What are the side effects?
Antidepressants can make you feel better, but they won't change your personality or make you feel happy all the time. Like taking any other medication, some people will experience some side effects, and individuals should discuss the risks and benefits with their doctor. People should also ask for information about the medications so that they can make an informed decision.
Depending on which medication is taken, common side effects can include nausea, headaches, anxiety, sweating, dizziness, agitation, weight gain, dry mouth and sexual difficulties (e.g. difficulty becoming/staying aroused).
Some of these symptoms can be short-lived, but people who experience any of these symptoms should tell their doctor, as there are ways of minimising them. The likelihood of a particular side effect happening varies between individuals and medications.
It is not uncommon for people with depression to have suicidal thoughts. Treating the depression effectively will reduce the likelihood of a person hurting him or herself. In the period of time between the person starting antidepressant medication and responding to treatment – which can be more than two weeks – the person should still be monitored closely by the doctor and his or her progress reviewed, as the risk of suicidal behaviour may even be slightly increased, especially in young people.