NHS figures show that the number of people taking depression medication in the UK rose by 5% from 2021-2022, which means approximately 8.3 million of us have a prescription for antidepressants. Whilst these drugs can be incredibly helpful, and in some cases lifesaving, they do often come with unwanted physical and/or emotional side effects.
What Are Antidepressants?
Antidepressants are a type of medication that work to tackle the symptoms of clinical depression. There are several different types, with the most frequently prescribed being SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). These medications alter the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, resulting in a reduction of negative affect. Unfortunately, they are known to have a number of possible side effects.
Depression Medication And Dampened Positive Emotions
A recent study by Sahakian et al. looked at how antidepressants may dampen positive emotions. Here, 66 participants who had not been diagnosed with depression nor self-reported symptoms, were given either SSRIs or a placebo. After three weeks they took part in a number of tasks designed to look at memory and their ability to learn.
One task measured how they learnt from rewards – they had to choose between two stimuli and eventually discovered that one was more likely to lead to a reward. After a while, the stimuli were switched and they had to learn to choose the other one. It was found that those on antidepressants were 23% less sensitive to the stimulus switch than the placebo group. This was measured by how quickly they learned to change their stimulus selections.
The researchers concluded that this suggests that depression medication reduces sensitivity to rewards or other pleasurable experiences. This dampening of positive emotions is something that should be considered and explained by doctors.
Should You Take Depression Medication?
If you are prescribed antidepressants, YES, you should take them! However, it is important to have a full discussion with your doctor, allowing you to ask any questions that you might have and learn more about these lesser-known possible side effects.
Antidepressants are typically prescribed for moderate to severe depression and are not usually recommended for mild cases.
So, if you are suffering from mild depression, what can you do to relieve the symptoms? You could try:
- Talking therapies
- Arts and crafts therapies
- Peer support
- Spending more time outside
- Eating a balanced diet
- Getting enough sleep
- Booking a discovery call with Dr Jan
Booking A Discovery Call
If you struggle with depression, Dr Jan is here to help you, whether you currently take depression medication or not. His BrainTuning® System is designed to disrupt unhelpful thought patterns, improving your emotional state. Not only can he help you to feel better, but his methods can also help you to deal with:
- A poor work-life balance
- A high-pressure working environment
- The emotional impact of working with clients and patients
- The expectations and perceptions of other people
Your first discovery call is a 20-minute conversation between you and Dr Jan in which he will get to know you a bit better and learn what you are struggling with. From here he will begin to form a plan to help you. What’s more, this initial introduction is totally FREE!
We understand that taking this first step can feel overwhelming, so if you are not quite ready to book your discovery call, you can also find help in Dr Jan’s book.