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724811 tn?1291434386

Do antidepressants cause a lack of creativity?

I am on Pristiq (the new Effexor) and have not painted since starting the med a few years ago.  Recently I set up all the things I need to paint, but I have no motivation to create.  I have started to slowly mean myself off Pristiq and will be seeing my psychiatrist tomorrow to discuss.  I have no sex drive and feel numb.  Are these feeling due to what I am going thru in my life (divorce, losing most of my pets, moving, losing my condo, owing money)? Or is it a side affect of antidepressants?  I want to paint again.  I don't want to become overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and sadness as a result of leaving my husband and my home.  I deal with these feelings at least once a day.  Life is hard enough, and I've taken antidepressants on and off for about 10 years.  I am scared to go off Pristiq, but I want to feel alive.  Prior to being on meds I only felt deep sadness and despair.  I can honestly say the meds took that away.  So if it's a toss up between not feeling despair and extreme sadness, but also losing creativity and sex drive Vs. being depressed but feeling creative, which should I choose?  When I am depressed I can't get out of bed and don't have the energy to paint anyway.  I think if I choose to go off the meds, I have to replace the pills with exercise, therapy, yoga (or some sort of relaxation) and nutrition.  These things should be my new SSRI. It's a lot more work than taking a pill, but worth it, I hope.  

This turned out to be more like a journal than a post!  Does anyone have experience with this?  Has anyone had to make this choice?  I, in no way, want to convince anyone to stop taking meds.  They have a very important role in our lives.  I just wonder if I should take a break.  My head is pounding and I have brain zaps, nausea, and dizziness as a result of cutting back on Pristiq.  I remember going off Effexor and it was pure misery.  I'm not looking forward to the next month or so, but I think i need to give this a try.  I can always go back on meds if I feel horrible off them.  Please share your experiences about this topic with me, as I could use the advice.

Lori

Lori

35 Responses
585414 tn?1288944902
Some anti-depressents can cause cognitive blunting more than others but it depends on the particular person and their response as well as the dosage. I know that the site "Depression Central" has full information on anti-depressents. You could do some research on your own and then speak to your psychiatrist about available options. Medication should not inhibit a person's creative life though I've had the same problem in the past with some medications.
724811 tn?1291434386
Thanks for your post.  I don't like experimenting with myself!
Avatar universal
I have heard of this before, but have never experienced it. In the last 18 years I have been on at least 20 different psychotropic meds of one kind or another. (Pristiq being one of them)

During this whole period of my life I have had no trouble with creative thoughts. At home I designed my house inside and out, at work I have many times put together some very creative presentations that impressed many people.

Antidepressants don't change who you really are at the core of your being. If your a creative person then no drug can blunt this passion and ability.

Maybe it just your motivation that has been altered which seems like it's the drug.

Now with nothing to control my severe depression, Then I have absolutly no creativity. How can I be creative when my mind feels like it is being cracked like a nut. With depression gone wild there is no creativity, but only madness and torment.
Avatar universal
Hi there,

Lots of questions really aren't there?

Your main question though is should you stay on meds that have removed the despair and sadness or risk the opposite. Without being cynical could I ask Are you for Real?

You know the meds work, you say so. You also know the depths of the opposite feelings to what you have now.

So really your question is not a question at all is it? It's a hope, a wish.

I do regularly go off meds, in between old and new as I need to change regularly as they wear out often. I do this in the same vein you are thinking, hoping I can do without this stuff. I have lasted about 6 weeks at best over 10 years which is actually great but what's not great is getting those old feelings starting to creep back in causing me to return to meds. It's quite terrifying when I feel the cracks widening but I want to know so I give it a try.

Why not, as long as you know the danger signs and when to go back. If you feel the danger signs and ignore them, well you know how that goes I imagine.

There is nothing to fear though in going off meds as long as you do it with your doc's advice and supervision and you are ready to change tack when needed, quickly too. At least you'll know, right? AFter 10 years I'd try it. Well, I have many times in 10 years.

The feelings you describe would seem to be largely related to your life events although the sex drive is certainly a med side effect, as depression is too on our sex lives.

As to your underlying question about creativity I have no doubt that both depression and meds quell it big time. Unless you are bi polar in which case the manic side spurs creativity to unbelievable levels, some abslute tripe and some great stuff. The lows just take everything away, bp or otherwise.

