What are some problems with medication therapy for depression?


Some people taking medication for depression experience side effects that are often temporary. These include dry mouth, bladder problems, constipation, blurred vision, sexual functioning problems, dizziness, drowsiness, increased heart rate, nausea, nervousness or insomnia, and agitation.

Several years ago, increased suicidal risk was indicated in connection with some antidepressant medications. Many drug makers were required by the US Food and Drug Administration to include a warning on their packaging to monitor for increased suicidal behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults. Since then, studies have indicated that the benefits of these medications in treating depression and anxiety in this population far outweigh the risks. Studies in adults show no increase in suicide risk. Regardless, careful monitoring for suicidal behavior should be part of any treatment plan for depression.

Talking to your healthcare provider is important. Be sure to pay attention and discuss how the medication is making you feel throughout your body, and any changes you are experiencing.

Dr. Lara Honos-Webb, PhD
Psychology Specialist

Some of the problems with medications for depression are that:

  • Improvements from medications are not maintained after the medication is stopped.
  • More undesirable side effects from medications such as loss of sexual desire among others.
  • Poor adherence, i.e., clients stop taking medication because of side effects.
Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life

More About this Book

Listening to Depression: How Understanding Your Pain Can Heal Your Life

A New Way of Thinking About DepressionWhat does it really mean to be depressed? You know depression as a collection of symptoms—fatigue, listlessness, feelings of worthlessness—and the source of...

Continue Learning about Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment

Depression Treatment

Because it is a multi-faceted condition, treatment for depression is multi-faceted as well. Minor depression can often be treated with therapy and a few simple lifestyle changes, while chronic or major depression treatment can req...

uire medication in addition to therapy. In some severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be used. It's important to work with your mental health professional to determine which course of treatment for your type of depression is most appropriate.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.