Depression: How To Deal With It And Come Off It Smartly.
Depression is a common disease, rising worldwide. Depression is more than just feeling sad, guilty, low and pessimistic, when getting adverse may lead to suicidal thoughts. A common healthy person can never understand the thought process of a depressed person. Depression is a big challenge for the patient as well as for care taker too. Depression is prevalent among all age groups.
Many are committing suicide due to depression. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youngsters.
Despite of effective treatment available for depression, more than 80% people don’t receive any treatment especially in poor countries. Lack of resources, deficiency of trained health care professionals, and the dilemma regarding seeking professional help majorly leaves depression untreated. Sometimes people suffering from depression are not correctly diagnosed while those not having mental disorder are misdiagnosed and are prescribed antidepressants.
How to know you are on the horizon of getting Depression?
Diagnosis of the illness is difficult as symptoms are broad and not easily differentiable. Every individual suffers from short-lived mood swings and emotional responses to everyday challenges. Mostly the disease go unnoticed or people are apprehensive in seeking treatment due to societal stigma associated with mental disorders.
Treatment of disease is effective. Proper treatment of depression is saving lifes of many. In most of cases, within few weeks person starts feeling revived and hopeful towards life. Mostly treatment is of 9 months duration, and in some cases of 2 years. But giving up antidepressants is painstaking. Our brain and body becomes addictive to these drugs. Giving up antidepressants abruptly may lead to more severe and dangerous second episode of disease. The only way is to reduce the doze of medication very slowly under the directions of your therapist. Don’t try to experiment your knowledge in this case. The issue is critical and should be carried out with proper discussion and observation under your therapist.
The biggest horror of giving up the antidepressants is the coming back of second perilous episode of depression. Studies say in case of quitting antidepressants there is 50% chances that patient may experience second episode of depression. Following second episode, there is 80% chances of third episode of depression.
Dependence on antidepressants should be for how long?
According to the National Center for Health Statistics data, more people are on antidepressants for an extended time, one-quarter of population among people under treatment of depression are on drugs for a decade or more. However studies shows the efficacy and effectiveness of antidepressants is for couple of years. But major population are clinging on them for longer.
Now, the concern is, people taking depression medication for longer term than required, are just subjecting themselves to lethal health risks and side effects. Health professional says, people starts medication and keep on taking it for years without thinking about it twice. After gaining some relief people stops visiting therapist on regular basis, they hardly get their prescriptions reviewed, drugs are simply continued without thinking that dozes may need to reduce.
Dr. Tony Kendrick, professor of primary care at university of Southampton, says “urgent action needs to be taken to encourage and support long term users of antidepressants to come off the medication.”
While many patients do not experience any problem gradually quitting off their medicines. Others may suffer from heinous and permanent damage, forcing them to restart their antidepressants, as signs reveal that depression is on the horizon of bouncing back.
Almost every one trying to come off the antidepressants experience sensation of electric shocks called ‘Zaps’. These are just signals that brain is resetting itself back to normal after drug withdrawal and also show that these medications were doing something suspicious to the nature of brain and body.
Studies show serious health risks associated with long term use of antidepressants. People who were/are on antidepressants have 14% greater risk of heart attacks and 33% higher risk of death. Few can get bleeding in stomach and brain, resulting in strokes and epileptic fits.
Health side-effects appears to zoom with age. SSRIs drugs are associated with falls and fractures in older age people. Studies show the relation between long-term use of SSRIs and greater risk of dementia. Risk of Parkinson disease also increases with the initiation of antidepressants, irrespective of whether they are tricyclic antidepressants or SSRIs.
What are SSRIs and its role in Depression?
SSRIs(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) is the most common antidepressant used.
Serotonin is the hormone that have the major role in stabilizing our mood, feeling of happiness and well-being. It helps in brain cells and nervous system cells effective communication. It aids in everyday task of sleeping, eating and digesting.
SSRIs are used in altering serotonin levels, effecting action of neurotransmitter serotonin throughout the brain and body, thus leading to huge negative health side-effects. Marta Maslej, post doctrate at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at Toronto, says “For the sake of treating depression, you might be disrupting things.”
Evidences are also there that many a times antidepressants are overprescribed or disease is over treated. In many health care visits proper diagnostic tests for depression are not carried out. Patients have complain that they are not listened properly.
On the other hand people truly suffering from anxiety or depression don’t get the treatment. In a paper by Mark Olfson, professor of psychiatry and epidemiology at Columbia University, it is found that only 38% of U.S. people with major depression and 24% with mental disorders have received treatment in the past year.
However, the risks associated with use of antidepressants are justified with the benefits it offers. Experts say irrespective of its long-lasting side effects, antidepressants are of extreme importance and have saved life of millions. Conditions for which antidepressants was started were quite worse compared to medication withdrawal symptoms.
How to manage antidepressants use?
- Visit your therapist regularly to access whether medications are still needed or doze needs to be altered.
- Coming off the medication should be strictly done under the guidance of health professional. Dozes should be reduced very slowly to minimize the withdrawal symptoms.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy should be encouraged while coming off the medication. It may help manage depression and prevent relapse.
- Early signs of bouncing back of depression like sleeping problems, avoiding social engagements, irritation, etc must not be ignored. If they seem to be on the horizon, quickly visit your doctor to access the adjusting or restarting treatment.
Don’t ever despair and take good care of yourself. Practice self love and educate yourself regarding depression. Skills to avoid depression and anxiety should be in our lifestyle habits. Try maximum to stay away from negative people, as suffering from disease like depression is a curse! But surely it can be managed too with so much advancement in medical science in today’s era. All you just need is stay positive, eat healthy, build daily love for exercise, put a big full stop on overthinking and most importantly learn to say ‘NO’.
Follow your Words, You are the only Reason for the Happiness in your Life. Believe in yourself.
© 2021 Atiya Hilal