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Depression After Spinal Cord Injury


Depression is a mood disorder. A mood is an emotion or a feeling. Moods affect your behavior and how you feel about yourself and life in general. Depression is a sad mood that you cannot control. Depression may be short-term or long-term, and it can be treated.



  • Antidepressants: These medicines are given to decrease or stop the symptoms of depression. They usually take several weeks to start working. You may need to take antidepressants for up to 1 year. If you have had more than 2 past episodes of major depression, you may need to use antidepressants longer. There are several different kinds of antidepressants available. It may take some time to find the one that works best for you.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Medicine monitoring:

Each time you meet with your healthcare providers, they will ask you about how you are feeling. Healthcare providers will watch how you respond to your medicines. Tell healthcare providers about side effects or problems you may be having with your medicine. Sometimes the kind and amount of medicine may have to be changed.

Follow up with your healthcare provider or psychiatrist as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.


During therapy, you will talk with healthcare providers about how to cope with your feelings and moods. This can be done alone or in a group. It may also be done with family members or a significant other.

For support and more information:

  • National Spinal Cord Injury Association
    1 Church Street, Suite 600
    Rockville , MD 20850
    Phone: 1- 800 - 962-9629
    Web Address:
  • National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Public Information & Communication Branch
    6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
    Bethesda , MD 20892-9663
    Phone: 1- 301 - 443-4513
    Phone: 1- 866 - 615-6464
    Web Address:

Contact your healthcare provider or psychiatrist if:

  • You cannot eat or you are eating more than usual.
  • You are not able to sleep well or you are sleeping more than usual.
  • You feel anxious, restless, angry, or you have a panic attack after starting antidepressant medicine.
  • You feel that you are becoming depressed again after starting antidepressant medicine.
  • You cannot make it to your next visit.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You are unable to cope with normal daily activities.
  • You think about killing yourself or someone else.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Depression After Spinal Cord Injury (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

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