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Antidepressants

I have been going through a long stretch of depression for the past two years. I have recently worked up enough stamina to start dieting and working out again and feel so proud of myself! However, I feel extremely tired all the time and other things in my life are deterirating now that I am focusing so much on the diet.

I have never been on antidepressants before but have been considering looking into them. Anyone have an experience with this? Is there something I can just take for a few months and then see how I do without them?


Fri. Mar 10, 9:57am

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Do any of them cause weight gain?

Friday, March 10, 2006, 9:57 AM

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Talk to a doctor, obviously. Different meds help with different problems. You may need them for a short time or for several years.

I was depressed for almost a year before I went on meds. I took Effexor (for motivation) and Welbutrin (for energy). I stopped the Welbutrin after a year because my energy level back up, and I took the Effexor for another year.

Be very careful about going off meds. Effexor had bad withdrawal effects (for me, nausea). Your doctor can help you step back slowly.

It still took another year for me to feel normal. A routine sleep schedule helps a lot. More sleep isn't always the answer, either; I do very well on 7-8 hours a night when I used to think I needed 14.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:21 AM

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As far as weight gain, it could depend whether you are an emotional eater. If you eat to make yourself happy, maybe anti-depressants could help you eat less.

I also used to eat when I was tired to get energy. Now that I am not tired all the time, I don't have to eat just to stay awake.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:24 AM

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I have not taken antidepressants, but have visited with other people about them. from what I understand, they can take up to 6 weeks to even work. there are very light doses of them, which might be better to start with. i think that some of them can cause weight gain, but honestly, what's more important? Yes, you want to have a healthy body, because that can help you have a healthy mind, but if you are truly depressed, you need help and medication can be affective for some people, even with the side effects. Good luck to you! Keep us posted on how you are doing.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:35 AM

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I am currently on antidepressants and mood stablizers. (I'm not a crazy person, in fact, the only person who knew I had a problem with depression was my BF, who was around me all the time). I have found that my mood is much more stable (no huge highs or deep lows) and that I am less depressed. I don't find that the medicines have any affect on my personality, although I do still feel tired pretty often and I need a lot of sleep. I plan on eventually weening myself (with a doctor's help) off the medicines and seeing if I can control my moods and depression naturally (staying healthy, exercise, yoga, reducing stress, etc.).

It took me a very long time to come to terms with needing help (I would say my depression and mood disorder started 6 or 7 years ago when I was in college). It wasn't until I was in a crisis state that I actually sought help. Overall, I am very happy with my progress and the way I feel. Because my depression was not constant, I lived in fear of the depression coming on. Now I don't have to worry about that anymore.

Sorry for the long post. I hope my experience is helpful to you.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:46 AM

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I was on anti depressants for 3 years. They helped stabilize my mood, but I don't like to be dependent on pills. If you do go off them, go off them slowly. I experienced dizziness for a good month when I went off them, and I did go off them slowly.
As for weight gain, honestly who cares? If they help stabilize your mood, you will probably be more inclined to exercise.
Beth

Friday, March 10, 2006, 11:43 AM

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Talk to Your Doctor Right Away

Even if you aren't severely depressed, it's a good idea ot make an appointment ASAP!

I dealt with depression all my life, I'm only 28, but a few years ago I took one of those on line tests to see if my symptoms indeed were depression and they were.

My moodswings and irratability were affecting me in various ways in my life but mostly with my fiance so I decided to get help right away. I don't regret it one bit. I took Wellbutrin for about 1 year, some doctors recommend therapy along with the pill, but I just took the pill and made a HUGE effort to pay attention to how I felt/acted and did what I could to rectify my behavior.

I learned a lot about myself during that time and am glad I didn't wait to get some help. Part of it could have been in my head, but I really started to feel better right away.

The reason I'm urging you to get help right away is because as a person who previously suffered from depression myself, I know that we love to procrastinate! LOL :)

Good luck to you...oh and the weight gain, some will make you gain and some won't. Everyone is different. When I was on Wellbutrin I didn't gain any weight, I was actually more motivated to do things including working out.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 12:04 PM

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I like others here have gone through the same feelings. After my daughter was born, I felt the the world was closing in on me. I was crying all the time and even thought about killing myself. I went through a period where I was sorry for having my daughter and thought about hurting her. Once that feeling hit, I knew I needed help. I was embarressed and didn't want to tell my doctor how I was feeling and what I was thinking, but I knew I had to tell her.

