Looking for support with depression?
We’re committed to helping people improve their mental health, which is why we’ve created lots of useful information about mental health and wellbeing. Anyone can use it, even if you don't have health insurance with us.
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Antidepressants can cause side-effects. They’re most likely to happen when you first start treatment. They’re usually mild and improve after a few weeks.
Common side-effects include:
- feeling sick or being sick
- tummy pain
- feeling anxious
- difficulty sleeping
- a low sex drive
For more information, see the section ‘Side-effects’.
If your doctor recommends taking an antidepressant, they’ll probably prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) first. SSRIs are generally safer and their side-effects are tolerated better.
Your doctor will talk you through which medicine is the best option. This may depend on your symptoms, what worked best for you before, other medicines you take, other medical conditions you have, and your own preferences. For more information, see the section ‘types of antidepressant’.
Antidepressants are mainly used to treat depression. If you think you might have depression, your doctor will be able to advise whether antidepressants are a suitable treatment option based on your individual circumstances.
Antidepressants are also used to treat other conditions, such as anxiety, long-term pain and urinary stress incontinence. If you have any of these conditions, your doctor can advise whether antidepressants might be able to help.
It may take around four weeks for antidepressants to start working and reduce the symptoms of depression. After this, if you feel the antidepressant you’re taking isn’t working, contact your doctor. They may offer you another antidepressant.
Don’t stop taking antidepressants suddenly without speaking to your doctor, as this can cause unpleasant side-effects.
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This information was published by Bupa's Health Content Team and is based on reputable sources of medical evidence. It has been reviewed by appropriate medical or clinical professionals and deemed accurate on the date of review. Photos are only for illustrative purposes and do not reflect every presentation of a condition.
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