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Dealing with an embarrassing side-effect

“You may experience an increase in sweating”

My psychiatrist warned me before changing my anti-depressants. I’m going to be honest, I internally scoffed. Even if my sweating increases, that won’t be a major problem, right? I thought to myself.

Oh, how wrong I was. I’m writing this over 18 months after that appointment. My sweating did in fact increase, and I was extremely unprepared for the effect that would have on my life.

But even worse than that, as I finally had got some sense of control over the sweating, my psychiatrist increased the dose again (for actual mental health reasons).

And I fell into the same trap again! Once again I internally scoffed, but this time it was more of a scoff about how it could possibly increase. It had already wreaked havoc on my life, there’s no possible way it could increase more. But it did and once again I was back at the point where the sweating was practically dictating my life.

It took me a long time to figure out how to deal with it and that time was filled with embarrassment, shame, and isolation. I didn’t want to go anywhere just in case. But I couldn’t escape it, the night sweats were probably the worst. And you can’t stop sweating - except by maybe getting Botox in your sweat glands but there’s honestly too many sweat glands for that and ouch the thoughts. So, I had to completely rearrange the way I approached life and that wasn’t easy.

What worked?

1. Bringing extra clothes with me

Whenever I went anywhere where I knew I’d be doing a lot or even a moderate amount of walking, I’d bring spare clothes. If I didn’t know I’d bring them anyway. Even if I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any exercise I’d still bring socks, underwear, and a t-shirt just in case.

2. Buying different types of clothes

To be honest, I’ve found advantages and disadvantages for every type of material. Cotton is usually recommended for sweating, and it is nice for very loose clothing, but it also absorbs moisture so can start to feel disgusting if you can’t change. Polyester and nylon don’t absorb moisture so they can be better choices for non-loose clothes, but they can sometimes pool the sweat if excessive. I haven’t found a concrete solution for this, I just wear loose clothing and bring a change of clothes pretty much wherever I go.

3. A New Deodorant

An obvious help can be to have more showers but that’s not always feasible when you have depression. A better option is to switch deodorant and my advice is: Switch to a cream. I was super apprehensive, but I wish I’d done it sooner. It has made the BIGGEST difference out of everything on this list.

4. Changing the Way I deal with Bedsheets & covers

This is a tough one because when you’re in a bad place with depression, as I definitely have been, it’s hard to deal with night sweats but you can get them. I always use a mattress protector so if I wake up in the middle of the night in sweats I can just throw the sheet away and go back to sleep. It’s a tough one though and to be honest I don’t really have a solution just change them when you’re able to and keep a blanket on hand for when you can’t.

I don’t know how many people are really affected by this, but I’ve been told it’s common. When I bring it up to people I know have depression, I’ve had many of them say their antidepressants have caused some increase in sweating too. I hope it can help someone because I remember feeling so lost and ashamed about it. But to end on a medium note, it can be managed. I finally have more control over things now and can actually go about my life.


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