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NostalgicChills's avatar

If you were/are clinically depressed, would you decide to take antidepressants?

Asked by NostalgicChills (2759 points ) March 17th, 2011

Why or why not?
(even if you have never been diagnosed, I want to hear your opinion: Would you take anti-depressants, why or why not)
Do you believe they “take away your soul”?

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39 Answers

Taciturnu's avatar

They worked well for me, when I needed them.

No, I don’t think they “take away your soul.” If someone feels that way, they’re definitely on the wrong drug.

Seelix's avatar

I’ve been on Effexor for about 6 years. I started taking it to help with depression, and continue to take it for anxiety. I had exhausted other options (counselling, diet, exercise, etc.) to help with my depression and was left with medication as an option.

I definitely don’t feel soulless; I feel more myself than I had for years before starting on them.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. In my late 20’s I had a nervous breakdown type thing and didn’t want to try anti depressants for the very reason you state. I thought I’d become stabilized in way where my moods would be dampered, “un me” but it didn’t turn that way at all. My meds then (Zoloft) probably saved my life and most certainly my sanity. They took the edge off of most swings and anxiety brought on my an environment of extreme stress, fear and insecurity.

You can always reject them after trying them and I don’t think most people take them indefinitely. They can really make a huge difference in you getting through life changes.

JmacOroni's avatar

I did take them, and I had a very bad experience, which I’ve shared here before. Not only did I feel like it took away my “soul,” everyone around me felt the same way. To this day my mother describes that as my zombie period.
However, after a lot of thought.. I am considering taking them again. Hopefully prescribed by a doctor that is cautious and listens to my concerns, this time. I do believe that my experience was an unusual one, and that it was the fault of a lousy doctor, not because the medication is inherently bad.

Seelix's avatar

@JmacOroni – You very probably weren’t on the right meds. Some people have to go through a few different kinds before they find one that works for them; my sister took something else (I forget what) before she switched to Effexor. I hope you find one that helps!

NostalgicChills's avatar

These are really helping, Thanks everyone.
Does it make you gain weight, or lose appetite when you start?

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I just recently started taking Wellbutrin to help me quit smoking, but it’s had a deliciously wonderful side effect- I guess I was depressed and didn’t realize it. After the Wellbutrin started taking effect, I felt happier than I’ve been in a while, and I’ve actually been cleaning my house, getting laundry done, washing dishes immediately, waking my hubby up in the mornings with fresh coffee… I pretty much turned into Donna Reed. With Xanax to help with my sleep problems, on top of the Wellbutrin, I feel better than I have in years!

JmacOroni's avatar

@Seelix I was heavily overmedicated. It was a bad scene, but again, I know that is not the norm. It was a fluke incident, and unfortunately I was the one that suffered the consequences.

Seelix's avatar

@NostalgicChills – Both my sister and I noticed a lessened appetite when we started on Effexor. It was, in my case, a good thing, because I was overweight, but my sister has always been very slim and was put on a weight-gaining diet by the same doctor who prescribed her Effexor. Effexor specifically has been known to cause very vivid dreaming – I haven’t experienced this, but my sister now takes a sleeping pill (again, I’m not sure which) which has helped eliminate that side effect.

Other than a loss of appetite (which has since improved), I’ve noticed that I feel I need more sleep than I used to. If I get less than 8 hours, I feel sluggish and need a midday nap. I also had a lowered libido in the first couple of years, but that’s improved (at least somewhat) as well.

I don’t mean to endorse Effexor – by all means, you should take what your doctor suggests, but it’s one of the SSRIs that’s pretty widely prescribed these days (and the only one with which I have any personal experience).

filmfann's avatar

I did take prozak and Paxil several years ago, when they were prescribed for me.
Paxil has a lot of bad side effects, but it saved my life.

crisw's avatar

I am not clinically depressed, but if I were I would take medication.

I have high blood pressure and I take medication for that. It would be silly not to. The same would be true of clinical depression.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I happen to be bipolar and an antidepressant is one of the medications that I take. It’s necessary for me, and I’m glad that such medication is available. Without medication, I would most certainly be locked away.

