Anxiety & SSRI Medication

>>View list of other video resources


Anxiety is that constant voice in my head saying, ‘What have you forgotten…and anxiety says you’re probably not going to achieve this.’ It’s like my body is going into survival mode, and everything is shutting down. Can’t think so clearly, racing heart, shaking hands….

Therapy is the first kind of treatment that will be offered and some people might need medicine to help make them feel better.

Short term and long term medications are prescribed by a specialist, SSRIs* are used in low doses and help to reduce anxiety by changing the amount of serotonin in the brain. Initially can lead a temporary increase in anxiety. This can be addressed by talking to your doctor and adjusting the level of meds. Let your doctor know how medication is making you feel. There can be a harder period before it gets better.

*SSRI Medication: 

  • Stands for: Serotonin Specific Re-uptake Inhibitors
  • Increases the amount of serotonin in your brain.
  • Usually prescribed medication for 6-12 months. 
  • If you experience depression more than a couple of times in your life you may need to take it for longer.
  • Common side effects, headache, nausea, tummy upset.


Tangata whai ora*:

“Taking medication for a mood disorder doesn’t at all mean you are weak. Sometimes it can be a bit harder before it gets better.”

“Taking medication is just part of the picture, you need to take a holistic view, pursue therapy to get some better tools for how you’re thinking and exercise. It's finding what’s going to work for you.”

“Keep an open mind... it’s really hard when you’re in the trenches to see beyond, to see that there is a future, there is a future, there is help out there for you.”


*Tangata whai ora = in this context: adolescent service user