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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been dealing with depression and anxiety symptoms for 3 years now, and have been in therapy for several of those years. I have tried many things in order to avoid antidepressents, including many herbal and supplemental remedies. I have a good vegan diet, and I do exercise, although probably not enough (I'm working on that). So far, nothing has helped my anxiety and depression, and I have been seriously considering taking the plunge into medication. I have fought hard to not be on anything, although many doctors have strongly recommended it.

So, what I want is some experiences with antidepressents, good and bad. I want to make the right decision for my health, and taking the medication route seems my last resort. Also, how long should I anticipate being on meds?

Thank you in advance
 

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I don't take them, but am surrounded by people who do. I feel like everyone's councelor at times. Here are my observations.

As in my other post, I strongly believe that there are people who do need them, but as a society we have too many people on them. I'm not a doctor, nor am I you, so I can't decide if *you* are one of the people who need them.

I admit I don't believe in the herbal remedies for depression, so I won't be suggesting them
There are others here that can do that, instead.

Have you tried volunteering? I had a councelor once who recommended that depressed/anxious people should be forced to volunteer before they were given medicine. Habitat for Humanity, a women's shelter or the food bank are ones she suggested.

It takes up to 6 weeks before you really notice a difference with the meds. Doctors often give you 6 months on them to see if they make a difference. Then they talk to you and decide what you should do.

I know people who have been on them for 3+ years. Often, once you come off the pills, it goes back to how it was.

There are a number of side effects to anti-depressants. Sexual side effects are the largest and most common problem. Depending on your sex drive before and after the pills, some people no long feel "themselves" as if a limb had been cut off. But if you're single, not having a sex drive might be a good thing
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I certainly agree that antidepressents are very overly prescribed. That's mainly where my reservations come from, that and also the failure I feel from not being able to take care of it myself.

I am aware of the general side effects. I really have an interest in how people do after getting off of medication. Like you mentioned kristadb, some feel just as they did before. I hope this isn't always the case, or there would be no point in me taking them at all.

Thanks for the post
 

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well, i have heard yoag can really help in matters of the mind. as far as exercise--you say you do--really keep up on that one. as far as antidepressants and docs go i would be very careful. now i am a huge cynic with regard to the medical community so know that when i give my opinion. i am fairly well versed in a wide variety of mental illnesses and psychotropic medications. doctors get kickbacks from the pharmaceutical communities when they give scripts for the companys drug. your doctor is likely not well read on matters of a specific nature, but has a broad base of knowledge in general health matters. this is why we have specialists. i would advise going to a psychiatrist if you are thinking of taking an antidepressant. at least then you will be dealing with someone who "in theory" will have more recent knowledge of the latest meds available. docs do not often times look at the whole picture of an individuals case and will prescribe without even thinking about which med will best suit the individual, not to say that psychiatrists do not do this but at least you will have a better chance, in my opinion. i have worked with some dumhead psychiatrists tho so even there i would be careful. certain meds are contraindicated for some individuals, some work better for women, some for men and on and on and on. the physician really needs to look at a wide variety of factors before deciding on a specific medication in order for the patient to get the most benefit. done rambling now i suppose, yet i could go on!!
 

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missleigh,

I'm not on any meds, but my mom is. When she goes off the meds she is okay one day (actually, very, very good), but the next day (and any days thereafter) she is worse than she was pre-meds. She may never go off them.

But she has a very large dosage, so depending on each individual it could be different. For example, a good friend of mine was on meds for about 4 years at the end of and just out of high school. It's been at least three years since she was off them, and she does just fine. She fully believes that she wouldn't have made it through her dark period without the meds, but she no longer needs them. She feels she is much better off having been on them.

I don't know if these two divergent second-hand accounts help or just make it harder to decide.
Like Krista, I don't believe in herbal remedies for depression. If it ends up you need meds, then you need real meds. (My opinion only). I do think it's wise that you've been exercising and eating well, etc.. since that helps a lot of people. I also think you're doing the right thing by thinking this through thoroughly... anti-d's are over prescribed, but there are some people who really need them to function (my mom is the one who convinced me of this. She wouldn't be alive without them.)

