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Long-term side effects of antidepressants to never ignore

Long-term side effects of antidepressants

Have you been taking antidepressants for a long time? Are you running into problems with their use? If yes, then don’t ignore them because long-term use of antidepressants always comes up with side effects. 

A report suggests that the risk of suicide increases among teenagers and young adults due to the high doses of antidepressants. So, their extended use isn’t safe; these lead to depressive disorders and other ailments. 

Before hopping into the side effects of antidepressants, let’s have a look at the antidepressants. 

What are Antidepressants?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, Antidepressants are the first line of therapy to cure major depressive disorders. These medications also help to treat anxiety disorders

The site of action of antidepressants is the brain. However, some medicines cause no side effects, while others come with potentially adverse effects. That’s why you must be careful when taking antidepressants for a long time. 

For the first episode of depression, one must take the antidepressants for only nine months or a maximum of 2 years. But staying on the same medication for longer is dangerous.  

Long term side effects of antidepressants 

The side effects associated with antidepressants are as follows. 

1. Weight gain 

The lack of physical activity, fluid retention, and the increase in appetite during depression are the leading causes of weight gain. Some antidepressants cause obesity while others don’t. 

If your weight increases with every passing day, you must address this issue and discuss it with your doctor. Regular physical activity may also help you to manage your increased weight. 

2. Dry mouth 

The regular intake of antidepressants also causes dryness in the mouth. To deal with such a situation, carry water, ice chips, or chew gum with you all day. Rather than mouth, breathe through your nose. 

Moreover, the doctor’s recommendations may also help you to make more saliva. 

3. Decreased alertness 

Antidepressants can also affect your abilities to concentrate and make you feel less alert. This condition normally occurs at the beginning. You may also not drive or perform other tasks that require your alertness. 

4. Gastrointestinal bleeding 

Another side effect of antidepressants that you must not ignore is the bleeding within your intestine or stomach. The risk of bleeding is common among the elderly, especially those aged above 80. 

5. Sexual problems

This side effect is not usually talked about. Due to the long-term use of antidepressants, one loses interest in sex or has decreased ability for sex.

Almost all of the patients on antidepressants experience sex-related problems. If you have erectile dysfunction or other sec issues, talk to your doctor and switch your medications. The changes will help you to get rid of these symptoms. 

6. Serotonin syndrome 

When the level of the serotonin neurotransmitter rises to an extremely high level, the serotonin syndrome occurs. The combination of 2 two more antidepressant medications usually triggers this condition. 

Common symptoms of the serotonin syndrome are:

  • Shivering
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle twitching 
  • Sweating 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Unconsciousness etc. 

Tips for dealing with the side effects of antidepressants 

  1. Take small servings of the food to improve your digestion.
  2. Drink excess water 
  3. Stop the intake of saturated fats and sweets.
  4. Note down your meals every day in a food diary.
  5. Practice breathing exercises and yoga 

Final verdict 

Depression always results in physical and mental health issues, so are antidepressants. The use of such medications is associated with the risk of insomnia; also it causes a rise in suicidal thoughts.

Regardless of the severity of the side effects, seek your doctor’s advice immediately if you start experiencing any of the adverse effects. If you know someone who is taking antidepressants, there are many affordable ways to avoid these symptoms.