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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
Lugez Offline
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Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 4th 2009, 12:04 AM

I've been seeing a therapist for a few months now. She already brought up the idea of putting me on medication, but I declined. And recently she talked to my mom about it (I gave consent for my mom to talk to her), and is strongly suggesting that I do it again. Now, I'm thinking about it because things aren't really getting that much better (she has diagnosed me with social anxiety and dysthymia).

I am personally very wary of any kinds of drugs. I think this year I've only taken tylenol once, and that's it. I hate popping pills because I hate the idea that I may become dependant on them one day. I feel this is going to happen if I start using medication for my "mental illness."

I want to know everyone's experience with anti depressants, and how they changed you? Did it change for better, or worse? Can you function without them? If anyone knows more about psychology than me, what is your input on these types of drugs? Why, or why not should I take these drugs?

Any opinion would be appreciated.
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 4th 2009, 12:49 AM

Hey. I used to be exactly like you.. for the longest time I refused to take any drugs.. now I've been on a bunch in the past 2 years. PM me if you want to know more, I'm not super comfortable posting my entire med history in public. But I'm happy to share experiences.
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 06:43 AM

IMO, psychotropic medications are a good jump start but in most cases should not become a lifelong necessity. Especially with dysthymia, antidepressants can help to jump start recovery. However, with both social anxiety and depressive disorders (of which dysthymia is one) there are therapies which tend to work, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy in my experience.

The thing about antidepressants, and any psychotropic medications for that matter, is that they permanently alter your brain chemistry. That is the reason I have never been on antidepressants, despite having been depressed. As a psychology major, I am very wary of medications, but I don't go so far as to say that they are bad. Over prescribed, no question in my mind, but not bad when used properly.

Now, I don't know what the laws are in NJ, but in Illinois, unless a therapist is a psychiatrist they can not prescribe medication. Refer to a psychiatrist, yes, but not prescribe them. Before you go on a medication, I would meet with a psychiatrist. Some people go to their general practitioner after a recommendation from a therapist, which IMO is removing the expert in the area (the psychiatrist) from an equation.
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 07:46 AM

Hey Ivan!
My friend used to be on antidepressants and well, I have to say, that she told me that they didn't work at all after a while. The thing about antidepressants are that they work in the beginning and then, they lose effect, but they get you addicted. And because of this addiction, you might start taking larger doses. My friend had to go to the hospital 'cause she had taken a really large dose. We almost lost her. The thing is, after seeing her in such a state, I would never say that antidepressants are okay, even if a very well-practiced doc has prescribed it.
It really does warp your mind and causes an imbalance.
You could, although, use it like for a trial period like a week or two, and if you feel that it has any effect on you (good), then maybe you could reconsider. Just be careful, is all I can say!

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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 08:54 AM

I used to refuse to go on any sort of drug for my depression but since I've been taking amitriptyline, I'm a different person. They're worth it and I can assure you it's for the best.
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 05:38 PM

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Originally Posted by Natalie Cain View Post
Hey Ivan!
My friend used to be on antidepressants and well, I have to say, that she told me that they didn't work at all after a while. The thing about antidepressants are that they work in the beginning and then, they lose effect, but they get you addicted.
Such things depend largely on the person taking the medication and what medication they are taking. For instance, TCAs (Tricyclic Antidepressants) are much more dangerous in overdoses than MAOIs, SSRIs, and Second Generation Antidepressants. SSRIs are particularly not dangerous in overdoses. Also, the effectiveness of the medication will vary from person to person. In a situation like what happened with your friend, the prescribing doctor should have changed to another medication.

Antidepressants are actually restoring a balance, although like I said they are altering your brain chemistry permanently.
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 07:42 PM

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Originally Posted by BigBL87 View Post
IMO, psychotropic medications are a good jump start but in most cases should not become a lifelong necessity. Especially with dysthymia, antidepressants can help to jump start recovery. However, with both social anxiety and depressive disorders (of which dysthymia is one) there are therapies which tend to work, particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy in my experience.

The thing about antidepressants, and any psychotropic medications for that matter, is that they permanently alter your brain chemistry. That is the reason I have never been on antidepressants, despite having been depressed. As a psychology major, I am very wary of medications, but I don't go so far as to say that they are bad. Over prescribed, no question in my mind, but not bad when used properly.

Now, I don't know what the laws are in NJ, but in Illinois, unless a therapist is a psychiatrist they can not prescribe medication. Refer to a psychiatrist, yes, but not prescribe them. Before you go on a medication, I would meet with a psychiatrist. Some people go to their general practitioner after a recommendation from a therapist, which IMO is removing the expert in the area (the psychiatrist) from an equation.
The thing is my therapist does CBT, and the whole things seems like a crock of shit to be honest. It seems like they just try to change how I think and tell me that I'm wrong, rather than trying to fix the actual issue.

