General Question

Facade's avatar

Those of you who take antidepressants, how do you feel?

Asked by Facade (22902points) April 6th, 2011

Drugged up? “Normal”? Happy? Sicker? Better? Worse?
Also, what are you taking?

I feel like I may have to concede defeat and go on medication, so I’m wondering about other people’s experiences with antidepressants.

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45 Answers

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I take 2.5 mg/daily of Lexapro and I feel just fine, not numb – much better than before meds.

gasman's avatar

I’ve been taking a common SSRI since the mid-1990s. I don’t feel any differently—not high or euphoric, not unusually happy or chipper, neither sedated nor stimulaated. All I can tell is that periods of depression occur with less frequency and are less severe. It’s my family (the few who know) who claim to notice a difference in mood.

An early Prozac patient once famously claimed that he felt “better than well” after taking the drug. My experience isn’t nearly that dramatic.

tedibear's avatar

I am taking 75 mg of Lamotrigine (the generic of Lamictal) and I feel much better than I did without it. The only issue I had is that when I was at 100 mg I had incredible gas. Seriously, when I walked I felt jet-propelled.

I took Lexapro two different times in my adult life. Both times I felt less depressed, but it killed my libido. Not acceptable in my book!

Facade's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Any side effects? @tedibear noted a loss of libido with Lexapro. I was on something once where I physically could not have an orgasm, even with masturbation. That’s unacceptable… I’ve tried several antidepressants before. I didn’t take them like I should, but I felt bad on all of them. That was years ago, so I’ll probably have to start fresh.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Facade Yes with Paxil when I used to take it. None with Lexapro.

Facade's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Do you think I am correct in assuming that finding the right drug is a crapshoot? As you can see, you and @tedibear had very different experiences.

tedibear's avatar

@Facade – I think that everyone will have different experiences because we all have different body chemistries. If you take this route, just stay in close contact with your prescribing physician.

prolificus's avatar

I take Prozac (40mgs) and Pristiq (50mgs). I feel normal (no head fog, feel connected to my body, feel in-touch with my emotions). I only notice the difference when I don’t take them for a few days or a week. Then, I feel weepy and overly sensitive.

I’ve been on other anti-depressants. Didn’t really like the side-effects. I don’t notice anything significant with this combo. Pristiq has been my favorite! Almost immediate results (not over-night of course).

tinyfaery's avatar

Like the fuzz has faded. I can think clearly, my emotions aren’t riding a rollercoaster and I actually feel like living—most of the time.

Facade's avatar

I wasn’t expecting everyone to respond so positively. I guess that’s a good sign. Would you guys mind telling how long it took before you felt better?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I just started on the Lexapro. I had a nasty reaction with the first dose, but the doctor lowered my dose and I feel okay so far. Nothing notable, but it has only been a few days. My past experience with antidepressants is not a good one, as I’ve said before.

Jude's avatar

I tried them once (14 years ago). I was stubborn and stayed on them for a few days. I didn’t like the feel (felt as though I was losing control). Like you, I have been fighting it, but, feel as though I may have to go on them. I am not able to fight this depression anymore, and sadly, it is getting worse.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m on Welbutrin, Lamictal and Lithium. My fingers shake, but not too badly. Enough to make threading a needle nearly impossible. My memory is going quickly, too. That could also be a function of age. I think that the memory loss has happened so quickly that the drugs must have played a role.

Other than that, I feel like I used to, except I’m sleepy almost all the time I am not exercising. Being depressed has changed me, and for the better, too. I don’t want to be depressed again, but I am grateful it is in my past.

For me, it took over a year to start feeling normal. I was doing therapy at the same time. But if I had not had meds, I wouldn’t be here. No one would know who daloon was. In fact, it was at the time that daloon became wundayatta that I would say I considered myself to be like I was before in terms of mood.

tinyfaery's avatar

It took about 6 months to find the right meds and doses for me. Actaully, my doses are changing all the time. I think I’ll be decreasing my Wellbutrin again. Trick is to do good, hard therapy while you are on the meds. Meds don’t have to be forever.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I took Zoloft in the mid 90’s, 50mg and it was great for me. The few side affects were a buzzy head for the first few weeks but the benefit of no more panic attacks and obsessive circular picking shite apart was worth it. I took it for a few years until I felt I could recognize the things that blew me up and the feeling of “normal”. It was hard for me to give in and try it because I hate meds but now I believe they saved my life during a really rough life change.