You can't wake up, don't want to get up, don't want to do anything and feel you really can't. That is very real. Motivation, concentration and memory are reduced, sometimes to zero so how could you create feeling like that?

Putting the 2 questions together, let's say you go off your meds, you seem to be anyway, I hope you are talking to your doc, and feel alright. You are likely to feel quite good for the first couple of weeks once the withdrawals stop, I usually do, feel great actually for those 2 weeks.

At that stage you'll think "Yes, this is what I wanted!" and think you've resolved it. You'll start planning your new life and painting and all the rest.

In the best case that is what will happen, you'll be better and stay better.

On the other hand it is more likely, after a 10 year bout with Mr D, that you'll decline somewhat after a few weeks. Those feelings you describe above will increase and take away your enjoyment and will.

You propose to replace meds with exercise etc. May I ask how you will be able to exercise when the motivation, energy and enjoyment is missing? How will you be able to do those things if you can't get out of bed? Be realistic about this. Try but set your hopes at the lowest level as otherwise you'll feel disappointment.

Why not do all that stuff now, while on meds as well? ANswer? You can't, right? SO how will you do it feeling worse?

Most of what I've written here is the sort of things I've run through when I think about going off and what I hope for when I do go off the meds. Now I know I am unlikely to last but I also know I'll get a break from these damned meds.

As to creativity. When I am not feeling very depressed I can't do anything. When the depression is lighter I certainly can be creative. I write, or try to at least. I can compose chapters of my book(s) while lying there waiting to sleep, and edit them and add etc etc etc. Easy. But can I write it down? Mostly, No. When I have a small high on the bp side I can just sit down here and open the document and it writes itself as I've already written it in my head.

At other times it's a bit like trying to turn water into wine. When I write it's still water. But sometimes I can do it when depressed. So I keep working at it and enjoy the process. I'm over 300 pages (paperback size) right now and the end of one book is in sight at last.

Have a go. Don't do it without the doc's input and don't hope too high. Focus on what you can do now and that should tell you how hard it will be off meds if you do deteriorate. And remember there's no shame in trying and going back. It's the only thing to do.
724811 tn?1291434386
Thanks to everyone for answering my post.  

Hensley258, you are so right that antidepressents don't change who you are at your core.  I just can't figure out why I am blocked from painting or doing crafts.  I don't dream, I have no sex drive, and I can't paint.  

Whodunnit, yes, I AM for real.  I would love to exercise, and will, once my head stops being zapped with electicity and my dizziness goes away.  Every psych med I've been on stops working at some point.  There are studies which conclude that Pristiq works well at 50mg but raising the dosage usually does not help.

"For Pristiq, it is recommended to start with a dose of 50 mg daily, which is also typical maintenance dosage. This guideline is based on two things: data showing inconsistent improvement with dosage increments and the finding that patients are generally able to tolerate 50 mg daily as a starting dose."  Johns Hopkins health alerts.com

I've never heard of this before.  Usually when a med stops working for me, the Dr raises the dosage.  Since I don't feel the Pristiq is working, I will probaby be titrated off of it anyway before starting yet another medication.

Once I go off Pristiq, I don't know if I will have have the motivation to replace the meds with exercise, but I don't have the motivation on the meds to do anything physical, so what have I go to lose?  I called my Doctor's office regarding not spening $150 to refill a drug I may want to go off of.  Monday was the soonest they could fit me in.  I explained that I was going to start to lower the dosage.  I took the few pills I had left and split them in half (actually into quarters and take two quarters each day; one in the am and one in the pm.)  

One last thing, if Van Gogh was on Prozac, do you think his work would have turned out the way it did?  How many artists (music, literature, fine art, etc) produced great work as a result of depression?  Would I rather be a depressed artist or a numb non artist?  

I wrote the post because I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this loss of passion.  

L
Avatar universal
I guess you didn't read all my post as I told you my answer to your question. And the answer is yes. I also encouraged you to go off your meds as long as your doc is helping. Telling the receptionist is not the same thing.

I'm afraid you are confusing bi polar depression (creative) with depression (non creative as it just takes all your energy and enjoyment away.)

The creative influence is bi polar as I stated in my first post. If you had read it you would know that.

If you seriously think very depressed people are capable of producing great art then I feel sorry for you. How on earth do you know how Van Goghmay have been on Prozac? He may have kept his ear for a start. That's a very silly thing to say actually as it is not capable of being proved, either way.

My post was not antagonistic in any way and it is clear you just wanted people to agree with your decision. Just go ahead and do what you want, it's the only way.