After speaking with my doctor, I felt like she took a ton of weight off my shoulders and put me on antidepressants. They helped SO much, I can't even begin to desribe it. I did gain weight. 25 to be exact, but I think it was from lack of knowledge, not the pills. I do agree that they make you feel so much better that your appetite comes back, but I feel that if I knew that would happen and worked out right away, I wouldn't have gotten to this point.

As of 3 weeks ago, I have weaned myself off of the pills and am on my way to living the best life that I could. There are still times where I feel sad and very anxious, but then I workout. That helps so much. I wouldn't have been able to get off of my meds if I didn't workout 6 days a week. I also educated myself about depression and no longer feel ashamed, but proud that I was able to overcome such a serious illness. DON'T EVER FEEL ASHAMED!

Now in a few more weeks I'm going to start taking St. Johns Wort. It has been proven that taking this pill helps with mild depression, along with excersize.

Good Luck and remember that we are all here to help if you need it.

Margo

Friday, March 10, 2006, 12:18 PM

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OP here...

Thanks everyone for all of your kind words and personal experiences. I did talk with my doctor a few months ago, but was breastfeeding at the time. She said that she though I should be on anti-deppresants and I told her I would think about it, and look at starting them when I stopped breast feeding. I am weaning my son now, so if I decide to go through with the medication, then I will be able to in a month or so.

I admit, I am a little nervous. I will do some research on the medications you all have suggested. Thank you so much!


Friday, March 10, 2006, 1:24 PM

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I went on Antidepressants after I came off accutane... I feel it was the best choice I ever made.. I actually lost weight because I had such mental clarity... I reccomend Zoloft.. its low dose.. low side affects.. and I know soo many ppl who it has worked for!



Friday, March 10, 2006, 2:19 PM

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FYI to 12:18 poster -- St. John's wort has been known to decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Thought you'd want to know.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 4:03 PM

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Didn't know that, Thanks for posting.
Margo

Friday, March 10, 2006, 4:07 PM

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Antidepressants are worth it.

After overdosing on every pill in the house, I was on them for about 3 years. I gained 60 lbs and lactated so much I had to wear nursing pads (in high school, mind you) but it was worth it. They gave me time to learn how to cope and I am a much healthier person (mentally) than I was. I have work to do to become physically healthy again, but that seems easy compared to the work it took to handle clinical depression.

Talk to your doctor, get help mentally and emotionally, and then everything else wil be easier to tackle.

Friday, March 10, 2006, 4:43 PM

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I'm in the same boat with depression. I'm seeing a mfcc, but I was/am dead set against meds. I've seen them numb out the women that I've known who have taken them. I'm not trying to frighten you! But my therapist suggested acupuncture, and it's really working for me. And exercise (weight lifting, cardio, yoga!) will really help with the mood elevation. During the week when I need to chill the f*** out, I do a stretching class or yoga and my mood and irratability drop significantly. Whatever you choose, seek a therapist in addition to the meds. :) best wishes to you!

Saturday, March 11, 2006, 2:53 PM

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I have a family member who has been getting various treatments for several years with fairly poor results. The psychiatrist and clinical psychologist both speak loosely of a "rule of thirds" for the drugs - 1/3 of people are substantially helped, 1/3 are helped to a lesser degree, 1/3 are not helped.
Loss of interest in sex is a fairly common side effect. As far as I know, this usually reverses soon after going off the drugs.
Many or most of these drugs require tapering on and especially off. Changing drugs may require going off everything in between, or a taper schedule, all of which depends on exactly what you are going from and to.

Sunday, March 12, 2006, 1:42 AM

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I'm 44 and I've been taking antidepressants for at least 6 years. I started with Paxil and that made a world of difference, although I was tired a lot while adjusting to it. There were some side effects, and about two years ago I switched to Celexa, which has less side effects. These drugs have been life saving and saved my marriage! I dont' feel like I am slipping in the the abyss of depression, even if I'm still slightly depressed at times, not do I have episodes of panic attacks, which were scarry and the real reason I finally tried the drugs. I had years of trying everthing, really, and there were just too many times when I felt I was having such intense anxiety and unable to calm down.

Most of my friends also take an antidepressant, and although we've all had to make adjustments from time to time and had some side effects, we all feel they are worth the price in terms of the side effects. When the depression or anxiety becomes so intense that you feel you can't function, they can be such a blessing. Sure, we have to continue with exercise and relaxation techniques and other helpful therapies like building cognitive skills. I don't feel like a different person, I'm still me, but I just am not so controlled by the intensity of my emotions.

