Antidepressants are the most prescribed drug in America. Which is understandable, considering that an estimated 18.8 million American adults (or 9.5% of the 18 and older population) struggle with some form of depression. But here's the amazing part, 80% of people with depression are not recieving any treatment for their illness. Most of us are toughing it out on our own.
Now, I am currently on an antidepressant. (For the story on why read here.) And I honestly believe it has helped me. However, every time I have started taking the pills I always start trying to calculate when I can be done taking them. I think that's because there are still so many myths out there about antidepressants and it complicates the issue.
So here's my attempt at debunking some of the myths surrounding antidepressants:
Myth #1. If you start taking an antidepressant you have to take it forever. Not true at all, you can quit taking them when you're dead! No, in all seriousness, while 9.5% of the adult population may suffer from some form of chronic depression 25% will suffer some sort of temporary depression. Many of people with temporary (or situational) depression take the medication for a only short time (six months is the shortest recommended time) to help their body readjust its chemistry. However, if you are like me and have the genuine crazies instead of temporary insanity, you usually stay on the meds for longer.
Myth #2. Antidepressants are only as effective as a placebo. This one is only sort of false. Back in 2002 a study was done that concluded a sugar pill was just as good as an SSRI. According to the study, it didn't matter what kind of "medicine" a participant was on. They all saw improvement. Some people take issue with the study because of all the extra care involved. Study particpants got checked on so frequently it basically amounted to therapy--and we all know that therapy is good for almost anyone!
Myth #3. Antidepressants are only for really crazy people. Let's just say that if they are the most prescribed drug in the nation then there are a lot more really crazy people out there than we thought. Oh, and most of us really crazy people look just like you.
Myth #4. Antidepressants are a miracle pill that will solve all your problems! I wish. Actually, antidepressants are most effective when combined with talk therapy. Turns out to manage this illness you have to do some hard work--usually solving the situational/environmental problems that contributed to your depression in the first place. Let's face it, when we're sad, there's usually a reason.
Of course only a doctor can help you figure out what's right for you. But I say, if you're struggling, why not try them and join one of the biggest clubs in America (but don't worry, we won't tell anyone who you are. We know you want to appear normal)! What myths have you guys come up against when considering antidepressants? I really want to know!