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

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Medicine or no medicine? - March 25th 2010, 06:47 PM

I'm having a hard time deciding whether I want to be put on medication or not. I told my mom that I've had periods of depression in which I've felt extremely suicidal. I told her about the first time I tried to SH but left it at that as she was becoming very frightened and upset. She told me she would be more than willing to get me in to a doctor to see about putting me on medication so that this doesn't happen anymore. I'm just--I don't know. I'm apprehensive about the whole thing. I don't know if I really need medicine. I've been in counseling for awhile and it hasn't helped, but I'd like to believe that I can be happy and healthy without medication. At the same time, I'm worried that when I enter another one of these periods, I won't make it out of it. I don't know what's wrong with me. I always thought depression was a constant thing, but it's not constant for me. It just comes and goes. I know I'm not bipolar. I have no idea what causes this, and I'm worried that taking medication either won't help or might make things worse somehow. Any advice?
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 25th 2010, 07:08 PM

Hey, I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, there are two things that I want to stress to you. Having a mental illness is very much like having a medical illness, if you had a chronic medical illness that required medication you would want to take it. Also, I'm sorry that counseling isn't helping and I don't want to imply that you aren't trying, but with counseling you have to let it help you and even then change doesn't happen overnight. The final decision is in your hands, just thought I'd put in my two cents. Good luck.


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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 26th 2010, 06:54 AM

There are always risks with taking medication but for psychiatric disorders, it can compliment psychotherapy and it can reduce the symptoms, ideally to a point where they are not detected or are not a problem. They're only temporary though but the psychotherapy, which takes much longer to notice effects is longer-lasting. If you're worried about the medications, that's understandable but many people have a hard time getting the medications because their family members don't cooperate or other reasons. Try the medications because only then you'll know how they really are.

Depression is not constant, even in those with major depressive disorder. It may last a while but it does end eventually by itself, however, medications and psychotherapy speed up the removal of it and can help provide strategies to prevent relapses.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 04:08 AM

I think you guys are right. It's important that I at least give them a try. And also give counseling another chance, since I haven't exactly been honest with my counselor. There's things I haven't told her. Maybe when I start talking about it, it'll help.

The thing is, I'm worried I'll become addicted to the medication, in a way. I'm worried that I'll start feeling weird without medication and I won't be able to function without it after that. I don't want to get myself into something like that. I do care... I just--I don't know, I'm a bit scared. But I guess it deserves a try. The way Kate put it, I need to treat this like I would any other illness. So I guess I should do what I feel is best for me and what will keep me safe. Thanks for helping me realize that, guys.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 06:00 AM

Anti-depressants or mood stabalizers don't have many, if any, addictive properties to them so I think you're just working yourself up. To describe what will happen, you'll likely need about 2 weeks or so to begin to feel the changes from the medications and as you continue on the same dose, you'll adapt to having it in your system. When you're taken off of it, it's in a gradual, slow decline so you won't be impacted by it.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 06:03 AM

What are you taking? Let me tell you my experience with medicine..I'll try to keep it short.

I was prescribed Cymbalta, and I was just as skeptical as you. If not more. I started taking it in about November. I didn't feel nothing for the first 2 months or so. So my doctor upped dosage until the normal levels (I started low).

I missed a couple days once because I ran out of pills...And I started to get "brain zaps." Sudden jolts in my head, a few times a minute. I'd get flustered because of them and somewhat nauseated. But I got more pills later and they stopped. After this, I got quite scared...

Earlier in March, I started getting bad side effects. I was very forgetful, started becoming extremely bitchy and irritated, AND NUMB. The numbness was horrible. I can pinpoint you the exact locations in my head in which I was feeling nothing. But it was also numbness in how I was feeling. Yeah, I was less sad. But I felt less of EVERYTHING. I couldn't focus in class because I didn't care. Not because I didn't WANT to care, but because my brain just wasn't producing anything. It tried, but nothing came out, hence the numbness in my head.

As a result of some rage from the numbness, I flushed all my pills down the toilet and vowed never to do them again. But then the withdrawal was horrible. Brain zaps, increased irritability (I couldn't sit still), more forgetfulness, couldn't focus on anything, my mind was racing and my thoughts weren't exactly coherent. It was quite bad..I had to leave school for a week. But I blame this more on myself because I should have weened out of it. Still, either go through a week of hell or keep taking that poison that I was prescribed.