Quoting what you have about your med is quite meaningless as all meds DO need extra doses to continue giving benefit. What you have quoted applies to that med as a starting point only and does not cover the full use of the med.

Try thinking this through and imagining why you think you can exercise if you are very depressed when you can't now. That's just another reality I raised with you, not a denial that you can.

Good luck.
724811 tn?1291434386
I did read the entire post and I appreciate the time and effort you took to reply.  I guess I had trouble with the tone in some parts of the post.  It did appear antagonistic to me.This happens a lot when one reads an email, etc.  

My original question was "Do antidepressants cause a lack of creativity"  I am not asking for anyone's permission, as you stated, I already made the decision and started going off the meds. I think the post turned into a journal entry.  I just wanted to know if anyone has experience with this.  Has anyone gone off their meds and experienced a renewal of creative energy?

I looked on the net to see what the dosage was for Pristiq.  What I saw several times was that raising the dosage made no difference.  Thus, since I'm not sure the medication is still working, raising the dose may not help.  I've never heard of this either!   I always have to raise the dosage at some point when medications stops working.  If I have to start a new medication, I will have to go off Pristiq anyway.  
"In the studies released so far, Pristiq just barely squeaks by placebo on the Hamilton Depression scale. In the U.S. study, Pristiq decreased the HamD by only 2 points (-11.5 vs. -9.5 for placebo), and in the European study, the differences was 2.5 points. And for the higher 100 mg dose, there was no difference between drug and placebo for U.S. patients."  This is from the Carlot Report.  I didn't read the whole thing.  There are other sites which imply that the 100mg was no different than the 50mg.  I'm no expert, but I don't understand this.

I was reluctant to post here, and I think I may need to find another website.  I do appreciate the long response.  As a new member of this community, I did't feel the warm and fuzzy blanket of support I have found elsewhere.  Thank you again for taking the time to reply.
684030 tn?1415615923
My mom has used many anti-depressants (including Prozac, Cymbalta, Lexapro and Pristiq). Based on her experience, I would recommend that if you decide to go off of the Pristiq, ease off slowly because abruptly stopping it can result in some pretty harsh side effects.
As for your initial question regarding creativity... unfortunately, it seems a bit like a "Catch 22" situation... the meds, indeed, tend to dull and flatten the senses. According to my mom, the anti-depressants relaxed her so much so, that she felt robbed of her motivation and drive. But, the Depression itself, robs her of sleep which, in turn, saps her vitality.
What she does is a lot of praying (she's very Catholic). And, that praying puts her in a positive mind frame. Also, I've been taking her out a lot... mostly to the beach and to the mountains... she says that being among nature is the best medicine. At least, it seems to work for her... if only for a short time.  
Take care and good luck in whatever you decide to do.
Avatar universal
Hey Lori,

If it's warm and fuzzy you seek then I think you are right. Here people tend to deal in facts and reality rather than what they'd like to happen.

I've been in many warm, fuzzy forums and frankly they usually end up being places of nasty gossip and back stabbing if anyone DARES to speak the truth instead of the mantra of "support". Support is useless if it encourages you to do things that hurt yourself. It is the opposite of support.

If you simply want yes men/women and those who tell you what you want to hear then, yes, there are plenty of such places. But they are actually useless when you get into bother and need real help.

Could I suggest you read your first post again? In that you make a statement which is quite telling to me.

That is "I don't want to become overwhelmed by feelings of guilt and sadness....".

No Lori, no one does. But the way to achieve that is not to give up meds that relieve that and plunge into the unknown with no return ticket. All I'm really saying to you is certainly try without meds, we all want that too. But don't be a martyr if things do turn down.

Back to dealing with those feelings, the way treatment works, Lori, is that meds relieve the worst of the symptoms to enable us to undertake talk therapy which is truly the only way to resolve issues and fears etc. You do that while your mood is as high as you can achieve on meds simply because you are more rational and able to think clearly. As well as absorb whatever it is you uncover or learn.

If you are very depressed therapy is a waste of time as you see things negatively only you see.

Join some of the warm, fuzzy forums and see how much actual info is exchanged, see how upset people get if you don't say "Hi". Maybe it's the sort of environment you thrive in, who knows?

Do also remember that the end of a long term relationship, moving from your home and related are huge negative events. It matters not who creates the break, both suffer and sadly it takes time to adjust. But focus on why it ended and the need for you both to have a new start to move towards what you really want. You are not responsible for another's feeling's. Never.

