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Depression after treatment of Hep C
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Depression after treatment of Hep C

I was treated for Hep c (48 weeks) with ribavirin/peg and used zoloft for .5 of the treatment. I am virus free for almost 3 years. I was a mess 2-3 months after the treatment and was bouncing off the walls, my docror was a little worried and asked me to take Xanex. The first 6 months i used it 3 timnes a week but have been on .5mg a day every day since. I can get off when i want but feel like **** when i do. I exercise regularly and take care of myself. I never stopped working in a very stressful job (one of the owners)and never missed a day while on treatment. I used to be happy and could get through anything before the treatment but now i have many more down days than up.
Is there another way to fight the ups and downs and depression? Do i have a chemical imbalance since the treatment? Should i try Zoloft again? Is there a homeopathic way to stop feeling so lousy?
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Avatar_n_tn
Chemical imbalanes and depression can happen for many reasons.  Before, during and after tx.  Why not take zoloft if it worked for you back then?  There are also newer versions of anti-depressants out there that might work better for you.  Of course, there are people here who will recommend SamE (something like that) and other herbals and supplements.  Also yoga or meditation.  More holistic advice.  But personally, I go for the drugs.  I am post tx, but still with the virus.  When dosed well, they seem to work best for me.
Good luck.
Henry
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Avatar_n_tn

i SUFFERED A MAJOR DEPRESSION  one year after treatment with combo/  interferon- Ribaviran. I had never suffered with any type of major depression before this depression hit me.   My HMO med doc put me on zoloft which made me worse , then switched me to Paxel which didnt help i tried several others before becoming suicidal  , i was admitted to a psyc ward after i  became manic.
Finally  i came out of it and have been ok now for 4 years with no depression. I was a non responder and  a 1a.  My recent Biopsy tells me im at stage 3 and im thinking of tx again but im much more afraid of the depression then the sides.  My gastro says people who have had a depression episode on tx have a greater chance of another major depression.  I hate to wait around for another less toxic drug like  vertex`s vx950 or one of intermunes new drugs  while my liver rots away. I like this forum many wellspoken knowledgeable posters here,
MIKE C
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Avatar_n_tn
Seeing your HMO doc might have been the beginning of your problem.  Would you go to him if you had heart problems?  No, he would have referred you to a cardiologist.  Your HMO doc was careless, he should have sent you to a psychiatrist for meds, a specialist in mental problem.  I mean, if you had cancer, would he prescribe your chemotherapy?  Most general practitioners know little about mental illnesses and they too readily respond with the latest anti-depressant.  Instead, he should have referred you to a good shrink.  I'm sorry that you had such a bad experience, it must have been terrible.  I'm glad to hear you are better now.  If you do go back on tx you should seek out psychiatrist who has had experience in dealing with people on tx, somebody who can consistantly monitor your mind and change your meds when needed.  Good luck.
Henry
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Avatar_n_tn
It may not be possible to know with certainty what the source of your depression might be. If you consume large amounts of caffeine, you may wish to get off of it for several weeks and see if it makes a difference for you.

I agree that a psychiatrist is the best doctor to monitor anti-depression medicines, that is the bulk of their business and what they are most expert at.

Forget homeopathic anything. By definition, there is no active ingredient of any kind in a homeopathic concoction unless it was accidentally contaminated, therefore absolutely useless as a medicine.

It might take a shrink to sort out anxiety/depression issues to help you, but that is what they are they are there for. Sometimes it is easy, sometimes it takes many, many moons to stabilize. BTDT, so hang in there!  -Michael
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Avatar_n_tn
I cl'd just over 3 yrs ago.  I 1st posted here about post-tx depression and 'fatboy' amswered!  ha ha I guess my memory is improving.

Actually, I feel better all the time.  Life has not been kind b/I've been better able to handle what it throws @ me now.  I'm a little less edgy or anxious, a little less angry.  I'm enjoying life more and am a little more joyful.

Only from a vantage of a few yrs, can I begin to see how very sick I was, how I was gradually slippin' to death and almost didn't make it back.

I took myself off all my supplements for a few months to see what I really needed and didn't.  Contray to Mr T, I did find that certain ones helped my skin and joints and if I'm feelin' n lookin' good, my mood sure elevtes.

I still drink gallons of green tea-just not daily.  Caffine is not your friend.  ditto dairy and transfats and sugars.  They offer a false high that leads to that dragged out feelin'.

Maybe your body is tellin' you to slow down, get your 8-10hrs of sleep a night.  w/o drugs.

After 3 yrs, I don't blame hep c for everything.  life still happens-sick or not.
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Avatar_m_tn
You have the inner resources to deal with the depression becase you can see it as ups and downs.  Real depression consumes you because it's internally consistant.  That is, all the parts fit together and make sense to you.  You can't see out of it.  You can't believe that you once enjoyed life and wanted to live.  If you know that your state of mind is temporary you can step back from it and see it as an abnormal, drug induced condition.  Your intellect doesn't believe what you're feeling and waits for it to end.

I'm 2 years post tx and I have a couple of truly dismal days a month.  I think its a hangover from the inf.  I just laugh at it because I know that tomorrow I'll want to keep on living.

