To take drugs or not to take drugs

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To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby Jitters » December 16th, 2015, 6:34 pm

I'm trying to decide if I should start an SSRI (lexapro). I've been dealing with generalized anxiety and mild/moderate depression for about 5 years. I think I've been anxious since birth. I went from having panic attacks frequently to very rarely. They are also much milder now. I've been doing talk therapy and CBT for 5 months. I just started a support group for children of dysfunctional families. I also added regular exercise at my therapist's suggestion. All this and I'm still feeling like I could be feeling less anxiety. So my questions is what are your stories? Did you start an SSRI and regret it? Did you try everything and only meds helped? Both my parents take SSRI's and it feels like it's my destiny. Thanks.
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby kayle » December 17th, 2015, 4:38 am

Everyone is so different when it comes to meds. SSRI's and SNRI's neither worked terribly well for me, didn't make anything worse but not any better either. Considering you've traveled the other avenues of therapy, I can't imagine it being a bad idea. Worst case scenario is they're not much of a benefit. If you feel like you've got room for improvement, then why not?
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby ladysquid » January 9th, 2016, 7:02 pm

You will never be anxiety free, a therapist in a social anxiety group pounded that into my brain and I found it to put things into perspective. To me, recovery from anxiety is less about wanting to rid myself of feeling uneasy entirely (that's usually what eating/alcohol/drugs/avoidance do and none of those things work long term) and more about taking care of myself, being proactive and listening to my own emotions more.

Both my parents and my sibling are all anxious and have taken or are currently on meds. I honestly have not noticed a lot of improvement in any of them. They all seem to have the attitude that this is "just the way we are, we're worrywarts!" ...not exactly the most happy look into my future either.

I tried 1 SSRI, bupropion, and 2 SNRIs and honestly, I don't think either of my doctors were particularly attuned to my needs nor do I think the drugs actually did anything but make me feel either totally groggy or wired to the point where I was grinding my teeth during the day and unable to sleep at night. The sexual side effects were pretty bad for me too.

I know people have had success with medication but it was just a terrible experience for me. Especially with my insurance I was unable to find a doctor that I felt listened to me and wasn't there to just throw different pills in my face and insist that I had to "stick it out" even when one started to give me a rash. I have a great psychologist and I even shared with her that I just feel like the whole method is flawed. The brain is endlessly complicated and to me it seems like SSRIs and SNRIs are a life sentence with not that much benefit (at least in my experience) ...I don't want to bash meds because I know many people absolutely need them and what we have is the best we can do right now but for me it just wasn't worth it.

Maybe I would be singing a different tune if I had a better psychiatrist but for me, in my 20s, I am going to ride this out as long as I can. If my still growing brain still can't settle itself into a livable condition once I'm in my 30s I will try it again.

The only recommendation I can make as far as meds is that you take time off or at leas be prepared to do so. In the first few weeks of a new med I was useless at work and probably should have taken some time off but alas, I was too anxious to call in! :doh:
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby Fargin » January 9th, 2016, 7:28 pm

Everyone is so different when it comes to meds. SSRI's and SNRI's neither worked terribly well for me, didn't make anything worse but not any better either. Considering you've traveled the other avenues of therapy, I can't imagine it being a bad idea. Worst case scenario is they're not much of a benefit. If you feel like you've got room for improvement, then why not?

I grew up in a home, where taking pills were sometimes used to guilt trip us, so I think, I have an aversion towards drugs/medicine. Don't know if it hadn't had much of an effect on me, but I had also great difficulty taking them regularly and refilling my prescriptions. Currently I'm just trying to live my life, accepting that anxiety is my primary reaction to most unexpected or stressful situations. I allow myself to make choices based on my anxiety and accept that sometimes my life is ruled by it. Depending on the level of anxiety, sometime I'm able to overrule it or ignore it.
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby Brooke » January 10th, 2016, 4:38 am

Deciding whether or not to take medication is such a big deal... I was personally so afraid of taking meds for my depression that I held it off for numbers of years and did everything in my power to deal with it (I also have fibromyalgia). I exercised (lift weights, cardio, swimming, yoga, etc), physical therapy, improved my diet, wrote in my journal, went to church, etc. But after doing so many things, I realized that it was coming from my brain.

No matter how much I tried, I couldn't overcome my depression and fix my pain myself. So I accepted meds. I'm taking SNRIs and it's helping me to a degree, but it hasn't 'cured' my depression or my pain. It just made things a little easier on me.