Facade's avatar

@Jude I’m feeling the same way. You know how much of a hippie I can be, so this is a really hard decision. But as I sit here crying and exhausted, I know I need to do something. (So should you, btw).
@wundayatta I’m glad you were able to become @wundayatta :)
@tinyfaery That’s what I’m worried about. I don’t want to be on medication for a long time. In my opinion, that’s not healthy. But neither is being depressed so I dunno…

bunnygrl's avatar

I take amitriptyline honey, 25mg in the morning and 100mg (2×50mg pills) at night. I feel ok, not wonderful, but I cope much better than I used to. The panic attacks aren’t so bad, and don’t happen so often, usually when I’m really stressed about something. As other jellies have said, I don’t feel either doped up or euphoric, I don’t feel “miles away” I just feel better than when I was ill. After I had my breakdown, before I’d taken any anti depressants at all, I used to shake, and cry so much, it was awful. I was frightened all the time, and didn’t really know what I was frightened of. I know that the amitriptyline have allowed me get a job and keep it for the past few years <touch wood>. When I had my dose increased a while ago I got “dry mouth” after I took them, which was a bit odd but not that unpleasant, and it didn’t last long, just till my body got used to the new dose I suppose. I haven’t had any other side effects at all. Oh, and from when I started taking them I suppose it was a few weeks before I noticed a difference really, maybe 4 or 5? not sure because it was very gradual, and it was hubby who noticed the change in my mood, that I wasn’t so “clingy” and anxious, before I did. Does that make sense?

I was initially put on them by the rhuematoid clinic I attend actually, because some dr somewhere had discovered that it also helped with chronic pain? (I can’t honestly say it helped with the pain) whatever the reason I was so glad they did it because the other anti depressant they’d had me on, paroxetine made me so ill. Headaches like you wouldn’t believe, nausea, a kind of an ache in my stomache/gut that wasn’t screaming painful but was very unpleasant, they didn’t help with the anxiety at all, it made me feel worse if anything, I couldn’t concentrate either, although to be fair I still have troubles with that (so maybe it’s the depression and not the pills?) I felt like nobody would believe me when I told them that but it did. I hated taking them. Some more about Paroxetine here honey, I would recommend that you stay away from them, my time on them (and I stopped them myself twice because it had gotten so bad, only to be told by the dr that “I had to persevere” well i did for about eighteen months or so and by the end I wanted to die I felt so bad. If you are offered Paroxetine yell a very resounding NO!! honey. There was a documentary on tv (BBC I think it might have been) about it a while ago, long after I’d stopped taking them, but it was frightening to watch, and I recognised so many of the things others who’d taken it were describing.
huggles xx

gailcalled's avatar

At bedtime; zoloft (generic) 50 mg and Amitriptyline 10mg.

Helps with fibromyalgia and sleep problems. I had to do a lot of experimenting before I arrived at these meds and these dosages.

Without them, I feel as though I am wading through molasses during the day and being unable to sleep at night.

I am neither euphoric nor manic.

Coloma's avatar

My only experience with an anti-depressant was during a divorce situation when I tried taking Paxil for the situational stress and depression.

OMG! The absolute WORST thing ever!

I was completely zombied out, felt like the walking dead, just flatlined, and then, on day 10, I broke out in a horrible case of hives which I later found out was a side effect in sensitive people but that my doctor said was NOT a side effect.

It took me days to get back to ‘normal’, and, trust me, in my experience, the depression was far preferable to the side effects of that horrible drug! Never again!

Fortunetly, I have been on a 8.5 year happiness high after divorcing.

I didn’t need a pill, I needed a new life!
Problem solved, depression gone with the 180 lb. dark cloud I called my husband! haha

KateTheGreat's avatar

I still feel pretty shitty. ‘Nough said.

Jude's avatar

One thing that I know, I am going to save myself if it kills me.

Facade's avatar

@KatetheGreat Can you elaborate? What are you taking?

