5 myths about antidepressants

Myths about antidepressants

There are many myths and misconceptions about antidepressants. We tackle some of the biggest ones.

1. They are the only way to treat depression

Speaking to friends and family can help you to cope with depression. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling can help. Your GP can refer you, or you can refer yourself to your local Improving Access to Psychological Therapies services.

2. You will have to take them for life

Usually, you keep taking the antidepressant for about six months after the depression has gone away. It is advisable to stop taking them gradually to minimise withdrawal symptoms.

3. They will alter your personality

Antidepressants will not change your personality. They will help you feel like yourself again and return you to your previous level of functioning. Rarely, people experience apathy or loss of emotions while on certain antidepressants. Switching to a different antidepressant may help.

4. Antidepressants are addictive

This is a common misconception. Antidepressants aren’t addictive, because they do not cause ‘tolerance’, meaning you don’t have to keep increasing the dose for them to continue working. Some people do experience withdrawal effects once they stop, particularly if they stop taking antidepressants suddenly. Withdrawal effects, including very mild flu-like symptoms, are usually mild and settle quickly.

5. They are a quick fix

Antidepressants can take up to a couple of weeks to start to work and they can continue to increase in benefit for weeks and months after that.

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