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Beta Blockers and Depression: The Patient’s Perspective

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How do you know the difference between the side effects of your Beta Blocker medication and depression?

Beta blockers—used to treat high blood pressure—limit the flow of adrenaline in your body which can make you feel sluggish, fatigued, and muted. This is common and tolerable for most patients. However, the medication can also bring on depression, which can seriously affect your quality of life and may require medical intervention.

Beta blocker side effects are most often mild. Yet, for some patients—especially those with a history of depression—the medication can bring on depression. Symptoms of depression can be confused with side effects of the medication or emotions related to the event or diagnosis which caused your doctor to prescribe the beta blocker, making it hard to recognize.

Signs of depression include:

* Lack of interest in things or activities you typically enjoy
* Feeling hopeless, worthless, sad, or down
* Unexplained crying
* Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much
* Loss of focus or concentration, having difficulty making decisions
* Unexplained weight gain or loss
* Restlessness
* Fatigue
* Loss of interest in sex
* Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
* General pain without explanation

This handy tool from DiscoveryHealth.com can help you evaluate if you are experiencing depression.

Share your symptoms and concerns with the doctor who prescribed the medication or your primary care physician. Just understanding the medication can cause depression can be a relief and the start to feeling better. Decreasing your dose, switching medications, talk therapy, or using an antidepressant medication can make a huge difference in your daily life.

Taking your medications consistently and as prescribed is essential to your treatment. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Work with your doctor to find a treatment plan which balances side effects and medication benefits.

Eliz Greene is the author of The Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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