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Help I've stopped taking my medicine

Hi sam,

Im writing because im a bit worried at the moment i have been diagnosed with depression and have been prescribed with antidepressants but the problem is that i've suddenly just stopped taking them i don't know why i have but i just felt a bit different to everyone else because im just a kid and taking antidepressants makes me feel so awkward to everyone else

Im worried that i've now affected my health whats going to happen now that i've stopped taking my medication?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

I’m glad you thought of writing to me. It sounds like a lot has happened lately. I can hear that you’ve got some mixed feelings about taking medication for your depression. You described those feelings really well in your letter.

It’s important with any medication that you feel like you really understand what it’s for and how it works before you decide to take it. I wonder if you had a decent chance to ask any questions you had, before being given the prescription? It sounds like being given antidepressants is uncomfortable for you because it’s making you feel different and singled out. I do want you to know that depression is a common condition that can affect anyone of any age and medication can be a really valid and effective treatment for a lot of people. I wonder how you’d feel about taking medication, if it was for a different condition, like a chest infection, or diabetes?

It is important that your health professional knows that you’re not taking the medicine any more. There are some practical things about suddenly stopping medication that it would be good for you to know. I’m not medically trained, but I know doctors usually advise anyone taking a course of medicine not to stop it without discussing it with them first. I also know it can take a while for medicine for longer term conditions to take effect so doctors usually want to check how it’s going after a bit of time. If it’s not helping or if there are side effects, the doctor might be able to make some adjustments to improve things.

You may already know there is more information in Explore about Depression. You might also want to consider using the Message Boards to post a message, asking how other young people cope with having to take antidepressants. There are already some threads on the boards that mention similar issues. Another interesting website is Youth Health Talk, which features young people talking about their own experiences of a whole range of health conditions and treatments, including antidepressant medication. All of this might help you feel a bit less alone with this worry.

Our counsellors can help you think through how you might contact your health professional and what you could say. It sounds like the idea of antidepressants felt overwhelming and I hope your doctor will understand that. I wonder if you’d also find it helpful to have someone to talk to about how you’re feeling at the moment. That might be a parent, or carer, or a friend. If you’re worried about what to say to your doctor, or if you just want to talk, you can contact one of our counsellors, either by phone or online, and they could help you think things through.

Take care,

Sam

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