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Why is it Hard to Talk About Depression?

If you're struggling with depression, but haven't been open with your doctor about your symptoms, think about what's holding you back.

"Being stoic is common in depression," says Papakostas. Often people underreport their symptoms because they're afraid they won't be taken seriously, or they don't want to come across as alarmist, he says.

Others may have unrealistic fears about what may happen to them if they voice their feelings. Some people worry that their doctor might think they are crazy. They fear that they might be hospitalized or treated against their will, Papakostas tells WebMD.

There's no question that talking about painful feelings -- and facing those feelings head on -- isn't easy.

If you're seeing a therapist for depression, keep in mind that he or she sees many patients who struggle with painful feelings. It's your therapist's job to help you work through these feelings and regain a sense of hope. And in order to move past them, you have to get them out in the open.

Why Do Some People Stop Taking Antidepressants?

Antidepressant medications can be very effective for many people with depression -- if they are taken as directed. If your doctor or psychiatrist prescribes antidepressants, you need to take them for at least 6 to 9 months for them to work properly.

Unfortunately, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 50% of people taking depression medications stop taking them before 6 months. This increases the risk for relapse. Common reasons for not taking antidepressants as directed may include:

  • You have troublesome side effects. Many people are afraid to bother the doctor or psychiatrist about side effects -- they don't want to sound like they're complaining, says Papakostas. So they stop taking the medication without finding out if another drug might work better.

    There are many different types of antidepressants available -- so the first one you try isn't your only option. If you are having bothersome side effects, tell your doctor or psychiatrist. He or she will work with you to find the most effective drug with the fewest side effects.
  • You're concerned about medication interactions. It's important to be aware of potential interactions between the drugs you take. But it's also important to ask your doctor or psychiatrist whether an interaction actually applies to you before you stop taking a drug.
  • You feel better -- and forget to take your medicine. Another common scenario is that the antidepressants work and the symptoms go away. You're happy, you're no longer depressed, you're catching up socially and professionally -- it's normal for people to forget, says Papakostas. We do that all the time with other illnesses. Having a pounding headache is a great reminder to take a pain reliever. But when the pain goes away, you don't think about taking the medicine.