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Avatar universal

HELP - PREPARING FOR THE WORLD OF DEPRESSION MEDS

I'll be brief with my history and then I have a question to ask.
Was diagnosed years ago with bipolar and depression.  Used lamactil as treatment for a few months then just stopped because I moved away and never looked for a new psychiatrist.  I don't think it helped much anyway.
First of all I don't think I am bipolar, I believe a more accurate diagnosis would be General Anxiety Disorder, possibly ADHD (note that I was on ritalin as a kid), and depression.
I have scheduled a psych appointment, it will be my first in years.  I just can't handle the anxiety attacks and long term depression anymore.  BUT I AM WORRIED IN A MAJOR WAY ABOUT THE MEDICINES THAT MIGHT BE PRESCRIBED !! - The side effects and non-effective stories about medications reads like a never ending nightmare.  Also addiction and withdraw appears to be part of the game.  I thought I was going for help, but it almost looks like a trap.  Is there hope ?  Where are all the success stories ?  Maybe that will help.  I am afraid of the Meds now even before being prescibed anything. HELP.
12 Responses
Avatar universal
It's the nature of this board for people to vent and share their stories and experiences.   Really, it makes sense that a Depression Board would be more negative than positive, and that too is part of human nature is to want to discuss the things that scare us rather than the things that have helped us.

I'm in practice treating patients and I see so many people who thought they were hopeless, who had practically given up and they are on their meds and getting better all the time.  
I see people on medications that are allowing them to live normal lives, sometimes for the first time in countless years and decades.
I see people struggling with all sorts of problems that most people would think are insurmountable, and they are now successful people coping day to day and making it work in the real world.

Some people can have problems with antidepressants.  Please don't let that discourage you.  You, your body, your physiology are completely unique and where someone else has had a difficult time, it may be easy for you.  

And to honest, I see patients who are struggling with their meds.
Often a patient will do well on a certain medicine only to see the positive side-effects fade and negative effects take over.
That doesn't happen often but it happens to certain people.

Look at the things you struggle with now.  The things that trouble you and worry you and make your life more difficult than  it should be.    What if you could be relieved of those burdens?
Treatment can do that.   Try going into it with a positive outlook because that will affect the course of treatment.  
You're doing something positive for yourself and you should feel good about that.   So many people never get help, or deny that they have problems, or self-medicate with alcohol or other street drugs.  

Depression medications are imperfect.  They target whole body systems and not just the brain areas which modulate mood.  But they are safe, they will work if you give them time and give yourself time.   When you look in the PDR or on the Internet you see all sorts of horrible side-effects to meds.   Doctors have to report ALL effects witnessed when they participate in clinical trials of medications.    The fact is that most medications have very predicatable side effects (dry mouth, sedation, etc..) The rare side effects we read about are just that - rare.  They may have happened to just a few people during the drugs various trials.  

The last fact I will leave you with doesn't sound very profound but it is hugely important.  These medications do more good and allow people to reclaim a happy, constructive existence in this world.  Before these medicines came along, many more people commited suicide, or suffered in silence, some were placed in  institutions.  

We live in better times, not perfect, no - but better and I wish you the best in your treatment.

Avatar universal
I think I really needed that dose of hope.  I think I may have been overexposed to negative reports.  As you mentioned most of the posts on websites like these are by nature going to be negative or address problems.  Most of those that are having success prabubly don't haunt these websites, because they don't need to.  They are living better, productive lives.  Thanks again, I have perspective back.
149087 tn?1258457420
Hello Moon.. Sorry to hear about your situation. I myself am borderline bipolar, so they say. I have tried a few different meds and as of now I am on Cymbalta, which helps really well with the depression. I can tell if I miss a dose because I can not even get out of bed and all I want to do is cry. I am also on Geodon for my anger issues. This is a med that is usually prescribed for schitsophrenia (sp?) but again if I miss a dose I get very angry and can not stand to be around anyone, every little thing will set me off. I also take Xanax for my anxiety when I have to go out in public. I just get so irritated when I am in public because I feel like everyone is in MY way. I just want to push them out of the way. Its really bad to say that but thats how I get.

Now I have tried effexor and wellbutrin as well. I hated the Effexor. It made me feel like a crack head. I could not sleep and I could not eat. I looked like **** because of this. Then trying to go off of it was hell. I had really bad freaky nightmares and my body twitched nonstop and I felt as if I was being electrocuted because of the zapping in me. They put me on wellbutrin because I lost the urge to have sex. I could care less about it and it about ruined my marriage. Actually it did ruin my marriage, I ended up divorced. The wellbutrin did not bring back my sex drive like they said it would. Having said that, I still do not have a sex drive being on cymbalta and geodon. I should add that I also take amytriptaline at night to help me sleep. I believe this is also another antidepressant. So in total I take 3 different antidepressants, 1 anxiety pill, and with those 4 I now seem to be on a good combination for my attitude and mood swings.

