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Anti-depressants are medications prescribed to treat a variety of different conditions including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Most anti-depressants work by activating certain groups of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.
Anti-depressants will usually be taken in tablet form. Tablets will commonly be prescribed as a course for six months and it will normally take between two and four weeks to feel the effects of the medication. Different types of anti-depressants include: selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
When you are prescribed anti-depressants:
-You will be prescribed a specific dose and given instructions of how long you will need to take the medication for
-There are likely to be side effects of the medication which your doctor should explain to you. These can include: sickness, insomnia, constipation, dry mouth and sexual dysfunction
-Anti-depressants can treat and relieve symptoms but does not address the causes of depression or other mental health conditions
-Some anti-depressant medication can take 6 weeks to take effect and the adjustment period may be difficult or uncomfortable
-Taking other drugs with anti-depressants, including alcohol, can prevent anti-depressants from working properly or can be risky depending on the drug you choose to take
-When you stop taking anti-depressants you may experience withdrawal- it is not recommended to stop taking them without consulting your doctor. Usually the dose prescribed will be slowly reduced rather than abruptly stopped
If you choose to take drugs while prescribed anti-depressants:
-Take less of the drug than you normally would
-Be prepared for a longer hangover/come down or increased feelings of low mood
-Taking psychedelic (trippy), dissociative (out of body) and empathogenic (loved-up) drugs like MDMA is particularly risky
-Some types of anti-depressants interact with medications and/or can block the euphoric effects so try not to be tempted to increase the amount of drug you take. Combining anti-depressants and MDMA-like drugs could lead to serotonin syndrome (read more about that here: http://bit.ly/1NqppeW)
-Trippy drugs can enchance exisiting feelings and thoughts so care should be taken if suffering from low mood, depression or anxiety
Seek medical help if you experience adverse effects. Mental illness can be a medical emergency too. Call 111 or 999 if you need to.
Taking anti-depressants with other drugs, legal or illegal (and including alcohol) can increase the risk.
Anti-depressant medication prescribed by a doctor is controlled by the Medicines Act 1968. This means they should only be prescribed by a doctor and should not be sold or shared by pharmacists or members of the public.