MacBean's avatar

My health insurance lapsed at the beginning of February. I’ve since gotten it back but I’m still not back on my medication yet because my prescriber insists on seeing me first, and she couldn’t fit me in until Monday. ANYWAY. It took some time for the medication to work itself out of my system but once it did and my mood went back to its unmedicated state, I remembered exactly why I need this stuff. My attention span is nil; I’m angry and irritable and irrational; I have an impossibly hard time falling asleep and when I do manage it, I have horrible nightmares; I’ve caught myself thinking some disturbingly self-harmful thoughts…

So, yes, I’d decide to take antidepressants. They don’t take away my soul. They restore it back to how it was before my issues escalated.

Rarebear's avatar

I was and I did.

12Oaks's avatar

Nope. I hate taking medicines. I just like to let the body cure itself, or snap out of depression or whatever the case.

spykenij's avatar

Zoloft apparently permanently jacked up my ability to focus and concentrate. I took it for about 3 months and I felt like a body just walking around with no feelings. I described it as feeling like a Zombie or like I was sleep walking. What’s really bogus is – The PYSCHIATRIST (yes I said the professional ones that can write prescriptions) wrote the damn prescription in less than 15 minutes through my 1st session. He told my mom it would make me not gay anymore. I don’t trust pills, I have seem them change people from one person into a completely different person. Also, don’t forget about the stigmas attached to these kinds of meds. I wanted to end it one night, due to abuse from a former manager, so I left work early and went to the ER. You will be sitting in 1 of very few padded rooms, while someone watches you constantly. If it is caused by your job, don’t be stupid and be afraid to check workman’s comp, like I was because I knew I’d lose my job. Maybe I wouldn’t have lost it that way. Well, the owners and managers all knew I went to a partial hospitalization program because I was overwhelmed with the things my manager was putting me through and he painted me as crazy as he could. My former manager who gave me an over 17% raise a few months before – stopped talking to me and looked at me like I was asking to let me give him a Columbian necktie or something. Everyone who befriended me got black-balled and it’s still going on. Looking back now, it’s too easy for people to brush you off as nuts and not take you seriously, so I regret getting the help, but if I didn’t get the help, I wouldn’t be here to regret it. Kind of a catch 22. I think I turned out pretty alright for having a psychotic dad and grandma on my mom’s side and I think my mom has problems too. I always say, whether it skips a generation or not, I’m screwed. I may be crazy, but at least I’m funny and can laugh at myself and that’s how I roll…wait I’m a jelly…that’s just how I fluther n wiggle.

Facade's avatar

I am, and no thank you. I try my best to stay away from synthetic things and chemicals.

spykenij's avatar

If it grows in the ground and helps, it’s ok. Just let MaryJane toke your pain away. If not, it’s a drug with a recipe to mix chemicals, natural or not.

crisw's avatar

To all of those saying they want to stay away from “chemicals”-

I am really curious how this line of thought comes about. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance. Would you also refuse insulin if you were diabetic? Why is taking medication for depression any different than taking insulin for diabetes?

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@crisw is right. Depression is an illness. Why wouldn’t you want to treat it like any other illness? If a remedy is available, why not avail yourself of it?

Meego's avatar

My doctor used me as his testing facility for years. Every drug so far that has been mentioned here I have been on. Effexor made me deathly ill, Prozac made me look stoned. Valproic Acid I think has not been mentioned I was on that too, but my reaction to it was the worse, I ended up taking an entire 2 month supply at once, at which time my husband found me and I was almost in a coma. I don’t really remember it. Afterwards I remember being on suicidal watch though with a guard outside my locked room, I felt I was in jail, he even escorted me to the bathroom. I can’t even tell you why I took all the pills. I’m now on a seizure med, because I had seizure like activity. I honestly think my doc is whacko and unfortunately where I live you don’t get a choice. Luckily I have no side effects on this drug, which is topomax. But what my doctor doesn’t know is that I weened myself to 1 pill instead of 3. I feel fine, I think HES crazy! :/ lol although I have stopped having the blackouts =}

josie's avatar

Right when I got out of the service, I went through a spell when I was depressed. All sorts of reasons why that may have occured, but not relevent.

I went and talked to a professional, and he recommended an SRI. I did not want to commit to that.

I thought about it for a while and decided to look at what might be troublesome issues in my life that I had some control over.

