The Truth About Antidepressants

Casey Barwick, Journalist

Minutes could have passed by. Seconds. All she could really feel were the tears biting into her eyes and the moisture in her palms. She forced me to focus on the doctor before her. The doctor kept speaking about effects and defects of the drug to her parents beside her. They looked just as concerned as she felt. It felt like a mist had taken shape around the girl, blending her into the nearby wall. Swirling her into the turquoise plastic seat she was sitting in. Her brain was emptied, cleared open except for one word which cleaved her mind in two- Zoloft.

A few days ago, an anonymous girl was forced to make one of the most challenging decisions of her existence. She had to choose whether or not she wanted to start an antidepressant. However, it was in that chair, with a deafening silence filling her head that she realized the truth. There can’t be a good without a bad.


Each person is affected one way or another by mental illness. Whether it is first hand, or through family or friends, everyone has some experience. Nowadays, a good percentage of those suffering the effects of mental illness, take prescription drugs to take the edge off, but quite a few people don’t completely contemplate the full effects the drugs can have. Some of the effects can do the opposite of their intended use, and some effects could make peoples’ lives worse before they ever get better.


Zoloft is a medicine used to treat people with severe symptoms which can affect people’s day to day lives. Its main uses are to treat people suffering from depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder(OCD), body dysphoria, and posttraumatic stress disorder(PTSD). The main factor which makes Zoloft important is Sertraline. It is a drug that impacts the hormonal part of the brain, which can, in turn, affect people’s mental and social ability. However, Sertraline falls into a whole category of medicines which all come with ups and downs.  Due to scientific research, Zoloft (Sertraline) was found to have the least amount of patients with apparent side effects. Now is when I must pinpoint the severity of side effects. There is a reason for the big debate around antidepressants, and it all comes with the drugs’ pros and cons.


The reason antidepressants can become such a heavy topic is that in some cases, they can do the opposite of their intended use. These drugs are meant to lessen the effects of mental illness, but in some cases, this is not what happens. In the scientific study, a segment of the people partaking reported feeling suicidal thoughts or feelings, and the longing to hurt or harm oneself. Another reason for all of the warnings, is some people tend to treat antidepressants as their own sort of addictive drug. They take the dosage enough times, that their brain craves more and more and more. This can lead to drug dependency and patients who feel withdrawal symptoms from the medicine.


Another common effect is weight gain. Many Americans who take antidepressants found they gained ten pounds or more. Though the weight gain doesn’t affect everyone, it still could affect the decision making in which drug to use. It has been found that Zoloft has caused the least relative weight gain in all the common antidepressants.


But with the bad, comes the good. Antidepressants are found to help hundreds of thousands of people each day. In many cases, they help people get their feet back under them, and give them a platform to start emotionally building off of. The list of medicines for this specific area is quite large, but I wanted to highlight Zoloft as it is one of the most doctor recommended. Along with a healthy diet, exercise, and some helpful family or friends, medicine can do more good than it does bad.

All in all, the first important step in understanding the full effects of Antidepressants is to contact a local doctor one trusts. All of the websites in the world concerning mental illness can’t completely give one the right course of action without a doctor’s advice. The effects of medicine dealing with hormonal changes can be drastic, so it is always smart to receive help from a professional.

Antidepressants meant to help those with mental illness, are like pictures. They are paintings with swirling bright colors, streaming streaks of black and white, and hidden hues. Yet, like all other paintings, sometimes people need to shine the light on the harsh effects of prescription drugs before they ever really get to see the full picture.