Thoughts by Emily

Can Antidepressants Make a Person Nice?

Tonight I would like to discuss something that some people may consider taboo – antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, and can antidepressants make a person nice?

I wouldn’t exactly say that I was raised with a lot of patience or tolerance for depression. I grew up in a very stable family. It is my belief that until someone experiences the fog of depression, and can admit that is what they are experiencing, they may not fully understand how it works and how one can overcome it. As an outsider looking in on someone with depression, it is easy to tell them to snap out of it, or to “fake it until you make it.” I used to be that person (the outsider looking in).

It wasn’t until after years of someone close to me dealing with it, that I developed more tolerance. Not exactly understanding, but tolerance for what it was and how it needed to be treated. Then it wasn’t until I experienced some depression myself that I truly understood the feelings of powerlessness and anger. I have never felt so angry in my life and it wasn’t a fun feeling. I consider myself a very strong person, so to admit that I have struggled with any type of depression or anxiety is very difficult for me. However, I was able to recognize what it was and that I needed help. I gave myself months of trying to figure it out myself, and go it alone. Not always with success.

You see, I am a doer – a problem solver if you will. If something isn’t going my way, or if someone is being what I believe to be unreasonable or irrational, then you better believe that I am going to do all I can to make things right. I can be very persuasive, and good at getting my way (within reason). In the past year, there have been far too many things out of my control, and I’m not used to that. I wouldn’t say I’m a control freak by any means, but I cannot stand when people make unreasonable decisions or requests. That would be my husband’s school to a T! If we could do it all over again, we would definitely choose a different school for my husband’s chiropractic degree. We’re in too deep now, and can actually see the end in sight. It hasn’t been without a lot of heartache and frustration though. I have had to learn to let a lot of things go because there is no reasoning with irrational people.

Basically it has just been a very rough year for me. A lot of responsibility that I wouldn’t have otherwise had, has been put on my shoulders. Things have weighed on my pretty heavily and I started to get buried in a fog. I like to think I’m a nice, outgoing, and fun person. That person started to get hidden more and more, and I became crankier and crankier with my kids and husband. My doctor even said that stress was the number one reason I gained 45 lbs in the past year and a half. Gaining that weight didn’t help me feel too good either. For the first time ever, I wondered if maybe some antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medications would make me feel happier. Let me just say that I believe in trying natural methods first (proper diet and exercise, etc.), which I did to the best of my ability. 

Happy Pills: Can Antidepressants Make a Person Nice?

So, something I have pondered lately is whether or not antidepressants can make a person nice. In studying people (and myself), I think I have come to the acknowledgement, or awareness, that these types of medications can enhance the good that someone has within them. I think I believe that a nice person who may be clouded by depression, stress, anxiety, etc., may become nicer with the help of certain meds.

What I am wondering is whether or not these said meds can make a not-so nice person nice. What do you think? I’m sure we all have people in our lives that just aren’t so nice. Maybe they belittle you, talk rude or use a tone, yell, bully, or are just plain mean. Do you think antidepressants could make them nice? Are there enough meds in the world to help some of these people, or is it just part of their personality? Can people overcome meanness, with or without meds? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Seeking help for mental health issues is nothing to be ashamed about. 

About the author

Emily Buys

9 Comments

  • Most of the “mean people” in my life, I do believe are depressed or are suffering from some other mental illness. So yes, I think that medication (or at least therapy) would help them become less mean. While it can certainly be true for women as well, men in particular, tend to turn sadness, hopelessness, and other “weak” negative feelings into anger because they are unable to accept or cope with the “weaker” negative feelings. and when people are internally angry, they tend to become less patient, more grumpy and just “meaner” outwardly.

    I think it’s really rare for people to truly “just a mean person” – there’s an underlying cause of some kind or another and its usually stemming from being unhappy or having some type of internal battle going on.

  • Are you sure you and I were not separated at birth? We are so similar. I know you have been through a lot this year, but I also knew the very first moment I met you that you are a kind, caring, fun person. Antidepressants would help you see in yourself what others see of you, and if so, I say go for it. I too, have struggled with some depression, but in my case, the prescribed medication was not a good fit. I should probably look into it again, as my “funk” moods prevent me from bettering myself. If you do take something, be sure to research it well-the side effects, the the long term effects etc.

  • Anti-depressants are also called “mood elevators” for a reason. The right treatment can improve a person’s disposition and I believe they tend to become more considerate of others as a result. Is an anti-depressant going to make a mean person nice? No, the right treatment will balance the hormones of a depressed person and their overall mood will stabilize and improve. The hard part is working with a professional to find the right treatment. You have to communicate with your healthcare provider and follow up with them even if you are feeling much better with treatment of any kind. Having tried several different methods of treatment including prescription anti-depressants, natural supplements, and seeking alternative treatment using no medication or supplement at all (like I am doing now due to pregnancy)… I am a personal advocate of natural mood elevators such as St. John’s Wort, Sam-E or 5-HTP mood enhancer which I’ve had the most success with. I also don’t want to discount the power of counseling… there is always an underlying issue causing depression. Actually dealing with and getting to the bottom of that issue is the only way to ensure you won’t develop a pattern with depression or seasonal effective disorder. There is no wrong or right method of treating depression, the most important thing is recognizing the symptoms in yourself and knowing that there is no shame in admitting you don’t feel like yourself, and asking for help.

