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rainboots's avatar

What are the pro's and con's of antidepressants?

Asked by rainboots (287 points ) June 3rd, 2010

After many months of being down and out I have made a choice to take Wellbutrin. I am almost through two weeks of starting this medication. I don’t feel overly happy, nor sad. I just feel level. My mood still swings daily as I take on what life throws at me. I hid taking the medication from my boyfriend up until lastnight. I decided to tell him because if something did happen I would want someone to be able to tell the doctor that I was on this medication. He thinks that I’m out of it, not myself and says it’s a” turn off” that I take this medication. Part of taking this medication is because my depression was not only destroying my life but my relationship. I have tried everything to pull myself out of this depression and decided that it was time to sink or swim. If I don’t take the medication I will fall back into a depression. If I do take it my boyfriend looks down on me. I feel like I can’t win.

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24 Answers

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

Pro: I’m still alive. I was headed for suicide before the antidepressants started working.

Con: They can leave you feeling totally flat emotionally: numb. You may not feel hopeless, but still really don’t care much about things. Some are notorious for destroying sex drive; Paxil would be a relationship-wrecker if I was in a relationship. There’s also the humiliation of having your sanity held hostage by a pharmaceutical company.

If you are suicidally depressed, the meds can save your life; but at a cost. You may be able to get relief from the depression without undesirable side effects if you keep trying different ones at different dosages. Remember that it takes at least two weeks to tell if a med/dosage is working.

poofandmook's avatar

@rainboots: Sometimes the first prescription isn’t the right one. You could be on the wrong med… there may be one out there that works better. But, it sounds like you seem to be doing okay on the one you’re on, if you’re level and controlled. Either way, it takes a good couple of weeks to really get used to the medication. I’m on two different ones, one of which is Wellbutrin, and it was a good 6–8 weeks before I was myself again.

I found out the hard way though, that if you don’t space out your doses properly (like if you forget in the morning, take it that night, and then take it in the morning like always) you’ll double-dose yourself and feel completely numb. I am able to slap on the happy face and act like every other normal human being with the meds I’m on right now.

If your boyfriend thinks that you seeking help is a turn-off, I’m sorry to say it, but it’s time to find a new boyfriend. The hardest thing a person can do is admit they need help.

perspicacious's avatar

My question to you would be, who put you on antidepressants—your medical doctor, or were they recommended by a mental health professional? Life throws a lot at everyone, but most people manage without drugs. If you really need them, think of it as a temporary thing rather than a submission to them for the rest of your life. You can read, read about them if you really want to know the pros and cons. Then you can make a better informed decision. I’m surprised you started taking something like this without researching the pros and cons. You’ll get some personal testimony from people on this site which will be helpful too.

marinelife's avatar

Stay on the medication. Two weeks is not enough time for it to fully kick in. Wellbutrin is different from other anti-depressants in that it does not have a negative effect on your libido.

Wait to see what life is like on it for several months before making any major decisions. Your boyfriend may have to go. It sounds as if he is not concerned for your well-being.

perspicacious's avatar

@marinelife I agree about the boyfriend.

arpinum's avatar

wellbutrin will not hurt sex drive, it is more likely to increase it
doctors say two weeks is not enough time

Most importantly: In JAMA last January IIRC there was a meta study on antidepressants that found them to have no effect on people with mild or moderate depression, and only had small effects on severely depressed patients. They used paxil as the drug to study, so they will still have to do this with the other 20 or so drugs before a blanket statement can be made about all of these drugs.
This is important to consider when thinking about whether to get on these drugs as getting off of them can be difficult, and the side effects can be unpleasant.

Anti-depressants are hard to study in trials because they are not blind studies in the same way more trials are. The side effects from taking the active pill verses the sugar ill means patients can be very aware which option they received, as well as researchers collecting the data. Methinks this tends to skew the data to showing they are more effective than they are.

meagan's avatar

He thinks that you aren’t yourself… because you aren’t as depressed anymore? Nice boyfriend.
Keep taking the pills if you are happier. I used to take anti-depressants. I only stopped because I’m crazy enough to think that being depressed makes me feel things more deeply.
However if you stop taking the pills, talk to your Doctor before you go cold turkey. Sometimes if you stop immediately, you can hurt yourself. Some people can have strokes and stuff like that from cutting themselves off from medication.

By the way, the meds I took really helped me. They even helped me sleep better. I can’t remember any cons except maybe I gained five pounds.

rainboots's avatar

I have been on and off antidepression meds since I was 14. I am now 29. Sadly, I am taking the medicine illegal. A friend gave me what they had leftover from trying different kinds of medicine. I am however sitting at in a doctors office to be seen properly. My boyfriend I think means well. Hes just very big on the natural path.

GrumpyGram's avatar

What I’ve read is they don’t work any better than placebo (sugar pills) and are horrible to come off of. A therapist told me that if someone is depressed what they should do is something different.
That is, start something new.
If your BF said, “turn off” he’s insensitive, in my opinion.

andreaxjean's avatar

When I was 17, I was put in an out-patient hospitalization program. They decided to put me on fluoxetine. AKA: Prozac I didn’t really notice a difference until I got sick of taking it and randomly took myself off the medicine. First of all.. I have an anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and bipolar 2. Mental illnesses run in my family.

Anyway… I was told that it would take six full weeks on the medicine before I would notice a difference. I’m almost 22 years old so I’ve been on and off the fluoxetine (40 mgs) for almost 5 years now… I’ve tried a handful of other meds including trazodone (while on the fluoxetine for help sleeping), lamictal, abilify, concerta, and pristiq. I do notice when I’m not taking the medicine that my OCD gets a lot worse and I become really irritable. Fluoxetine, I think, is a miracle drug.

