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Avatar universal

I was wondering what is everyone's depression level in regards to your treatment?

We don't know anyone else who is on the treatment and I was wondering if severe depression is common.
29 Responses
Avatar universal
Depression, anxiety, and irritability are all fairly common side effects of treatment for Hep C.  I strongly suggest that you contact the doctor as soon as possible if there are symptoms.  These side effects can get pretty bad fairly quickly.  Can you share more information with us, so that we can offer suggestions?  My husband has been on an anti anxiety/anti depressant through all 3 of his treatments.  Exercise, fresh air, diet, and good sleep can also help to alleviate some of these symptoms, but I would recommend calling the doctor.
163305 tn?1333672171
I'd say common is almost an understatement. We don't refer to riba rage for nothing, and it's actually the interferon which is to blame.
You are far from alone.

I was so irritable and though I didn't go on anti-depressants, many do and my doctor wanted to put me on them.
Even after tx was over, I remained grumpy for quite some time.
It wasn't until a good 3 months post-tx that I suddenly realized I was happy again.

This is from the pegasys ( interferon) web site under side effects:

Mental health problems and suicide. PEGASYS therapy may cause you to develop mood or behavioral problems including:

    irritability (getting upset easily)
    depression (feeling low, feeling bad about yourself or feeling hopeless), and anxiety
    aggressive behavior
    former drug addicts may fall back into drug addiction or overdose
    thoughts of hurting yourself or others, or suicide
2029713 tn?1373044704
This article discusses depression and interferon treatments in Hcv patients.

Doctors can effectively use SSRI antidepressants. Personally, I started treatment without using an SSRI, but by week 8 or 9, the interferon induced anxiety/depression, coupled with anemia from the Riba, was too much for me, so my Dr. prescribed a low dose of Paxil, which took the edge off.

As the weeks of treatment progress, I'm in week 31 now, I feel more down, but it is still manageable. If it gets worse, though, I'm going to ask my doctor about it.

Anyway, yes, depression is common in Interferon therapy. Don't hesitate to ask for help.

Avatar universal
It is not just interferon, though clearly it has a powerfully negative impact on the emotions.
Riba wreaks havoc with the central nervous system. In addition to meds, being ill. especially cirrhotic can cast a real pallor on one's life.
I didn't take anti depressants and since I am at the end of treatment, I won't bother, but considering how low I felt at times, I think it would have been wise to do so.
Everyone is different. I am not inclined to depression normally, but we are not in a normal situation, especially if you are taking the more hard-core meds.
1815939 tn?1377995399
As noted above, depression (and/or anxiety or irritability) can be a common side effect, but it comes in all degrees. I have a history of major depression and had already started on Wellbutrin for recurrent depression about 2 months before I was diagnosed with Hep C. I stayed on it during treatment (and I am starting week 47 in treatment). I have not been depressed at all during treatment. In fact, I seem to have had no mental/emotional side effects from the Hep C drugs ... no depression, no anxiety, no irritability, no anger outbursts, etc. As far as my mental/emotional state, I am feeling great.

If you have a history of depression it would be advisable to see your psychiatrist for an evaluation and possible anti depression treatment starting prior to Hep C treatment. It takes a few weeks for the antidepressants to reach full effect. Plus, you really do not want to be testing new antidepressants while on Hep C treatment if you can avoid it.

Best of luck.
Avatar universal
i am week 46 and was on triple therapy with incivek and experience cirrhosis.  at about week 10 the depression and fear hit me big time.  one aspect that, at least for me, that contributed to depression is isolation. i live alone and did not have contact with another human for days on end. i had too much anxiety to even leave the house. i managed to torch all my relationships including the wonderful people on this board.  during the darkest time, the first thought i had in the morning was "how am i going to kill myself today?" another contributing factor may have been the the prednisone that was prescribed for the rash.  prior to treatment i was not experiencing depression or anxiety.  i spoke the the treating PA and also my primary about it.   i found their attitudes to be very cavalier, and they were unwilling to prescribe a drug. if i had it to do all over again, i would have got a psychiatrist on board prior to treatment. please don't make my mistake of not seeking competent help either from your treating doc or a mental health professional.
Avatar universal
. It  is not recommended a patient take an Antidepressant prior to starting HCV therapy unless you have been diagnosed with clinical depression or have had issues with such in the past.
Otherwise,it is recommended  for you and your doctor to be aware that depressive episodes  should be watched for.
Actually. many AD"s can have an anxiety reaction in many as side effect.