I do mean good luck with your future and I hope you can paint what you envisage. I know from wanting to be able to write for so many years and then actually starting and continuing it how satisfying that is.
724811 tn?1291434386
Just came from the Dr.  He put me on Sam-E to help with the side affects of going off the meds.  We have a backup plan if things start to go sour for me mentally.  He said that he has had very good results with Sam-E.  What amazes me is that years ago he would prescribe things on a prescription pad and would never send a patient to a vitamin store.  I am so glad times are changing and Docors are finally getting it.  

Whodunnit, I really don't want to quarrel with you.  Perhaps I went off on a rant in my post and I don't expect anyone here to be mindreaders (wrong forum...LOL) My real question was the one in the title.  I got my answer from the Psychiatrist.  He said it was very common to lose that part of your self.  Also, I was titrating perfectly and to keep doing what I was doing.  I've done this before; been down this road.  Again, thanks for putting the time into writing back.  

Not sure if anyone really cares, but I will keep you posted on this experiment.  If all else fails, the Dr. said we will try another med that has less sexual side effects.  Also, he wants me to sit under my painting lamp (it is all spectrum) to prevent SAD.  

Lori
547913 tn?1317359267
You will Forever be in my Prayers and Blessings the rest is up to you. Happiness doesn't come in a bottle, the bottle just buffers the reality and masks the Present.

                              "Depression loses its power when restored Faith,
                                        and Vision pierces the darkness."

                                                             quote by Peter Sinclair
                                                             with a little input by jimi <3 (little wing =0) <3

                                                "Blessed are those who mourn,
                                                 for they shall be comforted."

                                                                              ~ Matthew 5:4
Avatar universal
Hi again Lori,

No argument, it's just my style, or lack of due to many years of formal report writing in my career. I know it comes off quite dry and blunt often but it's how I write on this topic, depression. I tried the fuzzies and discovered that 10 posts filled with huggles, kisses and "I Lub U"'s from people I did not know, probably would hate in person, and them me and would never meet to be quite useless. I even tried to participate and felt like a complete moron as it wasn't real, meant nothing and helped no one.

My ambition is always to bring to someone's attention things I think are relevant to them. If the person doesn't see it then hey, that's normal, like about 90% of the time. You can't tell anybody what to avoid as they are determined to make their own mistakes themselves. I was so why shouldn't everyone else? Right?

I have 4 kids, 3 adult now and do you think they ever listened to advice once they thought for themselves? Absolutely not. Mind you they'd often come rushing home months later with this revelation their best friend told them about. Being something their mother or I had advised them on months before. Aghhhhh.

I'm please you plan to return and update us as there is nothing more inspiring than a story of success against the odds. I'd be happy if it were you.

Careful with those ears by the way! (That's a jest just in case it's not clear!!)

As you might guess I'm not a fan of vitamens and alternatives so I won't comment there given you've got a doc to advise you on it. Good thought on the SAD though. Someone else here said SamE helped with withdrawal from Effexor. Maybe it was Hensley, correct me if I'm wrong Hensley.
Avatar universal
Yes Lori, please keep us up to date on how your doing with coming off the Pristiq. I'm glad to hear you have an opened minded Dr and I hope the SamE helps you. You might want to take a good B Complex, if you are'nt already. And get plenty of magnesium and calcium. People that have depression and anxiety are usually low an these.
I understand what your going through. I've been on and off antidepressants for many years. I've quit several of them because they either made me feel like a zombie or made my feel too wired.
I'm wishing you the best and I hope you are able to start painting again very soon. Take care. Remar
724811 tn?1291434386
Thank you so much.

Thanks to Jimi little wing too, for your kind words.

LL
Avatar universal
Your welcome Sweety. You can always PM me any time if you want to talk.
724811 tn?1291434386
Hello,

A little update here.  My head has finally stopped zapping and I am feeling creative again.  Is it all psychological?  Also, I am feeling a lack of patience, muscle twitching, and still have headaches.  

Check out my new painted pieces!  

Lori
983030 tn?1261356662
I'm interested in this topic because I'm a musician. You are not alone Loribop.

I am not sure if antidepressants cause us to be less creative. I think that age does and from experience I do know that depression lowers creatiivity and sex drive.

Depression to me is a loss of faith and hope in everything including our own ability which in turn lowers the chances and liklihood of success. In shrt when your depressed - whats the point? I'm sure you know what I mean.
We were depressed first right? Then were medicated?