I stopped the AD 6 months ago and didn't notice much of a change.
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Avatar_f_tn
im on zoloft now, and it helps but even before tx i've had issues with depression...i go to a therapist every other week, have been slowing down because i feel this forum is like therapy for me.   better listeners and better advice!  its a decision you have to make the good thing is you'll know in about week-10day if the AD is working...if not, get off....the xanax is more of an anti-anxiety and addictive - when your feeling crappy from stopping that its like your body needs more to feel "normal" again.  i would stop them if you could...
everyone else gave great advice - NO CAFFIENE - NO (OR AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE) SUGAR....they are just horrible for your body and most importantly your mind.   good luck with what you decide to do.  i have alot of family issues and sometimes i dont know if its tx or just life in general....i take one day at a time!
<3 michelle
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Avatar_n_tn
THANKS TO EVERYONE for the quick response to my questions it is very much appreciated.Some of your comments on caffene are very interesting and i will take them to heart. The funny thing about coffee (very strong with a shot of espresso)it's the only time of the day i really feel good but that is always short lived. When i started peg/riba my pharmacist strongly advise i give up coffee immediatly and also drink tons of water. My first weekend was hell between the shot and no coffee but i really believe no coffee and all the water helped the treatments success. Once i get up the nerve to stop the xanex and coffee (should take about 3 weeks to gear off both)i'll wait a few months and hopefully have some good news to report. Maybe someone can read my situation and results and get something out of it. Now all i just have to get it done, although i have kicked many things before an addictive personality always looks for an easy way out. However the xanex did get me through some very tough times both from outside stress and the treatment, so it did its job. I like the idea of yoga and or meditaion, that's something i used to do many years ago and it absolutly works wonders. I am at least blessed with the fact that the virus is dead.
Thanks again to all, Sal

p.s.
Dear mike c
I hope and pray you find something to get rid of the beast, it sounds like you are having a pretty tough time and my heart goes out to you. Please stay strong and keep your attitude as positive as you can, and your absolutly right about this forum  
Sal
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Avatar_n_tn
I was stunned when I read about your depression! And so relieved I almost cried! I went thru 6 months of combo treatment in 1996 and remain virus-free. Prior to treatment I was a happy, energetic, upbeat person. BUT right after treatment stopped I too started sinking into depression, along with "brain fog" and forgetfulness. It has been over 9 years and the depression has not gone away, only gotten worse, despite trying several different meds. I was truly starting to think that I had completely lost my mind somewhere, when recently I began to suspect that the combo treatment may have something to do with the problems I was having. So I began searching for answers on the net. I came across your posting ( and others on other sites)and it immediately made me realize that I was probably right and NOT crazy! So there IS a physiological reason behind it! Please keep all of us posted on what you discover and I will do the same! A problem cannot be fixed unless you first know what the problem IS! "Know thine enemy." God bless all, Patty
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Hi Everyone:  I am a newcomer.  I was diagnosed with Hep C about 6 years ago.  I am now taking on the virus.  I am in the pre-preparation phase.  Going to opthomologist, having sonorgram, more bloodowork, have to see a shrink, retrieve my slides from hospital that did biopsy and preparing myself to treat disease.  I did not want to address the hepititus but I am now in stage 2 fibrosis, with grade 2 inflamation (inflammation).  I am just writing to say hello and introduce myself.  I am determined to have a positive attitude and meet this disease head on.  I have learned to ask for help and I want to participate in my recovery.  Thank you all for listening.  Miss Hopeful
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Avatar_n_tn
It is a pleasure to meet you! Sorry you had cause to come looking for a place like this, but since you did - welcome!

-Michael
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Avatar_n_tn
Its funny, actually its not so funny, these mood swings are killing me.  Having a bad day today with fatigue and depression.  Out of nowhere comes an unexplained depression.  I feel like someone turned on the waterworks.  Whats the story with this?  I haven't even begun treatment yet....I guess I am symptonatic..........How have u all managed, what were your experieces?
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Avatar_f_tn
yes, the ups and downs of hep c infection, fatigue, and subclinical depression, as long as we get this bug evicted, we can deal with the sides of infection and treatment later, if they are not life threatening.
You are wise to treat at that stage and I wish you success. I did 72 wks of Pegasys/copeg and hopefully will have a negative PCR next month. I was able to finish without ADs and mostly needed Procrit and pain meds for the aches. You should be fine.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Sal,
I just wanted to drop a note and say to please be very careful with the xanax! Chellski is correct --- xanax is very addictive and in my opinion, a terible drug! About 6 months ago I lost my beloved older brother to this terrible disease, he was only 48 years old. He was an ex-heroin addict and by the time they found the HCV it was too late. His liver was shot. And because he was still on a low daily dose of methadone, the doctors told him kindly but bluntly "They are not going to waste a liver on you."

They put him on xanax to fight the depression and he quickly became addicted to it and would not give it up for anything! Bless his heart, he did try, but to no avail. Twice we had to have him put in the psych ward because he had taken so much xanax that he wigged out. In a "normal" person this may or may not have happened. However for those of us with already overtaxed livers, the effects are exaggerated I think. So God bless you, please be careful with it!
Patty
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Avatar_m_tn
I was tx from 1989-2000 on maint intron for close to 10 yr finaly reba and intron got it stopped I had problems when I was in treatment and Dr never treated me now aftwe 11 years of suffering I found out it was caused by the Hep-c and drugs used to tx I would have done the treatment regardless but wish someone could have saved me all the grief. after having several months of bloating and intestonal pain my Gi Dr did a sonogram of my liver and found out my liver is fatty when I had a biopsy in 1990 they found out about my hep-c and found my liver was inflamed and it was fatty then, when I was "cured" in 2000 my Dr said I will be fine. All this time I thought good my liver will heal and I will be fine not worried that Im going to die know I find out my liver has only progressed with the fatty condition and I do not know what stage my liver is in nice to know their are good Dr`s out their I wish I could find one! My shrink put me on the drug celexa? and haing some success anyone that can offer some help would be welcomed
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