The psychologist in the short video  below has treated many patients on HCV therapy regarding depression and anxiety and you may find it interesting if not watched already

Good luck..

Avatar universal
will - thank you so much for posting the link a while back. it helped me to understand what i was going through.  for me the anxiety was really much more difficult than the depression. looking back i think i may have dodged a bullet when the PA ignored my symptoms.  had he prescribed an anti-depressant, my anxiety may have gotten much worse.   i also am experiencing attention deficit that has resulted in some close calls when i am driving.  now i do not drive long distances and try to be extra vigilant when i do drive.
thank you
Avatar universal
Hi eric, good to hear from you...Hope all is well...

Avatar universal
I watched the video and all I can say is that depression is a very complicated thing and everyone is different. Is it "situational depression" or "clinical depression"?  I feel that my anemia and the general sx of INF and riba just won't let me do what I want to do or have to do; I just don't have the energy or strength to do them, and I feel like crap all of the time. Terrible insomnia, aches/pains, hair falling out, etc. So, that gets me really down. Are those dark moments clinical or situational depression, and is there a pill that can change that? I think anyone would be bummed out. In those darkest times I just recognize that I'm letting my mind go in a bad direction and I change my thoughts. I start thinking about how great things will be when I'm done with this tx (whether I clear HCV or not). I do feel positive about the future. I guess I like to think I can control "mind over matter". On top of tx I have several horrendous life issues...it's almost like the perfect storm. I live alone and I don't have a support system other than my tx team. I have a history of suicide and depression in my family, so I really don't know if my depression is serious or not; as said in the video, that history is a big red flag. As I said, everyone is so different; I don't know how these psychiatrists figure out what the bottom line is and/or how to treat it.

I've also missed this whole "rage and agitation" thing; to the contrary, I take a real "Pfff, whatever, I could not care less" attitude and move on.  It actually takes a lot more to get me going than when not on tx, and maybe that's due to depression, lol. But then again I'm alone 100% of the time so I can't rage at anyone, lol.

I think I have an inclination to go into denial, so while that can be a bad thing, while on tx it works well. I can have a terrible situation and be about ready to lose it, but I walk away and forget about it, lol. Not so good for following through on things I need to take care of, but at least I feel okay mentally when I say "screw it" and walk away. I get back to them the next day or week.

The whole thing is crazy....months and months of what one person said is like a bad never ending LSD trip and the movie "Ground Hog's Day" rolled into one.

I've always said it is as much, or more, of a mental battle than a physical one. One has to keep fighting it day in and day out for such a long time. (I get down/depressed when I just get a cold; I can't believe I've made it 21 weeks!)

On the other hand, as is said in the video, if you have suicidal thoughts or can't pull yourself together, you need to seek help. I don't know where the line is, but there is a line that can be crossed and one must seek help. If in doubt do not be afraid to err on the side of caution.

It seems to me that so many have gotten through so much and it leads me to believe that our human spirits are stronger than we realize; this tx puts them to the test and we learn what we are really made of. I wish we had hard stats on how many people really do go off the deep end or commit suicide on tx. I just think we are miserable/down/depressed because we are miserable and for so long! But we are tougher than we think.

But again, not always; so know yourself and be careful to do what you need to do if you find you can't pull yourself out of a dark period. GET HELP!
Avatar universal
What really seems to help for the depressions is meditation...and Omega 3, the fish-oil.
Wish you all the best
Avatar universal
Could you please post the data and  study research that states "omega 3 fish oil " can relieve depression ..


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