I've decided to go on medication

There’s nothing weak or shameful about meds. Therapy has been wonderful for me, but I think the drugs have also been helpful. For me, neither one alone has been the magic bullet. They have worked hand-in-hand.

One thing to note: the internet is a blessing. But it is a curse. The first time you get a prescription, you will race to every message board to get the straight dope on risks and side effects. Just remember that the people with unpleasant experiences are more likely to post stuff than the people who had great experiences. The latter are too busy living life to bitch and moan on message boards. The negativity can be overwhelming and may make you afraid to take your medication. It’s made me afraid before. And sometimes that’s not a bad thing. For instance, my doc just prescribed me an anti-psychotic. After surveying the intrawebs to determine the common side effects, I feel confident enough to say that I’m just not in that bad of a shape yet to take it. I’m sure it’s fine for some people, but I don’t think it would be fine for me.

But there’s also negativity out there for the other meds that I take. I guess the difference is that the complaints aren’t as consistent for these drugs as they are about the other. If everyone is saying a drug turned them into morbidly obese zombies, for instance, that’s a lot scarier than if only some claim this happened to them.

If you can swing it financially, I would recommend going to a therapist (even if they don’t do CBT) while you tweak your medication. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t had someone to provide support during all the doctor-searching and experimentation. It’s helpful to have a third party listen to you kvetch about side effects. From my experience, psychiatrists will either dismiss complaints about side effects or attempt to treat them with other medication (a big no no!) But sometimes you just need someone to just talk to–someone who has helped others go through similar experiences and knows what worked for them.

Also, therapists can act as your case-worker, talking to your doctor on your behalf and helping you find a new doctor in case you decide to switch. When you are seriously depressed and anxious, this is a freakin’ god-send. Well-connected therapists can also get you into the appointment books of doctors who claim they are not taking new patients. And sometimes, therapists can insist you stick with a doctor if you have a history of dumping them for trivial reasons (ahem).

Good luck with your chemical adventures.

I’m glad you’re looking at this option. I too have tried to function on CBT and lifestyle measures, and I think if I had the time and space to do everything in my “treat depression without drugs” book, especially my mindfulness meditation, I could probably feel pretty damn good. BUT, I have acknowledged that that’s not going to happen for me right now.

Over the last ten years or so, I’ve tried five different meds, and Zoloft did seem to help me a lot, but this time around it made me jittery. Prozac was a goddamn miracle for my mood, energy, motivation, and executive function, but unfortunately it farked up my digestive tract so horribly I had to abandon it. Paxil had similar bad side effects.

But the thing is, side effects and med effectiveness are *extremely *individualized. I second **monstro **in saying you should probably just block out any information about side effects. It really provides no benefit. If you feel you’re having a troublesome side effect, talk to your doc. Otherwise don’t make yourself paranoid about potential problems. (Seriously, I should take my own advice. After having some vivid, scary dreams I Googled “Effexor dreams” and found a message board post complaining that the drug was causing *prophetic *dreams.)

My other thought is that having a good therapist and a GP might be better than a psychiatrist. I’ve heard too many stories of psychiatrists just loading on one med after another, and I suspect those people who tell horror stories of being drugged-out zombies were seeing a psychiatrist. “When all you have is a hammer,” and all that, you know? I love having my nurse practitioner at my family practice office handing my meds, because she really knows me and I trust her, and she is very sensible and conservative about this stuff. Meanwhile, my therapist has thrown in some good suggestions, such as Prozac being the next thing to try after Zoloft made me jittery, since Prozac tends to be calming, and also because it’s known to cause weight loss, and she knows that’s one of my big goals.

If you continue to have trouble finding a non-woo therapist, you might keep an eye on the Therapist Projectwebsite, which is currently working to compile a database of non-woo, secular therapists and connect them with patients. Not up and running yet, but could be a good resource once it is.

If you are female, I’d recommend you try Inositol (vitamin B8) for a month first.

It’s a sugar-alcohol which is naturally synthesised from glucose in the body., and during a study, almost all female participants greatly improved by supplementing with12g a day for a couple of weeks, with no significant side-effects.

If you’re male, then I’d recommend a bigger dose, as 12g wasn’t enough for the men in the study, but I have heard anecdotal evidence that suggests they just need more. I take 20g. Don’t worry about taking too much, the excess is just converted back to glucose.

I’d recommend you get the bulk powder, as it works out a lot cheaper then tablets.

It also has been shown to help with anxiety and OCD

Clockwork Jackal, good for you. If you’re suffering, you should get the help you need. If you’ve done all you can on your own, it’s time to adapt and try the next thing.

