Finding the right depression treatment can be a challenge. There are many different medications available, but it can take time to achieve the right balance. An antidepressant might work well for one person but not for someone else, and there is no way to predict this. In other people, the antidepressant might work well, but the side effects are too much to handle.
There are also cases of breakthrough depression, where a person’s depression symptoms worsen or return after being on the medication. With so many different situations that can happen, it’s important to be aware of when an antidepressant isn’t working. This way, you can talk to your doctor about increasing your dose or switching to a new medication.
Below are ten signs that your antidepressant isn’t working for you.
1. No Relief from Your Symptoms
The goal of antidepressant medications is to decrease and even eliminate symptoms of depression, but this doesn’t happen right away. Most doctors will start you on the lowest dose expected to improve your symptoms, and you’ll have to wait at least six weeks for the medication to start working. If you’re going on six weeks with no improvement, you may need to switch to a new medication.
2. Your Depression Symptoms Get Worse
It’s also possible that your symptoms may worsen instead of improve. There are many different types of antidepressants, and not all work the same for everyone. Your body’s chemistry might do better with another type of drug, so it’s important to pay attention to worsening symptoms, including trouble getting out of bed, agitation and irritability.
3. You’re Having Trouble Sleeping
Some people experience trouble sleeping on antidepressants. This happens because antidepressants can make you feel more sleepy or less sleepy, plus cause vivid dreams. To help, follow a relaxing and consistent bedtime routine. Also, avoid mixing antidepressants with alcohol or other drugs.
4. The Side Effects are Causing Problems
Maybe you are tolerating the medication well, but the side effects are interfering with your life. Some of the most common side effects that people report are weight gain, sexual problems, trouble sleeping and crawling skin. Let your doctor know so they can switch you to a new medication without these side effects.
5. You Felt Better Initially, But Not Anymore
Antidepressants are believed to work by raising neurotransmitters in the brain. If you felt better initially and are now feeling bad again, it could be a placebo effect wearing off. It’s also possible that the initial surge of chemicals helped you feel better, and now you’re dealing with new stressors.
6. Your Mood is Still Low
Maybe your symptoms have improved, but your mood is still low after a few months of taking the medication. Your doctor may be able to increase your dose, especially if some other symptoms have been relieved. Or, your doctor may recommend trying something new.
7. You Have Physical Energy But Still Feel Sad
If you have more physical energy after taking an antidepressant, it means the medication is working. However, not in the way you want it to. Pent up physical energy coupled with depression is a bad combination that can put you at risk for substance use. Report these side effects to your doctor right away.
8. You are Developing Serotonin Syndrome
Serotonin syndrome is an uncommon condition caused by an overabundance of serotonin in the body. This can happen when the antidepressant combines with other medications you’re taking or foods you are eating to create too much of the feel-good chemical. Symptoms to watch for are confusion, agitation, headache, restlessness, dizziness and trouble with coordination.
9. You’re Building a Tolerance
It is possible for your body to build a tolerance to an antidepressant once it has been on it for a long time. The medication that once managed your sadness, anxiety and other symptoms no longer works. Let your doctor know so that they can determine whether it’s better to switch medications or increase your dose.
10. You Still Don’t Feel Like Yourself
Lastly, if you still don’t feel like the same person, you may want to try a new antidepressant. Remember, each body composition is different, which means you may do very well on a different medication. Your doctor will also recommend other lifestyle changes to combat depression, such as exercise, healthy eating, consistent sleep and therapy. The combination of antidepressant medication and other mood-boosting activities can be especially helpful in treating addiction.
Depression is Treatable. Find Your Solution Today.
Pura Vida Recovery treats the whole individual – not just the symptoms. If you struggle with substance use and depression, it’s important to treat yourself holistically – mind, body and spirit. This will lead to improved outcomes and protect your substance use recovery from relapse. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how to achieve healthy and happy living!