4 Reasons I hate antidepressants

Here’s a post for the medicated many out there. I know a fair few of my readers can empathise with how crappy it is taking antidepressants. These drugs change you. They alter how your brain chemistry operates and that’s pretty scary right?

Before my breakdown, I was totally against them. And although I’m on five kinds of meds now, I still do. It is so strange to know that your personality, your behaviour, your very self is engineered to some extent by being on these drugs. Anyway, I wanted to share my biggest grumbles about taking antidepressants. As always, I’m interested to hear your reflections on this.

1. They don’t make you happy
You can’t fix depression with antidepressants. Not for most people anyway. So the name is misleading. Wouldn’t it be amazing if pills could make you happy? Well I suppose they can, I’ve definitely taken some pills that made me ecstatic in my time, but that’s another story and not very legal.

Antidepressants are not a cure. And it’s all trial and error. Some of them can even increase suicidal ideation in a few patients (it says so in that massive, small print leaflet they put in the packet). A counsellor once explained to me how they work, using a great metaphor as counsellors always do. She said, “Laura, antidepressants are like life jackets. They keep you afloat but they don’t teach you to swim”. I thought that was perfect.

2. Most of them cause weight gain
Yeah that’s an egotistical gripe. But a significant one. Body image affects how we feel. It directly feeds into our self-esteem. So taking drugs that make you fat really doesn’t help you feel good about yourself.

I’ve never been much into sweets, but when I started taking Mirtazipine my cravings were insatiable. I literally could not stop myself. I would eat biscuits and chocolate until I was beyond feeling sick and my mouth was sore. I gained 10kg in 10 weeks. And as the pills also slow your metabolism, it is taking ages for me to lose that extra weight.

3. Good luck having an orgasm
Both my antidepressants have a truly undesired side effect. It isn’t one people talk about much, but a few friends have agreed with me on this. It is damn near impossible to climax. With depression, the times you feel like having sex are so few and far between, that when you get horny you want to make the most of it.

For sure it’s not all about arriving at your destination. Sex can be great if you make the journey fun. But sometimes that journey is a long one, you’ve both got to be up early for work, and it is really bloody infuriating when you just can’t ‘arrive’.

4. GPs give them out like vitamins
When I went to my GP just over a year ago, I knew what her response to my symptoms of depression and anxiety would be. Antidepressants. I knew I wasn’t coping and needed some help, but how is it that a general practitioner can hand out these psychotropic medicines when they hardly know anything about psychiatry? It worries me that vulnerable people are being treated for serious conditions by untrained generalists, more accustomed to dishing out antibiotics and inhalers.

That just about covers my main beef with these drugs. I’m intrigued to know whether anyone else has similar complaints, or completely the opposite experience…

Photo: R. Nial Bradshaw, Creative Commons.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. OH MY GOD THIS IS MY LIFE AT THE MOMENT. I’m on Mirt for my Gastroparesis. They wanted me on it in hope of helping me eat. I have gained a whopping ten kgs… But I cannot stop eating – which is actually shit because I am just craving sweets. The food will not digest! It’s a horrible cycle of eating and wanting to die from stomach pain, but then eating more!!!
    I am not remotely happier and I still cannot sleep!
    I thought I was the only one! I feel better! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Haha well it’s good to know I’m not alone!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. noimnotok says:

    Exactly the same complaints about ADs especially points 2 & 3. I’ve given up on them.
    MDMA is the only pill that ever got rid of my shame, I’ve some happy but brief memories of feeling like I was an ok person.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Yes I had great experiences of MDMA, even if in the long run it isn’t good for you. I have some wonderful memories of that euphoria.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lizanueva says:

    Im on one too, pretty scary at first but it helps afterwards and then i feel scared about it because this questions comes in my mind – am i really getting better? or is this just the meds?
    But hey stay positive we can overcome this ❤
    Following you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura Black says:

      Yes I have those same questions too. I wonder who I would be without them. It’s strange. Thanks for following 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Im bipolar so I cant take them but ny father in law tragically passed before our eyes a few months ago and my husband and his mother had to make the choice to “pull the plug.” As you can imagine my husband was not himself and eventually decided he might need help. 1st gaining weight is a bitch and is so depressing. 2nd not wanting to have sex and then not being able to orgasm is depressing. 3rd not being able to sleep at night due to nightmares just put him from depressed to tortured. Miserable Miserable drugs from his experience. EXACTLY AS YOU DESCRIBE!!

    Like

    1. Laura Black says:

      That sounds like a horrendous experience. I get the nightmares too, and night sweats. I now take one medication that deals with those side effects – so I’m on meds for the meds. Far from ideal!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. nintschgo says:

    I totally agree with you, everything you say here is true and the last point is definitely something scary for our whole society, I was shocked at how easily psychiatrists give you…well almost anything…
    Good luck with your meds, they are, and I think this quote is awesome, after all our life jackets…but therefore they are something you don’t want to take for your whole life…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paul Lamb says:

    All I seemed to get were side effects. Ringing in my ears. Tremors in my hands. Visual distortions. Headaches. Vacuousness at times. Feeling separate from myself. Fatigue. Plus all of the things you listed. And NO BENEFITS. I felt no relief from the darkness. No fewer wishes to simply be dead. Drawbacks with no payoff.

    I like the metaphor of a life jacket. I wish I had understood that when I started treatment.

    Like

    1. Laura Black says:

      Sorry to hear your experience was so bad. I think I do get some benefit from them, just not sure it is worth all the side effects!

      Like

  7. laugraeva says:

    “Antidepressants are like life jackets. They keep you afloat but they don’t teach you to swim” – that’s such a perfect metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Laura,
    I was on citalopram for about 13 years. I think it made me worse initially and I became more suicidal (which resulted in an OD) and also had some fairly bizarre suicidal ideation about 6 months into taking it. Seems stupid in retrospect that I was kept on it. Anyway, I also had severe sexual side effects (no orgasm and also no desire) and finally decided to come off it when I worked up the courage to try dating again 12 years after my divorce. The withdrawal process was horrendous. Even though I tapered fairly slowly it took 8 months and I had withdrawal symptoms including suicidal ideation lasting about a week with every drop in dose, and then after I came off completely, a rebound episode of depression which lasted a couple of months. I recovered from that but have ongoing problems with emotional dysregulation and anxiety. Then, in the 12 months after stopping a number of traumatic memories of sexual assaults and other stuff from over 30 years ago came up – this was not directly due to coming off the drugs but because of taking up meditation, and also that I was anxious about sex as part of dating. I now have a diagnosis of complex PTSD instead of just depression.

    Anyway, the upshot of all this is that I never want to risk going onto antidepressants again no matter how bad I get.

    Like

    1. Laura Black says:

      Thanks for sharing your experience. This makes me even more resolved to come off the meds as soon as I can. Laura

      Like

      1. If you haven’t come across it yet, I’d highly recommend the Surviving Antidepressants website. It has a lot of information about the process of withdrawal and the problems that may be encountered and suggestions for dealing with them. I wish I’d read this before I started the withdrawal process. It wouldn’t have altered my decision but I might have managed the process better.

        Like

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