1. Antidepressants are “addictive”.
False. Antidepressants are not addictive in the way that most people would use the word. You don’t “crave” your antidepressant. However, the medicine that gets introduced to your central nervous system becomes something your body recognizes each day. So stopping medication without the guidance from a professional can cause your body to react to the loss of these neurotransmitters. This experience, called discontinuation syndrome, can be avoided completely when proper dosage-stopping is observed.
2. Antidepressants are “happy pills”.
False. Antidepressants are not "uppers." Unlike drugs like speed or ecstasy which improve the mood of anyone who takes them, antidepressants only improve the mood of people with a mood disorder. So if someone who isn't depressed takes antidepressants, the only change they'll notice will be possible side effects...which, really, are not very happy inducing.
3. Antidepressants are a "quick fix" and don't really cure depression.
False. One thing antidepressants surely aren’t is quick. Most take a minimum of four to six weeks to work. And they are not meant to "fix" your depression, per se. Most people with depression need to address social and environmental issues that contribute to their depression. Treatment for depression is a two-step process: 1) Antidepressants change brain chemistry 2) As mood improves, healthier lifestyle choices and problem solving occurs.
4. Antidepressants will change your personality.
False. Antidepressants normalize the mood ranges of children and adults who have a mood disorder. Who you are doesn’t change, so your personality stays intact. Antidepressant medication lifts my sadness, which then allows me to be who I fully am. I’m not a different person because I take antidepressant medication. I’m me, only better.
5. Once you start taking antidepressants, you're on them for the rest of your life.
False. For the majority of people, this is not true. Many who take antidepressant medication will stop their prescription when recovery from depression occurs. This clinical state of recovery takes about a year or so to achieve. Antidepressants have been shown to re-adjust brain activity, so those who follow their treatment regime to the letter, often don’t need to remain on medication. But there are some, like me, who must remain on medication, indefinitely. I’ve discontinued medication twice only to find depressive symptoms returning. So, I’m a lifer. And that’s fine with me, because I feel great.