Different researchers, together with Dr. Lewis, argue that the advantages from antidepressants are important sufficient to make a constructive distinction in folks’s lives, at the least for a number of months. “There’s sturdy proof that antidepressants might be efficient for folks experiencing a variety of depressive signs,” she stated. However, she added, the medication “don’t work for everyone.”

And once more, it’s unclear how useful these medication are when taken for various months — which raises issues for the numerous adults who’ve been taking the medication for a very long time. In accordance with a Times analysis, 15.5 million Individuals have been taking antidepressants for at the least 5 years. Dr. Horowitz argued that the medication will in all probability have more and more smaller advantages the longer folks take them, partially as a result of sufferers can construct up a tolerance to the medicines, he stated.

Analysis suggests that individuals can even expertise unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, often known as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, after they cease taking antidepressants, typically for weeks or months, and that the medication can pose different dangers, maybe increasing the likelihood of strokes, coronary heart assaults, falls and even dying. And naturally, like several remedy, antidepressants could cause uncomfortable side effects, together with nausea, agitation, weight achieve, decrease intercourse drive and indigestion.

In case you are on antidepressants, Dr. Horowitz recommended checking along with your physician to see for those who ought to proceed taking them and, in that case, to make sure you are nonetheless taking an applicable dosage. The American Psychiatric Affiliation recommends that sufferers who’ve skilled only one episode of despair take antidepressants for between 4 and 9 months. However “folks shouldn’t cease chilly turkey. They need to do so slowly,” Dr. Horowitz stated, and ideally below the supervision of a physician.

Many individuals can get actual, life-changing advantages from these medication and should profit from taking them over the long run. However all of us need to know extra about how effectively they work, and the dangers they might pose, when taken for years and even many years.

If one factor is evident, it’s that we’d like extra cautious analysis on how finest to assist the greater than 16 million Individuals who at present endure from despair — and whose signs could effectively have worsened throughout the pandemic.