Psychiatrist Questions Antidepressants

Do antidepressants do more harm than good?

I am a 36 year old male. I heard that antidepressants do more harm than good. In addition to being very addictive. Is that true?

5 Answers

Depression is a true Brain Disease. Over 70% of first episodes of depression can be treated successfully with antidepressants. A proper antidepressant prescribed by a knowledgeable psychiatrist can be a life saver. Improperly prescribed by someone not properly trained can be harmful.
Antidepressants are not considered to be addictive, although, one might become dependent so that one wouldn't want to discontinue them abruptly. Whether they do harm or good depends on the situation.
No and no. There is a strong strain of opinion in the U.S. of opposing ANY psychiatric medication, often from the mistaken belief people should just be able to tough it out or "snap out of it." Certain religious cults want you to get your treatment from them rather than a competent physician. Others just hate all medications, full stop.

More harm than good? "Absolutely not" with a footnote. Antidepressants aren't 100% effective. In capable prescribing hands, they completely eliminate depressive symptoms about half the time and substantially reduce sad moods about another 20% of the time. On rare occasions someone winds up more depressed on a certain medication, so good prescribing means following people closely and adjusting medications as needed. But many more people benefit than have no response.

Sometimes folks who are especially severely depressed ruminate about suicide constantly but are too exhausted from their depression to act on that impulse. Antidepressants often improve energy before they help mood, so it's well known that someone who's suicidal needs to be in a controlled setting until their moods improve, which takes about 1-2 weeks. Otherwise they may finally have the energy they need to kill themselves.
Simply, antidepressant medications are NOT harmful (unless they are causing side effects), and they absolutely are NOT addictive.
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