I am sorry this got so long, but I hope it helps you some deciding what you would like to be on or try.

If you have been thinking about taking effexor, I would suggest doing a search on it like on google and read some of the stories about it. It is really a bad one to try to come off of.
Good Luck and please keep us posted.....
Also HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!
Avatar universal
Wow - thanks for your input.  By adding professional perspective to this message board you are doing a great service.
Avatar universal
Jeez, that last post tells exactly what I am afraid of.
Patients all doped up to the point that if you miss taking one dam pill your freaking world falls apart.  Doomsday nightmares, eletrical shocks going through your system, complete meltdown of your sex drive.  Yea, I'm looking forward to this.

Not to be offensive (because I do appreciate all your comments), but before I have to live like the person that posted the last comment, I will: 1.  Just suck this anxiety and depression up like a soldier and live with it. OR 2. Kill myself

You know what - I actually do appreciate that last post.  I think it has stiffened my resolve.  I am not going to be a dam lab rat, I am not going to be among the walking doped - where I take one pill to fart and one be able to comb my hair.  See ya, I'm outa here.
Avatar universal
You have to choose the path you want to be on.
  
If you want to be a soldier and just put in your time, know this, that the time you have here is all the time you get.   I would hope you make it the best time you can have, the most productive and useful time which can allow you to feel pleasure and be able to enjoy the things that make you happy.  

There is no easy way out when you have depression/anxiety.  No quick fix; you won't wake up one day and realize it has all been a dream.  This is the reality you get and this is the life you have.
When you're a soldier you stick with it.   The motto we had in boot camp was "I can hack it!"   If you want to be a soldier then tell yourself "I can hack it, I can take it, I'm tough and I'm not going to give up without a fight!"   People are always stronger then they think they are and can rise to occasions which they think would normally crush them.

Read the negative stuff here, its for real and that is what a few people unfortunately have had to go through. For every negative experience with meds there are hundreds and maybe thousands of good, positive, life changing experiences which no one hears about because when you get better you move on with your life, you leave (no offense intended) but you leave places like this behind you.

Give modern medicine a chance, give yourself a chance.  It pains me to think you would give up without any fight at all.
Avatar universal
Thanks again.  I'm not giving up.  I am still going for treatment and going to keep my appointment.  I was just stomping my feet and refuse to become one of the negative stories.  I'm willing to accept a couple trials along the way, but I don't want to be doped up or to reliant on pills.
What do you know about SAMe?  Very good results in Europe (as this is now a pharm. drug is Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia).
I am going to try it.  I have researched the recommended dosages and suggestions.  Its appears to be very very safe.  Its legal and an over the counter health product in the US.  I have read every thing I can about it.  It also appears to have great potential in complemeting SSRIs or other antidepressants.
What to you know ?
Avatar universal
I'm agnostic on SAM-e as it has never been shown to have any effect on major depression nor does it have any demonstrable effect on neurotransmitter activity at any level.

I realize that there are claims to the contrary but until I see some truly scientific controlled studies done with a methodology inset which demonstrates SAM-e's efficacy vs. any major antidepressant, then I remain indifferent, if not somewhat suspicious.  Often the people who make the claim for the potential of "natural" antidepressants have a financial stake in the sale of the product.

However.... that being said.

It cannot hurt you.  It is the precursor of the naturally occuring essential amino acid Methionine, and if you are going to take it, I suggest you go to your nearest health food store and buy Methionine instead of SAM-e. SAM stands for S-Adrenosyl-Methionine and is one of the major metabolites of Methionine (the other being S-Adrenosyl-Cysteine).
These amino acids are very good for you and are derived from teh foods we eat.  So, unless you are living on a diet of Wonder Bread and Diet Cola, then I suspect your getting adequate amounts of Methionine and hence plenty of S-Adenosyl-Methionine as well.
Avatar universal
You know, I am 35 (36 next month...ugh!) & I started having depression issues in my eaerly 20s.  I spent years in and out of therapy talking through my troubles because I refused to take meds.  I was afraid of the side effects, but I was even more afraid of the idea that I couldn't be happy "on my own."  Finally about 18 months ago I "gave in."  I just couldn't stand being so angry & sad all the time anymore.  Obviously just going to therapy & working on "exercises" wasn't enough.  

