Coping strategies for antidepressant side effects: An Internet survey

Toshiaki Kikuchi, Takefumi Suzuki, Hiroyuki Uchida, Koichiro Watanabe, Masaru Mimura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients coping methods to palliate side effects of antidepressants have not been reported in the literature. Methods: Through an Internet survey, 856 participants who were diagnosed with depression and receiving antidepressants were recruited to report on the methods of coping with side effects. They were asked which side effect(s) they experienced and to write freely about the way they tried to counteract these effects. We classified active coping methods into the following sub-types: adjustment of prescriptions, additional medication, complementary therapy, consultation with physicians, and daily relief. Results: The prevalence of active coping differed across side effects (from 26.7%, sexual dysfunction, to 89.5%, dry mouth). Events with a lower percentage of active coping were more likely to be managed with adjustment of prescriptions: (sexual dysfunction, 41.9%; fatigue, 36.8%; sweating, 20.0%; tremor, 42.5%; and somnolence, 31.8%). Further, a strong negative correlation was found between the percentage of participants reporting an adjustment of prescription and that reporting an active coping (r=-0.907, p<0.001). The daily relief sub-type contained a variety of strategies, including negative methods such as vomiting for nausea and weight gain and drinking alcohol for insomnia. Limitations: Sampling of subjects were biased due to an Internet survey and diagnosis of depression and experience of side effects were self-reported. Conclusion: Patients with depression use various ways in alleviating antidepressants side effects. Some effects such as sexual dysfunction and fatigue may not be amenable to subjective coping efforts and others are sometimes managed inappropriately, which warrants a prudent attention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-94
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec 20


  • Adverse events
  • Antidepressants
  • Coping strategy
  • Internet survey
  • Quality study
  • Side effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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