Do antidepressants have side effects?

What are antidepressants?

Antidepressants are drugs used to treat depression, and disorder related anxiety. Antidepressants affect the release of neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are also called chemical messengers. Excessive release of the neurotransmitters causes a pessimistic sense of inadequacy or despairing lack of activity.

The brain has chemical messengers or neurotransmitters to facilitate the communication between the brain cells. Depression is associated with those neurotransmitters including; serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Antidepressants treat depression by affecting those neurotransmitters.

There are various types of antidepressants with different effects in treating depression. Examples of antidepressants are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs), Tricyclics, Tetracyclic, Serotonin Antagonist, and Reuptake Inhibitors. The common names of the medications in the world are Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Celexa (citalopram) and Lexapro (escitalopram).

Like other medications, taking antidepressants may have some side effects. If a person is taking the drugs, abrupt withdraw is not advisable because it can activate more harm than good. The help of the doctor is highly needed

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The following are briefly discussed effects caused by taking the antidepressants.

  • The use of Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) in a combination of another medication that affects the serotonin levels may lead to Serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome comes when the serotonin level is dangerously increasing in the brain. Its symptoms include; high fever, irregular heartbeat, confusion, agitation, muscle twitching, sweating, shivering, and diarrhea.

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) impact the hormones involving in regulating sodium in the body. Abnormally, the reduction of sodium or salts in the blood to a lower level emerge. So, the dangerous amount can build up in the body’s cells. This effect is called hyponatremia. the symptoms of this condition include; fatigue, loss of appetite, agitation, muscle pain, headache, psychosis, and confusion. Older people may be defenseless to the hyponatremia.

  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include swelling, itchy rash, hives, blisters, or difficulty breathing.

  • symptoms of mania include increased energy and activity, problems with sleeping, racing thoughts, impulsive behavior, extreme elevation of mood, irritability, and pressured speech

  • The use of antidepressants in children, teens, and young adults can incite self-destructive actions. They can experience those actions in the early months or years of taking the drugs as researchers denote.

  • Sudden discontinuation from taking SSRIs antidepressants can leave a person with effects of dizziness, loss of coordination, fatigue, tingling, burning, blurred vision, insomnia, and vivid dreams. Less often, there may be nausea or diarrhea, flu-like symptoms, irritability, anxiety, and crying spells.

  • Tricyclic antidepressants in older people affect the heartbeats, increase dizziness that results in falls. It can’t be a good idea for people with higher risks of having a heart attack to take tricyclic antidepressants.

  • Sexual deprivation. For many patients, SSRIs diminish sexual interest, desire, performance, satisfaction, or all four. In men, SSRIs can delay or inhibit ejaculation, and in women, delay or prevent orgasm. Lowering the dose of the SSRI antidepressant may help, although the patient may lose the drug’s benefit.

  • Generally, the common side effects may include; weight gain, constipation, insomnia, dry mouth, nausea, feeling numb, and anxiety.


World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends not initiating antidepressants to the adults with a mild depressive episode.

Prozac should be considered to moderate or severe depressive disorder. If drug treatment is required in older people, tricyclic antidepressants should be avoided.

For women with depressive episodes who are planning a pregnancy or pregnant or breastfeeding, tricyclic antidepressants or fluoxetine should be considered.

The possible ways of coping with the side effects caused by taking antidepressant drugs are seeking a doctor for regular guidance and monitoring. A person should be respecting and taking the right dose depending on the doctor’s prescription and instructions.

Regarding taking the antidepressants and their side effects, this is not all. Reading more research and seeking medical specialists is more advisable. Seek a doctor if you feel depressed before taking any antidepressant type of drug.




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