Depression is a common and treatable mental health condition that might affect your ability to work, socialize, and enjoy your hobbies. Some common treatments for depression that a mental health professional might recommend are antidepressants, talk therapy, and self-care.
If you’re about to buy medication for depression, you might wonder how much antidepressants cost.
Generic antidepressants are the cheapest and cost up to $98 for a 30-day dosage.
Brand-name antidepressants, on the other hand, are more expensive and can cost up to $1900 for a 30-day dosage.
Without insurance, it might be challenging to afford medication for depression, especially if you need them for an extended time. In addition to the cost of antidepressants, depression also carries other costs. These include medical expenses such as doctor visits or hospital stays.
Let’s take a closer look at the cost of antidepressants and other costs of depression.
What Do Antidepressants Cost Without Insurance?
Several factors influence the cost of antidepressants. These include:
- Active ingredients
- How they work
- Exact dosage
- Brand name vs generic
If you don’t have insurance, buying medications from your local pharmacy is much cheaper than buying them from large chain stores.
Despite being cheaper than brand-name antidepressants, generic antidepressants have the same active ingredients and are just as effective.
Let’s look at the differences in costs between generic and brand-name medications without insurance:
Average Cost for 30-day Supply
Average Cost for 30-day Supply
Sertraline 50 mg
Fluoxetine 20 mg
The prices of these antidepressants may vary depending on your location and the seller. Insurance helps to reduce the cost of these drugs, and though insurance plans vary, most include antidepressants.
However, you may find that some plans exclude brand-name drugs, certain types of antidepressants, and some dosing regimens.
Ensure that you familiarize yourself with your policy’s coverage and copays to avoid surprises regarding the cost of antidepressants. Even with insurance, you might incur some out-of-pocket costs due to copays and deductibles.
Other Costs Of Depression
Aside from medications, most individuals spend significant time and money managing anxiety and depression.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, major depressive disorder cost US adults an estimated $236 billion in 2018.
Most of these costs were influenced by:
- Direct costs such as medical services
- Workplace costs due to absenteeism and low productivity
- Suicide related costs
- Finding relief from mood-related symptoms
Below are some of the other costs of depression.
Therapy is one of the most common ways to manage and treat depression. The cost of therapy is greatly affected by your therapist’s training and specialization, length of sessions, insurance status, and location.
On average, therapy without insurance costs anywhere between $100 and $200 per hour.
Some people begin to see results after 15 to 20 therapy sessions. However, most people take longer to see meaningful improvement and require 20 to 30 sessions.
If your sessions are covered by insurance, you might only be responsible for copays.
Physical activity helps lower stress levels and boosts your feel-good endorphins, and managing stress is one of the techniques for coping with depression.
Most forms of exercise, such as jogging, running, and walking, are free. You can even find free or low-cost at-home exercise routines and tutorials online. However, if you go for a gym membership, expect to pay an average of $50 per month.
Budget gym memberships cost about $20 per month, while high-end gyms charge about $77 per month.
Dietary supplements are adjunctive treatments for depression. This means that they are most effective if you take them alongside medication and therapy.
Common supplements for depression include omega-3 fatty acids, St. John’s wort, SAMe, and B vitamins like folate and vitamin B12.
The cost of these supplements varies depending on the brand, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 per month for a bottle.
It is best to get a prescription for supplements from a doctor if you’re taking antidepressants. This helps to ensure that they don’t interact with your medication in a potentially harmful way. Also, some supplements may worsen some symptoms, so getting a prescription ensures you get the right supplement.
Individuals with depression are more likely to visit the doctor than non-depressed individuals. Depression increases the risk for chronic medical disorders and may worsen some existing medical conditions.
A study found that patients with major depression are likely to incur 50% to 100% more medical costs than non-depressed people. The cost of medical care varies depending on your insurance and the type of care you get.
There are lots of indirect costs related to depression. One of the highest indirect costs of depression is low wages due to absenteeism, low productivity, and job turnover. People with depression are also more likely to lose their jobs due to poor performance or absenteeism, leading to financial loss.
