What to Do About Antidepressant Side Effects

Medication management can be a great tool for handling mental health disorders including anxiety, depression, psychosis, and more. However, many antidepressant medications can have side effects. These side effects can be frustrating, embarrassing, or harmful to your overall wellness.

Many strategies can combat your unwanted side effects. You could also benefit from pharmacogenetic testing to learn more about the most effective medication options for your unique genetics. Dr. Ronald P. Winfield and his team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates provide comprehensive support throughout the medication management process.

Talk to your provider about your medication

As part of our treatment process with patients using medication management to handle mental health problems, your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates checks in about side effects. Some side effects might need rapid treatment, so let us know if you’re having problems. 

When you discuss your unwanted antidepressant medication side effects with your provider, you can get the advice you need on how to handle those issues. By monitoring your blood levels, we can check if it may be possible to adjust your dosage without reducing the effectiveness of your medication.

Don’t stop taking your antidepressant medications without medical support. You could find yourself facing withdrawal-like symptoms and worsening mental health problems. Your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates works with you to safely manage your medications, symptoms, and side effects.

Give yourself time to adjust

Some antidepressant side effects may only be temporary. If you can give your body time to adjust, your discomfort might go away on its own.

If you’re experiencing nausea after starting an antidepressant, address your discomfort through food, hydration, and antacids. Your symptoms may lessen over time as you adjust to your antidepressant medication. Or, switch to a slow-release form of your medication, potentially helpful in reducing nausea side effects.

You could experience fatigue and drowsiness as you adjust to a new antidepressant medication. Make sure you have plenty of time to sleep. There’s nothing wrong with taking a few additional naps, but taking your medication at bedtime may also be helpful in managing side effects of fatigue and drowsiness.

Make changes in your routines

Some people notice that antidepressants cause weight gain. Your appetite may increase owing to decreased depression or anxiety. Antidepressant medications can also cause fluid retention. 

If you’re worried about weight gain related to your medication, take charge of the situation proactively. Adjust your diet and exercise habits to prevent weight gain, enjoying healthier food choices and plenty of activity. Keep a food diary while you change your habits and routines.

If you’re taking tricyclic antidepressants, you might also need to adjust your diet to combat the side effect of constipation. Stay hydrated and eat plenty of fiber, or take a fiber supplement, to reduce the pressure of constipation on your digestive system.

If your antidepressant medication results in insomnia as a side effect, lack of sleep at night can leave you overtired during the day. Avoid stimulants like caffeine, make sure to get regular physical exercise during the day to tire yourself out, and head to bed every night at around the same time. You may benefit from switching to a low-dose antidepressant with sedating effects.

Take care of your whole self

Some antidepressants cause dry mouth as a side effect. This can have negative impacts on your dental health, so consulting with a dentist is a good idea. Watch out for tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine, which can all worsen dry mouth issues.

Dizziness as a side effect of some antidepressant medications is related to lowered blood pressure. If you suffer from dizziness as a side effect, take care when standing up, and make sure you have support to prevent falls.

If you suffer from sexual side effects like reduced libido or difficulty having an orgasm, don’t be ashamed. Talk to your provider at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates about adjusting your dosage or medication. You may also want to talk to your partner about the situation, and how both of your needs can be met.

No matter what type of side effects you’re dealing with as a result of your antidepressant medication, the team at Greater Lowell Psychiatric Associates can help. Get in touch with our North Chelmsford, Massachusetts, offices today. You can schedule your appointment over the phone, or book online.

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