Fun with Antidepressants!

I’ve noticed a wide number of persons on this board are either clinically depressed or have some sort of mental ailment(s). What I’m wondering is, do you take any antidepressants? If so, what kind, and do they help? Do you have any unpleasant side effects?

I’ll go first. I’m clinically depressed and am just finishing up Amitriptylin. It made me pretty groggy and dry-mouthed, but it helped my stomach when it hurt (I suffer from “nervous tummy”).

My doctor just prescribed Zoloft for me. Actually, she only gave me a sample of it to try out. I don’t know how it will treat me.

I’m convinced that Amitriptylin is the tool of the devil. Just my opinion. No, it didn’t work for me. I can’t believe it helped your “nervous tummy”. I’ll take your word for it but that stuff made me sick!

I was, and probably should still be, taking Prozac. No, it’s not working for me. I’ve never really experienced any horrible side effects from it.

And have you noticed that, with some exceptions, many of the people on this board are also extremely intelligent, insightful and witty?

I can’t help but think that there may be a connection.

Myself, I’m clinically depressed, but not taking anything for it. I’d much rather be depressed and cynical than walk around with a dopey grin all day. Not that I’m saying that this is a necessary effect of antidepressants, mind you; I’m just very comfortable with the fact that there are people who need some degree depression to remain sane, and I’m one of them.

Its because those of us on this board are smart… and the smart can’t take comfort in falsehoods of a happy world… or as I saw it said once. “It’s the truth. The wise don’t take comfort in the truth.”

As to the OP I don’t know what would help you but personally I was on Luvox for a time (I’m not anymore… it didn’t seem to make much of a difference with me and I didn’t like being on drugs all the time. So far I haven’t gotten any new antidepressents since I went off them about oh maybe close to a year ago approximately and I don’t plan to unless I absolutely need them. Which I hope I won’t.)

Actually, I just got out of a relationship with a girl on anti-depressants. I also know a couple of other woman who have been on anti-depressants as well. Specifically, they were on Prozac and, shit, can’t think of it- some other popular drug for the same thing.

The biggest drawback that I’ve seen and heard about is the lack of sex drive that the drug causes. It seems to tone it down considerably. I’d think it could be a fluke had it only happened to the one person I dated, but it’s happened to more than few I know that have been on anti-depressants.

It’s a bitch if you’re the other person (sex wise), but it does seem to stabalize the persons feelings to the point that they are genuinely funner to be around. That part was refreshing, but sex suffers.

Not a big deal for the short term, I’m told it does rebound after a time or the dosage is reduced. Till then, it’s all about dealing with the depression and finding ways to overcome it.

Sidenote- Yeah, there does seem to be a few people on this board who are depressed. It seems to come and go, however.

Ahh Hell. I just realized it was you who started the O.P. Welfy.

Man 'O live. Your still dealing with that shit? If your pondering whether or not you should try out anti-depressants, try out whatever the doc prescribes. Give it a shot, if it doesn’t do what you want it to, switch. It might take a while to get the right drug and the right dossage, but keep trying. It’ll eventually kick in and work.

Keep in mind that taking the drugs should also be used in conjunction with seeing a therapist and all that.

Hadn’t seen you post in a while and thought you left the boards. Glad your still around but sorry your feeling down.

Hi, Welfy, don’t know if you remember, but you welcomed me to the board when I started posted. The casserole was delicious, BTW. Do try the Zoloft, it has fewer side effects than the amitryptiline and should be helpful. And ditto what Cnote Chris said about a therapist. That is very important.

Hope you are feeling better soon.

Now, I hope this isn’t a hijack, but I gotta fight a little ignorance:
Sorry, blessedwolf, but research doesn’t support your observation of intelligent people being more likely to be depressed. A couple of details for your reading pleasure: Depression affects about 10% of the population. We don’t know the exact proportion of Dopers who are depressed, but 10% would be 1,000. Do you think there are more than that? Also, (and this is the more important point) depression is not just being a clear-eyed observer of the world–it’s sadness, hopelessness, poor sleep and appetite, not being able to enjoy anything, having difficulty with concentration, and, for some unfortunate folks, thinking that suicide their only option.

I am not saying that you were equating all depression with your own experience. In fact, when you said you needed “some degree of depression” you were acknowledging that there are differences in severity. I was just afraid that leaving that without some clarification might lead others to think of all depression as just a sort of clear-eyed cynicism.

I take 20mg of Paxil and 25mg of Trazodone before I go to sleep every night. It helps with my insomnia and basically stops me from worrying while I lie in bed. On the side, it kills my libido. Hmmmm.
::thinking welfy started this thread in response to what I said in the pit::

Paxil. That’s it.

A friend of mine was one that a while back and whenever she drank she got completely nuts. I knew her tolerance level before she started taking it. She’d have maybe four or five drinks and be buzzed but coherent and rational.

After about four drinks on Paxil, however, she turned into a different person. She wanted to drink like a madman and get completely out of control.

I’m all for getting out of control, but she got weird. She’d do and say things that were completely not her style. The next morning she wouldn’t remember a thing. Too much for me.

