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The Surrey Hypnotherapy Clinic
The Surrey Hypnotherapy Clinic  

SSRI Anti-Depressant Side-Effects

Many people who have an anxiety disorder find that living with their anxiety disorder symptoms can be tiring, and 'wear them down', to such an extent that they become depressed.

 

A common type of anti-depressant medication prescribed by medical practitioners is the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI).

 

SSRIs increase the level of serotonin in your brain, and are often taken on a long-term basis.


As with all anti-depressants, SSRIs can take several weeks to start working. You'll usually be started on a low dose, which will gradually be increased as your body gets used to the medicine.


Escitalopram or Sertraline are the two SSRIs that are often prescribed to treat, for example, social anxiety disorder. If you're prescribed one of these, you'll initially be asked to see your GP every few weeks to check on your progress and see if you're responding well to it.

 

Many people undertake psychotherapy principally because they want to stop their medication because of the side-effects that they experience, or because they just don't want to live on medication for, possibly, the rest of their life.


Common side effects of SSRIs include:

  • feeling agitated, shaky or anxious
  • feeling or being sick
  • indigestion
  • diarrhoea or constipation
  • loss of appetite and weight loss
  • dizziness
  • blurred vision
  • thirst or dry mouth
  • excessive sweating
  • sleeping problems (insomnia)
  • headaches
  • low sex drive (loss of libido)
  • difficulty achieving orgasm during sex or masturbation
  • in men, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection (erectile dysfunction)

The use of SSRI medication during therapy is very unlikely to harm or interfere with the effectiveness of your psychotherapy, and is more likely to help than hinder your therapy.

 

However it should be noted that many of the possible SSRI side-effects may easily be confused with the anxiety symptoms that may be the cause of the depression for which the person is taking the SSRI.

 

In such cases it may be that, following completion of your therapy, it might then be wise to schedule a consultation with the medical doctor responsible for prescribing your medication, with a view to perhaps progressively tapering down your dosage, to see how you get on.

 

So, when you and your medical doctor decide that it's appropriate for you to stop taking your SSRI medication, your dose will gradually be reduced.

 

You should only stop taking your medication when your GP advises you to do so.

 

Many people do find that, following completion of their therapy, they can taper down their dosage and eventually stop their medication altogether.

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