Good luck... I hope that whatever you choose is the right thing for you.
 

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I was on Prozac a few years ago. It was nice at first since I couldn't feel much of anything - not happy, not sad. I just felt nothing. I'm an emotional person though and this really started to bother me. Also, it wiped out my sex drive completely (very bizarre feeling actually!). I decided medication wasn't the route for me and stopped taking it. Different things work for different people I guess, but after spending nearly my entire life with all these emotional "problems," I just decided I'd face myself. This sounds absolutely wacky, I know, but I was watching Dr. Phil when he was on Oprah and he said something like "depression is forgetting who you are." I began doing a lot of soul-searching after that, and then one day I realized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
smedley,

I have been doing yoga and meditation for several years now because I try to do everything I can to help my situation. (Thanks for the advice) I am fully aware that doctors get kick backs from pharmaceutical companies (a deplorable practice!) I am hoping to avoid that by going to a clinic for 1st year resident psychiatrists, and have that psychiatrist be in constant contact with my current therapist. I'm only guessing that there are no kick backs for psychiatrist students. (They will be fully supervised by a liscensed psychiatrist)

Mskedi , yes, several different outcomes do help me in my decision! I need more stories. keep 'em coming, people.
 

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I'm on BuSpar, an anxiety medication. (non addictive, not in the same class at Xanax, etc) I did everything imaginable to avoid medication, but in the end, I needed it so I gave in. It has helped me tremendously. I went from having a few bad panic attacks everyday and extreme anxiety 24/7 to being fine. A bit tired, but otherwise normal. My biggest worry is that the med will change me, but I know that it hasn't. For me, I needed something to help me get through the worst of the anxiety... I do not plan on taking it long term (it's been maybe half a year or so now). I'm still working on changing things in my life that I know I need to change to better myself (we moved, going back to college, etc). I've stopped the medication a few times, but decided to go back on it and stay on it until I'm entirely ready. I've gone 4 days off it and felt perfect, but then had a bad day (stress wise) and decided to stick it out a bit longer. I see it as a temporary crutch to help me *while* I'm helping myself. I don't expect it to solve my problems itself


The only adverse affects I've had from the Buspar is a slight increase in appetite (which isn't a bad thing for me, I wasn't eating more than a meal or so a day when I got on it), and a need for a decent nights sleep.
 

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yes all sorts of deplorable!!! a student is probably a great bet--they are young and fresh and hold a certain amount of naivete regarding their profession. oh the promise of helping people--until they realize after a few years what a nasty tangled mess it all really is. burnout and paperwork and on and on and on. a student will be more on the top of their game than a seasoned psych--my opinion of course.
 

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I aked my doctor about the kickback thing, and she said that is an American thing, not Canadian. Just FYI for non-Americans. Ask your doctor about it, as it maybe different.

I remember hearing Dr. Phil say that about depression. Those few words exactly sum it up. People who are depressed often say they don't feel like themselves. They have lost who they are. You're looking in the mirror and you know how you should feel but don't know why you don't feel it.
 

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i've read that paxil and prozac can cause withdrawal symptoms. it's something they are just now noticing in patients, since the drugs have now been around long enough to tell those things. i'd be careful and do more research first.
 

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I take Lexapro for depression and Xanax for anxiety.

I experienced negative side effects (dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite) for the first week with the Lexapro, but that tapered off. Definitely, I feel worse when I miss it than I did before I started taking it...for example, if I procrastinate on getting my refill and have to do without for a day or two, those days are pretty rough.

But, it helps. I tried a lot of different techniques before I finally agreed to try medication, and I can honestly say that I need the assistance in keeping my chemicals in balance. I was very afraid of being chained to a pill bottle for the rest of my life, but I try to think positively and believe that, with advances in medical science, someday a daily dose may not be necessary.

