Antidepressants

sertraline 1

A subject I have been unsure about making a post about is Antidepressants. For a long time, I kept it a closely guarded secret that I was on them only allowing a very select few people know I was taking them. Part of this was due to embarrassment about needing them. I have always tried to keep a happy face when I’m around people. The other reason was that for a long time I saw it as a sign of weakness that I needed them. I have always exercised and done my best to eat a healthy diet which countless studies have shown to be powerful natural Antidepressant’s. I have had various forms of talking therapies, joined lots of groups and tried new activities to help meet different people throughout my life. For some people it might be a surprise for them to learn that I have Anxiety and Depression since I am high functioning, however my body does not produce enough Serotonin on its own. The more talking therapies I had the more I began to realise that it is not a sign of weakness that I need Antidepressants, its simply the way my body works. If I had Type 1 Diabetes my body would not function properly without Insulin injections, it just so happens that my body needs Antidepressants to function.
Antidepressants come in a wide range of varieties and strengths as like all medications no two people will react the same way. Over the last ten years I have been on three different types of Antidepressants at different strengths. At first, I was prescribed 20 mg of Citalopram a day. This didn’t do much for me other then give me wind. The negative side effects of Citalopram can be found below:
• problems with memory or concentration.
• headache, drowsiness.
• dry mouth, increased sweating.
• numbness or tingling.
• increased appetite, nausea, diarrhea, gas.
• fast heartbeats, feeling shaky.
• sleep problems (insomnia), feeling tired.
• cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat.
• changes in weight
• difficulty having an orgasm.
I did not have any of the above, as stated all it did was give me wind. Citalopram is one of the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) group of medications. The job of these medicines is to increase the levels of a mood-enhancing chemical called serotonin in the brain.
The next Antidepressant medication I was prescribed was Fluoxetine Hydrochloride. At first, I was prescribed 20 mg a day however that was later increased to 40 mg a day. Fluoxetine Hydrochloride is another SSRI. This was a lot more effective and I ended up being on the medication for seven years. Fluoxetine side effects include:
• feeling sick (nausea)
• headaches
• being unable to sleep
• diarrhoea
• feeling tired or weak
• feeling sick (nausea)
• headaches
• being unable to sleep
• diarrhoea
• feeling tired or weak
• feeling sick (nausea)
• headaches
• being unable to sleep
• diarrhoea
• feeling tired or weak
• feeling sick (nausea)
• headaches
• being unable to sleep
• diarrhoea
• feeling tired or weak
For the last three years I have been taking Sertraline at 100 mg a day. Sertraline is another SSRI which can be used to treat Depression, Panic Attacks, OCD and PTSD. Side effects are:
• feeling sick
• headaches
• being unable to sleep
• Restlessness
• feeling sleepy
• diarrhoea
• dry mouth
• dizziness
• feeling tired or weak
• chest pain or pressure, or shortness of breath
• severe dizziness or passing out
• painful erections that last longer than 4 hours – this may happen even when you’re not having sex
• any bleeding that’s very bad or you can’t stop, such as cuts or nosebleeds that don’t stop within 10 minutes
• headaches, trouble focusing, memory problems, not thinking clearly, weakness, seizures, or losing your balance – these can be signs of low sodium levels
• thoughts about harming yourself or ending your life
• fits, feelings of euphoria, excessive enthusiasm or excitement, or a feeling of restlessness that means you can’t sit or stand still
• yellow skin or the whites of your eyes turn yellow – this can be a sign of liver problems
• vomiting blood or dark vomit, coughing up blood, blood in your pee, black or red poo – these can be signs of bleeding from the gut
• bleeding from the gums or bruises that appear without a reason or that get bigger
• changes in your periods, such as heavy bleeding, spotting or bleeding between periods
• weight gain or weight loss without trying
When I first started taking Sertraline, I did have a lot of restlessness, this has subsided to a small degree. I still find myself twitching when I’m lying on my bed or sat on the sofa at a friend’s/ family members house. As far as dizziness is concerned this happens occasionally. It is more common on days when I have forgotten to take my tablet or when I have gone away and left them at home.
Despite the long list of side effects listed above the long- term benefits for me of taking these medications can not be ignored. Taking them has helped me to reduce the number of relapses I would have had had I not been on them. I have been able to come to terms with the fact that I have a chemical imbalance in my body which the SSRI’s have helped to correct and the fact that I am more open about my mental health issues is the biggest benefit of me taking SSRI’s.

Useful Links:
http://www.drugs.com
http://www.nhs.uk

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