Emotional and Mental HealthDepressionMedications for Depression
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Antidepressants belong to several different categories. They affect the function of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, although the process is not well understood.
Lexapro (escitalopram oxalate)
Some people respond well to one drug and do not respond well to other drugs in the same class. Side effects for each drug also vary from person to person. Therefore, if a particular drug does not help you feel better or gives you unacceptable side effects, you may respond well to a different antidepressant. Occasionally people respond best to a combination of medications.
How safe are these drugs medically?
Generally these drugs are considered safe. With more than 10 years of study and use, no long-term side effects have been found.
Antidepressants are usually started at low dosage and then increased. Some people feel better within a few days, but do not expect it to work immediately. Antidepressant medications are usually taken for four to six months. If depression recurs when the medication is stopped, these antidepressants may be taken on an indefinite basis.
What if I want to stop taking my antidepressant?
Consult with your physician about how best to terminate medication. Usually it is best to taper off medication (take smaller and smaller doses over time). This is especially true of Paxil and Effexor, which may cause extremely uncomfortable side effects if terminated abruptly.
Columbia University Emergency Medical Service is a student-operated and New York State-certified volunteer ambulance corps that provides pre-hospital emergency medical treatment and transport. Dial 99 from any on-campus phone or (212) 854-5555.
- American Psychological Association
- NYC Dept. of Mental Health and Mental Hygiene (1-800-LIFENET)*
- St. Luke's-Roosevelt Psychiatric ER (212) 523-3347
- Columbia University Department of Public Safety
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK)
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center - Paper