Depression/Mental Health Forum
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Avatar universal

Too many medications at once!

My mom, who is 49 years old, has suffered from severe depression since I was born 26 years ago. I remember being little and watching her just lay on the floor or couch not being able to get up. A lot of the times she seemed full of life, energetic, laughing, a loving, wonderful mother and then the depression would just hit out of no where, it seemed like clockwork, once or twice a year it would come and my mother would go from this beautiful laughing woman to this person with no emotion, no energy to get up and get dressed and get out of bed.But then her medication doses would be increased or she would be put on a different medication and she would be okay. But every year, it seemed that when she did get the depression back, it would be worse. About 6 or 7 years ago, my mom hit rock bottom. Her depression was so severe she had to undergoe shock therapy. It was horrible to see my mom in the hospital after one of these treatments. It puts a lot of stress on the body. The shock treatments seemed to help but there wasn't a dramatic change. Over these last 6 years, my mom has been put on every medication it seems. I feel I have the lost the mom I once knew as a young child when the depression hadn't overcome her, laughing, having fun in life, socially active.  Now she just sits at home all day and watches TV or lays on the couch. She can't hold a job because her mobility and everyday functions are affected by all the medications she is on! Another thing is that my mom is severely overweight. She weighs over 300 pounds. I fear for her life. All her medications make her drowsy with no energy and some of them are even causing her to gain more weight! With no energy and being drugged up all the time, she has no desire to exercise. This disease is a neverending battle! If she goes off the medication she is on, she gets her depression back. Last year they took her off zyprexa because that's one of the medications that can cause weight gain, and just like that, her depression and thoughts came back, it was really bad. She would call me up telling me she doesn't want to live, that she wants to kill herself. It was awful! The doctors put her back on the medication and she has been on it since but I feel her doctor just keeps putting her on more and more medication instead of looking at different approaches to make her better! She is not living life! She needs a better doctor that will look at ther case and all the medications she is on instead of just increasing her doses or putting her on more meds. Although, my father who works very hard, has no money to pay for good doctors. THe doctor she has now was appointed by the state since they have no money or insurance to pay for a mental health doctor. What can I do? I feel lost, I want my mom to get off these medications so the real her can come alive again! She currently takes, geodon, celexia, lithobid, zyprexa, and effexor..all at once, everyday! This can't be good! Please help! Thank you!
8 Responses
242532 tn?1269550379
The only way I can help you is suggest that you go to the nearest university medical center, department of psychiatry, and ask to see a trained psychopharmacologist.  The university will probably have a clinic that you can afford, a sliding scale, or  no cost appointment.
Avatar universal
Since Celexa and Effexor belong to more or less the same class of SSRI antidepressant, Celexa can be eliminated. Similarly, Geodon and Zyprexa are both antipsychotic, Zyprexa can be discarded.
Avatar universal
It sounds like your mother (based on what you discribed) has either cyclocymic disorder or more likely due to severe depression, bipolar type 2 disorder. IF she is suffering from either of above disorders mood stabilizer like lithium (or some anti-seizure medications) can help with her symptoms. Try to address this possibility with her psychiatrist. Many psychiatrists who take government insurance like Medicaid are pretty good and well trained, in fact some of them prefer to take Medicaid over private insurance. Many these psychiatrists see patients in city or state hospitals, on inpatient and outpatient bases.
In terms of drug regimen, many psychiatrists use multi-drug regimen if patient's symptoms are resistant to treatment.
Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. I appreciate them.
Avatar universal
Dear Nicole,
I was just reading the posts here on this particular site
and saw yours.
I know how difficult and painful, as well, it is to watch a beloved
parent going through such difficulties.
You are younger than I, I believe, and for you that makes it
even more difficult to watch and deal with.  
It is hard, though, at any age.
I had such a difficult time with my Father and his problems,
as I loved him very, very much, and did not understand, at that
time, what was going on, and only wanted my Dad back.  
Depression is a very serious and upsetting situation for the
individual themselves and for the people who love them.
There is this Carly Simon Song called 'That's the Way I Always
Heard it should be' - the very beginning of that song would, at
times, describe my Dad.  We didn't know what to do then, as
he eventually was found to have severe Manic/Depression.  
Our family went through the same thing as at times he would be
just full of life and soooooooo enjoyable to be around and then
other times - everything seemed to fall apart for him and all of
I believe that you are doing everything that you can possibly
do - and believe it or not, that is more than most people do
for others - even their own families.  So commend yourself for
trying to help as much as you can but do not let this ruin your
life and your existense.  You have a life, too, and it took me
many years before I was able to, yes, continue to help, but
also realize that I had to move on with my life and not have it
centered continually on someone else's - no matter how much you
love them.  I was a very young girl when I first saw the beginning signs of problems and, even though, I stuck through
everything with him and my Mother, it was not until my mid
30's that I realized that I had to come up with some kind of
distancing so that I could have a life of my own.  I was always
on edge and worried sick over him all the time - when, in my
mid twenties - I developed ulcers over it.  That is no good.
This is only my advice to you and I hope you take some of it into
consideration.  I know that love has no boundaries but if one
is not careful you put yourself at risk for health problems and
such and the fact that you care so much is great in itself.
Good Luck with everything,
Avatar universal
Wanted to also mention that after we discovered that my
Dad was Bi-Polar - as how they refer to it now - he was put
on Lithium, which helped him a great deal.
There were many times, though, that HE felt he did not need
it and would take himself off of it - and back again came the
We were told that that is typical behavior and should your
Mother be put on Lithium and take herself off - you can only
'recommend' that she put herself back on it, if it is perscribed
for her.
The individual's who have these problems need to learn to take
responsibility for their actions and need to be able to manage
their lives, as well. That includes taking their med's -
and believe me, they know that they are supposed to.
At times, well, let's say there were many times, my Dad just
loved being the center of attention and we would spend days or
weeks on end pleading and/or encouraging him to go back on his
medication.  Years later we were told that he knew better, he
knew what he needed to do, and that we should not have had
to be 'chasing' him all over the place in order for him to do that.
Continued Good Luck and please feel free to post to me if you
need to talk -
Avatar universal
Thank you so much Empreinte! I appreciate your words of wisdom. It helps to know that there are other people out there that went through and are still going through the same things I am. It's such a frustrating disease! I know I need to live my life and even though I can't "make it all better" I know I can just be there for my mom and try to do my best.  It sounds like you went through a great deal and ended up having ulcers! That is scary, I know how stressful this disease can be on family members. You just get to a point where you feel you have reached your limits.  I'm glad you realized that is was important to live your life and accomplish what you needed to do for you! Thanks again for replying to my post! I greatly appreciate it! :) Nicole
Avatar universal
Hi Nicole,
Thank you for your sentiments.  How are things going with
everything now?  Also, I am glad that you are taking into
consideration that you, too, have a life to live.  
Take good care of yourself, first and foremost!
If you ever need to talk or vent or need some advice, always
feel free to post me back and very good luck to you.
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