Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 123728

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Struggling without medication

Posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

Sorry about this long rant!
I can't see a future for myself that is free of medication and this really frightens me.

I was put on Effexor 4 years ago for depression and social anxiety. For the first couple of months it helped tremendously, and I was able to function in the workplace again. Gradually, over a period of years, its efficacy waned and I went into a new depressive phase: I started drinking heavily. Then I began sleeping as much as I could and found it impossible to get out of bed in the mornings. I lost a string of jobs because I could not motivate myself to get to work on time. Still, my overall mood was better and so I stuck with the medication.

Eight weeks ago I withdrew from Effexor and, after ten days or so of withdrawal symptoms, I was feeling really good. I actually felt `normal' for the first time in years and acquired some hope that I could live a functional life without medication.

That was until 10 days ago. During the last week my mood has taken a real dive. First it started raining. Then I was called in to do some casual work with a local employer and completely freaked out! I was experiencing panic attacks, severe social anxiety, and (worst of all) paranoia! (It's not that I have delusional thoughts about people being against me or anything; it's more a case of feeling inferior to everyone and thinking that everyone is pitying me and feeling sorry for me.) I have been drinking again and now I'm feeling as physically awful as ever. I slept for 16 hours a day over the weekend.

I don't have a doctor at the moment and I'm frightened of making an appointment because I just know that I will be prescribed antidepressants again or (even worse) antipsychotics! (There is no way in this WORLD that I'm ever going to take those.)

I just want to get my self-esteem back and to feel like a normal, functioning person again. Maybe this is just a part of coming off the Effexor? I hope to God that it is because I don't want to be mentally ill for the rest of my life.

Has anybody had these ups and downs after coming off antidepressants? Should I hang in there for just a few more weeks before approaching an MD (who will surely prescribe more drugs)? I have never experienced any suicidal tendencies so the worst that can happen is that my symptoms become worse and take longer to remit.

Has anyone had any success with St John's Wort or vitamin therapy? I'm tired of being mentally ill. I'm really, really tired. I just want to be well but sometimes it seems like such a long, hard climb.

 

Re: Struggling without medication

Posted by Bill L on October 15, 2002, at 10:15:56

In reply to Struggling without medication, posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

I really think that you should go back to see the doctor now. You do need to go back on medication. All medications have potential side effects. But relatively speaking, the newer antidepressants such as Effexor, Prozac, Remeron, Paxil, Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Serzone, and others are considered to be very safe. You should not be afraid of being on these types of drugs.

When drugs stop working, the doctor can fix the problem by changing the dose or trying different drugs.

You should call either your general practitioner, or if you prefer a psychiatrist, and go back on medication as soon as possible.

 

Re: Struggling without medication ╗ Alara

Posted by BrittPark on October 15, 2002, at 11:42:24

In reply to Struggling without medication, posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad. I concur with Bill L. You need to get back on appropriate medication. An antidepressant at least, probably not Effexor since it had stopped working for you. You could try an SSRI, or perhaps Wellbutrin which is activating and therefore might be more helpful for your Atypical Depression presentation. If you give your antidepressant a fair trial (4-8 week) and are not responding or only partially responding consider augmentation with a stimulant, anti-epileptic (Lamictal seems to producing good results for a lot of people on this board), a second antidepressant of another class, T3, or an atypical AP.

You will be able to find a treatment that works for you.

One last word, don't be afraid of APs. When used as augmentation agents for antidepressants, small doses are given and the risk of Tardive Diskenesia is low. For some people, not necessarily you, they are life savers. Also, if possible see a psychiatrist rather than a GP. GPs on average don't have the expertise to treat depression as well as psychiatrists.

Feel better,

Britt

 

Re: Struggling without medication ╗ Alara

Posted by Phil on October 15, 2002, at 12:41:38

In reply to Struggling without medication, posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

Alara,

I would get to a psychiatrist, try to get a recommendation for a good one, and would start with Lexapro. It's side effect profile is incredibly low; it's a very clean drug. If you have anxiety, maybe some Xanax as needed. If you're sleep walking, I'd go with Adderall XR.