I'm off them now, and I sought help elsewhere. I feel better now than I did on medication, and let's just say I think I see some hope on the horizon that I'm going to work towards. Fuck medicine.

And Kate: I used to think like you, but I don't believe Depression and such are medical problems. They are personal problems, brought upon by life experiences. There is NOTHING wrong with my brain, and after my experience with medicine, I lost almost all respect I had for psychiatrists. I can't believe they prescribe that crap.

I urge you to not do it..With the right amount of help and such I believe you can get through whatever you're going through.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 08:10 AM

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Originally Posted by Lugez View Post
I'm off them now, and I sought help elsewhere. I feel better now than I did on medication, and let's just say I think I see some hope on the horizon that I'm going to work towards. Fuck medicine.

And Kate: I used to think like you, but I don't believe Depression and such are medical problems. They are personal problems, brought upon by life experiences. There is NOTHING wrong with my brain, and after my experience with medicine, I lost almost all respect I had for psychiatrists. I can't believe they prescribe that crap.

I urge you to not do it..With the right amount of help and such I believe you can get through whatever you're going through.
I agree to an extent. Research is showing more and more that psychotherapy can produce the same neurochemical and physiological changes as medicine can (excluding side-effects).

Lugez: Two questions: 1) Have you ever looked at any journal articles showing neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain of depressed patients? If not, then 2) Would you ever consider doing so simply to see that your brain function does change while depressed and even when doing something such as focusing on something (i.e. blank piece of paper) regardless of psychiatric disorders? I'm not saying what happens to your brain is "wrong", just that there are indeed changes and the behaviors or actions that are produced are not always for the better.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 02:45 PM

You have nothing to lose from trying medication and most anti-depressants are not addictive. I would say it was worth a try and if they don't help then at least you can say you tried them. But have counselling and anti-depressants is said to be quite effective.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 28th 2010, 05:46 PM

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Originally Posted by !!!YOU'RE$NUCKING$FUTZ!!! View Post
I agree to an extent. Research is showing more and more that psychotherapy can produce the same neurochemical and physiological changes as medicine can (excluding side-effects).

Lugez: Two questions: 1) Have you ever looked at any journal articles showing neurochemical and neurophysiological changes in the brain of depressed patients? If not, then 2) Would you ever consider doing so simply to see that your brain function does change while depressed and even when doing something such as focusing on something (i.e. blank piece of paper) regardless of psychiatric disorders? I'm not saying what happens to your brain is "wrong", just that there are indeed changes and the behaviors or actions that are produced are not always for the better.
I acknowledge that we are fully biological beings. If I feel sad, happy, scared etc. it's because there are indeed some biological things going on in the brain. There's no getting around that.

The main problem I have is the constant focus of something "wrong" with people's brains.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - March 29th 2010, 01:46 AM

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Originally Posted by Lugez View Post
I acknowledge that we are fully biological beings. If I feel sad, happy, scared etc. it's because there are indeed some biological things going on in the brain. There's no getting around that.

The main problem I have is the constant focus of something "wrong" with people's brains.
If one gets diagnosed with a disorder, such as major depressive disorder, then that's saying something is unusual with their behavior, possibly due to something unusual happening within their body and brain. Whether or not what's happening in one's brain is "wrong" is a bit hard to say because it has to be compared to something to be considered "wrong" yet no functioning human brain is perfect.

However, for the human brain, we don't understand much of it so we cannot say that it is "wrong" when we don't know what it is meant to do in the first place.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - April 4th 2010, 03:14 PM

I don't think meds are a great idea, if it works for you, then fine. But I think they can be addictive and it's hard to get off them. Maybe talking to someone instead? x


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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - April 4th 2010, 04:05 PM

Do you have a doctor you can talk to about this? In the UK at least they do not tend to put people under the age of 18 on psychiatric medication very easily but they may have other suggestions for you. I would always follow a doctors advice rather than advice from unqualified people on a website such as this.


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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - April 4th 2010, 05:43 PM

As I said, I have been speaking to a counselor. She told me that if my thoughts and feelings seemed dangerous, I should schedule an appointment with the doctor. Now, we're not sure what's going to happen from there, but I may be prescribed with an anti-depressant. Then again, that was at my last appointment, which was over a month ago, back when I told her I thought my problems were caused by a hormonal imbalance and not depression. I've yet to get back to her and tell her about other things (my father can't seem to find a day that both of them are available for a session.) When I do, I'll tell her the truth about my depression and self harm and see what happens from there. I'm not saying that I need medication. But I want to be safe. I don't want to take any risks, because I don't trust myself when I'm depressed.

