General Question

hartest's avatar

Question regarding Depression and Medications?

Asked by hartest (104points) February 16th, 2013

I just started taking Lexapro recently, and have had my first session with a counselor , I’m just curious how long before people felt an improvement or should I ask my doctor / counselor about trying different brands.
I’m onto my 6th week now, and I still have that never ending feeling of being worthless and aimless.
Some days are better than others, but most of the time I’m just faking it, It’s something I’ve become used to doing.
I have depression and have had it since a young age but up until recently I didn’t want to acknowledge it or take medication , or talk to anyone, up until recently when things got pretty dark and I began to scare myself. I still do at times, but I don’t think I would ever act on it.
Sorry don’t mean to ramble on just started.
But back to my original question should I consider talking to my doctor / counselor about trying another brand?
anyone else with these kind of experiences have some advice.

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14 Answers

dxs's avatar

I took Lexapro and it did nothing for me mentally. However, none of the antidepressants that I took helped me. ”[B]ut most of the time I’m just faking it” Is that a bad thing? If you want the pill to work then think that it does. If you think you have depression, than you’ll be more inclined to being depressed if you don’t have enough control of your thoughts, in my opinion. Have you taken a consistent amount of the drug? If so, then you may want to ask to bump up the dose. If you’re on a higher dose, than six weeks may not have been long enough since you have to gradually get to your dose level. If you do decide to change medications, I’ll say that fluoxetine (Prozac), the last antidepressant I took, gave me really bad side effects, but I guess it works differently on everybody.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hey glad to have you on fluther. And try to suck it up. Life is a bitch sometimes. But others rely on us. What would it do to your loved ones? I don’t know about the drugs.
Edit: That was cold. I’m sorry for your pain. What’s bothering you?

dxs's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe When it comes to psychological “disorders”, I think that they are subjective and absurd. They are mentalities not disorders in my opinion. But I think that depression is different. For some reason, I think that it is stronger than others, maybe because it is very common and/or because it occurs simultaneously with other mental problems, possibly as a result of some. Depression could be the basis behind all the other mental “disorders”. In the end, though, it is the one mental “disorder” that can truly hurt you physically, and should be consulted.

Mariah's avatar

I think the general rule is to give antidepressants about 3 weeks to work. Mine started working within one week but my understanding is that I was a pretty lucky special case. I’d ask to try switching to something different. Best of luck.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@dxs Let me chew on that for a bit.

hartest's avatar

@dxs Thanks for the answer, re: is faking it a bad thing?
yeah I think it is, this illness/disorder has me rattled, and instead of going away or eventually getting better its just gotten worse and worse over the years, I’m almost 30 it’s something I’ve dealt with but refused help with since I was young. Was first advised to go on medication at the age of 13/14 after some issues, cant remember exact age, but I point blank refused, I didn’t want to admit to myself that what I had was a real issue and felt like I deserved the way I felt and it would just go away if I ignored it.
The past few years its gotten worse and worse, since my father passed away on my birthday, it’s been almost unbearable.
I know these feelings are stupid and not good, but I cant get rid of them I felt near breaking point on a number of occasions where just wanting to get out of dodge and never look back, didn’t really care what happened to me just wanted to be gone.
@Adirondackwannabe (btw thanks for taking the time to answer) I don’t think I would ever act on the impulses/ dark thoughts and that is only because of what it would do to those around me, I couldn’t care less that it means I’d be gone for good.
but when what goes on in your own mind scares you, and all you feel like is worthless there are times when it seems like the easiest option.
I know its not.
I know its not.
I know these thoughts are stupid, and I need to toughen up about it. Life can be a bitch.
I’ve lived through enough crap in my time to know this.
but sometimes you just have to ask for help and I am doing that,
and why not ask people who have gone through similar about their experiences.
Or for advice? is that not what this site is about.
@Mariah yeah well I’m on my sixth week now and still trying. Will talk to counselor and gp and see what is recommended, Thanks for your answer.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@hartest I’m sorry my first message was so cold. Please seek out some help and if the first one doesn’t work try another. I’ve looked into the abyss and found others that helped pull me out. I have an entire family that relies on me so I can’t let them down. Life gets better. Hang in there.

wundayatta's avatar

At six weeks you probably would be seeing some effect. It’s time to talk to your psychiatrist and consider trying something else. The psychiatrist may urge you to try a little longer. But I would say that if you haven’t had any benefit in three months, then it won’t work for you.

Most likely you will have to try between three and fifteen different meds before you find one that works well with side effects you can tolerate. Medicine doesn’t know how to match up meds to people yet. They can’t do it based on diagnosis—they essentially try pretty much the same meds for all kinds of mental diagnoses, and they can’t do it based on individual biochemistry, yet. Hopefully, in the future, they will be more accurate. Meanwhile, it is a long, frustrating process to find the drug that helps alleviate depression.

Depression isn’t a moral failure, by the way. You can be as tough as a marine and still be unable to gain any control over depression. You can know every coping technique in the book and then some, and be unable to beat it. You can have therapy out the wazoo, and be unable to cope.

Sometimes meds can help. Sometimes you need electric shock therapy. Sometimes you need magnetic therapy. The last two will sometimes work in cases where meds can’t help, but magnetic therapy, even though effective, isn’t covered by insurance and it is very expensive. If it comes down to that, the University of Pennsylvania Hospital is where the therapy was pioneered and they know the most about it.

My point is don’t blame yourself for being unable to beat depression. In fact, you may find that you can’t beat depression until you give up fighting it. That was my experience, and the experience of many folks I know. It’s counter-intuitive, but I can explain it, if you like. Or link you to other places where I’ve written about it.

