Over the years, since I started my depression site, I’ve heard (read) many people say that they want to treat their depression “but without antidepressants.” I always think, “Why?” It’s just incomprehensible to me that some people have that knee-jerk reaction to medication.
Oddly enough, I have to include myself in this group. At least initially, I refused to take medication for my depression. Nearly twenty years ago, when I was first diagnosed with depression, I was in a pretty bad way. I had had two major depressive episodes in the past, without knowing what they were, but this third one was the worst, and so far, of the longest duration. By chance I read a book that helped me to recognize that what I was going through, and I promptly made an appointment with a doctor at the mental health clinic attached to the local hospital.
The other day, I took an impromptu break at work to buy something to drink. “I’m just so dehydrated,” I told my boss. “My blood pressure medication does that to me – maybe yours is having the same effect.”
Aha. That was probably it. Due to my elevated blood pressure, my doctor had strongly suggested I start on medication, which I had done a few days before. I remember from teh last time that I took it that it also can cause moments of dizziness. Yay. I grimaced when the doctor suggested that I start on the medication again, and she said, “The side effects can be unpleasant, but so can your heart enlarging.” Geez, when you put it that way.
1. Be clear about your reason(s) for wanting to switch antidepressants. Is it that the side effects are intolerable, or is it that you are not satisfied with the response? If you want to switch for the latter reason, you need to determine exactly what you mean and communicate that to your doctor. Did you antidepressant ever work fully? Bear in mind that you need to give the medication up to four weeks before you would definitely be seeing an improvement. Or did it lift your mood to some extent and then plateau? That’s called a partial response. In first case, your doctor will probably be open to your switching to a new antidepressant. If it’s the latter, however, your doctor may want to raise the dose or possibly augment your current antidepressant with another medication.