I am 4 yrs post treatment. The treatment itself wasnt too bad but the lasting side effects are horrid.
I suffer depression, sleeplessness, brain fog, low libido ( from antidepressants) poor memory and concentration. Extreme fatigue, no energy or motivation.
Any advice for natural ways to improve? primarily brain function?
This forum is for persons with concerns about hepatitis C. I am only responding regarding depression based on my own personal experience of having had major depression for many decades from which I no longer suffer from. I am not sure how many others here are experienced with major depression and the symptoms of the disease, as this forum is a resource for persons who want to know more about hepatitis C and liver disease not any other conditions or diseases. In fact you may want to post in the "Depression" community to get feedback on your symptoms.
Have you had a full medical workup to assure that you don't have any underlying conditions or diseases that could be causing these symptoms?
Whether your symptoms are side effects are from your treatment drugs…I will leave that to other to comment on... one thing I do know is that all your symptoms ARE typical symptoms of Major Depression. In fact all the symptoms you mention are mental/emotional symptoms. You don't mention any physical symptoms at all. You say you are taking antidepressants. Yet you have all the symptoms of major depression. It seems obvious to an outsider from the information you present, that the antidepressants you are taking are not working or not working enough to lift your depression.
How is your mood? Have you lost interest in other things you used to enjoy besides sex? Do you cry often or mostly feel numb inside? Do you have early morning waking and can't get back to sleep? Does your body feel heavy and do you get tired from simple physical tasks? Do ever have thoughts of death or suicide thinking it might relieve your pain?
All these are questions your psychiatrist should be asking you. If your current psychiatrist can't help you, look for one that will. Finding the right antidepressant for each individual is not always an easy task. I must have taken a dozen different antidepressant before I found one the worked and had minimal side effects. It took me almost 9 months of starting and stopping the drugs to find the one that worked for me. But I was a difficult case so your experience will probably be easier. But it was well worth all the effort and time to not feel all the emotional pain I was feeling.
So find a psychiatrist who you can work with who is knowledgeable and experienced treating depression in all it forms.
"Any advice for natural ways to improve? primarily brain function? ."
Natural can be a slippery concept, but, besides the things Hector has mentioned, I can suggest some things that seem to have worked for me (aprox. 9 years post-tx).
There is something called CoEnzyme Q10 that we absorb naturally from food until we hit our 40s, when our ability to absorb it declines. It is necessary for the proper functioning of the mitochondria of all our cells. The mitochondria of our liver cells are where we sustain a lot of the damage from HCV. I'm not promoting this as some cureall, but it's available over the counter and it certainly can't hurt to research it on your own.
The same goes for the Rx supplement CerefolinNAC, especially if you have been tested and show low vitamin B levels. The only FDA approved use for it is for dementia patients, so a doctor would have to prescribe it to you off-label. Basically, it's a fancy B vitamin compounded with n-acetylcysteine, another supplement that has been shown to protect the liver from toxins. Again, not promoting anything, just pointing at areas you might want to research.
I have also had the treatment, i thought it was going to kill me! Depression was one of my worst symptoms. though the physical symptoms were real bad. Did you suffer Depression before treatment? Hectors advice sounds like a good way to go
Judging from reading some posts from people who have finished treatments (in this forum and others) with interferon I can also report that I have noticed members who have suffered severe depression. It seemed as a result of treatment, often immediately following treatment, and sometimes long after treatment from peoples reports in posts
The OP in various threads has reported that they have been.....in the years following TX and about all of the AD's. To me this suggests that a number of doctors have been focusing on the OP's issues, but to no avail.
Not just my opinion........
I noticed that they just upgraded the warnings about interferon and psych disorders
I read once some time ago that a shrink with experience in treating chemotherapy/immunotherapy experienced clients was a benefit, since the patient's depression may a different cause from run-of-the-mill depression. I don't claim to know the answer but it may be worth looking down this avenue.
I think Hector has some good advice and he made some very good points.
If I were you, I would get a very good medical work-up to be sure there are no underlying medical diseases. I would also see a good psychiatrist to evaluate the symptomsyou have (all of which, as Hector said, are symptoms of depression).
I hope you follow through on trying to get to the bottom of your symptoms and I wish you the best..
I was relatively symptom free until my belly swelled up and I was diagnosed with decompensated cirrhosis and hep C.
Without a biopsy to show the state of your liver, you can not rely on how you 'felt' as an indicator of your health.
I was swimming, hiking, eating well, had a big organic garden, was painting with only a few menopausal symptoms.
As others here have pointed out, your symptoms could be many things, not at all related to your treatment.
Then again they maybe. Who knows?
Hormonal changes can cause depression too.
The point is, you go forward from here.
If you want to improve brain function, perhaps you should do some searching on that, or see an alternative doctor for suggestions of natural solutions.
PS: Just to be clear, I am not saying your symptoms are definitely from depression, which is why I think you should get a full medical work-up as well as a psychological evaluation. Your symptoms are pretty generalized. Several chronic diseases (as well as depression) could be causing your symptoms. Sometimes it just takes persistence to get to the true cause of ones symptoms.
(As a side note, some doctors tend to disregard generalized symptoms as nothing important. That is why you will need to be rather persistent and as specific as you can be when seeking treatment.)
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