If and when they can get the meds right we'll be thriving again painting, composing and doing it like rabbits.
So if that is the case anti depressants will enhance our creativity...... heres hoping
301494 tn?1259518001
I would have said that my Effexor XR (several years) has not had that effect on me. But possibly, I no longer can judge objectively. It sounds like you're doing quite well now and I hope that continues for you. I too left my spouse amidst depression and know that both guilt and confidence can accompany such a decision. Be well. Now I'll look up Pristiq. It's remarkable anyone can wean themselves off Effexor.
1189147 tn?1264550517
I was recently placed on mood stabilizers and anti-depressants.  I have had a creative block ever since I have been on them.  It feels kind of like a haze, its very strange to describe.  I found though that when I looked deep inside and started asking myself questions I realized I was making a lot of excuses.  I didn't feel like I was good enough, I live with my parents - what if I made a mess and my likewise bi polar mother became furious (our house is OCD clean).  I came up with a thousand and one reasons, and I think the hardest thing is getting past that and trying not to blame it all on the meds.  I'm not a scientific person, but I design and draw (when I feel like it) the same way I always have, its just sometimes finding the time and getting the motivation.

I hope this help, just ask yourself why you can't get yourself to paint and tell yourself over and over I will paint.  I have to tell myself in the car sometimes "I will go to the gym" (that's my big hangup) "I will go to the gym and keep myself healthy".  It's damn hard, and today I didn't do it.  All days are not great days.  Sometimes we all feel lonely, depressed, we don't feel like going to the gym.  Sometimes we just gotta kick ourselves in the butt and say do it - but sometimes we can't always do that.  I think on meds sometimes the challenge becomes greater.  However as I said I still paint, draw, and design the same way before I was on bipolar meds.

I hope this helps. : /
1281527 tn?1272915125
One of the reasons we go through cycles of depression and mood swings is the abstract part of our brains can't shut off.  We try to sleep and the thoughts just rush and rush and rush until we see the sun come up, heave a big sigh and try to make it through the day, only to have the same thing happen again and again until we are finally down the hole.

Most anti-depressants are chemically designed to block abstract thought, thought to be the root cause of depression, but abstract thinking is where we get our artistic thought from too.  It would be great to have our cake and eat it too, but in my experience an anti-depressant either turns me into Gork the Stone Man, or if it leaves me basically normal it blunts the artistic/abstract side to where I can't do any of the creative things I love to do.  And Big Pharma makes way more money keeping you fluctuating back and for the between meds than they ever would with a cure, so sadly enough don't hope for a cure.

But please don't overdo the depression in the name of your art.  The world needs all the laughter and beauty it can get.
724811 tn?1291434386
That's very interesting and make a lot of sense.  I went off the meds for the holidays so I could paint gifts for people.  I had to go back on them in January.  It's a different combination of meds, and a lower dosage, so I don't feel like a zombie.  Of course, I can't create but that's the trade off.  I'm not sure if I'm going to do it next Novemer or not.  Probably not.  I don't think it's good to go back and forth like that.   It's funny my sister is on meds and she can create.  So lucky!
1377776 tn?1279012121
I can't speak personally to the issue, re: meds- however, my mother is a brilliant artist (paint, drawing), and she developed epilepsy about 15 years ago.
One of her meds is similar to the benzos and she's had difficulty even WANTING to draw or paint since she started taking her AEDs- which in many ways are similar to antidepressants, in that they change neurochemistry (yet, through radically different means).
She has found exercise helpful- after a walk she is more thoughtful and tends to pick up a brush- but I've watched her deire to BE the artist she's been forever, wane, throughout this process.
Don't give up, though- one day, about 2 years ago, she surprised us with a drawing of irises that would have made van Gogh proud!  It's not OVER- just HARDER, I think----
Good luck- I truly wish you the best with my heart.
Avatar universal
Hey there,

I also experienced the 'blunting' effect you've described, after discontinuing Paxil 5 years ago. I don't know whether it's got a similar action to the drug you're on (though I think both are SSRIs, at least). In my case, the numbness has lessened considerably. The urge to create hasn't come back in full swing - at least not through the art form I studied all my life. I am, however, enjoying trying other forms of performance. No career changing successes yet, but a few hearty ones - small steps!