KateTheGreat's avatar

@Facade I take Lexapro :/

filmfann's avatar

I took Paxil for a while back in the 90’s.

-5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5

Let’s say that the numbers above are your emotions. At +5 you are incredibly happy, and at -5 you are suicidally sad. 0 represents no emotion.
My experience with Paxil changed the above line to this:

-5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 +5

Here your mood point doesn’t change, but how you feel it does. If you would be at a -3, you feel 0. At the time, I was living between -3 and -4. The danger is when you cross over to -5, it hits you like a brick wall. You don’t feel the suddenly agony building, until it suddenly overwhelms you.
Paxil saved my life. I have no doubt about that. It also took away almost all feeling I had during that time.

sinscriven's avatar

I was on Prozac for a short time for social anxiety. I didn’t notice any appreciate difference in that department.

A nasty side effect was that my normally pretty high sex drive was completely obliterated.

Screw that. D:

Coloma's avatar


I’m glad Paxil worked for you.
Eeee, I still get shivers thinking about how screwed up I felt on that drug.

augustlan's avatar

After many different tries, I finally found what works best for me. I take Effexor XR (actually, I take the generic Venlafaxine ER) 225MG/day. I feel normal, which is a freaking wonderful thing. The only downside I’ve experienced on Effexor is when I don’t take it for 2 or more days… withdrawal from this particular drug causes your lips to “buzz”. So weird. Like most of these types of meds, it’s absolutely critical to take them as prescribed. Don’t skip them!

I’ve taken many others in the past, some were great (but didn’t last) and some were awful. Most of them take about 2 weeks to build up in your body enough for you to feel any different. If you start taking something and it doesn’t work, please don’t give up! The same holds true if you find one that works, but then stops working. There are many different meds out there (different doses, too), and everyone reacts to them differently. Please get yourself some help, girlie. We love you.

Seelix's avatar

Wow, I’m on the same dosage of the same stuff as @augustlan. I’ve never skipped a day, but if I’m a couple of hours late taking it, I get the shakes pretty badly.

I feel like me again, not like the sad, angry, self-hating girl who inhabited my body for a couple of years.

augustlan's avatar

@Seelix Is it extended release? If not, get that! The non-extended release kind did that to me, too.

tedibear's avatar

As well, my ex-husband did very well on Paxil. He neither under nor over-reacted to everyday life. It was like living with a “normal” person. Unfortunately, he took himself off it cold turkey. That was an ugly week.

Seelix's avatar

@augustlan – It is XR, but for some reason it still happens. No big deal, though, I’m pretty good about taking it on time.

srtlhill's avatar

I like smoking the weed for my anxiety. I just wish it was legal so I didn’t have to deal with shady back room dealers. The weed helps my physical and mental pains. I took some small dosages of zoloft and had terrible violent suicidal thoughts and dreams. Never had I experienced those feelings with thc. Legalize dammit throw the chemicals out…..... Unless they help you in that case I’m happy for you and glad the medicine didn’t make you feel worse. After zoloft I will never ingest another pill like that. NEVER.
Good Luck on your quest.

JustJessica's avatar

I had been taking 225mg of Effexor for the last 18 months or so. I thought I felt pretty good while on them, but then I decided I was going to stop taking them so I gradually cut myself off. I now feel better than I have in years. Come to find out they were making my anxiety worse and they were making my blood pressure really high. So I guess my answer with that particular medication I was taking is it made me feel worse. The funny part is I didn’t even realize how bad I felt until I stopped taking it.

Bottom line though is I will have to try another medication because my anxiety is still crippling and my depression is still hard to control. When you have a chemical imbalance you have to treat it with medication just as a diabetic needs to take insulin for their blood sugar.

