Antidepressants – do they work?

Used to combat varying severities of mood swings, as well as psychological issues such as Depression, anti-depressants are deemed as wonder drugs by some. But, do they actually work, or is the illness we have just in our minds, and so severe we can’t shake it off?

Taken by many Brits every single day, without fail, antidepressants take up both our time and our money; around £250 million a year. But are they worth it, or is the ‘happy’ drug failing to deliver?

Depression is a very serious illness, which is why such powerful tablets are use to combat it. However, it’s not just about feeling upset or uneasy; it’s so much more than that. Depression is a severe feeling of being extremely sad, for a prolonged period of time. It’s about these feelings interrupting your daily life to the extent that you don’t leave the house and don’t feel up to seeing anyone either.

This illness affects about one in ten people during their life, although whilst some people seek help, others don’t, and therefore live with depression their whole life. Equally, some people live with the illness until they die, never being diagnosed by a medical professional and therefore never receiving the help they need.

As a drug first developed in the 50’s, there are now many different types of antidepressants available. Although exactly how these tablets work is still unknown, it is known that they target certain chemicals in our brain and increase them, passing signals from one to another. Within around three months, the patient’s symptoms are supposed to have got better.

Most commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety, panic attacks, stress, pain, and eating disorders, antidepressants are supposed have worked for some, but not for others, and there’s definitely a grey area around the usage of these drugs as a result.

Are antidepressants taken to actively work on the way a person feels, or are the taken simply because the person wants to feel happy again, and can do so once they know they’ve taken something to help? It seems some people are using antidepressants for the right reasons, and others for the wrong, but be careful, as like any tablets taken there can be addictive side effects. If you’re taking them, make sure they’re actually working on your symptoms, and if they’re not, go back to your doctor.

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