You probably have learned by now (perhaps through another forum) that many, many creative people have also had their drive dampened by the 'blunting' phenomenon.  We all take heart in evidence of neuroplasticity. Your brain isn't broken.

I think the only way to regain your sensitivity it, and to challenge yourself in new ways. Being around others who value your art, and art in general helps to maintain your belief that it's a viable commitment. Try edging your way around what you used to do - have a go at totally unrelated forms. You may be familiar with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way - lots of people have benefitted from the exercises.

Drive is something else. I think it's useless to think too much about where your work can lead, or what it means for your identity - i.e., try not to catastrophize. Focus on one task to love at a time, and put yourself in the right company. Things will happen, maybe not in the ways you would have predicted.

Also - yoga is touted around as a catch all for every existential and psychological ailment around. That's because it helps. Google 'mindfulness meditation' to see what research has been done, and maybe try it out... also just keeping the body in some kind of motion supports your sense of vitality, relaxes you, keeps your heart rate steady, muscles limber, etc, without being too challenging when you're getting over the drug. I.e., creates the conditions for a good mood; primes your body to not be stressed.

How are you doing these days?
1392325 tn?1280078293
I have experienced your symptoms as well.
In 2006 I fell into depression (triggered by andopause although at the time I didn't realize it). By summer I was crying at work, during my 90 minute commute home and on weekends. Anything could trigger it, a sad song, a news article about a child's death, every which way I turned I was saddened and lost interest in work, paying bills and outside activity. But...the internet kept me sane. I found a website for aspiring writers, and I decided to try writing my feelings out, hoping that by expressing myself through the characters in my stories I would purge the depression.

The result surprised me. Readers loved my stories! I began to receive emails from around the world by many who loved my stories and wanted more. So I continued writing, and discovered the first story was no accident, as 60,000 words later and hundreds of chapters through many stories and poems I was still popular amongst not only the original website, but other websites as well and eventually received offers from magazines to publish my work. (I have been published under a pen name since 2007).

BUT I was still crying at work, hiding in my cubicle and hoping no one would see my in tears. I couldn't function. So i sought treatment, and received a prescription for Lexapro.

In three days my depression lifted. I felt "normal" again, able to now see a joy in just a morning sunrise, in a friend's smile etc. however, I soon realized I did not have the visions anymore, the movies in my mind that my hands merely typed out in description. I had to "work" at my creativity, and then it did not excite anyone. My stories lacked something that I had in the beginning. I go back and read those stories now and it is as if someone else wrote them.

I experimented with going off my Lexapro, and sure enough the tears returned, and I could not wait for the visions to return as well. There were bills to pay and work to do. I had to keep my job.

So I have not written anything worth while since then. I miss writing, I miss the visions, I miss the me I used to be.
Avatar universal
I too have had this. Since starting on antidepressents, Lexapro, Cymbalt then at last, Pristiq, can't write anything more than an email, and even getting motivated to do  that's sometimes a challenge.  It's like living in a coccoon of gray, with no color left in the world.  I've been thinking of talking to my doctor about stopping lately, just so I'll feel something again, and maybe be able to write.
Avatar universal
I am currently on Pristiq 200mg and my creativity has halted.  I am also a painter myself and I sit in my studio feeling very frustrated that the creativity is not flowing.  I paint abstract and at the moment my work is absolute rubbish.  However when it comes to drawing still life or life models my work has came out quite well.  I suppose drawing an image that is in front of you is not considered pure creative, and when I say that I do not mean any disrespect to artist who do realism.  I think is more my style of drawing I do not engage the creative side of me.

I have noticed taking 200mg I feel numb, i have no sex drive and emotionally detached.  i know when I paint abstract I need to feel all the emotions to paint my story.  Hence I do believe Pristiq is inhibiting my creativity.  I need to feel raw emotions to express myself on canvas.  At the moment I am producing work that have no depth, no story and its just an expression from a simple on the surface emotion.  

I am considering to lower the dosage to see if the side effect will decrease.  Will keep you posted how it goes.

Cheers :)
Avatar universal
I am currently on Pristiq 200mg and my creativity has halted.  I am also a painter myself and I sit in my studio feeling very frustrated that the creativity is not flowing.  I paint abstract and at the moment my work is absolute rubbish.  However when it comes to drawing still life or life models my work has came out quite well.  I suppose drawing an image that is in front of you is not considered pure creative, and when I say that I do not mean any disrespect to artist who do realism.  I think is more my style of drawing I do not engage the creative side of me.