I urge everyone to consult with their doctor and do their own research. From what I know I've heard it does make it harder to loose weight, but I feel it's necessary for me.

Sunday, March 12, 2006, 6:08 AM

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I think that a balanced approach is best. If you are breastfeeding, then it's obvious that you have gone through a lot of hormonal changes in the last few years, which can significantly impact your mood. You may be low on some nutrients, also.

I took several different medications for about 6 years, from antidepressants to mood stabilizers. I had a lot of issues from my past to work out (molestation, abuse, etc.) and was having a lot of problems due to those and just feeling icky all the time. The medications helped to stabilize my moods while I worked on the core things that were contributing to my depression and anxiety -- working out my relationships, learning to love myself, learning assertiveness, etc. Then by the time I found out I was pregnant I was able to wean myself off of them and I have learned how to be well without them . . . after a lot of love from God, my husband, and a really good therapist.

I understand your concerns about taking a medication and breastfeeding, however, there are several (such as Zoloft and Wellbutrin) that have minimal effects on breastfeeding women. You would be astounded at how many women take medications after they give birth. It is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of at all. It is a health issue. And if you try them and find that you don't like them, you can always stop taking them.

If you were diabetic, you would get insulin. If you had a heart condition, you would treat it. Depression is a physical condition. There is no shame in treating it until you are able to balance out your system. Also, remember that depression can make you feel overwhelmed and guilty, and contribute to the sense of "failure" for feeling like you may need a medication.

I would also recommend taking fish oil capsules (omega 3 fatty acids nourish your brain, reduce moodiness, and are wonderful for your baby's brain as well!), a good B complex 50 vitamin, and getting fresh air and sunshine as much as possible.

I also recommend God!

Blessings to you in your decision-making.

Sunday, March 12, 2006, 5:49 PM

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I'm not the OP, but just 10 minutes ago I picked up my first prescription for anti-depressants. Reading these posts has really helped me. My biggest fear is gaining weight and sexual side affects, so those are the things I'm looking out for. I'm hoping this helps. I have a family history of depression so I can't believe I didn't go on these sooner.

Monday, March 13, 2006, 4:44 PM

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To the last poster - I don't know what you're taking but many people I know definately complained of difficulty or inability to orgasm (myself included) with Paxil, which is why I and some of my friends have switched to Celexa. I've also heard that Welbutrin has minimal sexual problem side effects, but not the best think for my needs. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 5:23 AM

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I'm starting on prozac. My doctor and I are going to keep a close watch on the side effects and if they come up, will try different drugs until we get the right mix. I'm feeling amazingly positive about this decision. It feels like the smartest thing I've done in years.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006, 10:55 AM

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Good luck to you. I gained 20 lbs on Lexapro, the one SSRI that is not 'supposed' to cause weight gain, despite 5 days a week in the gym and a 1500 calorie diet for 3 months that I DID NOT CHEAT ON. (I am 5'8" and went from 180 to 200. Gross.)

To the poster who said "Who cares if you're fat"...look: Gaining weight increases the risk of all kinds of diseases, like diabetes and heart disease. It messes up your menstrual cycle. It HURTS to gain weight, your back aches, your skin stretches. It's lousy. And you feel WORSE because you look...well, fat. (Especially true if you are heavy to begin with and then take the pills.) Just because your brain chemistry is out of whack it does not mean you deserve to have all of these health problems! If an arthritis drug did this to people, it would only be very rarely prescribed. Antidepressants are some of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the US. Hmm...

My experience with six different SSRIs, two dual agents (Effexor) and Wellbutrin is that Wellbutrin, alone, will not cause weight gain. BUt that's just me. Wellbutrin made me really, really hyper, though.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007, 10:59 PM

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I posted this on a different thread too but I thought it would help here, I just read Kate's blog from the other day because she's going on a med that possibly causes weight gain, but she did research and found out that it's not the drug itself that makes you gain weight, it increases your appetite. So if you know that, you can probably control it. Good luck.

Thursday, April 12, 2007, 12:49 AM

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Depression

I struggle with depression, especially in the winter months. I am in the mental health biz. I did a lot of research and ended up taking some natural products to increase some of the chemicals in my brain. It has been owrking pretty well, then I started working out a week aog and that is definitely helping! Reserach shows that 20 minutes of exercise is as good as 20 mg of prozac. I still take the supplements too, though. I think the combination of treatment and a healthy lifestyle can make all the difference! Good luck to you!

