Do antidepressants really work? or placibo?

by [email protected] 24 Replies latest watchtower medical

  • sass_my_frass

    I took Cipramil, a SSRI for a couple of years, and it saved my life. SSRIs work by preventing seratonin (happy hormone) from being broken down in your body, so over a few weeks or months you end up with more of it in your system. It definitely worked, and I came off them just a couple of months ago, now that the thing causing my depression is over (being a JW)

    You have to talk to a doctor. Depression is far more complex than being sad or anxious. If you can address the cause of your depression without medication you might have a chance, but I consider the ads what it took to get me through that period while I was unable to address my issues - at least I was stable, no longer suicidal, and actually genuinely happy a lot of the time, during that period.

  • Fleur

    Only a qualified doctor and you can make the decision if you need them or not. I will tell you as someone who barely made it out of her teens because of depression that has dogged me since I was 12 that they did save me at several very dark points in my life, between my early 20's when I finally got help and now.

    You are right to be concerned about insurance: I would talk to a doctor about getting samples and not filling scripts for them or otherwise, trying to get them without informing your insurance company if you're worried you might become uncoverable (which is sadly happening more and more with the crooks at the insurance companies).

    But insurance companies or no, the most important thing is to get help if you feel you can't hold on. These medications are not to be taken lightly or with the expectation that they can fix everything that may be wrong in your life. But they can definitely offer a life vest to keep you afloat while you sort the rest out through therapy if needed. I do not believe they have the placebo effect, because I have seen people who wanted a 'magic pill' to fix their unhappy lives when they really needed to just make changes and they were not helped by the medications. Others, including myself who were unable to shake the disease no matter how hard we (I) tried, have been helped by them.

    Your mileage may vary, and each individual needs care and management with a doctor to decide how long to stay on them. I was told that I'd likely need them "the rest of my life"...but I'm taking a leap of faith. Now, after mostly 10 years on them with some brief interruptions,I am off of them after weaning off a couple months and I am kind of free falling at the moment. It's like I'm dealing with a backlash of emotions that were somewhat numbed out because I was on the meds so very long. But so far I'm okay. hell, at least I'm here to deal with the backlash, you know? And I know that if I cannot make it without them, the meds are there. It's not an easy choice, but sometimes, it's the only one. It is not about being weak. If you were diabetic, would you feel weak for taking insulin? Of course not. Its' the same thing, there's just this stigma there.

    Again, these are not candy and you have to know the risks and weigh them against the benefits when deciding which pills to take. Some have a safer track record than others, do your homework and be an educated patient.

    Depression is not something that you can just think your way out of or talk yourself out of. That is why you must get professional help, sooner the better, and work it out with a doctor that you can trust.

    Huh. Maybe there was a reason I have insomnia tonight...hope this helps a little. Good luck...


    p.s. Prophecor, love the new avatar...and that was a great post, bless your heart. Thank you for speaking out, you and everybody who posted. This is I think one of the last great stigmas out there. How I wish several of my friends had not resisted the help that could've saved their lives...

  • AuldSoul

    For myself, Cymbalta is working very nicely. It certainly isn't just a placebo, my wife notices a HUGE difference. Not just in behavior but also in countenance. Also, my tastes have been changing. I have no idea whether the meds can cause this or whether this is a result of something else, but foods that I used to avoid I now like and vice versa. Something is very markedly different for me.


  • LittleToe

    Nathan:What you've described is "low mood". That is NOT depression, which is a clinical condition.

  • katiekitten
    anti-depressants do work and can give an individual a chance to get back on their feet if they have exhausted their own resources in case such as you present.

    I would agree with this.

    I dont know much about antidepressants, but I do know people who have had depression and been utterly exhausted mentally. They have taken medication for a period of time and have come off when they are sufficiently rested and have the energy to take on life again.

    A bit like taking pain killers when you are in a lot of pain, then easing off as the problem heals or corrects itself. I think the problems come when you continue to take any kind of medication beyond the period when you need its help.

    Theres nothing wrong in having a crutch when you are limping.