Other indirect costs of depression include drug side effects, increased risk for accidents, missed opportunities such as college admissions, and social isolation from friends and family. These costs can take a toll on one’s quality of life but can be mitigated through treatment, therapy, support groups, and lifestyle changes.
5 Tips For Lowering The Costs Of Depression
If you’re struggling to afford treatment for depression, below are some ways to reduce the cost.
- The best way to reduce the cost of depression is to have insurance. Insurance coverage varies depending on your plan, but it can cover all or part of the cost of treatment. When choosing therapists, choose one that’s covered by your plan.
- If you don’t have insurance, check if your doctor prescribes brand-name drugs. As mentioned earlier, these can be much more expensive than generics. In most cases, these brand-name drugs do not differ from generic ones. Ask your doctor if generics are an option to treat your symptoms.
- You can also lower the cost of therapy by asking your doctor about community clinics and counseling centers that offer lower-cost treatment options. Alternatively, you can join a support group to get emotional and moral support which is often free or low cost.
- Many mental health care providers offer sliding scale fees based on income. You might also qualify for discounts if you pay in cash, use a credit card with rewards, or apply for state and local programs that provide funds to pay for mental health care.
- Finally, online therapy is a great way to reduce the cost of treatment for depression. Many online therapy providers offer various payment options, including pay-as-you-go or subscription plans that let you access counseling at a fraction of the cost. Ensure you get the right specialist with the right license to realize the full benefits of online therapy.
Where To Get Antidepressants Without Insurance?
If you don’t have insurance, don’t skip your antidepressants for fear of high costs. Here are some ways to get antidepressants without insurance.
First, ask your doctor for samples. Many pharmaceutical companies provide free samples of their products to healthcare providers and low-income individuals. Your doctor can give you a few weeks’ worth of medication before you find another way to pay for it.
Patient Assistance Programs
Ask your healthcare provider about patient assistance programs (PAPs). These are programs offered by pharmaceutical companies to help low-income individuals get access to medication. You may have to fill out an application and provide some information about your financial situation, but it’s worth it for the savings.
Alternatively, you can sign up for Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA), a free service connecting patients to more than 475 public and private patient assistance programs. You can search for programs that provide discounts or free medications for people who qualify for them.
Prescription Discount Cards
Another way to get antidepressants without insurance is by signing up for prescription discount cards. These are cards offered by pharmacies and drug manufacturers to help individuals save money on their medications. Many of these cards offer discounts of up to 85% on brand-name and generic drugs.
Finally, you can purchase antidepressants at a discount from online pharmacies like GoodRx or Blink Health. These sites offer discounts on generic medications to save money on prescriptions without insurance. FDA warns against buying medications online, so ensure you only buy from licensed sources.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it worth getting antidepressants?
Although every individual is different, getting antidepressants can relieve long-term symptoms of depression and improve quality of life.
Discussing your symptoms with your healthcare provider helps them prescribe the best treatment for depression.
Are antidepressants expensive without insurance?
Yes, brand-name medications can be costly without insurance. However, there are ways to get discounts, such as asking your healthcare provider for samples or applying for patient assistance programs. You can also sign up for prescription discount cards or purchase from online pharmacies at a discounted price.
What are the side effects of antidepressants?
The most common side effects of antidepressant medications include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, and sexual problems. Most people feel that the benefits of these medications outweigh their side effects.
In extreme cases, antidepressants can cause serious mental health issues like suicidal thoughts. If you experience side effects, discuss adjusting or discontinuing the medication with your doctor.
How long does it take for antidepressants to work?
The time it takes for an antidepressant to start working may vary from person to person. Typically, most people will feel the effects within 2-6 weeks. It’s essential to take your medication as prescribed to realize the benefits.
Can I get antidepressants over the counter?
You require a prescription for all antidepressant medications from your doctor, and it is illegal to buy or sell these medications without a prescription in the U.S.
There are many costs associated with depression, and medication is one of the major ones. Getting antidepressants without insurance is quite expensive.
If you don’t have insurance and are struggling to get access to antidepressants, Enhance Health can help. We provide unbiased advice and can help you find the best health plan suited to your needs.