Is There A "Happy Pill" That Can Change My Mood?
By: Stephanie Kirby
Updated January 26, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Debra Halseth, LCSW
Wouldn't it be nice to know that there was a "happy pill" that you could take any time you were struggling with your mood? It would be a simple solution that would make it easy for you to control your mood without having to worry about any negative effects. Anytime you were starting to struggle, you could just pop a pill, and not have to worry any longer. While that might sound nice, it's definitely not realistic.
There are medications that you can take in order to help with your mood. But it's not as simple as a "happy pill," and they aren't just to be taken at your leisure.
Alternatively, there are steps that you can take to boost your mood without having to have a happy pill at your disposal.
Determining the Cause of Your Mood Struggles
The first thing that you want to do is determine why you are struggling with your mood. Doing this is going to help you find the best form of treatment to help you make improvements—just like a happy pill would.
There are many different things that could be causing you to struggle with your mood. If you're dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety, that can make it difficult for you to feel happy. Your mind is constantly consumed by all of the worries that you have in your life, which steals your joy. This means it's difficult to focus on the good things and be happy, when you're focused on all of the negative things that you think are going on around you, or that you think could happen in the future.
Another reason that you can be struggling with your mood is because of physical health problems. Many people who struggle with chronic health issues also find themselves struggling with their mental health and overall mood as well.
And yet another reason why you may be struggling with your mood is that you have symptoms of depression. Many people think of depression as the sadness and grief, but that's not the only form that depression can take. Some people, especially men, tend to show depression as anger and irritability.
All of these things can make it difficult to maintain a positive outlook on life, and to be in a good mood. Even if you really want to feel and be happy, it can be difficult to do when you're going through some of these things.
Life events and circumstances can also play a role in your mood. This could include negative experiences and memories that you have of the past, or it could include negative situations that you're in currently. For example, if you're in a bad relationship and you hate your job, you might not feel very happy. Or, if you were abused as a child you may struggle with those memories, which makes it very difficult for you to control your mood in the present day.
Antidepressants to Boost Mood
Antidepressants, which are commonly used to treat depression, can be used to help you control your mood. Antidepressants work to help balance out the chemicals that are in your brain. These are called neurotransmitters, and they are responsible for your mood, playing a role in your emotional health.
This is why people who are diagnosed with depression are often prescribed antidepressants. The medication can help improve your mood and improve other symptoms of depression as well.
While they do not work for every single person, antidepressants have been found to be effective in the majority of patients that use them.
The Dangers of Antidepressants
One of the difficulties of antidepressants is that there is not one pill that works best for everyone. That means that some patients have to try multiple forms of antidepressants before they're able to find one that works the best for them. On average, it takes around four to six weeks in order to truly see if an antidepressant is going to work for you. So, if your first prescription does not work, then you have just spent at least a month trying it, before you are then put on another one to try. This means even if the second prescription works, it may be 2 months before you have a solution and notice a difference in your mood.
This can feel like a very long time to wait if you are struggling with your mood or feeling depressed.
Other dangers of antidepressants are that they can include different side effects that can have a negative impact on you. Some of these side effects are mild, and others are more severe. Some of the mild forms of antidepressant side effects include dizziness, headache, insomnia, diarrhea, or weight gain.
However, there are also more extreme side effects that people experience with antidepressants. One of these is nervousness or anxiety. If you're someone who already struggles with anxiety and depression, and you're put on an antidepressant that increases your level of anxiety, it can be a very negative experience for you and your mental health. It's important if you are taking antidepressants to watch for signs such as those that are described above, as well as worsening depression symptoms.
If you are taking antidepressants, it's important that you talk with your doctor, psychiatrist, or therapist about what you are experiencing. It is best if you have collaborative care, where all of your professionals are working together on one plan that will work the best for you.
Other Forms of Treatment
Even though antidepressants are effective for many people, it's important that you pursue other forms of treatment as well when you are dealing with depression, or having problems with your mood.
Antidepressants are effective, but they shouldn't be the only form of treatment that you're using—or something that you depend on for long-term care—unless you are also trying other forms of treatment, and find that you absolutely need them. At the same time, you should never feel ashamed about taking prescription medicine in order to help you improve your mental health. It's important to realize that mental challenges are no different than physical illnesses that you would not hesitate to seek treatment for.
If you are struggling with your mood, other forms of treatment that you can try including therapy, exercise, meditation, mindfulness, journaling, and improving your self-care.
Do You Want To Improve Your Mood?Therapy Can Help - Get Matched With A Licensed Counselor Online.
Therapy can be very effective in helping you to determine why you are struggling with your mood and what you can do to improve your situation. A therapist can work with you and discuss the situations in your current life and also those in your past, to determine why you are struggling at the level that you are.
Meditation and mindfulness are also very helpful in boosting your mood. They help you learn how to control your thoughts, and replace negative thoughts with positive ones. If you struggle with your mood this can be a very important practice to learn and apply on a daily basis.
Journaling can also be a form of meditation, to help you see why you are struggling with your mood. It can also be used as a way to relieve the stress that you are experiencing in a safe way. Sometimes, just being able to write out situations from your day or the past will help you to work through them, and then be able to move past them in a better way.
Improving Your Mood With BetterHelp
Research shows that online therapy is an effective method of treating the symptoms associated with mood disorders. A report in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry—a peer-reviewed medical journal published by the Canadian Psychiatric Association—thoroughly outlines the case for the efficacy of internet-based counseling. The study cited a number of trials in which online platforms were found to be useful, noting that the benefits include decreased cost, better accessibility, and efficiency. The overarching advantage of online therapy, as opposed to face-to-facecounseling, is the added accessibility.
As discussed above, online therapy can be an excellent alternative to traditional face-to-face therapy. If you are living with a mood disorder, it might be difficult to find the energy to leave the house, sit in traffic, and deal with a long wait just to see your therapist. With BetterHelp, you can access treatment from the comfort of your home, or anywhere else you get an internet connection. Sometimes, it can be hard to overcome the stigma involved with going to see a therapist. With online therapy, you can rest easy, knowing your sessions will be completely private. Read below for reviews of counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
“Dria is a brightness in my life who offers guidance and hope. She has so many unique and interesting tactics to help me manage my anxiety and sadness. I am excited to see how more time with Dria as my counselor will improve my life.”
“Christine has been exactly what I needed during this time. I've had a lot of traumatic events occur in my life for someone so young and it's been difficult finding a counselor/therapist who will be patient and listen. Sometimes I just need to express my emotions and sadness when there isn't much to be done from the counselor's end, other than helping me create healthier patterns and talking me through the worst feelings. Christine is encouraging and so kind. I am thankful to be paired with her.”
Find the Right Combination
Improving your mental health and mood is not about finding a happy pill that will just make everything better. Antidepressants do not work like that. Instead of just looking for a quick fix, you want to find a solution that is lasting and will provide you with a much healthier life going forward.
For many people, that involves finding a combination of treatments that will work together to help them in the most effective way. This could include antidepressants along with therapy and practicing good self-care habits in your daily life—like getting the proper rest, eating a balanced diet, and making sure to exercise. It can also include therapy. Finding the right combination will ensure that you are able to control your mood on your own terms.
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