It seems like you are very proactive in your approach to dealing with your anxieties, so maybe adding medication might improve your situation. The doctors sometimes push you to raise your dosage quickly, but personally I took it really slow so I could see if I had any side effects or adverse reactions. My doctor is very pushy, so I just upped my dosages at my own pace since I knew he wouldn't understand. It took me a year to up it to the maximum dose, but that's just me, I'm extra careful.

I hope you choose to do what's best for you. Researching the kinds of meds you want to take is crucial since doctors don't explain much. I hope everything works out great for you!
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby Jessica666 » January 12th, 2016, 1:26 am

It is hard to decide to take pills or not because normal people have anxiety. So judging the extent of anxiety may be the key to the decision. If people can get rid of anxiety, they are not necessary to take pills. In addition, people with strong immunity may attack anxiety, is that true?
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby Auzauviir » March 23rd, 2016, 11:42 am

I have been on various SSRIs and SNRIs over the last 13 years. They have been incredibly successful for me. I did not grow up with childhood trauma, and it's clear that my anxiety is a chemical imbalance in my brain. I was having panic attacks 5-10 times a day, including while I was asleep. I look back and realize that I started as an anxious child, even though the consistent panic attacks didn't start until I was 21. I also had my genes decoded, and was informed that specific meds would work really well on me. As a female, my libido was cut a little by the meds, and it took a while to get used to my brain not being full of 1000 thoughts, but long term, neither of these have been a problem. In fact, I'm happier with a lower libido, as it makes me behave less like an idiot. Recently, I decided to try to lower my medications. THat was a big mistake. My anxiety came back in force, and it's been hard to reestablish my calmer baseline. I started out 13 years ago on Lexapro, loved the hell out of it, but couldn't afford the cost. Switched to prozac and became a flaming bitch. Switched to citalopram, and upped the dosage until the anxiety went away. In the last year, I ended up in a pretty horrible place trying to change my medication and started over again with Venlaflexine, which also helps with my chronic migraines. I've added just a bit of Lexapro to the Venlaflexine to even out my mood during my menstrual cycle (I also suffer from severe PMDD).

Overall, if you are going to try the medical route, consider the following:
1. Is your anxiety likely due to a chemical imbalance in your brain, or from a trauma. If it's from trauma, therapy is going to be a better route.
2. If you can, get genetic testing done to see if some medications will work on you. You can do a 23andMe style thing, but you'll have to run your data through a 3rd party app that isn't regulated by the FDA that looks for the genes. This science is really new, and hasn't been fully tested, but my results were very accurate for what worked on me and what didn't.
3. Not all medications will work for you, but some might. Generally, if a medication is going to work, you will feel the effects right away. If it doesn't work, try something else. You might also feel some of the negative side effects. All of this will calm down after three months. Give your body three months, minimum, to see if you can deal with the side effects. If they don't work, go back to your doctor and try something else, or a different dose. This is something you will have to experiment with, and it may take up to a year to find the right dosage and combination of pills to get it right.
4. You must be patient, willing, and determined to find something that works going into this. Find a psychiatrist that feels the same. Do NOT be afraid to switch if you are not immediately comfortable with them. Throw them your worst story/lifestyle and see if they cringe. Except for the first time getting medicated, I have gone through my GP for med changes, but I do a TON of my own research on medications and the disorder, and my doctor trusts me and knows me well, so we work together to find solutions.
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Re: To take drugs or not to take drugs

Postby EmeraldArcher » October 5th, 2016, 6:10 pm

There's a significant difference between taking a pill prescribed by a doctor for an illness you have and taking a pill because you feel like it. I don't see a good reason to feel worse about taking an antidepressant than you would about taking an antibiotic. You're being responsible and you're obeying the law.

I take an SSRI and an atypical antipsychotic, AAP. I have done very well on them. I've been able to go to school and I'm close to finishing my second graduate degree. I have had some annoying weight gain and some sporadic dizziness, but I can deal with those side effects.

I recognize there is no end to issues with medication and it's really more complicated than I'm saying here. For one, if the patient is a kid, there are many other things to consider. And I know many people have had horrific experiences with medications. But I guess I feel one has to put trust in someone at some point. If you can't trust your doctor, you need a new doctor. The solution is not to just refuse to comply with what the doctor says.
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