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Antidepressants, Talk Therapy, and Challenges continued...

Depression can mask a lot of things. You get so wrapped in a fog and feel so awful that you don’t have the energy to deal with real problems. Sometimes depression is self-protective because it limits the energy you have to go to certain places.”

To a lesser extent, even taking a pill can create an environment of new stresses. “You’re feeling better, more aware, more focused – sometimes you’re more able to recognize things you were doing wrong,” says Melin. “Your attention and focus can be profoundly affected.”

When her patients feel better, Melin says, she may encourage them to work on feelings and behaviors in talk therapy. If a drug helps a patient lift the veil of listlessness and hopelessness, he or she will have more energy to work on fixing problems in life and relationships.

What About the Risk of Suicide on Antidepressants?

Many people have heard about the suicide warnings that the Food and Drug Administration ordered antidepressant manufacturers to post on their package inserts. The package inserts note that children, adolescents, and young adults with major depression or other psychiatric disorder who take antidepressants may be at increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, especially during the first month of treatment. They should be monitored carefully.

No increased risk has been seen in older adult patients. And if you are over the age of 65, you may actually have less risk of suicide when taking antidepressants.

Having suicidal thoughts while taking an antidepressant is a serious side effect. It needs the attention of your doctor as soon as possible. Please don’t try to deal with those feelings alone.

Remember, most people with depression get better. You may need to try a few different antidepressants to find the right one for you. And getting talk therapy at the same time is the most effective treatment for depression, studies show. Work closely with your doctor, and give your treatment time to succeed.

Is Your Antidepressant Working?

How long does it take? What should you expect?
View slideshow