Anxiety and Depression: Does Medication Actually Work?

I have wondered this time and time again, and seeing several people I care about take medication for their mental health has led me to the same conclusion: It doesn’t really work.

Now, I may be wrong about this and I fully accept that possibility, but writing down my thoughts doesn’t hurt either. I’ve been there through the thick and thin of an anxiety/depression problem of someone I care about and I’m seeing a trend here. A very unfortunate trend: the medication they are taking is only making the problem worse.

On top of suffering from an enhanced anxiety and depression, they have to suffer the effects of the medication, including:

  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Plenty more, depending on the person and medication

How terribly sad that that they have to suffer from these things on top of their mental health issues! But really… Isn’t the medication supposed to work? Isn’t it better to trade the effects of taking the medication with not having anxiety or depression anymore?

This is what I noticed with those who took the medication to help solve their problems. The problems didn’t go away. Not at all. In fact, anxiety and depression only enhanced. Thoughts of suicide and considering the action itself more and more increased. Clinginess, panic attacks, a sense of ownership over a person, always needing to know what their friends were doing all the time, thoughts of everyone around them hating them, and everything else that comes with anxiety increased.

Did I mention emotions? Rather than getting a boost to help with depression, they just felt flat, as if their emotions had been stripped away. Wouldn’t you rather feel something than nothing at all?

Okay, so maybe it was the type of medication given that didn’t work. After changing medication, do you know what I saw? The exact…same…thing. And on top of that, a dependence on the medication increased ten fold to the point where coming off the medication would create withdrawals.

Is the medication still worth it?

Perhaps for some individuals, it is. But did you know that one in six Americans take antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs? Is it really needed and does it really help? At some point in their lives, everyone copes with anxiety and depression. It’s a natural part of life. Consider these natural remedies to lessen the effect of depression and anxiety in your life:

  • Regular exercise: This one is a given because it releases feel-good chemicals into the brain and if done regularly, that can be a great way to feel good every day.
  • Not skipping breakfast: You’ve probably heard of this all your life while in school, “Make sure to eat a balanced breakfast before you take your test tomorrow.” Well, your teachers were right. Breakfast, especially eggs, helps provide your body with protein and choline that give your body a boost and naturally lowers anxiety levels.
  • Omega-3: This nutrient can help lower cellular inflammation in the brain, which helps combat depression. Here are other benefits of omega-3 and what foods to find them in.
  • Stop overthinking things: Admit it, we all do this. Oftentimes, I have a problem with this and for people with anxiety, it only makes the problem worse. Channel your negative energy into other things and rather than dwell on a problem, look at the problem in perspective and either let it go if you can’t fix it, or find a solution to the problem. This takes lots of practice but it definitely helps.
  • Meditation: This can put you in the “now” and help quiet an overactive brain. Accept that your life will never be free of problems but rather, learn how to cope with those problems and accepting the existence of those problems.
  • Sleep: This doesn’t come easy for some people, but sleep can do so much to help you with anxiety and depression. Try to get to bed early and remove distractions from the room such as the tv and dare I say it, your phone. Ever heard of blue light? When you stare at your phone screen when trying to get to sleep, your body misinterprets this light as daylight, which in turn stimulates your brain and makes it more difficult to get to sleep. As hard as it might be, it just might save your sleep if you charge your phone across the room rather than putting your phone within reach.

There are a lot of ways to naturally combat depression and anxiety, so I would recommend you be diligent in trying these ways and only if they don’t work, then turn to a doctor as a last resort rather than a first. Who knows, maybe you’ll even discover a new hobby!