors. While taking antidepressants mental health can change in unexpected ways. You should call a doctor right away if you experience any suicidal thoughts. Always talk to a doctor about the risks and benefits of taking antidepressant medication before beginning treatment.

If you are currently taking or considering starting antidepressants, it is important to understand the side effects of such drugs.

Antidepressants are used to treat moderate to severe depression, and when used in combination with techniques such as therapy and lifestyle changes, are an important part of beating depression. 

Antidepressants act on the balance of chemicals in your brain, and like most medications, mild side effects are common:


Jitters

Nausea

Weight gain

Fatigue

Insomnia

Blurred vision

Dizziness

Feelings of anxiousness

Dry mouth

Diarrhea

Increased appetite

Loss of sex drive

Drowsiness

Constipation

Easily agitated

Erectile dysfunction


Do Antidepressant Side Effects Go Away?

Side effects may last for several weeks as your body adjusts to a new prescription drug.

If your side effects are severe or inhibit your daily routine, consult with your doctor. If side effects persist or do not improve over time, consult with your doctor.

In some cases, the side effects of antidepressants do not go away on their own, and strategies must be used to counteract the effects. 


Read: Stopping Antidepressants and Managing Withdrawal


Side Effect Management Tips


Nausea

If nausea persists, try taking antidepressants with food, unless otherwise directed. You can also try eating small meals, staying hydrated, and asking your doctor about a dosage change.


Weight Gain

Fluid retention or increased appetite can be caused by antidepressants, and may lead to weight gain. If you’re concerned about weight gain, try cutting back on sugar, getting regular exercise, and keeping a food diary.


Fatigue

Drowsiness is a very common side effect of antidepressants. Taking small naps, getting daily physical exercise, and taking your medication at bedtime are all strategies to combat fatigue. 


Insomnia

Antidepressants may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. To combat this, consider avoiding caffeinated foods and drinks. Getting regular exercise also helps your body relax at the end of the day, and if insomnia persists, ask your doctor about a sedating antidepressant like trazodone or mirtazapine.


Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is one of the most common side effects of antidepressant medication. In order to avoid this:

  • Carry a water bottle with you regularly
  • Chew gum
  • Avoid tobacco, alcohol and caffeine
  • Breathe through your nose

Constipation

Antidepressants may interfere with the normal function of the digestive tract. To help relieve constipation, drink plenty of water, eat a high-fiber diet, get regular exercise, and ask your doctor about stool softeners.


Dizziness

Some antidepressants can cause low blood sugar and lead to dizziness. If your medication makes you dizzy, be careful not to stand up too quickly, operate heavy machinery or drive while taking antidepressants


Sexual Side Effects

Many antidepressants can have a negative effect on your sexual experience. This may include difficulty reaching orgasm, reduced sex drive, and erectile dysfunction in men.

Talking to your partner about sexual needs, scheduling sexual activity in relation to your medication, and asking your doctor about medications which may increase sexual performance are all smart ways to try to combat the side effects of antidepressants.


Do Antidepressants Change Your Personality?

When taken correctly, antidepressants will not change your personality.

There are many myths about antidepressants, this among them. Antidepressants are not a “happy pill,” they do not make anyone who takes them feel an increased level of joy.


Antidepressants are a means of symptom management for those battling depression who wish to feel like their normal selves again.


Rarely, people experience apathy or a loss of emotions while on certain antidepressants. However, this can be addressed by consulting with your doctor to either lower your dosage or switch medications. 


Read: Online Mental Health Services


Antidepressants With Least Side Effects

There is no one antidepressant with the least side effects as everyone’s body reacts differently to medication.

It is not uncommon for several antidepressants to be tried before finding the one that best suits your needs.

Your doctor may start treatment with a prescription of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).


SSRIs generally cause the fewest bothersome side effects, however dosage and an individual’s body will greatly determine this.


Some common SSRIs include:

What To Do When Antidepressants “Poop Out”

Although possibly embarrassing, this inquiry is usually nothing to be worried about!

Seeing an unabsorbed medication in your stool does not always not mean there is something wrong with your digestion of the medication. Many types of pills have an extended-release coating which may be the shell you see in your stool.

The medication inside this coating has likely been properly absorbed by your body before passing what’s left of the pill.

If a whole pill is indeed found in the stool, one cause may be diarrhea. Diarrhea involves the body dumping intestinal contents rapidly, and may lead to your medication passing through unabsorbed.


Do not try to compensate for lost medication, as doing so risks doubling your proper dosage and is therefore  dangerous. 


If this occurs, contact your doctor, and continue taking medication as regularly scheduled.

Get An Antidepressant Prescription Online

Antidepressants are a prescription medication and therefore require the consultation of a doctor.

Fortunately, with PlushCare, you can set up an appointment with one of our trusted doctors who can have a prescription sent to your local pharmacy, if necessary. PlushCare also offers prescription refill services.

Click here to make an appointment today.


Read More About Antidepressants


References

Harvard Health. What Are The Real Risks Of Antidepressants? Accessed on January 3, 2020, at https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-are-the-real-risks-of-antidepressants

WebMD. Fears and Facts About Antidepressants. Accessed on January 3, 2020 at https://www.webmd.com/depression/fears-and-facts-about-antidepressants#1

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