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Should Anti-Depressants Be Taken?

Updated on November 23, 2018
angela_michelle profile image

Having loved many people who have mental illnesses, Angela has researched as much as she can about the brain and mental illness.


There are many types of anti-depressants. It is important for your doctor and you to discuss your exact symptoms to best prescribe the kind that is right for you.
There are many types of anti-depressants. It is important for your doctor and you to discuss your exact symptoms to best prescribe the kind that is right for you. | Source

Anxiety and Depression Treatments

Taking anti-depressants often leaves the patient with a sense of shame. They feel they lack character or self-control and that they wouldn't need it, if only they had more willpower. The need for anti-depressants is the same as any need for any other medication. If you have difficulty breathing due to asthma, you need an inhaler, insulin for diabetes, Prilosec for acid reflux, anti-depressants for a chemical imbalance in your brain. Needing an anti-depressant is the same as any other time your body is not functioning the way it needs to.

Although, it is important to understand that anti-depressants are for those who truly have an imbalance in their brain chemistry. This is more than to treat the blues. This is to treat a reoccurring, chronic condition.

Do You Believe That Anti-Depressants Are A Legitimate Cure for Anxiety or Depression?

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Types of Depression Symptoms

Anti-depressants are not for everyone, but they truly can improve your quality of life. If you are thinking, should I go on an anti-depressant, then you should be evaluated by your doctor. Anti-depressants are not just for the depressed. Anxiety and depression are actually two very common symptoms of the same thing-- an imbalance in your brain chemicals.

Some good indicators that you need to be evaluated include:

  • Severe Anxiety: It's alright to feel blue, or less than your best sometimes, but when it starts affecting your daily life, then that's when you need to seek help. Help may mean a counselor, meditation, and sometimes medication. Some ideas that might go through your mind is that everyone else seems to be happier, more prosperous, more talented, more gifted than you are. You feel like you are just not good enough. These are not normal well-balanced emotions.
  • Feelings that the World Is Against You: First I would like to say, it is not. It really is not. Often those who suffer from anxiety or depression will believe the irrational thinking is legit. Some common thoughts are believing that others are mad at them, even when they are not. A healthy person's opinion of someone does not change on a daily basis. Often those who suffer depression or anxiety may view that someone likes them one day then not the next. It has more to do with the viewer's perception than reality. These feelings need to be evaluated by a professional.
  • Deep Depression: This is probably what is thought of most when you think of anti-depressants. Depression is defined as more than a few weeks of deep sadness or feelings of hopelessness. Not every time nor everyone who experiences depression should use an anti-depressant, but if your depression is interfering with your day-to-day activities or your relationships, it has gone from a normal feeling of "the blues" to a time when you should consider counseling or even medicinal help.
  • Easily Lost Temper: It is not normal to scream and lose all control of what you say or do. Yes, everyone loses their temper at times, but if it is occurring on a regular basis, you may need help in controlling your actions and words before you seriously hurt someone.


Prozac is not technically an anti-depressant, but is often used in similar patients. You may want to discuss with your doctor to see if this is the better option for you.
Prozac is not technically an anti-depressant, but is often used in similar patients. You may want to discuss with your doctor to see if this is the better option for you. | Source

Common Anti-Depressant Medications

  • Celexa
  • Prozac
  • Zoloft
  • Xanax
  • Cymbalta
  • Zyban
  • Paxil
  • Just to name a few!

Signs You May Be Taking the Wrong Anti-Depressants

Make sure to constantly monitor yourself and keep your doctor updated. If you are able to be your best self on the medicine with no weird feelings, then that is the medicine you should be on. If you are noticing that for several weeks you have been reverting back to your old behavior then you need to discuss with your doctor if you need counseling or maybe a change in your dose.

If you are feeling nothing, as in no joy, no sadness, then you are not on the right dose or possibly the right medicine. Ups and downs are normal even on medication. It's the severity of those ups and downs that need to be monitored. In other words, you need to be completely honest with yourself about the moods and the way you are handling stress. Are what are you experiencing normal ups and downs or are you experiencing uncontrolled emotions?

One of the biggest mistakes people make when using an anti-depressant is deciding that they will not take any anti-depressant, because after trying one kind, they felt flat. On anti-depressants, you should be able to feel joy, but more than that contentment. If you feel flat on one medication, it doesn't mean you should not take any anti-depressants for they all work differently

Other indicators you are taking the wrong medicine is if you actually feel more anxiety symptoms or even thoughts of suicide. Each medicine works in everybody's system differently. If you are experiencing more anxiety than before you started the medicine, then chances are you need to switch medications. If you experience suicidal thoughts on medication, call your doctor as soon as possible. Some medications actually cause suicidal thoughts in those with conflicting illnesses.

