Are you also looking for the answers to questions like – What happens if your antidepressant dose is too high, what are the signs your antidepressant dose is too stong, and so on? This blog is all about the questions you have in your mind about antidepressants.
In the journey of life, we all experience ups and downs. There are moments when it becomes difficult to see colors and a ray of light. At this moment, we often start losing control of our emotions and suddenly find ourselves tangled in the intricate mess of emotions. This is where antidepressants appear as guiding hands for many of us. They might help us bring ourselves to a state of normalcy.
Here, you must understand that if these pills can help you feel normal and become your companion in your mental health journey, then they also have the power to alter your brain chemistry.
If you have walked this path, you can understand the feeling of initial trepidation, the gradual flicker of hope. Eventually, you realize that maybe you are on the right track. But sometimes, things go so fast that the path becomes too bright and intense. It happens when your antidepressants start pushing you too hard and it becomes overwhelming. This is when you should start considering the dose of your pills. This overwhelming feeling can be one of the common signs your antidepressant is too strong.
Let’s discuss the signs, symptoms, and risks of the high dose of antidepressants to save you or your loved ones from its potential dangers.
Understanding Antidepressant Medication
Before we discuss the “signs your antidepressant dose is too high,” let’s understand what these are and how they work.
Antidepressants- Meaning and Functioning
As the name suggests, antidepressants are the medications used to treat clinical depression. Although they are primarily used for clinical depression, they have other uses as well.
According to the United Kingdom National Health Service, these medications are also used to treat the following conditions: –
- Panic Disorder
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
- Eating Disorders
Here, you should also understand the difference between clinical depression and situational depression. Situational depression is when we feel sad, occasionally. However, clinical depression is a more severe mental health condition that affects the individual’s behavior, mood, thought patterns, and sleep patterns. Clinical depression can also lead to Suicidal Ideation.
What are the different types of antidepressants?
There are four types of antidepressants: –
SSRIs or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Serotonin is a chemical responsible for carrying messages between the brain and the body. This chemical plays a crucial role in various bodily functions, like sleep, sexual desires, wound healing, blood clotting, etc.
Once the serotonin sends the message, the body’s nerve cells reabsorb it. The process is known as reuptake. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors work by blocking this which allows the body to make more serotonin with which to send signals.
Depression is not caused by the low levels of serotonin. But, the increase in serotonin levels provided by SSRIs can certainly improve the symptoms of depression.
Generally, SSRIs are the first choice of healthcare providers when treating depression. SSRIs have fewer side effects than other types of antidepressants. However, a few of the most common side effects of these antidepressant medications are: –
- Blurred vision
- Erectile dysfunction
- Diminished sex drive
Serotonin-norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
SNRIs and SSRIs are similar in a way that they both block the reuptake of messenger chemicals in the brain. For most people, SNRIs are more effective than SSRIs. However, its side effects can also be more severe. A few of the common side effects of SSRIs are: –
- Loss of appetite
- Vomiting and nausea
- Changes in sexual function and desire
- Fatigue and headache
In some cases, SNRIs can also cause high blood pressure. It can also be dangerous for people with liver issues. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you must consult your healthcare provider immediately as these can be the common signs your antidepressant dose is too high.
MAOIs or Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
Monoamine oxidase is an enzyme that is responsible for removing serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine from the brain. MAOIs work by preventing this enzyme from doing its job. This alleviates the symptoms of depression and increases the availability of these chemicals.
A few of the common side effects of MAOIs are similar to SSRIs and SNRIs side effects. In addition to this, it can also cause involuntary muscle jerks known as tardive dyskinesia. Apart from this, it causes tingling sensations in the skin and dangerously high blood pressure if it is mixed with certain medications, food, or beverages.
TCAs or Tricyclic Antidepressants
TCAs also help treat depression by blocking the reuptake of certain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine, like SNRIs. However, unlike SNRIs, TCAs have more severe side effects like: –
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
- Difficulty urinating
In addition to that, TCAs can easily lead to overdose. People taking TCAs often show signs of high antidepressant doses. This is why healthcare providers rarely prescribe TCAs as the first choice to treat depression.
Signs your Antidepressant Dose is Too High
A high dose of antidepressant is like a strong and powerful wave that can carry you forward with speed like surfing. However, the problem is, that it will make you feel like you are surfing in the ocean of emotions even when you just want to paddle in calm waters.
So, you start losing control of your emotions. Let’s see how and understand the common signs of your high dosage of antidepressant so that you can understand when to reduce antidepressant dosage: –
The imbalance in your medicine intake can affect your emotions and you start experiencing the following changes.
- Increased Anxiety
If you suddenly feel more anxious than usual, more restless, and worried, it can be a sign that your antidepressant dose is too high. You will feel overwhelmed by anxiety and it can lead to constant unease.
