What are the common psychological signs of depression?
Mood of sadness, despair, or emptiness
Decreased ability to experience pleasure
Apathy, low motivation, social withdrawal
Excessive emotional sensitivity
Negative pessimistic thinking
Decreased concentration or ability to perform daily activities,
What are the common physiological signs of depression?
Increase or decrease in appetite
Increase or decrease in weight
Decreased sex drive
Fluctuations in mood
Sleep disturbance—early morning awakening, frequent awakenings
during the night, excessive sleeping
Is medication an effective form of treatment for
Yes! Anti-depressants are up to 80% effective for the treatment of
depression and are a good adjunct to counseling for reducing
How do they work?
Most anti-depressants work by restoring the balance of certain
natural chemicals in the brain.
These medications are not habit forming!
How long does it take the medication to work?
It may take two to four weeks before the full benefits of the
medication take effect.
How long will I have to take the medication?
Length of treatment usually ranges from six to nine months for mild
to moderate depression. However, treatment may be longer for more
severe forms of depression. It is very important to continue taking
the medication as prescribed even if you feel well!
Do anti-depressants interact with other medications?
Alcohol and recreational drugs should not be taken with
anti-depressants! Consult with your physician about drug
interactions with other prescription medications or over-the-counter
Common Side Effects
Important: You may initially see only
side effects, but they should decrease over the course of one to two
weeks and then diminish over time. Not all the medications listed
above have all of the following side effects. Ask your physician
which side effects to expect from the medication prescribed to you.
Sexual side effects
Ways to Minimize Some Side Effects
Nausea - take medication with meals
Drowsiness - take medication at bedtime
Insomnia - take medication in the morning
Need Additional Help?
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine
Counseling and Wellness Services offer free individual counseling
for these and related issues for veterinary students (WSU Veterinary
Students ONLY). For more information or to schedule an appointment
call or e-mail:
Donna J. Scott, PhD
The information contained in these self help documents is not to be
used as a substitute for professional care. Neither the authors, Washington
State University nor the College of Veterinary Medicine assume liability for
injury incurred by following the information presented in these self-help