  • That is kind of a broad question . I like to believe that everyone has niceness in them deep down, but just because someone isn’t nice doesn’t mean they need anti-depressants to make them nice. Some people aren’t depressed or dealing with mental issues, but just aren’t very nice people – whether it be some of the time or all of the time. I am sure that means that there is probably an underlying problem, but “happy pills” won’t necessarily make everyone happy.[ On the flip side… When I met my fiance he was the nicest, easiest going guy I had EVER dated .. Until about 3 yrs into the relationship – He then started getting upset over little things and seemed to always be negative and nit picky . Granted, there were changes going on in his life,and I was understanding for as long as I could be. I finally sat down with him and gave him an ultimatum- dr’s visit or I was leaving . Naturally, it took a week or so ,and a couple other people telling him he was being a jerk in a couple different situations, for him to admit he was going through something that he needed help with – help I couldn’t give him.. He went to the dr and was put on anti depressants. I saw a change within 2-3 days – a wonderful, calmer change. After about a month or so of him being on meds he asked me if I noticed a difference [ I chose not to comment/compliment the change earlier on because that can be taken wrongly by someone in a sensitive state of mind] I gently told him how GREAT of a change I was seeing- He was genuinely NICE again. I knew he was a good person with a good heart, but he just needed help with keeping his head clear of whatever it was making him the way he was. All of us deal with depression so differently and the answer for one person isn’t always the same for another.

  • Depression, anxiety and emotional problems run strongly in my husband’s family. By nature, my husband is a pessimist (glass half empty) person. I, on the other hand am a realistic optimist. I roll with the punches and jump up and keep going! Within a period of less than 5 years, we dealt with the loss of a child, my near death, loss of a parent, each, loss of our church and church family and a job change! Then our daughter came along, who was and is a great blessing, but… Had colic for a few months and then constant ear infections that had her crying and not sleeping for 7 months! Then she had surgery, phew. My husband during the early months of my daughter started to get edgy and easily angered. We had an older cat who was developing senility and he seemed to get the brunt of my husband’s anger. After a few weeks of my husband having irrational putbursts, I wrote him a letter. In it, I basically gave him examples of what I had seen and told him either go to a doctor or get out! He did and was put on a medication for anxiety and I got my honey back. Three times in the last 13 years, he briefly took medicine; it was never long term. He seems to deal with stresses in his life a lot better, with prayer, meditation and exercise. But, he now knows that if he needs medicine then he goes back to his doctor. Because, when he was anxious, he did have a mean streak focused on our poor cat!

  • I have a few opinions on this subject. First off, I am like you in the fact that I am a strong person and I do fight for what I want or need for myself and family. And I do try natural things first and foremost. I also believe that this failing economy has more people than ever in the “state of depression” more so than before. Bring people, in general to there wits end. I too also fought the idea that I could possibly be depressed, to the point of fighting the doctors every step of the way.

    That being said, I also feel that not all depression is the same. not for the same reasons, emotional or chemically imbalanced, either by situations or environment. I can only comment from my own experiences.

    This is what I have found for myself. One, I have had several negative situations, trama, death, etc. happen in my life. I struggled thru them with my head held high. My current husband has told me, that the amount of pain and difficult situations I have gone through he is surprised at how I have turned out as a person, at how kind and loving and still forgiving, and trusting I can be. I take that as a compliment. Now that I have been able to deal with this much, I then start to develop medical problems. RA, Spinal cord issues, Fibromyalgia, Insomnia, Constant pain, cognitive dysfunction, just to name a few of my many medical issues, I have had so many more over the years, and it gets to the point that after years and years of several medical problems, stress of this is getting to me. I actually had one doctor say that stress is a cause of about 80% of all illnesses.

    I’m tired of “looking fine” as if nothing is wrong with me, and having to hide what I feel inside. At times wearing a smile as I am screaming and crying inside. I do not want to be seen as a weak victim because that is not who I am inside. I fight for the normal person that I once was, what ever that is any more these days.

    I know that I too snap at my husband and kids from time to time. But it is not because I care any less about them, in fact I care more and more about them. So I hold back as much as I can. But with the constant pain and suffering and battling my emotions every minute of everyday it bottles up and when, the straw that broke the camels back, something so tiny, can make me blow like a chimney stack, with so much wrath. I finally gave in and started to take medication, lots of them might I add. However, medications do not help me with everything and do not lessen my pain nor a lot of other symptoms. Yes, I have tried so many different ones to get relief, some do for a short amount of time, but then others will not, but either way, I am given a new set of side effects that I have to deal with. Which again does not relieve the stress, which is why I was here in the first place.

    So as far as being nicer with medication. I think it depends on the person, and their body being able to process the medication, and or the natural way of things too…

  • Thank you for sharing so much of your story Trayce! Having health issues can definitely weigh on a person and their mood. Stress is a huge part of my issues right now as well. I hope you are able to get to the bottom of it and find a way to cope with the regular stresses, and that it will in turn help the other health issues.

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