As for the Xanax, the addictiveness of it makes me a little nervous, but it does help. I didn't realize how anxious I really was until it was helped by the Xanax. I don't end up lying awake, staring at my ceiling with my heart pounding when I'm supposed to be sleeping anymore, and that in of itself makes the daily pill worthwhile.

So all in all, my experiences with these medications have been positive.

I can also say that I've taken Prozac and Celexa, neither of which were a good fit for me. The Prozac made me ill from the very beginning, and for the duration of the time I took it (six months), I had daily stomach troubles and serious headaches. The Celexa didn't cause any negative side effects, but it might as well have been a sugar pill for all the good it did me.

I definitely believe that these medications are over-prescribed, but I feel that I took steps to ensure that I did everything I could before I accepted the prescription. Also, I received my prescriptions from my primary physician, whom I trust very much.

In any event, good luck to you!
 

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Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft (the old school A-D) are powerful and have been known to cause severe withdrawl issues. Some of the problems with them has been because the patient decided to stop taking them, without easing themselves off them.
 

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I don't believe that antidepressants are for everyone, but I know that if you are diagnosed as clinically depressed, then more than likely, medications is the best answer for you. Six years ago I was diagnosed as Clinically depressed and have been on Effexor (a high dosage) since. Before my doctor and I decided on this specific medication, I tried out low dosages of several different kinds for a couple of weeks each and nothing felt right until he tried me on Effexor. It felt right and we worked with the correct dosage until we agreed on my current dosage. If I should ever decide to come off it, it will take approximately 6 months to a year. I doubt that I will be coming off it until the day comes that I'm able to cope on medication with a tragedy that happened years ago within my family. Until that day comes, I will always be medicated. I think that if medication is a way to save your life, then by all means take the medication. If it isnt severe enough for medication, then try all options available to you.
 

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i've taken zoloft and prozac and they were ok. i'm now on lexapro and it seems to be as good as prozac. i also take xanax but not as much as prescribed (2 mgs daily)but my dr is aware of this in fact i sometimes skip it altogether. i am "mildly" bi-polar and wondered what was wrong with me for years before i finally went the medication route. ADs are ok as long as you know what you're getting into and what you're getting away from (if that makes sense). xanax on the other hand....you need to be careful with that. i only take 1/2 to 1/4 of the prescribed dosage (1/2 mg to 1 mg) when i notice that i'm not sleeping and wanting to alphabetize the kitchen cabinets at 3 in the morning (NOT a good sign for me) then i'll take it and get the sleep necessary to hold off a manic episode. but this is my .02 only
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thank you guys for all of the responses, it is just the type of information I am looking for. Although my anxiety causes me more trouble in daily life than my depression (dysthymia) I do not think I want to take xanax on a regular basis because of the strong addictiveness of it. I have an addictive personality, and addictions run in my family, so I'm hoping I can look into something like Buspar short term and work closely with my therapist.

I'm pretty scared about beginning medication, but then again, with an anxiety disorder, I'm pretty much scared of everything.


Thanks again for sharing your experiences.
 

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missleigh-

I was terrified of taking medication of any kind (thanks to my anxiety disorder! and my mom never giving us anything other than tylenol- for everything-) The first week or so of the Buspar was rough, but that was definetly because I was so bad off already with the constant panic and anxiety that taking a strange pill that I didn't know how I'd react to freaked me out. Once I was able to just relax and let it do its thing, it was a lifesaver.

It's incredible what a difference it makes in your life not to have to be afraid of everything! I honestly thought it was perfectly normal since my entire family is the same way and that's all I've ever known. Now that I'm "normal" it drives me nuts that my family aren't the least bit interested in bettering themselves in any way and are content living like that. I couldn't do it.


Anyway, good luck!
 

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effexor...........saved my life. I was at the edge and I didnt realize it till some friends here on the board convinced me to go to couselling. Its the best thing Ive ever done. I feel like me again,and more important.........I like me.
 
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