- Emotional Numbness and Irritability
Emotional numbness and irritability are other common signs that your antidepressant dose is too high. You can find yourself unable to connect with your or others’ feelings. You will become easily frustrated even over minor issues.
- Overly Elevated Mood
Antidepressants are designed to alleviate the symptoms of depression. But an excessively elevated mood resembles mania and it can indicate an overdose.
Here are a few of the common physical signs that may indicate a high dose of antidepressant pills: –
- Sleep Disturbances and Insomnia
High doses of antidepressant medications can alter or disrupt your sleep patterns. It can lead to insomnia. You start experiencing frequent awakenings during the night and struggle to sleep again. Due to this, you feel fatigue and low energy throughout the day.
- Changes in Weight
Unnatural weight gain or loss can be an indicator that your antidepressant dose is too high and needs adjustments. Changes in appetite and metabolism happen due to medication imbalance.
- Sexual Dysfunction
One of the common signs your antidepressant dose is too high is – sexual dysfunction. Antidepressants can affect sexual function. Therefore, if you experience a sudden decrease in libido maintaining an erection, or facing difficulty having an orgasm, you should consult your doctor.
- Digestive Issues and Muscle Stiffness
You can also experience digestive issues, like nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Apart from this, you can also feel muscle stiffness and twitching that can impact your physical comfort and mobility.
Antidepressant pills can also impact your cognitive health if the dose is too high.
- Memory issues
Sometimes, people affected by the high dosage of these medications start showing signs like forgetfulness. They begin finding it difficult to recall recent events and remember important information.
- Lack of focus
You start finding it challenging to concentrate on your tasks and maintain your attention. You won’t be able to complete mental activities that were easily manageable once.
- Racing Thoughts and Confusion
Excessively high doses of depressants make you feel like your mind is racing constantly. You can feel your thoughts bouncing from one topic to another without any control. It can create mental confusion and irritability.
People also experience various changes in their behavior as well, like: –
- Social Withdrawal
Overdose of the medication can make you withdraw from social interactions. You would like to isolate yourself from your close friends and family. You’ll start losing interest in social gatherings and activities that you enjoyed once.
- Increased Risk-Taking
High dosage can lead to risky behavior, such as making impulsive decisions, excessive spending, and engaging in activities that can have harmful consequences.
- Excessive Self Crticism
It can lead to an increased tendency of self-criticism and you may engage in negative self-talk. You can also find changes in your speech patterns like rapid and pressured speech, difficult to follow for others.
- Decreased Motivation
High doses of antidepressants can result in demotivation. You will not feel motivated enough to complete your daily tasks.
III. What Happens If Your Antidepressant Dose Is Too High?
Let’s discuss what can happen when your antidepressant dose is out of balance: –
Risk of Developing Serotonin Syndrome
Serotonin syndrome can be a life-threatening condition that occurs due to the excessive amount of serotonin – a neurotransmitter, in the system. You can experience severe symptoms, like: –
- Mild tremors
- Irregular heartbeat
- Muscle rigidity
- High fever
- Losing consciousness
- Excessive shivering and sweating
- Confusion and hallucinations
- Dilated pupils
An Increase in Suicidal Thoughts
Any new or increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors indicate that the antidepressant dose is too stong. You should not ignore it and immediately contact your healthcare provider.
Impact On Overall Well-being
Antidepressants are used to improve the quality of your life, but excessive medications lead to reduced quality of life. High dosage can have major side effects and also interfere with your ability to function effectively in your personal and professional life.
When to Reduce Antidepressant Dosage?
Let’s discuss how you know when it’s time to reduce your antidepressant dosage: –
If you are finding it difficult to adjust your antidepressant dosage, you should highlight this issue before your medical supervisor. Always remember that it is a collaborative effort between you and your healthcare provider. Therefore, you should discuss all changes with them. They will guide you on when to reduce the dosage.
Recognizing the Need for a Change
You should not take your antidepressant dosage lightly. Here are a few cases where you should consider the dosage of your pills: –
Improvement in Symptoms
If you have been on antidepressant pills for a while and now you start noticing a significant improvement in your mood and energy levels, this can be a sign that your depression is now well-managed. You should have a discussion with your healthcare provider.
If you are experiencing any side effects from your medication, you must communicate with your doctor. We have discussed various side effects and signs your antidepressant dose is too high. These signs can help you understand the issue with your medication dosage. Your healthcare provider can explore other options and reduce the dose to minimize these effects.
If used under proper supervision, antidepressants can become your guiding light in the intricate journey of mental health. Unfortunately, they also have the power to disrupt your emotional, mental, and physical well-being. Therefore, it is crucial to recognize the signs of an excessively high antidepressant dose to maintain your overall well-being.
The information provided in this blog will help you recognize the side effects and signs your antidepressant dose is too strong. We hope that with the help of the information given above, you will be able to make the right decision at the right time by communicating with your healthcare provider and understanding when to reduce antidepressant dosage.