The true secret to finding the right medication for you is being open and honest with your doctor. Let him know how you are feeling on your medication so that he knows if you need to be switched or changed doses.

© 2012 Angela Michelle Schultz


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    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      3 years ago from United States

      I actually agree with you very much. I also believe there is real mental illness. I believe that there are a lot of people who take it, who do not actually have a mental illness. I also believe that a lot of people could improve their depression or anxiety with diet and exercise, which you pointed out, by pointing out that serotonin in guts. I believe many people are clueless as to how to even begin. It is hard in our society to eat a healthy diet as many of our foods are more food-like than real food.

    • ValKaras profile image

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      From my over thousand books on human nature and personal observation I concluded that people are extremely reluctant to do and persist doing what their "negative program" is resisting. While I do believe in a hereditary inclination to emotional instabilities, I don't believe that folks are at a mercy of it. Our trained positive attitudes and a new set of beliefs can over-run any genetic predisposition, be it mental or physical.

      So little of mind-body connection is applied in self-help, and folks usually seek the line of the least resistance by taking a pill, which may make the symptom bearable, but won't remove the cause. Even though something like "brain chemical imbalances" has never been really proven, psychiatrists and pharmacology are feeding people these chemicals which in long run may cause more harm than benefit.

      For example, they don't tell you that there is an ample amount of serotonin in your guts, not just brain. The endocrine system is so close to our dominant daily thoughts and beliefs that we can get a trigger-happy stress reaction from nothing else but an oversensitive negative feedback mechanism, meaning our habit of interpreting life situations as "bad" in any possible range from just annoying to threatening. People faint while exchanging vows at their weddings, which is supposed to be one of the happiest times of their lives.

      To cut this long story shorter, we can do a lot for our depression by relying on our natural resources - between our ears. And it may turn out to be amazingly simple, as long as we have not programmed ourselves into a belief that ONLY something outlandishly complex short of a miracle can help us.

    • Paul Kemp profile image

      Paul Kemp 

      6 years ago

      There is a book that offers a simple, commonsense program to relieve major depression without drugs. I review it at This program has helped me tremendously for years. It actually deals with the true causes of depression, not simply medicating it.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      6 years ago from United States

      Thank you for sharing!

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      7 years ago from United States

      I might try it again. Last time I tried it was nine years ago. My body is different than back then, and it would be nice to have something more natural in my body.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 

      7 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      I usually recommend 3 pills per day, and they should be of good quality. GNC stores usually carry St. John's Wort and I feel that their quality is solid. One pill should be taken with each meal during the day. It will take about 2--3 weeks of consistently taking it to really help. Have you given it enough time?

      If it doesn't work and you are also exercising, getting enough sleep and eating right, I would definitely consider antidepressants under a Dr.s care.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thank you for your input Debbie. I tried St John's Wort, and did not notice any difference. How much do you usually recommend.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      7 years ago from United States

      Fernis, thank you for correcting me on Xanax. I am curious as to what you have to say about the Xanax and anti-depressant mix though. I would like more details on that. I do think that medical doctors should be referring to a psychiatrist to make sure it truly is a chemical imbalance.

    • angela_michelle profile imageAUTHOR

      Angela Michelle Schultz 

      7 years ago from United States

      Thank you Paul for your input. I will be honest, I tried many years other means, but I have a lot of disfunction in my intestines due to having my entire colon removed plus other surgeries. I am often vitamin deficient and have to get them intraveniously due to not being able to absorb. That might right there be the problem with my anxiety. My anxiety did not begin until I first began getting sick. In addition to my shot I take twice a week with vitamins in it, I take fourteen other vitamins to keep my levels high. The only actual medicine I take is Celexa. Without it, I'm not the me I want to be.

    • debbiepinkston profile image

      Debbie Pinkston 

      7 years ago from Pereira, Colombia and NW Arkansas

      Thank you all for the original post and comments. I agree that some depression can be treated with a proper diet, exercise and sunshine. There are people however who for genetics and heredity, will not have balanced brain chemistry in spite of all the natural remedies. Antidepressants are not addictive, but they may be necessary long term, not because of addiction but because the brain goes back to it's poor chemistry without the SSRI. Serotonin is produced adequately sometimes but it is "re-uptaken", thus not allowing it to do its job. The SSRI inhibits this reuptake, allowing the serotonin or other neurotransmitters to get on with their work.

