General Question

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Who to call? Where to go?

Asked by DrasticDreamer (23976points) February 10th, 2010

It’s time for me to look into getting depression medication. I don’t really want to, but it’s needed. I’m a poor student, and have no idea how to go about getting medication at a discount, or if it’s even possible. I’ve been flirting with the idea of getting meds for a long time, but after the death of my friend, I think it’s necessary. Things are… Not the same for me anymore.

Anyone know anything that might help me?

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25 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

You’re a student—your campus should have a counseling and psychological center of some sort. Start there and they can help you.

ubersiren's avatar

I’m really sorry for your loss. I’ve noticed that you’re having a very bad time, and my heart really goes out to you. Is there a counselor at your school that you can speak to? Maybe he or she can recommend a clinic that you can go to.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’m sorry about your friend.I would check with the people at school or with a doctor <<HUGS>>

asmonet's avatar

Oh, darling. I’m very sorry.

I chose to go on medication after years of thinking how I’d felt for almost my entire life was ‘normal’. From the age of eleven to twenty I had panic attacks, unexpected bouts of intense crying usually brought on by seeing happy moments on tv and in others lives… I was not okay. It suddenly dawned on me after a short series of events and after my mother was diagnosed with cancer that I needed medication.

I went to my regular doctor and laid it all out. The entire visit took less than an hour, I said I thought that I should be on some kind of anti-depressant and possibly and anti-anxiety medication because of those symptoms. She asked me a few questions about how long my panic attacks lasted, some general questions about my moods and placed me on Celexa and Xanax. Celexa was given to me as a once daily medication that is an antidepressant and an mild anxiety med, and Xanax was prescribed for an acute attack should one still happen while on Celexa. I only needed the Xanax less than a handful of times while the Celexa built up in my system.

Any antidepressant should take a few to several weeks to have the full effect, and there is some dose fiddling to go through. But I found the small dosage, even for my bad side of moderate depression more than enough, you may differ.

I had decent insurance and the combined cost of both meds on a monthly basis was roughly $20. I’m sure your campus can give you some options if you have no insurance, at the very least they can give you some information.

Talk to them, and failing them, talk to your parents if you’re comfortable. If you can’t get meds cheaply – find someone who can help. I’ve helped pay for a friends antidepressants every month in the past because I cared for her. Someone in your life loves you enough to do the same I’m sure.

I wish you all the best. Life can get strange, painful and confusing sometimes. I know. I’m not on medication anymore, though I think I should be because I went through a period of unemployment and no health insurance, I got lazy. I’ll probably be getting back on them soon, but I do not think I’ll need them in another year or two. I hope that you can find some comfort in them and get through what you need to.


ChaosCross's avatar

Please take my advice here on this one, go for a walk and look at the sun instead of using depression meds. I can say from extremely personal experience (3 or my 4 family members use them) they only shut off the parts of your brain that feel depression in the first place, which can inhibit your general logical perception of things.

Also, after a fairly recently held survey there are some incredibly bad numbers against anti-depressants at far as stroke go. If you do not believe me send me a PM and I can give you a link.

AstroChuck's avatar

You can get St. John’s Wart pretty cheaply. It’s easy to find anywhere. My wife took some years ago when a close friend passed away and she swears by it.
And, of course, I’m very sorry for your loss.

asmonet's avatar

@ChaosCross: I’m at a loss for words for you. @DrasticDreamer is a very intelligent young woman and in my experience more than capable of making an accurate self assessment. If she’s come to this conclusion, I support her. I was against medication for years, thinking I needed to get out more and that it was something everyone felt occasionally. Medication was a miracle for me. No one in my life knew how badly I needed help, and I was ashamed to ask for it. Please don’t trivialize depression, and a request for help by telling someone to take a freaking walk in some sunshine.

As for people’s logic shutting down, honestly if you’re not feeling like yourself on meds, the best thing to do is discuss any troubles you have with your doctor and possible try a different medication. Not all of them work the same, and they need some adjusting before they’re right for you.