And the laws are similar in NJ, I have to go somewhere else for someone to look at me, then they prescribe it.

So basically...Do you think it would be worth it or not? I know it's a weird question but I'm not sure what to do. "Altering brain chemistry" doesn't sound good to me..
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 09:20 PM

It's worth it. As long as you don't abuse them you won't overdose and you won't become addicted. Sometimes it takes a while to get off of them, to adjust, but you won't get addicted.
You cannot just try them for a 2 week trial period though. It may take up to 2 months to know if they are really working.

And I know what you mean about the CBT. It has never helped me. Can you ask your therapist not to do it as much?
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 5th 2009, 10:40 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugez View Post
The thing is my therapist does CBT, and the whole things seems like a crock of shit to be honest. It seems like they just try to change how I think and tell me that I'm wrong, rather than trying to fix the actual issue.

And the laws are similar in NJ, I have to go somewhere else for someone to look at me, then they prescribe it.

So basically...Do you think it would be worth it or not? I know it's a weird question but I'm not sure what to do. "Altering brain chemistry" doesn't sound good to me..
Honestly, as long as you think it is a crock it won't work. 99.9% of therapies will not work if a client doesn't buy into it (I'd say all, but you always have exceptions). CBT is a very popular therapy, I'm partial to Adlerian and Solution Focused Therapies with some CBT mixed in. In any event, in some situations it can help immensely, but I can't say for sure for any situation. I just present the facts, I don't like to give advice on mental health issues.

You might tell your therapist that the CBT isn't working for you, and ask about pursuing another route in either event.

The idea behind CBT is that problems are based on a faulty view of the world, and behaviors resulting perpetuate that flawed thinking. I.e. "I'll never get better," which leads to not seeking help. The thought is debilitating, and leads to a behavior that perpetuates it. There may be "initial" problems, but CBT says that they are not as much the issue as how one responds to them (which I somewhat agree with). One reason I like Adlerian psychotherapy is that is doesn't gloss over initiating problems quite as much as CBT does. I think a psychotherapist is best served to have a wide array of schools to draw from.

Last edited by BigBL87; November 6th 2009 at 05:54 PM.
   
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Re: Medication/Anti-Depressants - November 6th 2009, 07:40 AM

I cant give you much personal experience because I was never put on them. I can however give you information from a neurochemical, pharmacological perspective or other physiological perspective as this is some of what I'm studying right now (not only anti-depressants though). As for psychotherapy (i.e. CBT), I can only give you a basic idea of it but others can do much better than I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugez View Post
The thing is my therapist does CBT, and the whole things seems like a crock of shit to be honest. It seems like they just try to change how I think and tell me that I'm wrong, rather than trying to fix the actual issue.
For any method of psychotherapy to work, you have to be willing to allow it to work. If you don't, then it's not going to be that effective.

You also have to understand that psychotherapy isn't going to work with a snap of the fingers. It's going to take time and some of the time is spent getting to trust the therapist and the treatment method.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lugez View Post
So basically...Do you think it would be worth it or not? I know it's a weird question but I'm not sure what to do. "Altering brain chemistry" doesn't sound good to me..
I'll try to put this into a different view for you. You're typing a post or reading this one, assuming there's not many other distractions. One of the things that's occurring is a change in your neurochemistry and neurophysiology. "Altering brain chemistry" occurs every day for every situation you're in. I know we may not think of it in that view but if you think about it, how do you write a post on here? Your fingers move, your muscles contract, you think, etc... . All that requires changes in your neurochemistry.

One of the differences between psychotherapy and psychopharmacology therapy is that for the pills, once you take them it doesn't matter if you aren't too happy, it may work. Note that word "may". You're likely to experience side-effects but all I can say to that is if they're not severe, then there's not much else to do about it because most if not all medications have side-effects. Sometimes some people don't experience them but the medication has them.

I think that you should try it simply because you don't know what you're avoiding. I tend to take the view that if you haven't tried something or don't understand it that much, then don't bang it down.

I'll tell you now though, if you want to do research online or talking to a doctor, therapist or whoever about the medications, that's fine. However, the moment they begin telling you that the medications work only by affecting serotonin (5-HT for short), they're probably making it a simplified view. If a website says it works only be affecting 5-HT, then it's a pile of shit which will be refuted by numerous researchers. For simple purposes though, you can think of it as affecting numerous neurotransmitters, one of which is 5-HT. I'm telling you this because I've seen many websites that are still under the idea that anti-depressants work only through affecting 5-HT and all I can do is shake my head at them.

I'm not going to begin giving a more detailed explanation as it's late, I'm tired, other decent websites hopefully can do it and it may not comfort you in the first place.
   
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