      Every person is different and every person's body chemistry is different. Blanket statements are dangerous and a great physician will take the time and interest necessary to find what works best for each person. As a counselor, I first recommend the healthy practices of balanced nutrition, exercise, adequate sleep, and sunshine. If that doesn't help completely, we try St. John's Wort for a couple of months. If the person is still depressed, I refer them to a physician for an evaluation.

      I have enjoyed this Hub and the exchanges of information.

      Debbie Pinkston Ph.D. LAC

    • Fernis profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA, USA

      Resuming final paragraph:

      Upon meeting with said psychiatrist, only then and after disclosing all details of your current drug therapy, should your medication and treatment be altered or otherwise potentially changed (and under a rigorously followed schedule if being weaned off a medication, changing medications, or increasing dosage of a medication).

      I welcome any questions or feedback.

      Francisco, F., Pre-med graduate, B.S. in Biology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

    • Fernis profile image


      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA, USA

      First and foremost, the ever-popular Xanax (generic: alprazolam, a benzodiazapene) is not an anti-depressant; rather, it falls under the category of minor tranquilizers. It is actually a *depressant* and, as noted in its accompanying, pharmaceutical paperwork, can actually *cause* depression. Because its mechanism of action (as a tranquilizer, depressant, anxiolytic, and - though off-label - anticonvulsant) works by simulating gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), it therefore acts as an agonist for the GABA receptors (found primarily on neurons) in the brain and CNS which, upon activation of said receptor and the subsequent cascade of, typically, endoplasmic, chemical reactions, is how it achieves its calming, sedative, and even hypnotic effects on the psyche in addition to its muscle relaxant properties.

      It is very important to note that this drug is a, “C-IV,” substance meaning it has a considerable potential for abuse, dependency, and even addiction. To summarize, any drug that is not over-the-counter (OTC) and that requires a prescription is at least a, “C-VI,” – in other words, a category 6, *controlled* substance (as determined and as labeled by, in the U.S., the FDA and enforced/monitored by the DEA) which indicates that said drug has, at least, a considerable potential for abuse. As the “controlled substance” category number (Roman numeral) decreases in quantity, the potential for abuse, as well as the number and severity of dangerous properties of the drug, increase – cocaine, for example is a, “C-I,” controlled substance, meaning it is in the category of the drugs determined by the FDA/DEA not only to have the highest potential for abuse, but also to be illegal to possess, to use, or to consume and also to have NO medicinal application regardless of its effects.

      Please refer to the following resources for official, in-depth information on controlled substances:

      Any “Wiki-“ site, such as “Wikipedia,” is a source of information from unverified, unofficial, secondary or tertiary sources and cannot be 100% relied upon for accurate, valid, and precise information which is why I would neither include it as a reference, nor rely upon it as a definitive resource for information especially that which falls under the category of medical or of pharmaceutical information regardless of its own resources; neither should you.

      Also, it is important to note that Xanax is metabolized by the same category of enzyme, cytochrome P450 (primarily found in the liver), as are, virtually, all anti-depressants (the newer, SSRI category - e.g. Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, et al.). I mention this fact because, by requiring the same enzymes for chemical breakdown, the addition of such a drug to the treatment a patient already taking an anti-depressant will result in a *greater* concentration of not only the already present anti-depressant (thereby increasing the effective dosage and its effects), but also that of the benzodiazapene (Xanax) than would otherwise occur in a patient taking only an anti-depressant or taking only a benzodiazapene (such as Xanax ). Therefore, the likelihood of experiencing side effects is increased, as is the potential for overdose, intentional or otherwise, and said, effective dosage is harder for the prescribing physician to anticipate. Other examples of benzodiazapenes, which, again, fall under the category of minor tranquilizers and which *all* are described as potentially causing, or worsening, depression include Klonopin (clonazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Restoril (temazepam) Valium (diazepam), Librium (chlordiazepoxide), and many, many others.