Vunessuh's avatar

As already stated, you’re a student so there should be some counseling on campus.
After being on medication for years, I would personally recommend to stay away from meds. Start overcoming your depression by talking to people (friends, a therapist) and putting yourself in a happier environment. Like @ChaosCross stated: Taking a walk in the sun or going to the beach or a lake depending on where you live. Spend time with the people who make you happy.
If you’re set on medication and feel that that is what’s best for you, generic depression meds are pretty cheap. I remember taking a generic version of Lexapro (the only medication that came close to making me feel better) and it was really cheap. You can also get free samples.
Good luck, hun.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@ChaosCross While that works for some people—it really does—for others it does not and never will. And that is part of what meeting with the prescribing doctor is meant to determine. The first meeting (or possibly first several meetings) with a psychiatrist or psychologist are often about determining the best course of therapy for you.

asmonet's avatar

Depression is NOT feeling down. You feel down? You take a walk and rent a boat on a lake. Depression? You treat through therapy, meds or a combination of both. You can’t cure depression with a hike.

ChaosCross's avatar

@asmonet I apologize, I was not trivializing depression, as there are many different types and conditions related with the word in itself. As what I meant as “take a walk in the sunshine”, I am not saying to literally go outside and take a walk and that will solve your problem, I mean that doing things, like going for walks is good for activating and according different parts of your brain to do things that get one’s mind off of such things that would cause sadness or depression. I am not saying that you are absolutely wrong or anything of the sort, I am saying that from my experience and general scientific studies I personally was impressed in the direction that it does more harm than good. I apologize for my constructing my earlier message poorly.

Darwin's avatar

@ChaosCross – As someone else who finally tried antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications after years of depression, I, too, concur with @asmonet and @EmpressPixie

Yes, “walking in the sunshine” can help lift one’s spirits if one is feeling down, but true depression is the result of an imbalance of brain chemicals, not a simple “down mood.” If true depression is untreated it can and does destroy lives. It isn’t something you can just “forget” or “distract yourself” from. It rules your life and can give the sufferer a strong belief that life isn’t worth living.

Like @asmonet I thought that bursting into tears at least once a day was normal. I thought that having my whole body hurt all over was something other people experienced, too, but they never let it bother them like I did. I thought everyone had to push themselves as hard as I did just to get through the day. I felt most normal wearing black and Navy blue, and isolating myself from the world.

Yes, sunshine, physical activity and other things helped take the edge off slightly, but it did not get rid of my problems. Only medication has done that for me. I suspect that @DrasticDreamer knows herself well enough to know that this isn’t a passing mood, but an illness, one that if left untreated can lead to suicide. Sometimes the risks are so much less a problem than leaving the illness untreated that the risks are worth it.

phil196662's avatar

Don’t do it… Surely in your area there are clubs with outdoor activities so you can get some sun, tree’s and air instead of medications. (((hug’s))) from friends too help and are free!

asmonet's avatar

@ChaosCross: I appreciate your clarification, I understood what you were getting at but I still believe otherwise. You’re entitled to your experience and your opinion, and having read enough about it myself I was not convinced with it’s efficacy or benefit until I realized that I was someone who could be helped and tried it. Depression is a bit worse than you seem to think it is from what I’ve seen. You can’t fill up your life with sunshine, lollipops and social activities to make you feel better if you quite simply can’t even motivate yourself to walk over to your phone and call someone because you don’t see a valid reason to make even that much effort. Getting to the point where you do something and activating that part of your brain is a major challenge when you’re depressed. And from what I hear from DD, she is depressed. Not down. And that’s what she needs advice on.

@Darwin: I think I love you. Forcing myself through a day is the most exhausting thing I have ever had to do and I’m glad I don’t feel anywhere near that way anymore. The effort alone made me want to cry sometimes, just looking at books I had to tidy up, or a pile of papers I needed to get to. I thought everyone felt that desperate and just put on a show. And at the same time I knew it wasn’t true and contradicted myself constantly telling myself I was different and it was my fault. The day I changed my mind, that was a glorious day.

MagsRags's avatar

If you live in or near a large enough city, chances are there is a university that trains healthcare workers – medical students, residents, nurse practitioners, psychologists. Those programs generally operate clinics for student training, supervised by experienced faculty.