Anyrate, if you drink, and you’re not suppose to but everyone does, tell the doctor and he’ll either adjust the dossage or give you a different prescription.

I was on Amtrip for a while. Totally whacked me out, WAY too groggy and the dry mouth sucked. I stopped taking it after giving it the three weeks I know it needed. I didn’t feel less depressed, I just felt sleepy.

Need to hit the doctor’s this week, I might see if I can get some other drugs. I’ve heard Wellbutrin is great, even for non-addicts, and I’ve heard good things about Paxil. Let us know how you like Zoloft, Welf. It’s supposed to be good stuff.

Here’s something really weird:

I’ve been on amitriptyline for several years, not just for depression, but also for severe insomnia.

Last year, I was doubting the efficacy of the medication, so I stopped taking it for about a month. The results where that I rarely slept more than 1/2 hour at a time, and I was extremely manic most of the time. I had no previous history of mania at all, only depression. It was a very surreal month, filled with many unfinished grandiose projects. I finally went back to the amitriptyline in order to feel more “normal” (for me, anyway).

So my question is: why did I feel manic during that month, rather than more depressed?

After reading up on side effects of various popular anti-depressants, I ended up looking for alternatives. I’ve been using 5-HTP along with St John’s Wort. They helped take the edge off. But what really works for me now is a bout of strenous excercise every single day. I still have spells of depression, but not nearly as bad as in the past.

I actually find I like exercising now. (Which should tip me off to the fact that the reason I’m no longer severely depressed is because my mind has been replaced by either aliens or folger’s crystals, take your pick.)

Well, it’s possible that you were depressed all along, and just didn’t realise it. Insomnia is a symptom of depression. Here’s a quick and fun lesson on neurochemistry:

Depression is a result of too little seritonin (and other neurotransmitters) in the brain. As a result, neuro-messages don’t get transmitted as clearly or as accurately. Sort of (quick lessons are hard). So when you take an antidepressant, you’re boosting your seritonin levels. Manic episodes, however, are caused by too much seritonin (and other neurochemicals) that cause your brain to go haywire. So when you’re taking an depressive for manic episodes, you’re blocking seretonin.

My completely non-medical guess is that you were going through withdrawl. Ain’t it fun? Or that the years of ami literally changed your neurochemistry, so that the lack of it caused neurochemical producers to go into overdrive. Which is why no one should go off meds without a doctor’s supervision. (way to take your own advice, Swiddles…)

Anyone can feel free to correct my quick lesson, I can’t remember from the little neurology I’ve studied if depression is too much or too little neurochemicals. I think too little.

I’m with you Welfy. Sometimes it takes a long time to find the right medication. But the key, is to find the medication that helps you to become open (I can’t think of a better word)to therapy. I’ve been on a cocktail of 90 mgs of prozac, 5mgs of Ritalin 4 x a day and 1.5 mgs of Clonazepam for almost ten years. Finally, this past January my doctor started me on 300 mg of extended release Effexor. It has changed my life. I can actually go to therapy now. The light at the end of the tunnel use to be a train. Now, I think it’s someone with a flashlight. Don’t give up. You have to find the right med (or meds) in my case, but its usless without therapy.

Hmmm. Zoloft.

I was on it for a couple of years. Should have stopped a lot sooner, though. It quit working after about four months.
Also, when I first started taking it, I had some really freaking bizarre dreams, involving self-mutilation. Very scary. After a couple of days, it got me on a pretty even keel, but after four months, it just didn’t work anymore. Actually, I’ve heard from a couple of places that nobody should be on antidepressants for more than four months. I’ll have to see if I can find some links for you.

I think Zoloft is OK for temporary situational type depression and anxiety, but in my personal experience, it’s pretty useless over the long term. And it’s freaking expensive. My mom had to help pay for mine, because I was unemployed when I went on it, then when I got a job, I wasn’t making enough to be able to pay rent, bills, etc. and still afford the medication.

Also, choose your therapist carefully, I was in Jungian analysis for about two years, the guy gave me a reduced rate, so with insurance paying half, I could afford it. Didn’t do me a damn bit of good. The thing that helped the most was dumping the ex-bf for good…

Personally, I’m partial to talking to clergy. I think priests and ministers, if you get a good one (a good priest is a heck of a lot easier to find than a good shrink, IMHO) seem to deal with you on more of an individual basis, as a person, without trying to apply whatever theory they learned in shrink school.

Well, I haven’t tried my Zoloft yet since I still have to finish off the Amitrip. Unfortunately, I have forgotten to take it these past few days so I’ve grown sick again. Add that to killer sinuses from the changing weather…ugh.

Agisofia, I have the self-mutilation problems, but not in my dreams. It’s a real-life thing. It doesn’t really make things any better except to take away emotional pain temporarily, but it doesn’t really make things worse either since I never seriously harm myself.

I think my first counseling session is on Tuesday, but I’m not sure. Mom told me that a hospice person is coming to talk to my brother and I. I don’t even know if I’ll be home that day anyway, so Ben might have to deal with her alone.