      My primary reason, of several, for responding to the OP (Angela Michelle) is actually not to correct the medical data of the drugs described. Also, I do not at all wish to antagonize the poster in any way. There does exist, especially within certain social circles, a prejudice of those who take mood-affecting/enhancing (i.e. psychoactive or psychotropic) drugs and of those who pursue medical treatment in either forms of psychological or behavioral therapy: “talk-therapy” (as typically provided by psychologists) and “chemical therapy” (as typically provided by psychiatrists, though now increasingly, and alarmingly, I should add, provided by general, or family, practitioners). *Still, there are patients that should be treated with some form of anti-depressant absolutely*; this is true. Psychologists *do not* have the legal ability to prescribe medications for any reason. Psychiatrists *should*, and I cannot place more emphasis on this, be the only category of licensed doctors given the privilege, the responsibility, of prescribing psychotropic medication and doing so conservatively *AFTER ALL OTHER NON-CHEMICALLY BASED TREATMENTS HAVE FAILED*.

      It is the drastically increasing disregard and absence of adhering to this aforementioned, previous statement by those that are prescribed, and are consuming, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and/or sedatives, that is most worrying, and most disconcerting, to those in the medical, pharmaceutical, and scientific (among those of other) communities. The new SSRI’s are just that, *new.* As such, we have not yet seen the long-term effects of taking these medications especially in such a large variety, a wide age-group, and a highly medically/genetically diverse population. A vast portion of the information for this class of medications has only *just* started to become evident to the medical community and some of it is VERY alarming: chemically-induced, dissociative, mental states (typical in disorders like schizophrenia), extremely violent, irrational, and even homicidal behavior, hallucinations, changes in brain function and brainwave patterns, permanent Parkinson’s-like symptoms, unexpected and seemingly permanent changes in personality (changes in personality which were originally AND SPECIFICALLY claimed by the makers of these drugs not to occur), birth defects, drastic changes in the serotonergic system of the CNS, and many, many others.

      Also alarming to me is the prevalence of the use of these kinds of drugs in young adults and even children (those with developing brains which are inherently more susceptible to the effects and properties of foreign chemicals not only in their nervous system, but also in their metabolism). While the SSRI’s are not (as far as we know) physically addictive in the sense that they lead to drastic down- or up- -regulation of the receptors affected: serotonin receptors, they do “teach” those who take them an extremely dangerous lesson, an understanding that, “I can take a drug that affects the way I think, the way I feel, and the way I experience and perceive life and reality as I know it.” This lesson is being taught to those as young as 4 years old.

      What has also personally worried me from the beginning of the prescribing of this category of drugs in the 90’s is the similarity of its mechanisms of action and molecular properties/effects AND those of serotonin agonists such as lysergic acid diethylamide-25 (LSD).

      *Any* family physician that is asked by his, or her, patient for treatment for depression, or that is asked for treatment with an antidepressant, or *any* mood-altering (psychotropic) medication for that matter, should immediately refer said patient to a psychiatrist or, perhaps, to a neurologist. *NO general practitioner, without prior, specialized experience in the areas of psychiatry, psychology, and/or neurology, should treat a patient for depression, or any other form of psychiatric illness, regardless of its pathology*. Anyone who currently receives psychiatric treatment from a general practitioner should find a new GP, or primary physician, immediately (though should NOT stop taking the corresponding drug therapy) and, upon finding a new, highly recommended primary physician, should ask for a referral to a highly recommended, highly experienced and well established psychiatrist. Upon meeting with said psychiatrist, only then and after disclosing all details of your

    • Paul Kemp profile image

      Paul Kemp 

      7 years ago

      I used to have some anxiety, but when I stopped drinking so much coffee, it went away. I have also been through years of meditation, and about every other means to confront the source of anxiety. It is very satisfying to overcome one's anxieties and fears. I recommend it highly. I have gained in personal power by not running away from my demons.

      It is tremendously empowering to beat anxiety, binge eating and drinking, nicotine, and more. I think the average person who relies on pharmaceuticals to deal with their anxieties and brain fog will miss one of life's greatest lessons in spiritual growth.

      I also think in ten or twenty years these chemicals will have done noticeable organic damage. Read some Dr. Russell Blaylock or watch any video he might have made about the side-effects of Xanax and Prozac. He is a retired brain surgeon who knows the intricate workings of the mind -- and how these drugs can cause permanent harm.

      I don't know the whole of your situation -- and I'm not a doctor, so I can't legally say much -- but, if it were me in your shoes I would continue until I found the root cause of my physical/mental/emotional problems and vanquished it.

      Good luck! Thanks for a clearly written hub, but I just don't agree with it.


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