Frequently Asked Questions about Medication Management for Depression

Who Should take Antidepressant Medications

  1. People who have been diagnosed by a professional with a Clinical Depression.

Does everyone diagnosed with depression need medication?

  1. Not necessarily so, but a Physician should make this call.

Are there side effects to medications?

  1. Yes, but your physician should complete a risk vs. benefits analysis with you before starting any medication.

How long will I be on an antidepressant?

  1. It depends on a number of factors, and your Psychiatrist and/or Primary Care Physician should be able to give you a good answer to this question.

APA Guideline:

1st Episode of Major Depression= the treatment should be for 9 months to 1 year.

2nd Episode of Major Depression =treatment should be for 5 years.

3rd Episode of Major Depression=treatment should be for a lifetime.

How long does it take these types of medications to work?

  1. It usually takes between 4-6 weeks. However, it can be earlier.

Can I drink alcoholic beverages on these medications?

  1. The answer is definitely not!

Is suicidality increased with drug therapy?

  1. This is a very interesting topic for discussion. First off, it you are experiencing suicidal thoughts at any time, you should go immediately to your physician or the nearest local emergency room. Now, there is certainly what we call a “withdrawal dysphoria” that one can experience when stopping antidepressants suddenly and without physician supervision (withdrawal dysphoria=increased in signs and symptoms of depression that are sometimes more intense than those available at the initial onset of the disease). Now, do these drugs themselves cause suicidal thoughts? My answer would be not in my experiences. However, the media has put out this bad press and subsequently many patients do not get the proper care, treatment and services.

Is there a conversion rate of patients with Unipolar Depression and Bipolar Depression?

  1. There is a significant conversion rate from Unipolar to Bipolar Depression in medicine.

Enough Said,

Dr. O

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