Instead of taking the drug, I attacked those issues, one by one, and resolved them one way or another (divorce was one solution, establishing an enriching social network was another, eliminating some other bad habits like smoking and periodic alcohol “excess” was another, getting into a healthy relationship with a great woman did not hurt etc. etc. etc. )

And low and behold, I felt better, and several years later, I still feel good.

In my case, it just took a big effort to redirect my energies.

In other cases, I am sure it is different.

lloydbird's avatar

@josie Well done that man.

tranquilsea's avatar

I was on every anti-depressant out there (except the MAOIs). None of them worked for me. They variously made me: irritable, edgy, like ants were crawling through my veins, put me to sleep etc. At one point I even considered shock therapy. I was were I was due to incredibly crappy things happening to me. I needed therapy to help me out. But back when all these drugs were being prescribed as a cure-all therapy based help was nearly non-existent.

Now I know that some people have found them enormously helpful but I needed to hash out my problems.

Ten years later and I am working on the last of the issues. This has been the hardest thing I have ever had to do but I severely depressed for a reason.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I doubt very much that I would.
I don’t even like to take aspirin,but that is me.
You have to think things through and decide for yourself what to do.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Jein. I would be on something if it ended up helping, and not making me a zombie. But the problem is, there isn’t always a right drug – your brain chemistry changes over time, and sometimes you try everything out there and all of them fuck you up in some way. And they can definitely screw with who you are, so I find it to be a really personal decision to take them.

NostalgicChills's avatar

Thank you all for your answers, they are seriously, SERIOUSLY helpful.

tedibear's avatar

I am, and I do. Several years ago I took Lexapro. It took care of the depression but killed my libido. I went off it slowly when my doctor and I felt that I was ready. Fast forward about 4 years to last year. I now take Lamictal and it really has helped. The only side effect that I’ve had is flatulence, and that was when I was on 100 mg. I’m back down to 50 mg. (with doctor approval), still feel good and the farting is basically gone. Do I still have moments of feeling bad? Yes, but it’s situational and not due to a chemical imbalance. The drug helps me to be able to work on the situational issues.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I was on a low dose antidepressant (Amitriptyline) for my chronic insomnia and chronic migraines for a couple of years. They worked. I just weaned myself off recently. Now I’m deciding if I want to live with them or without them.

I had trepidation about taking the pills in the beginning. After a few weeks, I realized my doctor had chosen a good route for me.

If I needed them for depression, I’d try it out for at least 3 weeks, possibly a couple more before I’d make up my mind if it was the right choice or not. I’d also keep in contact with my doctor if I thought the dosage needed tweaking.

wundayatta's avatar

Let’s see. Death… or anti-depressants. Gosh, that’s a tough one.

Have I lost my soul? Well, I’m sure different. Fortunately I don’t have too many bad side effects, other than I can’t hold onto things easily and I definitely can’t to anything that requires fine motor skills. Still…. death? Shaking hands? I think I’ll take shaking hands. I might look like I have Parkinsons, but it could be worse. A lot worse.

So I went from being a person who could not imagine there could be anything good in life; who felt the only place he should be was lying in a gutter outside a fish packing factory; who had the self-esteem of a bat fart; to a person who could not imagine any of these things. Which was the real me?

They both are. Well, all of them are. I am many different people. We all are. We’re different in different situations. Sometimes I’m a lover and sometimes I’m a mean asshole. Sometimes I’m a fluther addict and sometimes I’m a loving father. I change from moment to moment.

The weird thing is hanging because of a chemical in your brain. One day you think horrible things, and the next it simply isn’t possible. What does it mean about who I am that my thoughts can be changed through chemicals? Am I just a machine? Just following the orders of the chemicals in my brain?

Well, if you’re a machine on chemicals, then you’re one if you don’t take them, either. Who you are… what your soul is… is for you to determine. You determine it every day and every hour and minute and second. Drugs can’t steal your soul. Only you can do that.

lloydbird's avatar

@wundayatta Yet again the breadth of your expertises astonish.

”..bat fart..” indeed! ;-)

Jeruba's avatar

I would. I would do what I needed to do to help myself climb out of it. I would understand that the point of taking them is not simply to feel better but to help me get to where I can do the work I need to do to get better.

or at least I think I would. But if I really were clinically depressed, I might not give a damn.