I have noticed taking 200mg I feel numb, i have no sex drive and emotionally detached.  i know when I paint abstract I need to feel all the emotions to paint my story.  Hence I do believe Pristiq is inhibiting my creativity.  I need to feel raw emotions to express myself on canvas.  At the moment I am producing work that have no depth, no story and its just an expression from a simple on the surface emotion.  

I am considering to lower the dosage to see if the side effect will decrease.  Will keep you posted how it goes.

Cheers :)
Avatar universal
I've struggled with depression since I was 7. I am now heading into my 30th birthday and still battling. I've been on and off meds, in and out of therapy my whole life. When I am medicated, I get better, but there are just as many positive side effects as there are negative. I just got married a month ago and with my stress and exhaustion from full time work and school, my sex drive isn't what it should be. I know going back on medication, especially if they put me back on Effexor, it will damage my sex drive more and completely destroy my ability to orgasm. On top of that, I feel sapped of all creativity. I love to write but when I am medicated I can't write anything more creative than a small office memo. After coming off the meds last time, it took me a very long time to be able to write again. I've recently been finding myself writing more and more but also been showing signs of my depression returning. Yes the medicine is a bit over controlling which straps my creative side. But I also think that too much of my inspiration to be creative comes out of pain. Depression patients commonly find themself in a state that forces them to enable the illness. For me, I get added inspiration with pain and sorrow which ends up encouraging me to go without treatment for extended periods. I feel as if I am losing my identity when I lose my creativity.
Unfortunately the sexual side effects I've suffered with the treatment is all from the Effexor. Not being able to get the full effect of satisfaction with your lover is just as depressing as seeing life without the Effexor goggles. I am currently to the point that I have no choice but to go back on the meds. I've been waiting and trying to fight through this on my own but it has gotten to the point of preventing me from completing work or my studies. I find myself spending an entire day feeling lost when I would typically be wizzing through task after task in record time. Depression is tearing away at my ability to function in every area of my life.
Avatar universal
Hi. I can say without a doubt that it stumps one's creativity. I am off of it for 5 days now and I am back to my old self. I am a writer with a few successes under my belt (before Prystiq).  What a difference. I forgot about this part of me. I gave it all up. However now I am getting off my *** and taking on projects, laughing more, loving more, and writing more. I was on Lexapro for 6 years before Prystiq. I was more relaxed during this 7 year hike, but that spark I once held is now back. don't blame yourself. It's the drug. Get past what you need to get past but get off of it soon after or the lethargy will suck you in until you think "this" is who you are. Good luck.
Avatar universal
How was the withdrawal when you stopped taking the drug?  I have been on Effexor XR for so long now (over 10 years) that I am scared to death of the withdrawal if I stop.  But my creativity just dried up completely after a year on the stuff.  Yes, it has helped a lot with my impulse control and anger issues, but the apathy that has replace those problems has become a major difficulty.  
Avatar universal
Tonight I queried "Does Pristiq kill creativity?" just to see if there were any others feeling like I do. I have been on Pristiq for two years and share your mixed feelings. I used to take great joy in my painting and creative expression but it feels dead. My studio is set up, I have upcoming shows but feel so stuck in "neutral" gear. And yes my sex drive is gone, although I do not cry anymore for my losses. I'm just really lacking in my former motivation.
2160693 tn?1336869381
I can most certainly relate to this. I have been an artist since the day I was born, and have also struggled with anxiety and sever depression for most of my life. My mother is an RN, and convinced me to get on Paxil (20mg) when I was in my 3rd year of college. My years of self-medicating finally caught up with me and forced me to drop out of school because my grades dropped dramatically and I couldn't even make it to classes (due to constant hangovers, no sleep, and lack of motivation.)
I am now 26 and have been going on and off of Paxil for 8 years, spending many of those years on the medication, and several periods off of it (cold turkey) because I couldn't deal with the guilt of having to take something to feel "normal." Not to mention the awful side effects like feeling like a zombie and inability to orgasm, lack of sex drive, and lack of desire to create art (which has always been my natural medicine since I am a devoted artist.) The medicine made me feel great at first, but then I realized that I no longer had desire to paint, could not feel inspiration to write songs anymore, and now being engaged to the love of my life, the lack of sex drive is something I CANNOT accept.
