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Anti-depressants..opinions?

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Anti-depressants..opinions?

Old 03-21-06, 11:06 AM
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Anti-depressants..opinions?

Been arguing with my family over these for a few years now and was looking for reactions from others.
They feel they're essential for people with a chemical imbalance to help them feel better but is it possible to accurately know if there is a "chemical imbalance?" I think they should ONLY be used as a last resort and only for a short time (not the rest of your life). Now, to be fair, I'm not talking about people with very real and serious mental illness.

I know this is a personal question so I implore everyone who responds to treat others with respect. It would be great if I could get some honest responses to this.
Old 03-21-06, 11:09 AM
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i would have to be really screwed up just to even think of using them. I would first look at exercise and diet changes which have been shown to have an effect on the hormones and chemicals that cause you to feel good or bad.

They can screw with your brain too. i know someone that has been on them for decades. idiot doctor tries to take that person off them cold turkey. result is hallucinations.
Old 03-21-06, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
i would have to be really screwed up just to even think of using them. I would first look at exercise and diet changes which have been shown to have an effect on the hormones and chemicals that cause you to feel good or bad.

They can screw with your brain too. i know someone that has been on them for decades. idiot doctor tries to take that person off them cold turkey. result is hallucinations.
I'd probably look at counseling before just making sure to eat more fruit or jogging.
Old 03-21-06, 11:32 AM
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I am actually on a form of anti-depressant. I take them because they supposedly keep migraines away. I told my doctor that I wasn't comfortable with A) taking an anti-depressant, and B) medicating for life. He told me as anti-depressants go, this one isn't even any good. Supposedly it is also soppose to make me tired. Hasn't done that either. But I do think it has done some good for my migraines, and otherwise I feel no different.

I think if a person has issues, and a doctor says give them a try, one should see if they do anything beneficial. But I also think most people today are depressed too easily.
Old 03-21-06, 11:38 AM
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That explains so much on how your posting style changed a few years back and how you became Christian Lite
Old 03-21-06, 11:43 AM
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I think people run to drugs too easily because they are an easy "out."

I tried an anti-anxiety medication last year because I was having panic attacks all the time. I wasn't on them for very long and was extremely hesitant when I started. I ended up stopping and feeling ok. About a month or two later, I took one pill (stupid, I know) because I knew I was going to have an extremely difficult day and wanted to avoid any attacks. I absolutely hated the way I felt. I felt drained. I was calm but I also felt a bit dead.

This issue is coming up with another family member now. It seems like almost everyone in my immediate family is jumping on the bandwagon and I absolutely hate that idea. It scares me that we're becoming a group of people (not just my family) who jump to the pill whenever we can't pull ourselves out of a rut. Plus, unless you can prove to me that there's something chemically wrong with me, I'd rather figure my shit out by myself.

I guess I'm just curious if anyone ever actually used them for a period of time and was able to get off of them safely and successfully.
Old 03-21-06, 11:51 AM
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After a winter of skirting suicide I'm going back into therapy, and probably back on the meds myself. Anti-depressants are marginally more effective than any other kind of treatment, but that's not saying much.

I just hope they don't even me out *too* much, because I'm going to need a full range of emotional depth this spring and summer: it's looking like the local Shakespeare festival wants me for the leads in Macbeth and Three Musketeers.

I understand your ambivelance about meds and certainly the "fix-everything- with-meds" culture growing up around them, and you're not wrong, but those are more "things to watch for" than reasons not to get help.

Last edited by adamblast; 03-21-06 at 11:53 AM.
Old 03-21-06, 11:54 AM
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when i was in the army in korea, i had a first sergeant that said that you will never find hapiness in a bottle, or something like that. Same thing with drugs. There are people with real chemical imbalances and other medical issues that are helped by these. But so many millions of people take these drugs, that I think most of them are simply trying to find hapiness by taking drugs.
Old 03-21-06, 11:54 AM
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It is (or was, when I was more plugged into psychopharmacology) possible to test for a chemical imbalance. It was (is?) a urine test. The results of the testing suggest the treatment and the dosage is modified as needed by self-report and clinical observation. I would also say that most psychiatrists see anti-depressants as a long-term solution, at least over the course of years, not months. But individuals certainly should have input and should take responsibility for providing informed consent, if they are capable.