I have lived with depressed people for a large proportion of my life and have seen how a person on meds can come up out of the depths to a kind of neutral state and get stuck there, not getting any worse than neutral or any better either. I remember precipitating a showdown once by saying ‘for god’s sake take enough of the stuff to crack you loose out of this damned blah state, and if the answer to that is that you don’t need more, then quit taking them and see what happens.’ it’s hard to live with a depressed person without getting depressed yourself.

but it’s also true that people react differently to different meds, that too much can be as bad as too little, that later-generation formulations can be more effective than things you’ve tried before, and that above all you do have to work on the root causes instead of just looking for a feelgood pill.

so if i were prescribed antidepressants, i would take them, but I would also pay close attention to how they affected me and would put effort into solving the problems that they are meant to help me solve.

cak's avatar

I have taken them, and am on a low dose, right now. The initial prescription was a bit too strong. I didn’t always feel like me, recently it was lowered. I don’t feel as hungover, as I was feeling. Much better, I feel a full range of emotions and function just fine.

Considering I was in a very dark place, I know that this – along with therapy, has helped me crawl out of that hole.

There are many different types of antidepressants. If you start one, and feel like it just isn’t for you, tell the doctor. Never just stop without telling a doctor! It may need adjusting or changed to a different kind.

downtide's avatar

Yes I would. I’ve used them before and found them very helpful.

spykenij's avatar

These drugs, the ones that usually do kinda work, only take the edge off. I just don’t think the benefits are that great for the risks and side effects. Now, I know everyone is different and these drugs work differently in every person, so it’s really a coin toss. All I know is, I got help and medication and then was painted as crazy and dismissed. It had a hand in losing my job, I’m sure and my own family thinks I’m nuts now. I’ve been in therapy for 26+ years now and I can tell you with certainty, I am not the giant problem in my family. God forbid I have a feeling around my mother. She wants me to take pills, like they can fix it all and that’s all I need. Sometimes it’s not that simple and I think the people on here suggesting to do it haven’t had as much experience with them or have never seen the adverse effects up close and personal.

spykenij's avatar

@crisw – You asked about how depression meds are different from diabetic medication. It’s really apples and oranges. One is mental and the other is physical. If you are depressed and you take your pills, have a few good days – most people don’t expect or want to have to take meds for the rest of their lives, so since they feel better, they often stop the meds and a train of thought goes along with these types of medications that aren’t anything like insulin, like no one likes me unless I’m medicated or no one wants to be around me unless I take a pill. Insulin, your sugar changes and you know because you feel it. With mental problems and taking medication, sometimes you don’t even know you’ve slipped back into depression or being an asshole due to irritability (most often caused by some of these medications)...some people may or may not notice, especially if you’re the kind of person who lives in their own mind, so to speak. Otherwise, you get brushed off as a nutcase. Now, again – there is no stigma attached to diabetic medications, like there are with these types of medications. AND THERE IS A STIGMA – you’re crazy or there’s something wrong with you and in order to be “normal” or “socially acceptable” you need to stay on your meds. You don’t have that with insulin. You have other struggles with food, but people don’t treat you different because you have to take insulin. 80% of the time, (and I’m trying to be fair) you get the opposite of that when you take depression meds. Also, people who have had horrific experiences with the side effects of depression meds – are very leery of taking others. Trust me, these medications are not all good or good for you or your liver, and at what point and who is to say what that point it is – do you stop the meds? It can be a vicious cycle and the drug companies, along with the FDA haven’t been as careful or thorough with their testing. Drugs are or at least were (between 2000–2009) flying from the test labs to the people before any long term studies can be done and faster than ever, it seems. Simply, diabetic medication doesn’t have major side effects to the extent of depression medication. Apples -physical, oranges – mental.

Meego's avatar

Your right about the apples and oranges part, tho my husband took insulin and didn’t get treated any different than me who takes pills for mental illness, my pills have no side effects that bother me anyway, I have had many pills and many side effects I was ecstatic when I finally found the pill that worked. And alarmingly he knew exactly by my mood if I was not taking them on time or even skipping pills. I could tell when my husband needed his sugar checked too. The side effects of insulin may not be depression, but it is coma or death which are much more threatening.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Never! Personally (As in NOT intended as advice for anyone other than myself) I’d rather take a lead pill if it came down to it.

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