It may be you’ll have an immediate, positive experience. Many people do. But it may not be that simple. You doctor has no insight into what your brain chemistry is doing aside from your description to him of how you feel, so getting the meds right can be an iterative process, and it may be that there will be a couple or more rounds of trying different things. Be patient!

Also, please stop reading this thread, and the entire internet immediately! :wink: No, not really. But there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and reading the postings of people on the internet about a med can be cripplingly negative, when that med may be precisely what you need. I went through this when I was prescribed a med that ultimately helped me a great deal, but I was needlessly scared to death to take it after reading stuff people said about it on the interwebs.

It sounds like you have a healthy, skeptical but also realistic view of the nature of these drugs, and are doing your homework (cf your comment above about benzodiazapines). Keep paying attention and don’t be afraid to try things with your doctor. But also, after giving a med a good tryout for the expected break-in period (which can be lengthy), don’t be afraid to push back when things aren’t getting better.

Good luck!!

Don’t try to be a hero or stress about the stigma. Depression and anxiety are often related to brain chemistry issues. Antidepressants are often a big help. Life is too short not to try this.

Meds is meds, whether you’re taking it for your heart or for depression. DO IT!

No? I’m fond of it for putting me to sleep and sometimes when I have the wim wams*, though that “putting me to sleep” tells me not to take it at work or when I’m driving. And there’s the extra special feature that the 150mg ones I get from Target have creases where you can bite the tablet and get any variation of 50mg, 75mg, 100mg, or 150mg. Nightly decision making fun for only $4US per month!

I quit Effexor because I knew that I missed a dose when I heard my eyes blink. That wasn’t the help with auditory hallucinations I expected. Doc has me augmenting my Prozac with Welbutrin, which may not help and may cause constipation. I do know I’m writing more, but I’m not sure that’s a positive. Especially as it’s wooish stuff for AA. [famous last words] Y’see, there’s this girl and she likes my “spiritual insights”… [/famous last words]

    • My wife’s** name for a mild panic attack.

** - Thus the “famous last words.”

Most SSRIs are pregnancy class C (categories explained here. This includes Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Pristiq, and others. Paxil and Xanax are class D, however, so you’d probably want to avoid those if there’s an alternative. I’ve never seen anything to suggest that any one of the class C drugs is safer than another, though, so your doctor may not be inclined to switch you from one to another just due to pregnancy. Prozac probably has more studies than any other because it’s the oldest, so if that one works for you, it may be the most reassuring choice for someone who might get pregnant.

To dropzone:

I took Trazadone for years, and I found it monumentally better than Elavil (Amitryptaline). Elavil caused me to gain weight, and made that weight damned near impossible to lose.

I didn’t like the generic 150mg Trazadone. With the bulky size and sharp corners, I felt like I was swallowing a grand piano. I swear I could see the jagged edges sticking out of the sides of my throat as it traveled to my stomach! The small, scored name-brand Desyrel was MUCH nicer, but once the generic form became available, the insurance company determined what was best for them.

To keep me from strangling, I discovered the generic Trazadone was also available in a nice, round, small 50mg pill. I asked my doctor to change the prescription from the 150mg Strangler to 3-50mg tablets.

No problem.
~VOW

Vitamin supplementation in general is a good idea. A lot of people working sedentary office jobs don’t get nearly enough sunlight and don’t eat a healthy diet, so they are often lacking in D and various Bs. I know that when I started supplementing with just a couple Flintstones vitamins a day, I felt an enormous burst of energy and happy vitality within 24 hours. It was much easier to get out of bed in the morning, and I felt like I needed less sleep at night while functioning better during the day.

I still think that a good old SSRI is going to help the OP. There’s no reason not to take vitamins too, though. Vitamin B12 deficiency, in particular, can mimic the symptoms of depression *very *closely:

I’ve heard some very good things about Pristiq. Around here it’s the one they typically give to people under the age for which antidepressants are approved, in the rare event the benefits outweight the risks, simply because it’s considered to have the least damaging side effects. Then again, that could simply be because it’s new-ish.

Jesus Christ!

But that’s part of the fun!

For the rest of you, this is what they look like: https://healthy.kaiserpermanente.org/static/drugency/images/PLV04411.JPG Try choking THAT down!

Who in their right mind makes pills shaped like THAT? Jeebus …

In related news, just picked up my refill with the new, bonus knowledge that the pharmacy charges the same thing for my current 10 mg dose as they do for my previous 20 mg dose. Hmmm…

Sorry I haven’t been back to the thread in a few days guys. Got busy with Mom stuff.

