New to Taking Medication for Depression and/or Anxiety? What to Know
Posted by Soribel Martinez, LCSW
Millions of people across the globe take medication for depression and/or anxiety. Because of that, though, there are countless options to choose from that can sometimes feel overwhelming.
Whether you’re still considering medication or you’ve recently started taking it, it’s important to know what to expect, how most of these medications work, and whether they’re right for you on a long-term basis.
The most important thing is to talk to your doctor about medications for depression and anxiety if you have any concerns. They can give you a more detailed explanation of what to expect and any side effects you may have. But, let the following be a basic guide of what you need to know if you’re new to these medications.
How Medication for Depression and Anxiety Works
Every medication is slightly different. But, most of them work in similar ways. They are designed to balance the neurotransmitters in your brain that impact your mood and emotions. When those chemicals are more balanced, you’ll feel more at peace and in control of your thoughts.
It’s important to keep in mind that no medication is designed to be a “quick fix”. Most medications for depression and anxiety take a while to fully kick in. Chances are, you didn’t start struggling with your mental health overnight. So, it won’t be “fixed” overnight, either.
It’s also important to note that no medication is a magic pill. They’re designed to help your brain think and process things in a healthy, effective way.
Does that mean your medication will get rid of all of your worries? Does it mean you won’t have times of sadness or hopelessness?
However, the medication can help to bring you back to reality faster. It will allow you to make smarter, healthier choices while fighting back against the anxious or negative thoughts that may have previously plagued you.
That’s why so many people benefit from a combination of medication and therapy/counseling.
What to Expect
Again, talking to your doctor will give you better insight into what you should expect from each specific medication. As a whole, though, there are some typical “side effects” that you should be aware of. Understanding what to expect ahead of time can make actually going through those things easier.
Some people suggest antidepressants make them feel fatigued or tired all the time. Others feel agitation or nausea, while some experience headaches.
Any symptoms you have should subside in a few weeks. They also shouldn’t be so bad that they negatively impact your quality of life. If your symptoms seem extreme, talk to your doctor right away. Sometimes, it can take several tries and different medications to find the right one.
Letting Go of the Stigma
If you recently started taking medication for depression or anxiety, it’s okay to talk about it. If you’re still on the fence, it’s even more important to talk about it.
Unfortunately, some people still hold on to stigmas surrounding mental health and treatment. Maybe you’re one of them, so you struggle to be kind to yourself when it comes to medication. The sooner you’re willing to let go of those stigmas, the sooner your medication will start working for you. That will allow you to move forward in your life and take control of your thoughts again.
Whether you just started taking medication or you’re still thinking about it, feel free to contact me. We can talk more about medication options, or you can set up an appointment to supplement your medication with therapy. Whatever you decide, feeling comfortable and confident in your choice should be a top priority.