MacBean's avatar

It took about two years of working with my prescriber to find the right combination and dosages that worked for me to make me feel relatively normal. I was on 30mg of Lexapro and 300mg of bupropion (the generic form of Wellbutrin) and doing fairly well. Then my health insurance lapsed and I was off everything for two months. I stopped being able to sleep, I couldn’t concentrate on anything, I was angry all the time, I started having suicidal thoughts… I have insurance again now, but that’s a lot of Lexapro (and no small amount of bupropion) so I have to work my way back up to the old doses slowly. I’m not back to myself yet, but I am much much better than I was with nothing at all.

cazzie's avatar

I had a simple result from taking an antidepressant during a stressful time in my life. (divorce and mother dying of cancer) I think it was called Arapax or something. I still felt like my life was shit, but I didn’t care and couldn’t be bothered with thoughts of suicide or harming myself or someone else. I also remember that when I took it, I drank little or no alcohol because I just couldn’t be bothered. My sex drive went to .. perhaps you could say ‘below zero’ and my decision making process did not improve. I was like a puppet and very suggestible. I call it my ‘zombie’ days. This was early 2000 and wasn’t on the drug for more than 8 months, I’d say. I don’t think Arapax was a very good drug for me. They’re doing some more research on it now, I think.

seekingwolf's avatar

I’m on Prozac and extended-release Wellbutrin.

I feel great. Not numb. I’m very happy, level-headed, my mind is clear, and I have a high sex drive too.

I’ve been on the Prozac since I was 13, Wellbutrin since I was 14…I’m 21 now. I haven’t needed to make any changes in the dosage of either through the years. I’m very lucky and it works for me. I’m fully prepared to stay on them for the rest of my life.

GladysMensch's avatar

@augustlan; Total agreement about Effexor. Love it, and have no side effects. It works really well on my depression, but god help me if I don’t take it for more than a day. Miss it and I feel like electricity is waving through my body, and cannot sleep at all. Unpleasant to say the least.

Jude's avatar

How did you all feel when you first went on meds? The first couple of weeks?

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

I can’t remember the first or second times, in years past.
This time I’m tired. I had a bad reaction to the first dose, which was scary… but I don’t feel much different on the lower dose. Just sleepy. I also feel a strange awareness in my sleep. However, unlike the zoloft, paxil, seraquil and other meds that I’ve taken in the past – so far I am still able to orgasm.

augustlan's avatar

@Jude It does depend on the particular medication. Some can make you sleepy at first (and should probably be taken at bedtime). Some others, you just think they’re not working at all, because you really don’t feel any different until about two weeks in.

Seelix's avatar

@ANef_is_Enuf – When I first started on Effexor, for the first few weeks, I noticed that I got tired earlier in the evening. If I started my day around 7am, I was ready for bed between 8 and 9pm, and there was no way I could stay up past 10. Being a student, I’m able most days to take a nap around 2pm, so that’s how I deal with it. It allows me to stay up later, which is better for me because Mr. Fiance usually works until around 10 or so and has been for the past few years.
It just seems like I need more sleep than I used to be able to function on. I’m not sure how much of that is getting older and how much is the meds, but the timing seemed to coincide.

@Jude – The difference in need for sleep was the only effect that I noticed. I was a little irritable for the first few weeks, but it was also a PMS week, so I’m not sure whether that was just a PMS thing or the meds (maybe both).

hartest's avatar

I just started taking Lexapro10mg well about 6 weeks now, don’t feel much better, numb worthless and aimless.

tedibear's avatar

@hartest – Talk to the prescribing doctor about this. It can take time to find the right medication(s) for you. It may be that an SSRI isn’t right for you.

oaktdr's avatar

Wow, this question was asked a long time ago…I’m sure it is still a very sought after topic. I started taking Zoloft for 1)Panic attacks, 2)Anxiety and 3)Depression. I had a lot going on, most of it work-related. My psychiatrist saw it fit to just give me just the one drug. It helped. I honestly have to say that I remember feeling better almost right away, (within days) and over time, I felt much more at peace, happier, able to take things in stride, and no panic attacks. I was on 50mg for about a week then went to 100mg after that. I went back to work, then I had another panic attack, reported it to the doc and she increased it to 150 and I did even better. That was 2 years ago. I recently came off of it, because I really wanted to, even against the advice of my dr., but as she said, she couldn’t force me to take it. I have been off of Zoloft-100% off of it-for about 3 wks and I actually feel fantastic. Like I did before all the bullshit started with the panic and depression. I see things VERY clearly because I am not looking through rose colored glasses in any way, shape or form. And, the best part is, for me, pardon my frankness here—I can finally perform sexually and have an orgasm which was next to impossible with the Zoloft. But it did help me through some very tough times.

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