Antidepressants - Other considerations
What else should I consider before taking antidepressants?
Does alcohol affect my antidepressants?
Drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants is not advised because alcohol can make depression worse. It can also increase the side effects of some antidepressants, like drowsiness, dizziness and co-ordination problems.
To avoid alcohol-related harm, the NHS recommends that you should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week. It's best to spread this evenly over three or more days.
You should not drink certain wines or beers if you are taking MAOIs. You should ask your pharmacist or doctor for more information.
Can I drive when taking antidepressants?
Some antidepressants can affect your ability to drive. You may feel drowsy from your medication which can affect your reaction time. If your antidepressants make you drowsy you should not drive.
You should tell the DVLA if you are taking medication that may affect your driving. You should also tell them if you have a medical condition that could affect your driving.
You can find out more information about ‘Driving and mental illness’ here.
Taking antidepressants may affect your sex life. Antidepressants can make you feel tired and can affect your hormones.
Side effects include:
- lower sex drive,
- problems with getting an erection,
- difficulty ejaculating or having an orgasm, and
- poor vaginal lubrication.
If you are having these problems, talk to your doctor. You might be able to change medication or the amount you take.
You can take some antidepressants if you are pregnant but you should talk to your doctor. You may want to stay on antidepressants during your pregnancy if you think your symptoms will come back. Some antidepressants may be better for you during pregnancy.
If you are pregnant, some antidepressants can affect the baby. Some possible effects can be:
- low birth weight,
- being uneasy and bad tempered,
- heart disease, and
- pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure in the blood vessels between your lungs and heart).
Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on getting pregnant.
Small amounts of antidepressants can pass into your breast milk. Talk to your doctor or midwife about the risks and benefits of breastfeeding. Some antidepressants are better if you are breastfeeding and your doctor can tell you about this.
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