Regardless of whether I need medication or not, though, I guess what I want to know now is which medications are safe. Which ones are addictive? Which ones should I watch out for? My mother promised me that I'm not going on any meds until we're sure they're safe, but if any of you have any suggestions or info, that'd be great.
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - April 4th 2010, 06:58 PM

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As I said, I have been speaking to a counselor. She told me that if my thoughts and feelings seemed dangerous, I should schedule an appointment with the doctor. Now, we're not sure what's going to happen from there, but I may be prescribed with an anti-depressant. Then again, that was at my last appointment, which was over a month ago, back when I told her I thought my problems were caused by a hormonal imbalance and not depression. I've yet to get back to her and tell her about other things (my father can't seem to find a day that both of them are available for a session.) When I do, I'll tell her the truth about my depression and self harm and see what happens from there. I'm not saying that I need medication. But I want to be safe. I don't want to take any risks, because I don't trust myself when I'm depressed.

Regardless of whether I need medication or not, though, I guess what I want to know now is which medications are safe. Which ones are addictive? Which ones should I watch out for? My mother promised me that I'm not going on any meds until we're sure they're safe, but if any of you have any suggestions or info, that'd be great.
All medications run a risk of having an adverse reaction (i.e. severity of side effects), including for medications unrelated to depression and mood disorders. So in that respect, none are 100% "safe" but some have fewer reported known side-effects that are severe, so that's how I would judge safety. There's also chances of interactions with other medications or substances you're taking. For addiction, there are few cases where it's reported but whenever it was reported, it usually was for anti-depressants with amphetamine-like properties but even in some that don't, it's extremely, extremely rare for addiction to arise. When it does, one has to look at past substance abuse and similar things.

Some researchers and clinicians point out that there is possibly an addiction to them as seen when people take them and then stop taking them suddenly. While on them, people got better but when they immediately went off, there were many cases of awful things, such as attempting to commit suicide. Also, while on them, people tend to have their symptoms reduced or eliminated, which is great but they want to keep taking the medications and possibly feel dependent this way. So, chemically and physiologically, no they are not addictive but they can create a physiological withdrawl when you immediately stop taking them. Slowing reducing the dosage gets around this as best as possible.

Here are two very easy-to read articles:
http://www.drug-addiction-family-rec...addiction.html
http://www.biopsychiatry.com/addictionp.htm
   
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Re: Medicine or no medicine? - April 4th 2010, 08:13 PM

I went through the same worries and concerns when my therapist recommended I go see a psychiatrist to be prescribed some anti-depressants. I decided to go since I was sick of feeling so bad. I was put on sertraline as it's generally the medication with the least and least severe side effects. I had both a good and bad reaction when I started taking them. Sertraline effects dopamine levels in your brain, and dopamine is linked to both feelings of pleasure and movement. I started having seizures after a bit and had to spend a day in the hospital and a week out of school. While that sucked, we found out that my brain has high levels of dopamine, which has been a good thing to know for me since I know I can't have any anti-depressants that effect dopamine and I also can't do anything with illicit drugs since they jack up your dopamine so much.

Anyways. All this to say that yes there can be negative effects. Even after this whole episode, I decided to keep trying medications because I just wasn't doing well, still. It wasn't hard for my body to adjust to getting off of the meds. I'm now on new ones and doing fine.

Honestly, reactions like mine are VERY rare. The people at the hospital and all the psychiatrists and doctors said they'd never seen a reaction like mine on sertraline. I know I've mainly been talking about sertraline here, but you wouldn't be prescribed an anti-depressant if there was a high risk of bad side effects. Reactions like mine and Lugez's are not common at all when you think of how many millions of people take anti-depressants and don't have serious problems.

In addition, a note about therapy, most of whether it works or not is up to you, but some of it is up to the therapist. If you don't feel comfortable with the therapist, there's no point in continuing going to them. People usually say you know whether you should keep going to a therapist or not after the third visit. If they accuse you of things or are harsh on you or anything, you should try to find a new one.


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