My doc started me on Wellbutrin XL & it was an enlightening experience.  It took about 3 weeks to really kick in but the thing I liked was I didn't just wake up all giggly & happy one day, it just occured to me that I wasn't sad anymore.  I'm not going to lie, there were some side effects.  I grew increasingly irritable & anxious on the WBXL.   I discussed this with my doc & she added Zoloft to my Rx.  That fixed the anxiety, but then I had new side effects.  I felt sleepy a lot of the time & became very lethargic & lazy.  Sometimes I felt shaky & I definitely didn't have the same motivation to do a lot of the activities I enjoyed.  I gained 20 pounds due to my laziness.  In June my doctor suggested I wean myslef off the Zoloft to see if the lethargy would go away & in October I discontinued its use all together.  I still felt emotionally fine, but but my motivation did not return.  However, my irritability & anxiety DID return.  

We decided it was time to try something new & I recently began taking Effexor.  So far I like it, but it's still really new.  I've already noticed an increase in my energy level & a decrease in my appetite, although I personally have never felt like "not eating."  I haven't felt irritable or anxious & I'm not sad or depressed.  I have been a little shaky & sometimes it takes a while for me to fall asleep, but the side effects are very tolerable & completely preferable to the alternatives.  I have been warned that it's going to be very difficult to quit when that time comes, but for now it seems to be doing the trick.

Meds can be scary, but I think that if you go into the process with realisitc expectations knowing that you may have to try several different meds to find the right combo for you, you can have a really positive experience.  Also realize that you may find something that really sucks before you find something that really works OR you may find something that works well now, but that you may need to switch down the road.  Just have an open mind about what to expect and remember that the reason there are so many different options is because we all are different & are going to react in our own ways to each drug.  I'm living a happy, functional, "normal" life for the first time in 15 years & I couldn't have done so without the help of my doctor's advice & my meds.  It's a journey, but it's YOUR journey so don't worry so much about what others say & just follow your own path.  Good luck!
Avatar universal
Why is it that we cry when we miss a dose? If I forget to take my Remeron at night, the next day I find myself crying for silly reasons and this is how I know I've forgotten to take it.
172715 tn?1285498090
I understand your fear of being medicated to be "normal" but I have to say that it is not a bad thing.  Yes you have to go through some medicine changes,dose changes, time taken changes etc. But when you find what does work then it is worth the agrevation that you went through. There are many people in this world that have to take medicine to feel good,keep things running right,sleep better and function in the way you were meant to.  Depression is not saying you are not a good person or normal(no such thing as normal anyway!) It just means that the connections in your brain are't correct or the hormones are not balanced right.  If you have a car and your spark plugs are not working correctly then neither will your car. If you have a really good   recipe and you forget just one ingredient, the finished product won't taste as good as it should have. Your body and brain are missing or have the wrong amount of certain ingredients that you need to be at your best. Some of the best cooks like to play around with their recipes to see if it could be better.  Well the doctor is the cook and you are in need of some ingredient adjustments, please let him show you a better you. You don't have to feel bad! You don't have to be unhappy!  Please don't give up-it will hurt you and I'm sure that others are hurt by it too. I have been there, and I know what you're feeling like.
Avatar universal
I have been on Effexor off and on for 6 years.  Yes, you will have side effects as you come off of it, but if you do it gradually by lessening your dosage a little at a time, you CAN do it without the major side effects.  When I have come off of it, (I take 150 mg) I start out doing 150 one day, 75 the next, 150 the next, for about 5 days.  Then, have some 50. (I think that is right)and try 75 for about 5 days and do the 75 and 50 the same way you did the 150 and 75.  This may not work for everyone, but the 2 times I have come off of it, I did with some nausea, dizziness,  etc. but nothing I could not handle. Keep a tums handy for the nausea and it does seem to help.  
Having said this, my Effexor is not working right now.  I don't know if the time has been too long and I have developed a need factor too great and that I need to change medicine.  Between the severe pain I am in and my Effexor not helping, I am in a severe depression stage.  When I was diagnosed the first time, 10 years ago, I was to the suicidal  stage.  I am very anxious about this happening this time.  I do have an appointment to see my doctor in a week, but he couldn't get me in before then.  Does anyone have a suggestion as to things that might help between now and then?  As long as the suicidal thoughts aren't here, I feel as if I may can stand the social anxiety and redrawal until I do see the doctor.  Will I always be aware of what is happening if I get to the "I don't want to be alive stage"?  I think that is what is scaring me the most right now.  Sorry this is long, but I had to get this out.  Thanks for listening.
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