Questions About Treatment

Getting started on treatment is an important step for someone with depression. Whether it involves medication, psychotherapy or both, everyone concerned may have questions about the treatment.

When Will my Friend or Family Member Start Feeling Better?

Generally speaking, antidepressants take several weeks to produce their full effect.22 In some cases where an adequate response has not been achieved the dose of the initial medication may be increased, a different medication may be added, or the initial medication may be replaced with a new one.

Will the First Medication Prescribed Help Control my Friend or Family Member’s Depressive Symptoms?

Sometimes the doctor recommends initial treatment which is effective, but this is not always the case and the doctor may need to change the treatment.9 The objective is to find the medication best suited to the depressive person to address all of their symptoms.

How Long Will my Friend or Family Member Have to Take the Medication?

Most people with depression need to be treated for at least six to nine months to prevent relapse, and for greater than 12 months if someone is being treated for a recurrent episode.9

Will my Friend or Family Member Have Side Effects from Taking the Medication?

As with all medications, side effects may occur with antidepressant treatment. Discussing possible effects of the medication with the doctor or pharmacist may help you have a better understanding of what to expect before your friend or family member begins the treatment. It is also important to inform the doctor or pharmacist if side effects occur. They may be able to advise you on how to control them.