Antidepressant medication can be a lifesaver for those who are suffering daily from depression symptoms. However, when you choose to take antidepressants to improve your mood, you’re also opening yourself up to a list of side effects that can be just as depressing. Making a comparison of depression medication side effects can help you choose the right one for you. Once you’ve selected your depression medicine, you can use these tips to help you overcome some common side effects.
According to Everyday Health, the most common antidepressants on the market today are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (such as Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa). This type of medication is followed closely in popularity by serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (like Effexor, Cymbalta and Remeron). Both categories cause some form of antidepressant side effects in patients.
Weight gain—This is one the most common depression medication side effects. Fluid retention, reduced physical activity, and gaining back your appetite can all lead to weight gain. The tips for staving off weight gain on antidepressants are the same for people who want to lose weight. Cut out empty calories like soda, fast food, and sweet treats. Increase your intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. If weight gain becomes a severe problem, talk with your doctor about switching medications.
Weight loss—Some people experience nausea when they first go on antidepressants. Although this typically goes away within a week or two, ongoing nausea can cause you to lose too much weight. If you don’t feel like eating, try smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Drink lots of cold beverages to settle your stomach and try an antacid. If the problem persists, your doctor can switch your prescription to a slow-release form of the same medication.
Sexual side effects—SSRI medications are most likely to cause sexual side effects. Talk to your doctor about adjusting your dose of medication or ask about medication that only has one dose per day. You can also ask about taking what the Mayo Clinic refers to as a “drug holiday” (going off of medication for one day per week).
Take a chart of your common symptoms and their frequency to your doctor so you can communicate how much you are experiencing them. Although some side effects are just part of the territory, you should not be experiencing major problems on a long term basis. Often a switch in dosage or a change to another medication can be the solution.