After I published 12 Ways To Boost Depression a few months back I’ve had a few people ask me about anti-depressants.
Why weren’t they included? Do I not approve?
Therefore in this post I want to share my honest opinion on anti-depressants and offer an insight into how to utilise them in the best way possible…
“Double your dose.” That’s the advice my Dad got given after he was prescribed anti-depressants just days after falling into deep depression.
My Dad wouldn’t take a paracetemol to cure a headache, so when he went to the Doctors days after falling into depression he must have been desperate to accept anti-depressants.
After a few days of use he felt himself falling deeper, and on his return to the doctor a few days later he got told to double his dose.
A few days later he attempted suicide for the first time. He felt suicidal, called an Ambulance for help and was sat in A&E as he waited to be seen. He walked out, headed down to the main road and walked in front of a Van.
This all happened extremely quickly.
After an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain and after being in an induced coma for 4 days he survived, completely oblivious to any attempt of his own life.
When we questioned him he denied it, explaining he would never do such a thing.
We of course believed him, it wasn’t like my Dad, and we shifted the blame onto those little pills he was taking… his anti-depressants.
After recovering in the hospital he got released and came off his anti-depressants. He seemed ok for a few days but quickly fell into depression again doing things he wouldn’t normally do. It wasn’t long before he took himself to a local Mental Health unit and got sectioned for a few weeks to recover.
Throughout his time in the Mental Health unit he was monitored closely and given a series of medication to help with his depression. The overall outcome? He was better. He never was the person we all knew but he seemed to manage things better, he was more ‘with it’ and could function better.
My opinion on these pills he was given quickly changed.
I went from detesting these anti-depressants blaming them on his original suicide attempt to trusting them to help him overcome his depression.
With his medication being monitored and him taking it consistently he seemed to get by with plenty of ups and downs for a few months. But I think the damage had been done, he couldn’t cope any more, and he took his own life on March 4th 2009.
Did the pills help? Are anti-depressants worth it or do they cause more harm than good?
These were the questions we asked, especially when we read that ‘suicidal thoughts’ were a side effect to the original anti-depressants he was given.
Should You Take Anti-Depressants?
I’ve seriously shifted my perception on this answer over the past year or so.
If you would have asked me just after my Dad died I would have told you to run a mile.
In fact I remember going to the Doctors about a year after losing Dad due to always feeling tired and fatigued. The Doc simply told me to go on anti-depressants. I remember being angered by his answer. I refused and told everyone how bad the advice was. Looking back, it probably was Depression leading to the tiredness.
Look, anti-depressants work for some people and they don’t for others.
There’s no right or wrong answer.
I’ve worked with clients who’ve been taking anti-depressants for years and it’s massively helped them overcome a lot of difficulties. I’ve also seen people take anti-depressants and suffer with negative side effects (like my Dad did initially).
Without going scientific on you these aren’t pills that help an ache in your arm, these are pills that change the balance of serotonin that helps brain cells send and receive chemical messages boosting your mood.
They trigger your mind and they change it.
I personally believe they’re more serious than people make out. These aren’t ‘magic pills’ you can take and feel better instantly, these are serious forms of medication that need managing.
After speaking with Josh Rivedal in a recent Episode of The Ultimate Man Podcast this is something we both agreed on, and when managed correctly it can have positive effects on overcoming depression and low mood.
But expecting these pills to magically cure your depression without putting other things in place is a disaster waiting to happen.
How To Take Anti-Depressants
This isn’t a ‘must’ but this is just my advice on how to best utilise anti-depressants.
Firstly, decide whether or not they’re for you. If you’re someone who doesn’t take a lot of medication then maybe they’re not the best option.
Also have you tried other methods to boost your mood? Serotonin can be created naturally so applying your full effort into ways to improve your mood before deciding to take anti-depressants is highly recommended.
There’s also a range of anti-depressants out there too. Often look for a second opinion and don’t just take the first one you get given. Do your research, find people that have taken them before and see what the side effects are.
The issue I find in the UK in particular is Doctors hand them out too freely, almost like giving Skittles to children. As mentioned these are seriously dangerous forms of medication if taken without much thought.
Get a second opinion, do your research and make sure you’re doing things alongside the anti-depressants to help relieve your depression.
There are other alternatives out there too which offer a more ‘natural’ approach. Medication such as St Johns Wort can be bought over the counter at most Pharmacists and can help calm the worry you may be facing.
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Before I end this post, if you’re reading this and you feel depressed… it’s ok.
If you feel like you’re in need of anti-depressants take the advice given in this post and remember nothing abnormal is happening to you right now.
Depression effects 1 in 4 people, and that’s a statistic that is growing.
You can overcome it.
I’ve been there, I suffered with depression and decided to do something about it.
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