Antidepressants are a controversial class of prescription medicine used to treat or prevent clinical depression. An estimated 30 million Americans are currently taking antidepressants. The use of these drugs has skyrocketed over the last 15 years, likely due to increased marketing and social acceptance of depression and psychoactive pharmaceuticals.
Antidepressant use comes with severe side effects for about 40% of the people taking them. These may include sexual side effects (e.g., erectile dysfunction) , weight gain, headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, nausea, skin rashes, diarrhea, sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness, nightmares, or sleepwalking. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to rely on pharmaceuticals to feel like yourself again. In terms of efficacy, aerobic exercise is comparable to both talk therapy and drug therapy for depression. Surprisingly, antidepressants may actually be less effective for addressing mild depression than many people believe.