Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), more commonly known as antidepressants, are one of the most popular medications prescribed for the treatment of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other mental health conditions. These medicines take only a couple of weeks to showcase the effect by stabilizing mood and returning the normal functioning of the brain.
Despite all noise on the legitimacy of such medicines, their efficacy and safety have been under the cloud in recent times. It has been reported that these medicines induce suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Although SSRI medications are considered better than the older antidepressants due to the risk of fewer side effects, many users have reported certain side effects that range from the onset of suicidal behaviors, sexual dysfunction, tics, muscle spasms to internal bleeding.
Due to the above devastating consequences, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture antidepressants are mandated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide warnings of any risk of side effects. Some of the other prominent problems pertaining to antidepressants are as follows:
- There is an increased vulnerability to self-harm and suicidal tendencies among adolescents or young adults between 18 and 24 years of age and generally within the first few months of the treatment with SSRI.
- The abrupt cessation of antidepressants has the potential to cause a relapse or withdrawal symptoms.
- Some side effects of antidepressant use can include jitters, agitation, annoyance, mood swings or sleeping problems, which can aggravate or dissipate with treatment.
Though patients may develop tolerance toward the above-mentioned effects in some time during the course of the treatment, people suffering from the comorbid diseases are likely to witness numerous challenges.
Comorbidity of panic disorder detrimental for depression treatment
Talks on the side effects of antidepressants have turned heads in the past; however, there remains the much-needed requirement to discern the side effects according to age, gender, etc. A study was carried out entailing 808 participants, including 85 patients also diagnosed with panic disorder, to understand the degree of the side effects of antidepressant treatment on the patients suffering from depression and comorbid panic disorder compared to patients suffering only from depression.
The study was led by Stewart Shankman, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Chicago. The investigators examined secondary data collected from the Research Evaluating the Value of Augmenting Medication with Psychotherapy (REVAMP) trials where the patients with depression were administered antidepressants for a period of 12 weeks. Some of the common observations during the study were as follows:
- Compared to those suffering only from depression, patients with co-occurring disorders depression and panic disorder are more likely to report of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neurological and genital/urinary side effects.
- Since patients with panic disorder are comparatively more sensitive to the changes in their bodies, they are more likely to witness more number of side effects due to antidepressant treatment.
- Participants with co-occurring disorders are more likely to report of the worsening of their depressive symptoms over the course of the entire study, particularly if they reported of numerous side effects.
- More number of side effects were witnessed in case of the patients with panic disorder.
Depression is curable
The study urges clinicians to ensure the diagnosis of panic disorder as that can affect the efficacy of treatment in patients with depression. Furthermore, clinicians should also pay attention to the instances of gastrointestinal, neurological, cardiac and genitourinary side effects, so that the treatment can be tailor-made according to the patients’ needs to derive better outcomes.
If you or your loved one is experiencing symptoms of depression, it is imperative to seek professional help. If you are feeling excessive sadness and are unable to carry out the daily responsibilities for more than two weeks, you may be developing depression. The Depression Treatment Helpline assists in accessing the finest depression rehabilitation centers that specialize in delivering evidence-based intervention plans. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our representative to know more about the best treatment centers for depression.