As far as discontinuing anti-depressant treatment, it's best to stop taking meds with the advice and assistance of the psychiatrist, as quitting cold turkey can sometimes have severe side-effects. And as you've mentioned, the severity of the depression has to be taken into account.

Finally a quick personal comment. Even if the piss test says there is a chemical imbalance, there is still a strong element of faith that goes into accepting those results. For example, if one doesn't feel psychologically depressed, but tests as chemically depressed, does one still agree to go on meds?
Old 03-21-06, 12:01 PM
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Another observation. Some patients on anti-depressants report feeling less depressed, more optimistic, motivated, energetic, positive, etc. Others say they don't feel any differently AT ALL, yet the people around them (familiy, friends, therapists) assure them that they are acting differently (better). It really does, sometimes, take quite a bit of faith to stay the course of treatment.

And I completely empathize with the innate aversion to taking drugs that aren't perceived as "necessary". That makes it even harder.
Old 03-21-06, 12:06 PM
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I usually try and not post personal info on here, but I figured this might help some people. I think there is a strong stigma in our society against getting help and treatment from medication. I used to feel the same thing. I thought anti-depressants were a last chance to save yourself and nothing else. Like kvrdave however, I have had a change of opinion, and I do not think they are scary drugs that should be avoided at all cost. You should have an open mind and see a psychiatrist about it.

After having some trouble focusing at work when my boss went offsite fulltime, I decided to see what the pyschologist thought. It was clear I had ADHD but also mild social anxiety and depresssion. So I went on an anti-depressant called Effexor (along with Strattera). All I can say is I am very grateful Effexor exists, as it has helped me significantly. The straterra I'm less convinced and maybe discontinue usage. I'm not sure if I'll quit taking Effexor anytime soon, but I imagine eventually. Quitting cold turkey for it is the worst thing you can do, at least for Effexor.
Old 03-21-06, 12:08 PM
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Well. I take an anti-depressant AND an anxiolytic daily, and while I agree that there is no "magic pill" that can make all your problems disappear, for someone who has bona fide medical problems, these medications are a godsend.

I would also like to state that exercising and diet are important even if you ARE taking these meds. Swallowing a pill isn't enough. You have to take care of yourself in entirety. Even though the pills help, if I don't exercise and eat right, the depression and anxiety will reassert themselves.

Last edited by Vibiana; 03-21-06 at 03:29 PM.
Old 03-21-06, 12:10 PM
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Saying taking anti-depressants is a cop out is like saying going to the ER when you have an axe wound is a cop out. Or getting bedrest when you've got the flu is a cop-out. It's pure nonsense and completely irresponsible to make such a blanket statement.

The sad truth is that not only are some people over-medicated, but there is no one good anti-depressant. For lack of a better analogy, it's like making chili. You add some ingredients here and there to replace what's missing, but it's hit-or-miss. Some work great for people, others don't. Many have very bad side effects.

For anyone seriously considering medication, I'd also look into therapy, holistic approaches, changes in diet, exercise, sleep, etc.
Old 03-21-06, 12:10 PM
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But say these drugs do change a person and make them happier/more relaxed, etc. It just really irks me that someone took those drugs to get that feeling and they didn't fix whatever was wrong with their life to get there on their own. I went through a VERY dark period in my life about a year ago. That's when I took them for a short period of time. I just hated the idea of being on them forever. Depression runs in my family, so I'm told. I have 5 immediate family members that are/were on them and I honestly don't want to become the next should it come to that. I think they all took/are taking them because they feel it's easier to run away from their problems/fears than to actually deal with them. From personal experience, I can honestly say that over the last year, I have made ENORMOUS strides in making my life infinitely better. I'm not saying it's perfect-- far from it. I have to work at helping to stay at the same level that I was at the day before. But I can at least say that I did it on my own and that is a far greater accomplisment to me than relying on any drug.
Old 03-21-06, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
After having some trouble focusing at work when my boss went offsite fulltime, I decided to see what the pyschologist thought. It was clear I had ADHD but also mild social anxiety and depresssion. So I went on an anti-depressant called Effexor (along with Strattera). All I can say is I am very grateful Effexor exists, as it has helped me significantly. The straterra I'm less convinced and maybe discontinue usage. I'm not sure if I'll quit taking Effexor anytime soon, but I imagine eventually. Quitting cold turkey for it is the worst thing you can do, at least for Effexor.
Effexor is what I was on. And I quit cold turkey.
Old 03-21-06, 12:17 PM
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I've taken Paxil for years, and it's made a huge difference in my life. It's no more of a crutch for me than insulin is for a diabetic.
Old 03-21-06, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Effexor is what I was on. And I quit cold turkey.
That's not a great idea. It has very strong withdrawal effects. You should quit it gradually. It's also not something you take all of a sudden and expect it to start working immediately. It takes a good week before you actually see any benefits. If anything, it will make you feel worse if you take one, the first day you will get negative side effects.
Old 03-21-06, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
I've taken Paxil for years, and it's made a huge difference in my life. It's no more of a crutch for me than insulin is for a diabetic.
Do you see any signs of getting off of it?