I agree with you even on the newer atypical anti-psychotics, I wouldn't go there till you try some other things first. Even at a low dose, Tardive Dyskinesia is a possibility.

Start simple without going into AP's and mood stabilizers.

Just another opinion.

Phil

 

Re: Struggling without medication

Posted by Tab▀itha on October 15, 2002, at 14:42:49

In reply to Struggling without medication, posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

Alara,
I tried going off meds several times, and each time it was similar to what you've described. I'd feel great for a few weeks, free of the side effects, then the depression would come back. On different occasions I tried vitamins, SAMe, 5-HTP, fish oil, evening primrose oil and St Johns's Wort, and it had no noticeable effect except nausea and neon yellow urine. Going back on antidepressants did the trick every time. You owe it to yourself to find a med that really works instead of struggling without it. Good luck.

 

PHIL Re: Struggling without medication

Posted by McPac on October 15, 2002, at 15:07:34

In reply to Re: Struggling without medication ╗ Alara, posted by Phil on October 15, 2002, at 12:41:38

Phil,
Which SSRI is Lexapro most like (it is an ssri, correct?)
Also, does it have the sexual side effects like the other SSRI's do?
Thanks.

 

Re: Struggling without medication

Posted by lawrence s. on October 15, 2002, at 17:32:57

In reply to Struggling without medication, posted by Alara on October 15, 2002, at 6:51:52

> Sorry about this long rant!
> I can't see a future for myself that is free of medication and this really frightens me.
>
> I was put on Effexor 4 years ago for depression and social anxiety. For the first couple of months it helped tremendously, and I was able to function in the workplace again. Gradually, over a period of years, its efficacy waned and I went into a new depressive phase: I started drinking heavily. Then I began sleeping as much as I could and found it impossible to get out of bed in the mornings. I lost a string of jobs because I could not motivate myself to get to work on time. Still, my overall mood was better and so I stuck with the medication.
>
> Eight weeks ago I withdrew from Effexor and, after ten days or so of withdrawal symptoms, I was feeling really good. I actually felt `normal' for the first time in years and acquired some hope that I could live a functional life without medication.
>
> That was until 10 days ago. During the last week my mood has taken a real dive. First it started raining. Then I was called in to do some casual work with a local employer and completely freaked out! I was experiencing panic attacks, severe social anxiety, and (worst of all) paranoia! (It's not that I have delusional thoughts about people being against me or anything; it's more a case of feeling inferior to everyone and thinking that everyone is pitying me and feeling sorry for me.) I have been drinking again and now I'm feeling as physically awful as ever. I slept for 16 hours a day over the weekend.
>
> I don't have a doctor at the moment and I'm frightened of making an appointment because I just know that I will be prescribed antidepressants again or (even worse) antipsychotics! (There is no way in this WORLD that I'm ever going to take those.)
>
> I just want to get my self-esteem back and to feel like a normal, functioning person again. Maybe this is just a part of coming off the Effexor? I hope to God that it is because I don't want to be mentally ill for the rest of my life.
>
> Has anybody had these ups and downs after coming off antidepressants? Should I hang in there for just a few more weeks before approaching an MD (who will surely prescribe more drugs)? I have never experienced any suicidal tendencies so the worst that can happen is that my symptoms become worse and take longer to remit.
>
> Has anyone had any success with St John's Wort or vitamin therapy? I'm tired of being mentally ill. I'm really, really tired. I just want to be well but sometimes it seems like such a long, hard climb.

Alara,
My 17 year old son had a heck of a timegetting off Effexor.
How about Sam-e? For me it has no side effects, is good for social anxiety, anhedonia. My Pdoc says it is at least as effetive as Elavil according to a Swedish study. But like all the other AD's it takes a few weeks for it to take effect. Make sure you buy Nature Made or GNC says my doc. They are the 2 most reliable brands. I was Absolutely amazed at how good this non prescription pill worked for me. Better than Prozac!

