Side Effects of Antidepressants Research Paper
Most antidepressants work majorly through ensuring the slowing down of the secretion of both the hormones norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. As a result, this increases the neurotransmitters level in the brain. Since a particular type of antidepressant works differently from any other, the side effects are also different depending on the associated antidepressant. However, as Feigner puts it, some side effects seem common inall the types of antidepressants (11). For instance, in the course of reducing a problem like depression, one might end up getting into other problems because of these side effects. Depending on the severity of the extent of the illness, some people are expected to take antidepressants for a longer period compared to others. Different types of anti-depressants are on the market and many people prefer them to other more natural ways of dealing with depression (Tobiko 12). Like any other medication, antidepressants have severe side effects and it is only upon comparing them with other ways of dealing with depression that one can realize that there is no need of using them. The side effects of antidepressants are so many, some are irreversible and lethal, and that is why people should avoid them at all costs.
Appetite and body weight changes
One of the major side effects associated with antidepressants is the change of appetite and ultimately changes in body weight (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 95). The problem of weight changes among people using antidepressants is rampant especially with the newer brands of antidepressants. This is especially due to the changes in appetite, which make the victims either start consuming high quantities of foods or lack appetite and consequently take . The result of all these remains connected to the hormone changes triggered by the administration of antidepressants in the body (Feighner 8). This is a serious side effect considering that one leap from one problem of having depression to another of possibly having obesity or even anorexia. These situations can lead a person who was initially facing a rather slight depression to sink more into depression when they find themselves in them.
Antidepressants are a major cause of sexual problems that are numerous in the world today. These problems include impotence (Erectile dysfunction or ED), severe changes in libido, abnormal ejaculation or orgasm failures (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 102). These problems have been responsible for so many cases of failed marriages, broken families and worse still domestic violence cases. According to Aldenkamp and Vermeulen, some of these problems are irreversible or difficult to treat and once they occur it takes many resources to reverse them or to manage them (99). Considering the fact that there exists other ways with which one can handle depression, taking such risks that completely change the direction of a persons life is not worth it. For instance, a case such as impotence may be permanent and therefore taking such a risk only to contain depression is not worth the impact of having to live with impotence. This can be worse when the victim is still young and needs to have a family.
People taking antidepressants always complain of severe headaches, which arise because of the drugs. As Feighner puts it, the feeling that one gets from headaches is so uncomfortable to the extent that one has to stop his or her responsibilities (45). Some headaches are so severe that they can even cause more damage to a person. Curing headaches has become so expensive and considering the state of the world economy one cannot risk this just because s/he has to control or cure depression by using antidepressants (Tobiko 27). Since the therapy takes a longer time, one has to endure headaches for such a long time as more than two months when using the drugs.
Sleep disorders such as insomnia
People have reported some severe cases of sleep disorders such as insomnia to occur to people using antidepressants to control depression. This sleep disorder is associated with lack of sleep during the night and a feeling of drowsiness during the day. Nervous breakdown can occur when a person stays for long with this disorder without (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 105). Considering the fact that the victims take antidepressants for a period, a person can suffer from insomnia and the worst associated cases while using these drugs. Insomnia is a rather expensive condition to treat and one can end up having the condition stay permanently if he/she does not . Other associated problems can occur because of lack of enough sleep that is associated with the use of antidepressants (Feighner 34). This includes sedation which can interfere with the concentration of a person doing something that requires a lot of concentration. For instance, when it occurs during driving, a person can cause an accident and put his/ her life in danger as well those of people aboard the vehicle.
Gastrointestinal disturbance and diarrhea
Antidepressants can cause a severe gastrointestinal disturbance that can even result in diarrhea. This is most rampant among people who use tricyclic and tetracyclic antidepressants. The uncomfortable feelings associated with this are so bad that a person cannot do anything. Some are bad to the extent that they call for the need to consult a specialist, which is an expensive venture to indulge in (Feighner 8). In cases whereby the persons body is reacting badly to the antidepressants by experiencing loose stool or diarrhea, the person should seek the help of a qualified medical practitioner since the continued diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which is lethal (Tobiko 43). In some cases diarrhea that results from the use of antidepressants has even resulted in the death of victims who are less suspicious and find it hard to associate diarrhea with the antidepressant medication they are using to relieve stress.
In some people, the use of antidepressants results in urinary retention, which further leads to more catastrophic cases such as bladder problems (Anderson 19). Urinary duct problems, as well as bladder problems, result in people having to undergo operations to control the situations. Most operations of this sort are so expensive to pay for and people who cannot pay for them end up having to live with the problems forever. For those people who use antidepressants for a long time, this problem can even be worse since the problem crops in stealthy without their notice. Retaining urine in the bladder for too long can lead to leakages and/or the bladder bursting (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 115). When the problem escalates to this extent, as inevitable, which seems a bad thing for those people who have depression because of economic constraints and have as a result chosen to use antidepressants for their relief purposes.
The use of some types of antidepressants such as tricyclics can cause sight problems. People who confess to having relied completely on certain types of antidepressants (Anderson 10) have reported blurred visions. This is whereby a person gradually loses the focus of something within sight as it becomes blurred. This proves so bad when it happens to people whose sight is important such as drivers who rely on it to make some important decisions on the road. When this happens in the process of driving, it can result in people losing their lives. Explaining to other people about cases of blurred vision can be so difficult to some especially students. This can occur at times when one misjudges it as an excuse for not doing what is expected. Some sight problems can even deteriorate to complete blindness, which proves an irreversible case (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 101) The reversal of these conditions still depend on the financial abilities of the victims or of those around them and so the risk of becoming blind through simply using some brands of antidepressants is high to those who are not financially stable.
According to Aldenkamp and Vermeulen, some antidepressants such as SNRIs and SSRIs can cause hypertension when taken in high doses (87). Since it is normal for some people to ignore the doctors advice, this poses a big threat to such people considering that hypertension can result in stroke or even death. As Anderson argues, the introduction of this antidepressant in the blood increases the blood pressure (12), which can result in highly catastrophic results.
Other side effects
Antidepressants such as lithium salts have several unique side effects such as the drying up of the mouth, experiencing a bitter taste in the mouth, fatigue and in some cases, raised antidiuretic hormone levels as well as renal failure or leucocytosis (Aldenkamp, and Vermeulen 99). Most of these side effects cause one to feel very uncomfortable and always reduce the persons concentration in whatever they are doing great. In some rare occurrences, people consider almost all antidepressants as responsible for some severe seizures among users of the medications as well as liver dysfunction or even abnormal blood count. Even though these are rare cases, chances are that they can happen to anyone who uses anti-depressants to relieve depression (Tobiko 598). Some are so bad that they can lead to instant deaths of the victims or alter their lives completely as in the case of stroke or seizures.