One of the most frequent reasons people decide to stop taking their antidepressant medication is because they experience side effects. Sometimes side effects of antidepressants are quite minor and time-limited, however, if a person isn’t prepared for the possibility of side effects they may take this as a sign they can’t tolerate the antidepressant. It is important to be educated and know the potentials. This article will discuss common antidepressant side effects, and differentiate between the ones that will go away from those that will last for the duration of time on the medication. I will also review 4 dangerous antidepressant medication side effects that, although uncommon, are important to know about.
Hyponatremia means a low amount of sodium in the blood. This may sound like a good thing since doctors are frequently telling people to limit salt intake, but in this case, the low sodium isn’t healthy and in fact, can be extremely dangerous. Syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH) is one of the conditions that leads to hyponatremia. SIADH symptoms can be induced by many different medications prescribed for psychiatric conditions, including antidepressants and mood-stabilizers. What is SIADH hyponatremia? Let’s review what it means, the causes of SIADH, and the details of the symptoms SIADH causes so you know what to watch for.
There are particular side effects from medicine that physicians want to know right away if you have. Akathesia is one of them. Akathesia is a sensation of inner restlessness so bad that it can actually increase the risk of suicide. People suffering from it are unable to sit still and often describe it as a creepy-crawly sensation inside of them. Akathesia treatment usually works pretty quickly. Let’s go over what is akathesia to be sure you can recognize it in the unfortunate chance that you or someone you know experiences it.
Preventing falls in the elderly can significantly improve quality of life. Unfortunately, falling and injury happen too frequently. Fall prevention in the elderly is the result of common sense safety planning and education regarding contributing factors that set people up to fall. Many frequently used medications increase these risks, especially sleep aids and certain anxiety medications. But insomnia and anxiety also impair quality of life and need to be treated. Learn more about the risks and safer alternatives that can help.
Sexual side effects of antidepressants are common yet often people feel too embarrassed to discuss these with their doctor. To make it more complicated, a common symptom of depression is reduced interest in sexual activity. This can then be compounded by the antidepressants sexual side effects. If you are wondering about antidepressant sexual side effects, but too afraid to ask, I am writing this post for you! Here are several facts about antidepressants and sexual side effects so you can be more informed.
Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome (NMS) is a potentially life-threatening condition that is one of the rare side effects of antipsychotic medications. It is fatal in 10% of patients. Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome symptoms need to be recognized early to cut down on this risk of death. NMS is an unpredictable and rare condition but because of the seriousness, people who take a medication classified as an antipsychotic need to know about it and realize if it is happening. Starting Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome treatment right away will improve the course of the syndrome. What is Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome? Follow along to find out.
Serotonin syndrome is an emergency and can be fatal in extreme cases. It is important to recognize serotonin syndrome symptoms when they are happening because if medications are stopped early most cases remain mild. So what is serotonin syndrome? Let’s review the signs and symptoms of serotonin syndrome so it isn’t missed but also so people have an accurate idea of what it is and don’t worry they have it when they don’t. I will also go over what causes serotonin syndrome to help make more informed decisions about medication.
Benzodiazepine medications have gotten a bad rap and there is much controversy in the psychiatric community about their use. Some people feel they should never be used and some feel they are highly useful. Like most areas of life, there is likely a middle ground- sometimes the use of benzodiazepines is essential and quite helpful…sometimes they are harmful and impede the progress of treatment. Let’s look at some situations where a benzodiazepine could be useful or could be potentially harmful. But before we do that, I will review some definitions and basics. What is a benzodiazepine? What are benzodiazepines used for? And then we can break down situations where they may be helpful for treatment or should be avoided.
Melatonin is widely used to treat difficulties with sleep and is readily available given the lack of need for a prescription. Because it is classified as a dietary supplement (not a drug) it isn’t regulated by the FDA and there aren’t any dosing parameters set. This has led to a lack of clarity about the recommended melatonin dosage for adults. The dose people take often varies by their best guess and the pill strength sold in the store they are in. What is melatonin and should you take 3mg? 10mg? The recommendations are vague so no wonder people are confused about how to use melatonin!
How will antidepressants make me feel? How do I know if it is working? Before starting antidepressant medications it’s important to know what to expect; both with potential side effects but also what to look for when assessing if there is a benefit. Antidepressant medication is slow to take effect so the benefits can creep up on the person. You will not suddenly be a different person from the effects of antidepressants (and if you are then you are likely having a side effect your physician needs to know about). Antidepressants are not “happy pills”…but will hopefully treat depression so that you can get back to your normal self.