I have tried Effexor (made me sick as a dog, didn’t work), Paxil (didn’t do squat, but at least didn’t make me sick)…I’ve also tried a couple other things but can’t even remember them LOL
The only thing I’ve found that helps me is Xanax (anti-anxiety med)…but It’s only to be used for the really big anxiety attacks and it will make you sleepy. It’s also pretty addictive, so don’t even try it if you have an addictive personality!! After being on it (off and on) for a year, I have gotten to the point now where I have a “I don’t REALLY have to take this to feel better” attitude and get over most of my attacks without it. I also can’t take anything at my job so that has helped me just have to “suck it up”. But…thats just my situation!

[Possible hijack]
My nephew is bipolar. He takes a “cocktail” of different things to keep him on an even keel, and it took a couple years to figure out what works for him without unpleasant side effects (I’ll have to ask him about pleasant side effects, tho…)

Everyone’s body chemistry is slightly different. The drug that works wonders for one person is a chemical scourge to another. If you are being treated with psychotropic drugs, do not meekly accept the doctor’s pronouncement that “this is the only drug that will work for you”. Oftimes, the drug he prescribes might just be the newest one down the pike and everyone’s really excited how well it works for some people. Stick with the program, but remember that if what you’re being given isn’t working after a reasonable amount of time, or if it makes things worse (side effects, significantly worsening condition) there’s always something else to try. Nothing is your only hope. There are plenty of alternative treatments, so hang in there.

Regarding the reduced libido caused by some of these products: sometimes one’s libido recovers as one becomes accustomed to the drug. If decreased libido causes problems (I’d consider it one) talk with your doctor. Some people will occasionally (with their doctor’s supervision) take a few day’s “vacation” from their meds to allow a day or so of increased libido. I suspect that this works differently depending on the medication being used, and the individual’s own body chemistry.
[/Possible hijack]


Another depressed Doper checking in (too lazy to stand up and say, “My name’s Greg and…”)

I’m currently on 75mg venlafaximine (Efexor) and 150mg trazadone as well as 50mg beta-blockers. I hate being on anti-depressants, but I don’t think I can live with the alternative right now. Recently I’ve been so massively depressed that I can’t even imagine what it would be like not taking them. The only thing I appreciate about the drugs is that they let me get to sleep at night.

Without going too far into my situation, I’ve been living apart from my wife since July. My depression acclerated rapidly after that. I think that the only way to defeat it is to come to terms with the situation I’m in right now and not to get too upset about what goes on in my personal life. In other words, antidepressants will never be more the the ultimate answer, only a temporary solution.

Just my 2p there.

I have some definite thoughts on all this, but first my personal history: I had a depressive episode about 10 years ago (when I was in my mid-twenties), and in fact, I believe probably was also depressed at times as a kid (although undiagnosed). They first tried me on Prosac for about 10 days and it was a disaster…It excerbated my nervous nature and I could barely eat or sleep. They then put me on Sinequan (doxepin)…up to 200 mg at one point. Sinequan is one of the traditional tricyclics, considered to be one of the most sedating ones, and it, along with psychotherapy, ended up helping me a lot over a period of several months to years. In fact, although I tapered off the Sinequan over a few years, I have never gone completely off of it…I still take 25 mg, which is not considered a therapeutic dose but seems to help me with sleep. (If I miss a dose, I wake up early the next morning.) And, the two times I tried going off of this last little bit, I found myself slipping back into depression…interestingly, in a way not unlike what panache45 describes…I became sort of hypomanic first and then emotionally “crashed”.

Now the thoughts:
(1) I think it is important to think long and hard about your own nature and determine which medication is likely to be the most effective with the fewest side effects. I am nervous by nature and need to avoid stimulating drugs of all kinds (no surprise that Prosac was a bad choice!); by contrast, drugs that are supposed to be sedating are useful…or just don’t effect me in that way much at all. (I used to believe that the warnings on antihistimines like chloritrimiton about it making you drowsy meant that if you take it and then later think about it real hard, you might notice you are a bit drowsy…until I talked to people including my sister who literally cannot stay awake after they take it! It is a bizarre fact that drugs affect different people in very different ways.) I never found any of the supposed side effects of Sinequan to be any problem…To the extent it sedated me slightly, that was a good thing.

(2) I agree with previous posts in recommending that drugs be used in combination with psychotherapy.

(3) Like Purd Wurfect, I would strongly recommend strenuous exercise. In my case, the one I pursue most actively is Ultimate Frisbee and I’ve often felt that Ultimate is the most powerful and effective antidepressant know to man…for me at least. I must admit that I do tend to have a little bit of a mood rebound about 24 hours after exercise, but still the net effect on mood is definitely positive and I would probably suffer it less if I did as Purd Wurfect recommends and exercise every day. For me, some sorts of exercise are more effective than others, with the two most important criterion I’ve identified being that it be sufficiently vigorous/aerobic to get those endorphins flowing, but also it that it be sufficiently focusing that it distracts me from other thoughts. (Thus, running is not very good…And, bicycling, though I do enjoy it, is not as effective as something more focusing.)

Those are my opinions based on my experiences. Best of luck and hang in there!