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Table 1 Content categories and themes

From: ‘In my life antidepressants have been…’: a qualitative analysis of users’ diverse experiences with antidepressants

Content categories
N 1747
Positive experiences of antidepressants Negative experiences of antidepressants Mixed experiences of antidepressants
54 % (n 939) 16 % (n 273) 28 % (n 489)
Positive themes Example of coded data Negative themes Example of coded data Mixed themes Example of coded data
Necessary for disease treatment No different to a diabetic taking their insulin. Ineffective Useless despite trying several different kinds. Benefits vs side effects Very unfortunate side effects in terms of weight gain and sexual dysfunction which lead to me stopping the treatment despite its benefits for my mood and anger issues.
A life saver Antidepressants have been a lifeline, without them I would be dead. Unbearable side effects A major cost to my sex life Calmer but not myself Good at removing my anxiety and fear but it made me feel dead inside.
Meeting social obligations The medication I’m on is assisting me to function as an individual and to work and contribute to the community and society and to cope with things in my workplace. Loss of authenticity/Emotional numbing Feel alienated from myself and my emotions. Fear of dependence versus stopping medication Very useful but I am now too scared to come off them and constantly worry about long term effects of being on citalopram 20mg per day
Getting through difficult times Helpful for getting through a busy, tiring and stressful time in my life. Masks real problems A distraction that means I don’t address the real issue. Finding one that works Useless until I found the one that worked for me.
A stepping stone to further help Provided the ‘lift’ I’ve needed to get started with other things like CBT, regular exercise etc. Loss of control A sign of failing to cope.   
  1. Content category: Other 2 % (n 46)