I guess for some reason that's ok with some people. For me, I see it as extremely unhealthy. I don't want to be dependent upon ANY substance in my life unless it's medically diagnosed and can be proved.
Old 03-21-06, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Gallant Pig
That's not a great idea. It has very strong withdrawal effects. You should quit it gradually. It's also not something you take all of a sudden and expect it to start working immediately. It takes a good week before you actually see any benefits. If anything, it will make you feel worse if you take one, the first day you will get negative side effects.
I took it for about 3 months I believe. I did see results. But again, I want to reach that point myself...not because some drug made me feel it.

I felt a helluva lot more alive once I got off of it. Like i said, taking it one day reminded me of how i felt when I got off of it and said "never again." I threw out the bottle when I got home.
Old 03-21-06, 12:26 PM
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Personally, I'm on them and I'm sick of idiots who don't understanding talking about how easy it is to just go to therapy or just start thinking happier thoughts and whatever other bullshit it is they come up with to feel better about themselves.

Try living with this shit your whole life and maybe you'd understand.
Old 03-21-06, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by WildcatLH
Personally, I'm on them and I'm sick of idiots who don't understanding talking about how easy it is to just go to therapy or just start thinking happier thoughts and whatever other bullshit it is they come up with to feel better about themselves.

Try living with this shit your whole life and maybe you'd understand.
Please try reading my first post.

Let's not get into name calling or overly-emotional posts.

I have lived with it my whole life. So don't judge.

Besides...more posts like that and we'll have to call your Dr. and have him up your dosage.
Old 03-21-06, 12:28 PM
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Yeah, you have to really be careful coming off psychotropic meds...If you think you had panic attacks before, sometimes coming straight off can lead to the mother of all panic attacks and worse. I have always suffered from GAD, even has Panic attacks for a while. Tried Paxil for a spell, but the sexual side effects were just to much for me, and I didnt want to be on medications. I was able to make a lot of changes in my life, but the anxiety is still there, I just have control over it. Unfortunately thats not possible for everyone. These disorders vary so wildly for people that there is no one size fits all approach. I deal with people who have varying disorders (in fact everyone I work with is dually diagnosed so its even worse for them) and it can be very difficult to try and find the right combo of drugs, therapy, and behavorial treatments that are effective
Old 03-21-06, 12:31 PM
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Whatever. Then you've lived with it your whole life. It's likely not too bad, otherwise you wouldn't be saying this. I know I have a chemical imbalance. My life is damn good. I make spectacular money. I'm married to a beautiful woman who couldn't be any better. And I still get panic attacks, anxiety, and I'm depressed all the time. Therapy alone has never cut it for me.

And when posts are so blatantly ignorant that it's obvious that the author has no idea what he's talking about and doesn't care to learn it, there's not much else I can do than the name calling, although I don't consider what I said name-calling.
Old 03-21-06, 12:34 PM
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Anyway...moving on.

Again, I welcome anyone with intelligent posts and opinions that can check their emotions at the door.
Old 03-21-06, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
So don't judge.
I just love when you post this.

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