An estimated 40 million adults across the country suffer from depression. If left untreated, depression could negatively affect your life. Your lack of engagement could compromise social connections and the feelings of worthlessness that often accompany depression could lead to self-harm.
Fortunately, prescription medications that target serotonin levels in the body are available to help you battle the symptoms of depression. Starting these medications can be intimidating, but there are some things you can keep in mind to help make the transition to a daily selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor (SSRI) more tolerable.
1. Talk to your doctor about all of your symptoms.
As you begin the process of securing a prescription for an SSRI medication, it's important that you talk to your family doctor about all of the symptoms that you are experiencing. It's not uncommon for people who suffer from depression to have anxiety or insomnia also.
There are a wide range of SSRI medications available on the market. Each type of drug can be used to treat not only your depression, but any secondary symptoms you might be experiencing as well. By talking to your family doctor about all of the symptoms you experience on a daily basis, you will be able to secure a prescription for the medication best suited to enhance your quality of life.
2. Be aware of potential side effects.
Anytime you introduce a prescription medication into your daily routine, there is the risk that this medication could come with some side effects. Common side effects associated with the SSRI medications used to treat depression can include nausea, headaches, or disturbances in your sleep pattern.
These side effects can be overwhelming at first, but they tend to become more mild or even disappear completely with time. Maintain an open line of communication with your family doctor if you are experiencing side effects, and be patient when it comes to enduring side effects during your first few weeks on a new antidepressant.
3. Track your progress.
As your antidepressants begin to regulate hormone levels in your body, you might not even realize that they are working. It can be helpful to track your progress as you begin taking an SSRI medication.
Keep a journal that records your daily experiences, including energy levels and your overall outlook on life. You can also ask someone close to you to watch for changes in your demeanor. Tracking progress will help you coordinate with your doctor at a family practice when it comes to adjusting your medication dosage in the future.