Another thing I highly reccomend is Recovery Inc. (non-profit self help group (www.recovery.com), if you are absolutely determined to go without drugs. It helped my Mom who was misdiagnosed as schidzophrenic. It also helped me with my GAD. And the good thing is that people with just mild anxiety/deppresion can benefit as well. It improves mental health thoughout the whole spectrum.

Also remember that after stopping any med. there will be a period of time that you will experience the the down end of the mood wave for quite some time, even after the withdrawl symtoms have subsided. Hopefully you will be able to ride out that period.

I wish you well. Larry.

 

Re: PHIL Re: Struggling without medication

Posted by Phil on October 15, 2002, at 17:43:41

In reply to PHIL Re: Struggling without medication, posted by McPac on October 15, 2002, at 15:07:34

Hi McPac.. Tons of posts on this board about Lexapro and you're right, it is the newest and cleanest SSRI. Lex is the single isomer version of Celexa. Some are having sexual SE. I'm at 20 mg and I think I could pull it off. Pun intended.

 

Thank you!

Posted by Alara on October 16, 2002, at 4:39:21

In reply to Re: Struggling without medication, posted by lawrence s. on October 15, 2002, at 17:32:57

Thanks to everyone for replying. I found all of your suggestions very helpful and made an appointment with a GP this afternoon. He listened really carefully and took the time to get a good understanding of my problems.

The doctor feels that my current condition has more in common with anxiety (panic disorder) than with depression and has placed me on small dose of Xanax for the short term only. Meanwhile he has encouraged me to get out of the house more and to exercise in order to get rid of some of that excess adrenalin. I will visit him again next week for follow-up.

Here is the best news: The doctor feels that there is a good chance that, if I continue to improve my lifestyle, I will be able to remain free of antidepressants. Of course, he can't guarantee it. I'm just so glad that he didn't just throw me straight into the `antidepressants forever' category. As helpful as medication has been in the past, I just want the chance to live my life drug-free again!

Larry, I will check out that website. Thank you!

Meanwhile I'll be researching all the antidepressants that you each mentioned - just in case! Thanks again for your understanding and your input.

Alara

 

Re: Struggling without medication ╗ lawrence s.

Posted by Alara on October 18, 2002, at 9:26:02

In reply to Re: Struggling without medication, posted by lawrence s. on October 15, 2002, at 17:32:57

Another thing I highly reccomend is Recovery Inc. (non-profit self help group (www.recovery.com), if you are absolutely determined to go without drugs.

Larry, I typed in the above URL and got some IT site. Do you know whether this site is still active?

(By the way, I'm staying on Dr Bob's site as well. It's a Godsend! :-) )

 

Re: Struggling without medication ╗ Alara

Posted by lawrence s. on October 18, 2002, at 17:16:42

In reply to Re: Struggling without medication ╗ lawrence s., posted by Alara on October 18, 2002, at 9:26:02

> Another thing I highly reccomend is Recovery Inc. (non-profit self help group (www.recovery-inc.com), if you are absolutely determined to go without drugs.
>
> Larry, I typed in the above URL and got some IT site. Do you know whether this site is still active?
>
> (By the way, I'm staying on Dr Bob's site as well. It's a Godsend! :-) )

Alara,
I'm sorry the URL is www.Recovery-inc.com My mistake. It's actually a kind of internationally recognized group therapy that meets usually in church basements/cafeterias (you don't have to be of any religion and it's totally annonymous). It's not a chatline instead it's face to face group therapy. I found it usefull for myself because it made me able to distinguish when I was having a symptom from my deppresion and what thought proccess brought it on. Most people who join that are on meds are usually able to reduce thier dosages or go med free over time. I agree with you about dr bob but there is nothing that compares to the support and guidance that you get from the group. Also to talk to people with the nearly identical problems and find out how they had overcome them is truly invaluble.
Larry


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