VOW
Ok, Ok, I’m doing it! I have a call in to my doc, (who is actually not a doctor but a nurse practitioner) Hopefully I can see her before she leaves on the 10th. If not, then I’ll have to wait til the 31st, and I really don’t want to wait that long. If I end up waiting that long, I may end up chickening out, and that would not be a Good Thing.

Rigamarole
See, that’s what I want to hear; people who went on meds and found it improved their lives significantly.

Vinyl Turnip Serious consideration. Yeah, I’ve considered doing this for YEARS. This is not something that I’ve decided to do lightly. I’m just so tired of being fearful all the time. I feel like, I’ve been taught to cope really well, but I’m getting tired of coping.

purplehorseshoe I also suffer from insomnia. I wouldn’t call it debilitating, more like, Serious or Moderate. Sleep and I are mortal enemies. Yet, for me, it’s so critical to my mood. If I don’t get good sleep, I get CRANKY! Like, really really cranky. My husband asks me all the time “What can I do to get you to sleep?” and I say “I don’t know.” So, it’s frustrating for him too.

MaddyStrut Hey! Another GAD sufferer. Exactly, I’m functional, but I want to be BETTER THAN FUNCTIONAL! And CBT has done wonders, I’m 90% of the way up the hill, but I just can’t get all the way up by myself. I’m trying to “forgive myself” for having to take medication, but it’s hard. It still feels like a weakness.

monstroI’m trying to tell myself that “there’s nothing weak or shameful about meds” but sometimes I still feel kinda disappointed. In church today someone said “Pray for my brother who has cancer.” and someone else said “Pray for my friend who has depression.” They weren’t afraid to identify who had cancer, but the depression sufferer was left anonymous. I wonder why that is?

Also, I promise to not read any of the whackjob boards. “I cured my anxiety disorder by drinking a gallon of apple cider vinegar a day!” Um…no thanks.

Unauthorized Cinnamon Yeah, I’m hopeful the side effects will be minimal and it will work. And if not, I’ll switch to something else. And hopefully I can find something to help me.

Namkcalb I’m not interested in vitamin supplements, but thanks for the imput.

squeegee Yeah, the intarwebz are scary, and there’s a lot of woo woo BS out there too. :slight_smile:

JillGat, PandaBear77 Ok, OK I said I’m DOING EET! LOL

Ok, I’ll get back to the rest of you later when I have a bit more time! I’ll also let you know if my RNP can meet this week, and what she puts me on.

I’ve been on Zoloft (50mg) for the better part of the past decade. I feel absolutely no qualms with being on the medication. The way I see it is that the medicine doesn’t make my inner problems any less real; rather it allows me to see myself and my problems for what they are-rather than see them draped in the wholly insurmountable, overwhelming sadness that would prevent me from doing anything.

Clockwork Jackal, there’s really nothing to forgive for needing medication. It’s not a weakness or character flaw. You didn’t* ask* for this.

The reason people don’t give out names of those suffering from mental illness is because there’s still a stigma involved. There shouldn’t be, but there is. Even so, it’s a stupid stigma that you shouldn’t let bother you. Depression is a very real condition.

Yes, I know. My reproductive endocrinologist is aware that I’m on Prozac as well and it was fine for IVF. They basically said that being pregnant and depressed is a lot worse then being pregnant and on a lower dose of Prozac and happy. Especially with all those hormones. Better of two evils, I guess! :slight_smile:

To be fair, depression isn’t always endogenous. If someone were to ask me why I’m dysthymic, I would be lying if I told them it is just a chemical thing. It’s not. Is that being ashamed or just wanting to keep private things private? It’s probably both. Either way, I don’t see myself changing any time soon and I’m fine with this.

There are some medical issues that are similarly shrouded. I wouldn’t want anyone to know that I have an STD, for instance. I wouldn’t want anyone to know about cognitive deterioration or psychosis, even though there is no mistaking the medical basis for dementia or schizophrenia.

Exactly! A lot of people try to give a pregnant woman grief for ingesting any kind of medicine, but that ignores the fact that there are real costs to going untreated.

I was fairly anti-meds for a long time, but eventually decided to give it a shot because my anxiety just wasn’t going away. I ended up taking lexapro for a while, and I was surprised that it legitimately seemed to help. Side effects were minimal for me.
But I’m still surprised by the number of people who start taking meds without engaging in CBT… IMO, ya need both!