So for the pros of taking an antidepressant, I’d say they help level out your moods and make you think a little more logically. Again, you’ve only been on it for 2 weeks. You need to give it more time… maybe get a real prescription from your doctor.

Cons are if you stop taking a medicine abruptly, you could have withdrawal. Fluoxetine has no withdrawal, I was told. I’m not sure about the medicine you’re taking.

perspicacious's avatar

@andreaxjean The poster is depressed. Your situation is quite different.

andreaxjean's avatar

@perspicacious The poster is depressed, but I was too when I first started taking the fluoxetine. You didn’t understand my response.

Merriment's avatar

Have you ever stopped to consider that you may be depressed because you have a boyfriend who only upon hearing about your taking these meds suddenly points out the side effects he doesn’t like? That makes it sound suspiciously as if he is just looking for something to criticize you for. Yet when you were depressed and doing nothing about it, he also wasn’t satisfied?

Anti-depressants are great and have their place in our lives but not to medicate us out of feeling blue about a relationship with someone who seems to be undermining us.

I have taken Wellbutrin and it doesn’t flatten out your normal responses or over emphasize your UP mood like some can. My experience of it was the same as yours. I had normal ups and downs but stayed level. It was very helpful and gave me the breathing room to sort out some issues.

Take your meds but also take stock of the quality of the relationships around you.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I had to stop taking antidepressants because they made me feel like a zombie. It was awful. I was numb and tired all the time. There weren’t any benefits. Eventually I learned to change my way of thinking and made myself happier without the use of medication.

Darbio16's avatar

Pro – You may not kill yourself because you are on the meds.

Con – You may kill yourself because you are on the meds.

le_inferno's avatar

Honestly, everyone reacts differently to medication. Side effects vary. Not feeling depressed and being able to function in the world is a huge plus, but certain kinds of medication might not make you feel that way. Other cons can include weight gain or muscle problems. It often takes some experimentation when finding the right medication for you. Antidepressants combined with therapy is optimal.

zophu's avatar

The only time I ever came close to suicide was when I was on antidepressants. I didn’t care about anything, not happy or sad. Prozac, I think it was. When I was a kid. It was like having gray cotton stuffed inbetween the inside of my skull and my brain. I wasn’t human, just a talking vegetable. Helped with my schoolwork, though. Never had higher grades.

If you can manage without becoming dependent upon drugs, do it.

CMaz's avatar

Pro’s, antidepressant.

Con’s, taking any drug is not a good thing for the body.

JLeslie's avatar

Do you have any clue at all why you are depressed? Or, is it just a chemical thing from what you can tell? Also, I am curious to know how old you are?

Your boyfriend obviously does not understand that you are trying your best to help yourself, that is to be commended. The say those drugs take around 5 or 6 weeks to know if they are really helping or not. I am not sure I buy into that theory. It is true that frequently people need to try a few different medications til they find the right one. I prefer avoiding medication if poossible, because everything has a side effect, everything. But, as a temporary measure if you really feel you cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel, I understand and agree with trying medication to help give you a kick start towards feeling better.

MissA's avatar

This seems to be more about your relationship with your boyfriend…not the pros and cons of antidepressants. Sit down with him and hash it out. Find out what he believes the answer to be. It may not be correct, but you need to begin communicating with him.

I’m guessing that this isn’t the only issue between you two,

Good luck.

rainboots's avatar

Not really about him. I come first. It means that the relationship ends due to the fact that I take care of myself the way that I see fit, then it ends. He means the world to me and so I take into the fact of his opinionl. I live in portland. Im 29. I have struggled with depression all my life. 3 years ago I tried to kill myself. I am no where near this. I just want to enjoy life. I’m trying to nip this in the butt.

MissA's avatar

@rainboots Good for you, Sweetheart. Get the help you need and get on with life. Maybe you’ll connect with him later…but, as you obviously realize, you need to seek the help you require now.

mattbrowne's avatar

Pro: Can save lives or improve the quality of lives

Cons: Don’t work sometimes and one reason for that is the blood-brain barrier

judochop's avatar

Here is a perspective that most do not get to see here on Fluther. I am the boyfriend and no I am not being selfish or uncaring. In fact I care very much about this woman. More so than anyone else I have ever cared for or loved. With this said I have watched by as my entire family slowly became drugged up on SSRI’s and slowly turned from happy and sad people to middle of the road insensitive, bored, lifeless souls. I also deal with depression and have tried my hand at SSRI’s, several of them and you want to know what the best thing has been for myself and everyone else I know who has tried it? A good diet, a good sleeping pattern despite the insomnia, exercise is so key, staying busy, vitamins, minerals, stretching, etc. I find that most people do not want to even try this avenue but instead quickly become a slave to a drug company. Sorry if it is a turn off for me but it is and I have my reasons for it being so. Drugs are gross and drugs that control chemicals in the brain are risky with several terrible side effects. Side effects so bad that some countries do not even allow the sale of SSRI drugs in their country. How many of you that claim to be saved by SSRI’s have tried alternative means of dealing with your depression and I mean really tried dealing with it? I care Rainboots, I care deeply and this is why I would love to see you find another way of dealing with it then to just succumb to drugs, you know how I feel about drugs so I do not see why it comes as a surprise that they would be a turn off. I am sorry I really am but note that I have your back (like I always have) and that I love you very much. If you are planning on staying on this drug then I will have to find a way of dealing with it and if you are willing to find an alternate course of action then I have your back there as well. I love you and I only want for you what you feel is best for yourself.

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