Medicines to control anxiety, including antidepressants and anxiolytics, are part of the list of the most consumed drugs in Brazil. So says a study from Functional Health Tec. Including it, research continues to show that women in their 40s are the most likely to use the drug.
According to a survey by the Federal Board of Pharmacy (CFF), during the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2020 there was an increase of around 14% in the sales of antidepressants and mood stabilizers.
Thus, the research shows that in Brazil, the number of units of this type of drug sold between January and July 2019 jumped from 56.3 million to 64.1 compared to the same period in 2020.
But many people use these medicines without instructions, which can be very dangerous. “Caution should be exercised when using any type of medication, even those that seem ‘harmless.’ But when it comes to antidepressants, care should be intensified,” said Dr. Sergio Rocha, a psychiatrist and director of Clínica Revitalis,
These drugs are used to treat other problems such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, impotence, and chronic pain, among many others. Therefore, many people end up using it on their own. “Some take it to help them sleep during a flight, for example, or to reduce their appetite, and most of the time, they just needlessly endanger their health,” he adds.
Risks of antidepressants without guidance
Any medication that has side effects can cause physical discomfort and more serious problems, even requiring hospitalization. “Among the side effects of antidepressants, we can highlight tachycardia, sexual dysfunction and anticholinergic interactions. In addition, even modern drugs have some effects, such as digestive problems, changes in sleep, energy level and headaches” , explains Dr. . Sergi.
An aggravating factor with this type of drug is that it can be addictive and, with medical guidance, the drug is withdrawn properly. He comments: “The drug is ‘weaned’ based on each case and each patient, something that only a specialist knows how to do correctly.”
The psychiatrist also explains that there are many types of medication for the same problem, and that even with medical advice, many patients need to change their medication and dosage to adapt.
“That is why it is always important to see a doctor. With so many medications available, only a specialist can determine which is the most appropriate for each case and can also guide the patient if more serious side effects occur,” he concludes.