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Depression Medicines

(continued)

Are there suggestions for how to get the most from depression treatment?

  • Monitor your mood. Monitoring your moods and behavior from time to time can help your doctor treat your depression before it becomes hard to control. Try to observe any patterns of mood swings each week and call your doctor if you aren’t feeling at the top of your game.
  • Strengthen your social support. Although you cannot control your depression diagnosis, there are some things you can control. You can seek or create a positive support system for yourself. Whether your social network stems from your spouse, family members, close friends, co-workers, religious organizations, or community groups, support is available.
  • Stick with the prescribed treatment. Antidepressants can take up to eight weeks before they take full effect. Don't skip doses or quit treatment early. If you don't take your depression medicine exactly as prescribed, you’re not giving it a fair chance to work.
  • See a depression expert. It's important to talk with a trained professional during your treatment. Although psychologists cannot prescribe medication, they are well-trained in psychiatric assessment and psychotherapy. You can work with a psychologist while taking antidepressants prescribed by your regular doctor, or you can see a psychiatrist for both your depression medication and talk therapy. Try to find someone who has a lot of experience helping people with treatment-resistant depression.
  • Develop good habits. Take your depression medicine at the same time every day. It's easier to remember if you do it along with another activity such as eating breakfast or getting into bed. Get a weekly pillbox, which will make it easy to see if you've missed a dose. Since people sometimes forget a dose now and then, make sure you know what to do if that happens.
  • Don't ignore side effects. Side effects are one of the main reasons that people give up on medication. If you have side effects, talk to your doctor. See if there's any way to minimize or eliminate them. However, keep in mind that side effects might be worse when you first start a medicine. Side effects often ease up over time.
  • Let your doctor know if you are prescribed other medicines by another health care professional.  Some medicines can have important interactions with antidepressant medicines.  Tell your doctor if you are already taking, or begin taking, any other medicines so he or she can safely monitor your treatment.
  • Never stop taking your depression medicine without your doctor's permission. If you need to stop taking your medicine for some reason, your doctor may want to reduce your dose gradually. If you stop suddenly, you could have side effects and your depression could get worse.
  • Don't assume that you can stop taking your depression medicine when you feel better. If you feel that you’d like to come off your medication, talk to your doctor. Don’t stop on your own; quitting abruptly can lead to symptoms associated with discontinuing a drug as well as risk for relapse.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on December 22, 2013
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