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St. John's Wort or Prescription?
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St. John's Wort or Prescription?

I'm new to posting, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about this.
I've been taking St. John's Wort for almost 3 years and it does help some.  It really helps me sleep and keeps me from getting as moody.  I am a 42 year old female, so I think it helps smooth out the hormone symptoms, too.  But, I do have ocd, since my early teens.  In a way, I think it's not that severe, but it could be that I'm just used to it.  In the past I have not been able to tolerate the side effects of antidepressants, but the professionals tell me that's what I should take.  So, I got a prescription for Lexapro, because I thought it would have less side effects.  The papers that came with the medicine said to stop St. John's Wort and wait 2 weeks before taking it.  It is really hard to do without the "Wort" for that long, and then I may have side effects and not take it anyway.  I've tried 5-htp, but don't like the effect as well.  I was wondering if anyone strongly advocates the prescription drug or not.
Thank you for any thoughts!
Camille
9 Comments Post a Comment
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1699033_tn?1345482688
Hi there....can I ask what made you go and see a professional and get a prescription?  You said you have had OCD since you were a teenager and that it wasn't that severe.  Did something change to make you want to go back and try the anti-depressants again?  
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Well, for one thing I would like to work again.  And also to travel.  And be able to enjoy life more.
I started seeing a new counselor this summer, and she seems to think I should try a prescription.
In a way, I think I'm just wondering if it would really help significantly the way people say it would.  But like I said, in the past I felt so weird and out of it that when I would quit taking it, I would feel better.  It's hard to rationalize taking something that makes you feel worse.
Thanks for your reply.
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Hi MS, what is your OCD about as sometimes understanding the thought process can be helpful.
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This group is not for me.
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1699033_tn?1345482688
I'm sorry you think this group isn't for you.  Maybe a holistic group would be better.  All I can tell you is that yes it is very common for people to feel a bit worse when taking the medication.  For me it lasted about 4 weeks and frankly I wanted to get the hell off of it but others persuaded me to keep trying and told me there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  Well, they were right.  So for me at least, the medication did work after a "break-in" period.  

It seems to me that what you are doing medication wise may help some but doesn't really give you your life back and that you have over the years developed your own set of coping skills for the most part.  So if medication is not for you, then CBT is and the sooner you learn that the better you will be at being able to help yourself during those OCD crisis moments.

Take care and sorry your post got lost in the forum.



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Thanks for your thoughts.  This is more the kind of reply I was looking for, whether or not it would be worth it to take a prescription.
I've even read on an article promoting 5-htp that Prozac has something like flourine in it and that it is not healthy.  I'm very health conscious, so the idea of taking something that makes you feel worse and is possibly hazardous concerns me.  Which med did you take?  And you had others encouraging you to stick with it.  I don't really have that.  I live with my mother who wouldn't touch an antidepressant.  I have one friend that might, but I don't really have a support group who would.
Anyway, I don't know if my post got lost.  Are there usually more responses?  Maybe I didn't put enough or the right tags on it.

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As far as the posting goes, there are some people that hang around while they are having problems and when those problems go away, so do they unfortunately.  I am the only community leader and so I do try my best to get to every post and keep up with them but sometimes I do miss that someone has responded.  As a Community Leader, I have volunteered to keep an eye on the forum and sometimes I can't get to it everyday.  Anyway, enough of the why...the important thing is that we are on the same page now.  :)

I spent a good number of years medication free.  I took prozac for a while when I was a teenager but I didn't take it for very long.  I don't remember that I had any side effects at all with it as far as it making me feel worse.  It actually helped.  But then of course we all get to that point where we feel so good that we think we don't need the meds anymore so I went off of it and managed but OCD was always a part of my life.  

I don't want to say I'm not health conscious but honestly I don't look too deep in to the details of the meds.  I know they work for me and therefore I take them.  I even took Prozac while I was pregnant.  I tried so hard to get past the first three months (my OCD was completely off the hook and I was not sleeping at all) and I wanted to kill myself because I just couldn't do it any longer...I went on Prozac when my pregnancy was about 3.5 months and I stayed on it for a number of years including through my entire second pregnancy.  I figured the anxiety and the not eating wasn't good for the baby either so I chose what I thought was the best option at the time.  My children turned out fine so it can't be too bad in my mind.  

I went off of the prozac at some point but I always kind of kept in the back of my mind the mantra "I can always take Prozac if things get bad again" since it did work well for me.  So for me falling back on past positive experiences has helped me.  So as I was saying, I was off meds for maybe ten years or so..I can't really remember.  Again, not OCD free but able to manage especially with the cognitive therapy techniques I had learned when I was seeing the psychologist.  The breathing technique is something I use to this day.  It is an invaluable tool to have in your arsenal against OCD.

The next go with meds was when my high school son wasn't doing well in school.  I started waking up with my heart pounding out of my chest.  I went in and tried a couple of meds..celexa, lexapro and didn't like either one of them.  They messed with my sex life and so I picked one that had the least sexual side effects and that was Wellbutrin.  I have a wonderful primary doc and he works with me.  So to make a long story short, at 150 mg I was fine...no side effects, no added anxiety, I simply took the med and all was well with the world.  I should add that I also take a benzo (klonopin) at night to sleep because otherwise I don't sleep.  

Then the other shoe dropped and I needed a new septic system...stress for me just makes my OCD worse.  It was an unknown quantity...those of us with OCD...we like to be in control and when that control isn't there well we end up going to the dark side.  So, after crying hysterically in my doctor's office...I went up in dosage.  This is when the medication made my anxiety worse.  I felt jittery...kind of like I was going to jump out of my skin.  I too went online and found MedHelp's Anxiety forum (There was no OCD forum then) and those are the people who supported me through the bad times and told me that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and they were right.  So now I am happily talking 300 mg of Wellbutrin XR and my klonpin at night and I pretty much don't have any problems except for the odd panic attack in the car but even that I control with my breathing technique and self-coaching.  

So in short, there are a number of things you can try first before you jump to medication.  I mentioned CBT and some people can do it with CBT alone.  Meditation is also helpful.  Self-coaching is another tool that I use.  So for example, if I start to think too much about having a panic attack, I will have one so when I notice my mind going there I will say to myself "bring it on, I can handle it" and it usually doesn't come.  I'm not letting it rule my life and when you are no longer afraid of it, it just goes away.  Hopefully that makes sense.  

So if I were you, ask the professional you are seeing about whether they teach CBT.  I would get the book Self-Coaching by Joseph Luciani and I would also get the book The OCD Workbook:  YOur Guide to breaking Free of OCD.  If your OCD is too intense and you are still having problems, then I would discuss with the psychologist about medication and get a referral to a psychiatrist.  It doesn't have to be your first option if you haven't ever learned CBT.  

Hopefully this has helped you some and of course I will try my best to not miss any more posts :)  
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Thank you for sharing your experiences and information.
Wellbutrin for OCD?  That seems different.  I had thought about trying that before.
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1699033_tn?1345482688
You are right...Wellbutrin is a SNRI rather than a SSRI which is what is typically prescribed.  Remember my mantra....I figured if Wellbutrin didn't work then I could always go back on prozac.  I had my doubts but it does work, at least for me and it does give me the best of both worlds...helps with OCD and doesn't kill my sex drive!  Take care and I hope you feel better soon.  JGF
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