Thursday, April 12, 2007, 4:11 PM

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In my family one of us is about 7 years deep in the process with meds, and along the way has had numerous consultations with subspecialists, most recently with one of the big international names in biological psychiatry research. The only possible short summary is that there are lots of different medications, and both their psychoactive effects and side effects on individuals vary from drug to drug and person to person - a lot. In very rough, rule of thumb terms, they say that 1/3 of patients are helped a lot, 1/3 are helped partially, 1/3 get little or no help.

Thursday, April 12, 2007, 4:24 PM

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my body all but shut down with the cocktails of medications the doctors were "experimenting" with for me to gain the most benefit. i lost incredible amounts of hair, my appetite was insatiable and my thyroid was ill-affected so i gained 40-50 pounds in a very short time. i also lost all interest in sex-not just the physical urges but also the whole idea of someone touching me intimately completely grossed me out. however, my mind was functioning so much better that i could deal with the side effects and stabilize my life in most other areas. i have been off of the medications, the last ones i took were risperdal & topomax, for about two years. throughout the past two years, w/o any meds and by being vigilant about healthy food choices and exercise, i was not able to take off any weight. but, my day finally arrived just last week in fact and now i am noticing the benefits of my efforts almost hourly! (not really, but you know what-it sure feels like it!) as i look back and reflect on the experience of taking the medications, i feel strongly that my life drastically improved and i would have been far worse off had i not tried that avenue for help. i am very much into holistic healing and try very hard not to put anything chemically altered into my body, but it came to a point where i could not get relief from any other options i had. good luck to you and DO YOUR RESEARCH regarding the medications and how they might affect you. i recommend going to the medical reference books in your local library. a decrease in the amount of seretonin in your brain can lead to all kinds of symptoms that mirror depression. there are some holistic remedies that can help increase the seretonin, or help prevent the loss of it. i found a lot of info on google. it's really an up-and-coming area of reasearch, so check in with the newly published studies and medical journals / periodicals.

Thursday, April 12, 2007, 4:29 PM

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I've been on Citalolpram for about 18 months now.. and although it has caused weight gain (more because it has been harder to lose the weight as I have been really bad with my eating habits) it has helped a great deal. Before I went on the meds I was seriously considering throwing myself under a bus...

I would suggest to anyone that is in my position to consider seeking counselling. As well as the meds I had a visit to a counseller once a week, and this made a huge difference. It was really good to have someone to speak to, I found that the ability to voice what was going on in my head very helpful.

Anyway... I've just started to cut my dose done (as of today) which is good,. I really feel that I've reached a point where I can come off them now, which I am really pleased with.

Another thing to look at is SAD (seasonal affect disorder) I found that I always felt alot worse when there was less daylight... and although it wasn't the cause of my depression, it certainly didn't help. I got one of the the daylight alarm clock, which really does make it easier to get up in the morning.

A site to look at is the mood gym.. I found it reallly useful.

Anyway... sorry this ended up being soo long. I would say that speak to your doctor, if they are any good then they will be the best place to start. Counselling seems to help too....

Hope that this helps.

S.

Link

Friday, April 13, 2007, 8:11 PM

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A few years ago, my nurse practitioner actually suggested Prozac or Zoloft to me when I need ed to lose weight. She said that often, it gives you just enough mental boost to help you do what you need to do.

I didn't take them, so can't offer that perspective.

Saturday, April 14, 2007, 4:26 PM

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Prozac ROCKS!!

Sunday, April 15, 2007, 8:02 PM

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Antidepressants--Lexapro

I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my mid 20's. I took Prozac, but the side effects were awful! It wasn't until I had a premature daughter 3 1/2 years ago that I began experiencing post partum. I was placed on Lexapro, 10 mg and it worked for a while. Eventually, I was given 20 mg and what a difference! I take the pill at night (it can make you sleepy) and though I wish I didn' t have to take anything, I am grateful that this medicine exists. Lexapro is different from other medications in that it affects (2) of the neurotransmitters in the brain instead of just (1). I have gained weight, but I attribute that more to my emotional eating and lack of exercise. Go see a Dr and if you really want to manage your depression, find yourself a good therapist. Medication & therapy combined work miracles!! Good luck!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007, 2:30 PM

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