When I was a poor nursing student many years ago I got my contraceptive care at Fantus Clinic, associated with Cook County Hospital in Chicago. The local inner city residents called it Fantasy Clinic.

asmonet's avatar

Eh, maybe I’m being defensive. It’s a difficult subject for people who have experience with it. I’m sorry if I’m coming off kind of RAWR, YOU WRONG. ME RIGHT.

ChaosCross's avatar

@asmonet To be perfectly honestest with you that was the impression you were giving me at first. I myself should apologize for my fast pressing of the negative veiw I hold toward that stuff. I suppose I should also give you that, never having been diagnosed with depression, I am simply not as experienced in this as you are. I can only give my personal experience outside by observation. My problem with the whole medication thing is that I feel there must be a better, bodily occurring way to cure this without having to turn to specific extracts, herbs, or laboratory-designed medications. That being noticed, along with the existent risks at hand, I tend to stray away from the stuff because of the way I have seen people react when using them.

Sorry if I am making little sense, I am getting a bit tired and I think I will be logging off soon.

asmonet's avatar

@ChaosCross: I think I understand your position better now, thanks. On one point, I’d ask you to revisit your opinion. Talk to some more people about their depression if you can. Do some research online looking for positive stories see some examples above, there’s a helluva lot more of them then negative ones I assure you. I agree, sometimes things can be treated with hard work, and determination. But I don’t think that’s the case for the vast majority of people suffering from depression. For those people medication can be the very best thing in the world.

Anyway, no hard feelings, I actually enjoyed this little back and forth. :P

ChaosCross's avatar

@asmonet Alright, I take you for it. Thank you for the charming discussion.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

You might start by looking in your local phone book for an adult mental health department of the local government where you live. Call them and explain your situation.

borderline_blonde's avatar

I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding medication, but I can honestly say I wouldn’t be here today if it hadn’t been for the pills. They didn’t make me 100%, but they got me to a place where I felt okay enough to start tackling this lifelong disorder from multiple angles. A combination of medication, therapy, diet, and exercise have been tremendously helpful… the past year since I started all this has been the only year of my life that I’ve actually wanted to get out of bed in the morning. That’s saying something.

Anyway, I can’t really offer better advice than what’s already been given. I take generic Zoloft and it costs me about $7 per month, but I have great health insurance. If you don’t have insurance or money is just super tight, your campus should offer services. If not, they can at least put you in the right direction.

Major kudos for deciding to help yourself – it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

augustlan's avatar

I don’t have health insurance at the moment, but I do have a fabulous doctor. He’s been providing me with free samples of 3 expensive medications I take daily for over a year now. One of those meds is my anti-depressant. He has been a godsend. If you have a great relationship with your regular doctor, I’d start there.

Remember, girly, we’re here for you! Lurve and hugs to you, friend.

Cruiser's avatar

I am pretty sure your friend would be none too pleased that you are in such a funk over their death. Perhaps you could have a memorial service/party/get together or go to their favorite place in the out doors and create a rock shrine that you can visit when feeling blue. If they had a favorite cause or charity maybe your could volunteer in their honor. Getting out and doing things like this can help you make sense and add purpose to their death.

There are also grief counseling groups that should for the most part be free that meet everywhere, check on campus and at local churches…I wish you peace and good luck.

ubersiren's avatar

Dudes, seriously. She’s not in a “funk” and she’s not going to be magically fixed by volleyball and sunshine. As she clearly said in her description, she had already been thinking about this for quite some time, and her friend’s death has only driven her further down the same road. I’m sure she’s weighed her options. She’s not taking it lightly.

@AstroChuck makes a good suggestion about St. John’s Wort. My dad used that for a while before he had insurance. He had very serious psychological problems and St. John’s alleviated much of that for him until he was able to get properly medicated.

I hope you find some help, @DrasticDreamer. We love you and support you.

borderline_blonde's avatar

@AstroChuck You can get St. John’s Wart pretty cheaply I did St. John’s Wort for a couple years and it did help… not as much as zoloft has, but it gave me a little lift. I think it depends on the brand. I used Nature’s Way and it worked better for me than the store brand. A note about St. John’s Wort, though: it can interfere with birth control, so if you’re on the pill, be extra careful using it.

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