I am a 38 year old woman and have suffered from depression since I was a teenager. I was an overweight child and adolescent and come from a broken home caused by an alcoholic father. I started taking Prozac (40 mg) at age 24 and it helped a bit to be less sad but not with a mixed disorder that includes severe anxiety, obsessive compulsive personality disorder, self sabotage, excess sleep, total lack of concentration and in general lack of interest in life. It´s like having an enemy inside constantly sabotaging your life and making you have negative and obsessive thoughts most of the time. It is exhausting. I went on and off Prozac for several years and the situation did not improve. Two years ago a new doctor gave me Zoloft but it made me gain weight, which is an issue for me. My depression started as a teenager because I was overweight, and I know I became a very insecure adult with low self esteem, in great part because of this. Switched back to Prozac and things remained the same, though I managed to lose the extra weight. Some months ago my mother died and everything really went downhill. My doctor switched me to Effexor (150 mg) and it really helped with the sadness and suicidal thoughts. But not with excess of sleep, tiredness and total lack of concentration (while reading or having a conversation with someone, my mind just wonders everywhere but where it is supposed to be). My doctor gave me Ritalin (40 mg a day) and it helped a lot with this problem. Nevertheless, Effexor increased my anxiety very much and though my doctor says this is caused by Ritalin, I noticed this effect before starting taking it. But the worst problem so far with Effexor has been that my appetite increased so much that I started eating completely out of control, for the first time after having controlled this problem for 15 years of strict diet and daily exercise (though healthy it is a struggle for me to do this daily). I gained 12 pounds in the last 2 months, and panicked. My doctor says that this excessive appetite and weight gain come from the positive effects of Effexor, as patients start enjoying life again. I said to him it is not like that for everyone because I used to eat in excess only when I was depressed and anxious. Another unbearable problem is constipation, from which I have suffered all my life. Effexor makes it even worse. So the doctor changed me to Pristiq and said side effects will not be as bad as with Effexor. After taking it for 1 month I kept eating and gaining weight. And my menstrual cycle went crazy (one and a half months thinking I started an early menopause!). So I panicked and stopped Pristiq, but next day felt the horrible withdrawal effects (dizziness and nausea that kept me in bed). Next day I started taking 80 mg Prozac and withdrawal effects diminished. Also stopped gaining weight but cannot lose the pounds I gained during Effexor. After 3 weeks with Prozac I feel very tired all day, even after sleeping 15 hours or more. And depression came back and hit me. I don´t know what to do. Should I keep taking Pristiq and hope that my weight will stop increasing at some point, and take all the laxative paraphernalia, which I read is also bad for your digestive system if you take it for a long time, or should I stay with 80 mg Prozac and wait to see if I get results? Is it dangerous to change abruptly to Pristiq after 2 weeks of 80 mg Prozac? I have read Prozac stays in your system for over a week, and am concerned that Pristiq will cause serotonin syndrome. I have read so many things in depression forums that am more confused and insecure than ever. Some people report gaining 30 pounds in less than 6 months with Efexxor and Pristiq. Others say these medications stopped working after a few weeks and now they have to go through the worst withdrawal effects without any real benefit from the drug. Others say it is great and they have not gained or lost weight.
I know there is no drug out there that won´t cause side effects, but how to know which will at least help and not add more problems to your health without the benefits?