In any case, you have little control over the depression. Some, but not enough if it is as bad as it sounds like it is. You will need help. Therapy, exercise, eating right, getting good sleep, yoga, meditation, doing creative things, helping others, taking your meds, seeing a therapist, joining and participating in a depression support group: these are all things that help. It’s a laundry list and it may seem overwhelming at first, but one step at a time. One day at a time. (Wundayatta time). That’s how I managed to get my head above water. That’s how I managed to stay alive. If anything can work for you, that list will.

JLeslie's avatar

Is your therapy helping at all? If you never have been in therapy before, I think it might really help you. I don’t think you need to “toughen up” that sounds like something someone who doesn’t understand depression would say. Maybe people around you are saying things like that? My little bit of advice is what we think directly translates to how we feel. Reframing how we look at situations can greatly affect our mood. If you surround yourself with happy people, how they think about things might rub off on you. You might learn how they view the world differently than you, if that is at work here. Some people are wired to slip into depression easily, but we also know we can rewire to some extent sometimes. Therapy might help you with this if it is possible for you to find relief by thinking about things differently. It’s worth a shot anyway.

Also working in your favor is usually people are happier as they get older. Our brains change and handle situations differently. Things hurt less and our brains focus more on the positives. It doesn’t happen for everyone though. I only mean to say you have reason to believe life will get better.

As far as antidepressents, I do not know that one specifically, but if it is an SSRI, usually people are advised to give it 5 to 6 weeks to feel full effect. If you think it is doing nothing then absolutely talk to your doctor. You should seriously consider seeing a psychiatrist who has more experience prescribing these things, a GP isn’t good enough in my opinion if you have been depressed for 15 years.

I think it’s a great sign that you want to feel better. I am very optimistic for you. I hope you feel better.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Welcome to Fluther. Thank you for sharing your question with us, and thank you for being open about your thoughts regarding mental illness.

Mental illness is an illness like any other and needs medicine, care, and nurturing to heal from. I speak from first-hand experience. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder type one over eleven years ago. I’ve taken many different medications and combinations of them and been in and out of psychiatric wards when it was necessary.

Each medication will take a different amount of time to begin helping you to feel better. I have never taken Lexapro, so I can’t speak about that one. The antidepressant which works best for me is called Wellbutrin, and it took over a month before I began feeling anything. I am not a doctor, and I cannot guess how it would work for you.

I would suggest you talk openly to your therapist about your doubts in believing that depression needs treatment. Be open about why it has taken you so many years to seek help. It may be enlightening for your therapist to hear.

augustlan's avatar

After 6 weeks, I’d be asking to try a different medication. I’ve been on quite a few that didn’t work for me, or that did work but then stopped working. Finally got the right one and it’s made a huge difference in my life. Keep on trying until you find what works for you…you’ll be so glad you did!

hartest's avatar

@Adirondackwannabe seriously mate no worries.
I just wanted to thank you all for the great answers, I will be talking to my counselor and doctor this week at my next appointment.
I will consult with doctor and counselor regarding different medications and how I am feeling this week thanks for the advice.
This is my first time in counseling / therapy and I have only had one session it took me 5 weeks to get up the courage to even ring her about an appointment but I am hopeful that we can work together to get me better.
It’s not the people around me that are saying I should toughen up and just deal with it, it’s myself. I know this is more to do with my illness than anything else. My own interpretation of my failures etc. and my own lack of self worth.
Thanks for all the great advice and support, I only found this site through Google and I’m glad I did, I have talked to my close friends and family about my illness but I find it very difficult to really open up to them about it, as I don’t want to load them up with my problems when they have their own issues to deal with.
I think that is what the anonymity of the internet is great for.
You guys don’t know me, and yet I was able to open up more to you than any of my close friends and that means a lot to me.
So a huge thank you for that.

serenityNOW's avatar

@hartest – Welcome!
First things first: You said, “I know these feelings are stupid…” They’re not. It breaks my heart when I hear people say that. (Bipolar here. by the way.)

Language aside, meaning if it’s an illness, disorder, imbalance, whatever you want to call it, it’s real. If you’ve been depressed for 15 years, you know that. I can’t really offer much more; you’ve hear some really good suggestions from some really smart and experienced people.

As for meds: I went through a similar experience as you, early-on. I was diagnosed with clinical depression when I was 16. I refused to take medicine; in my mind, I thought I’d turn into a drooling, useless slab of a human. I was hospitalized the same year and went to the emergency room 3 times all before I was 18. Yes, I was a busy-beaver. Things then subsided for a few years, and then I just, simply… snapped. I knew I had to go on meds, but my GP, who meant well, had very limited knowledge on psychiatric medications. It turned out, what he gave me was causing me “rapid-cycling” episodes – a very awful experience for those with bipolar.

Long story short, I started seeing a psychologist; really great, competent guy who referred me to an absolutely amazing psychiatrist. He’s gotten me back on track, although I do have periods are still, not just “right”, but that’s okay. Its been a lot of trial and error with the meds. Don’t be scared if your doctor might want to augment one medication to “jump-start” another med. That might be necessary. Don’t be frustrated if the medicine does’t turn you around 100%. You’re on the right track, opening up.
Oh, and if you drink or indulge in any mood-altering substances. you may want to put those on hold. They’ll really screw up the efficacy of your medicine.

Let us know how it works out, and please – to wrap this verbose comment up, and emphasize my original point: It is not stupid.

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