I have ready many psychological studies that say ALL human emotion is healthy, and we just have to learn how to cope, and have read many self-help and medical books stating that anti-depressants are literally killing us. It is not secret (and I can testify based on the way my own body has been affected by anti-depressants) that those pills are very very hard on our liver, and this damage can often not be reversed. I am now off meds, and any time I feel down, lonely, anxious, I pick up a pen and write in my journal, start painting , or grab my guitar and write a song. But in order to make a living, I have to also be able to work a job, and this is an extremely challenging thing for me at times, due to my constant anxiety and feeling so full of emotion and such a lack of "fitting in." The primary reason I believe I have been trying to stop Paxil for so long (even tried switching to Zoloft for 6 months), is BECAUSE I AM AN ARTIST, and my art IS affected by the medication (in a negative way.) I have basically come to the conclusion that side effects of the meds are not worth sacrificing my art, and that there must be some way that God MADE me this way. Believe me, friend, you are not alone:) I find that diet and exercise and yoga ( although they might not always seem easy to get up and do), and talking openly to friends and family and on these forums (as I cannot afford a therapist, and anytime i have gone to a doctor, they just try to convince me to take ANOTHER ANT-DEPRESSANT) are a big help for me.
Also, accepting and understanding the reality that life is NOT always easy, and we just have to learn to accept ourselves and do the best we can. My best advice to you is follow your heart. I become more depressed when I realize that I have not been writing music or painting, or singing or playing, and I don't want to sacrifice who I am. It is not an easy choice, because depression tries to kick my butt every day. But if you are an artist, then you have a gift that is meant to be shared with the world...many people do not have such a gift, and are ok with being "completely normal," or zombified my meds while they work their 9 to 5 jobs and just get through life. As an artist, the sort of life I described in that last sentence is not something I can live. Be as strong as you can be, and know that ups and downs are part of every human life, and that some of the greatest artists in history probably created such masterpieces because of the ups and downs they experienced, and because of their unique emotions and "deep" personality. Best of luck to you my friend:)
Avatar universal
Hi there, I'm glad I found this page as I'm in the same position (even though this is an old thread).
I was on sertraline for a few months & couldn't think clearly & mind was blocked somehow to have free flowing creative inspirational thoughts. Since coming off, those thoughts have definitely returned....but now I am starting to become a little numb & tired & frozen from anxiety/depression...and its harder again in a different way. But I think the same thought processes that cause anxiety, paranoia, random unwanted thoughts, are also the same free flowing thought processes that give you ideas and inspiration.... I was creative when I took effexor, although it was in a slightly different way, and i was writing lyrics that were more abstract, cold and cutting & humourous, but I wasn't able to put so much feeling into the music & passion, it was very cold, which also ended being good but in a totally different way. I have more stage presence & confidence on the meds...but I also am more retarded with timing & I can't connect w any real passion in my voice when I sing, it feels like I'm riding on top of the feeling instead of being in it sometimes.
Avatar universal
Hi there, I'm glad I found this page as I'm in the same position (even though this is an old thread).
I was on sertraline for a few months & couldn't think clearly & mind was blocked somehow to have free flowing creative inspirational thoughts. Since coming off, those thoughts have definitely returned....but now I am starting to become a little numb & tired & frozen from anxiety/depression...and its harder again in a different way. But I think the same thought processes that cause anxiety, paranoia, random unwanted thoughts, are also the same free flowing thought processes that give you ideas and inspiration.... I was creative when I took effexor, although it was in a slightly different way, and i was writing lyrics that were more abstract, cold and cutting & humourous, but I wasn't able to put so much feeling into the music & passion, it was very cold, which also ended being good but in a totally different way. I have more stage presence & confidence on the meds...but I also am more retarded with timing & I can't connect w any real passion in my voice when I sing, it feels like I'm riding on top of the feeling instead of being in it sometimes.
Avatar universal
I have had depression all my life and been on many meds. I have been on 40mg of citalpram once a day for about 8 years now. It does take away my creative side. I can't seem to get out the words i want to to explain how I feel. I have memory problems too and I am only 46 years old. Most days I want to just lay around and rarely get a boost of energy to do anything. I also feel numb, not happy or sad or angry,,,JUST NUMB. I was on effexor and it was awful. If I forgot to take my pill I would get brain shocks. Kinda like if you plug a cord in the wall and ya get that little zap. They were terriblr. Mys sister also was on effecxor with the same results. She and I both had to be SLOWLEY weened off it while on another anti-depressant. the effexor was not good at all. Have you experianced that (brain shock feeling)?
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