  • puck

    [email protected] --

    i've had a difficulty with depression since my early teens, and can truthfully say that anti-depressants work wonders when you have the right one. it may take some time to find the right one, but it's a worthwhile reason. i went through a number of different drugs, and zoloft is my personal "mental savior". even then, it takes a bit of time for your body to adjust -- if i go off it for a while and then need to start taking it again, i get nausea (sometimes vomiting), and other side effects, but i know this is just temporary. it takes about two weeks for it to really start being used effectively by your body. i didn't have health insurance when i needed it at times, but my doctor had a sliding scale payment plan based on my income. i even had to be hospitalized for a short period of time, and they used the sliding scale for that, as well. samples are good to ask for, too -- just let your doctor know that you're concerned about the cost, and they can usually hook you up with a generic drug that works but just isn't as expensive. i hope you manage to get what you need.

    -- puck

  • rebel8

    I used to work in the mental health field, so FWIW, here is my 2 cents.

    1.pride- i feel that taken antidepressants is admittion that i'm weak,

    That is an old stereotype promoted by a society that feared anything it didn't understand. Taking a medication doesn't make you weak, any more than putting a band-aid on a cut makes you have a wound. It just treats your illness.

    2. fear- i don't have health insurance and i'm afraid of the financial reprocussions of prescriptions and mental healthcare visits.

    If you're in the US, there are probably clinics who would see you on a sliding scale.

    3. i'm also afraid that by taking the medication it will have no affect (wasted money) or that i will be worse off after taking them than if i had done nothing

    Seeing a psychiatrist does not obligate you to take medication. Go, get evaluated, and listen to the recommendations, then research what medications were suggested. Ask the physician for printed info about its safety and efficacy. There are ways scientific studies can prove or disprove the placebo effect--by conducting double blind studies in which some people are given placebos and some are given the real medication, and neither the subjects nor the researchers know which pill each person is getting.

    A few words about the "worse off" concern, and please understand--I am not a physician. Just my observations. If it were me (and it's not), I would take a med that had been on the market for a while instead of a newer one. That way, you get the benefit of others' experience and much more is know about safety, side effects, etc.

    Side effects are normal with antidepressants and in general wear off after a few weeks. Most side effects are much easier to deal with than the depression itself.

    You may hear of the suicide risk with antidepressants. People who are clinically depressed often have suicidal thoughts but are too depressed to carry them out (lacking energy, etc.). Sometimes the suicide attemps you hear about in the news media being associated with antidepressants are because the medications are beginning to work, the person has more energy, but they have not worked through the underlying emotions via therapy. Thus, it is much better to get talk therapy a lot in the beginning.

    Also, one of the most effective ways to treat depression is a combination antidepressants + talk therapy. One or the other on its own has been shown to have been less effective.

    A lot of people have bipolar illness but don't realize it, they take a dietary supplement to try to help their depression, and they wind up with a full blown episode of mania--which need not have happened--caused by the supplement. Better in this case to get a psychiatrist who is really competent and compassionate.

    Hope that helps.

  • caligirl

    Definitely not a placebo. Everyone is individual though, so what works for one person may not work for another. I am currently on Cymbalta, and it is doing absolute wonders for me in all areas. I have a family to care for, and I can't do that if I am crying all the time, don't want to get out of bed, etc.

    It took me a long time to admit that I needed some medical help (for the reasons mentioned such as pride) But when it came down to quality of life vs. continuing to suffer and having my family watch me suffer, quality of life won out. Yes, they are expensive without insurance, and sometimes even with it. But that is why doctors have free samples. Talk to your doctor.

    I also believe in natural supplements, but they can take longer to be effective and in my opinion are not generally enough for severe depression, You usually see results in 2-3 weeks with an antidepressant. Talk to your doctor and get the help you need. It is well worth it to be able to enjoy life rather than suffer through it.

  • Dr Jekyll
    Dr Jekyll

    My Ex was prescribed Prozac after being down for a few months. After a few weeks of taking them they completely changed her personality. To begin with I was happy that she was out of her depression and that she seemed to be enjoying life again but then she became very outgoing, really over confident, wild almost. She went from someone I loved to being someone I didn't like at all. The change in her personality was remarkable. I thought that the treatment would just pick her up out of her blues and that she'd become the girl I first met, instead she became this egotistical MONSTER.

    Life with Miss Prozac was unbearable and in the end I got out. 6 years down the pan.

  • Mary

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