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Old 04-17-2004, 07:37 PM   #1
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Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Does anyone know if being on an antidepressant (effexor, zoloft, prozac especially) can actually alter how the brain functions (chemically) after the person discontinues using the drug? My boyfriend was on prozac when he was younger, and he swears (and I have witnessed it) that ever since he was on the drug, his personality and emotions have been changed, meaning they have decreased. After he went on prozac, he says he lost the ability to cry, or really get angry, or release ANY exaggerated emotion when it is necessary. Personally, ever since I started on antidepressants as a young teenager, I am not the same person anymore, not because of the depression either. My senses have slowly been dulled.
Anyone know?

 
Old 04-17-2004, 10:06 PM   #2
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Yes, I for one believe so. I read something about serotonin metabolism and how SSRi's interfer with it, which can cause several changes in behavior and other symptoms. It was written by a Dr. Ann Blake Tracy and this imformation is free on the internet.

Some new research on rats show serotonin receptor damage as a result of long term use....now, we aren't rats but I think they are the same rats who showed a lifetime of smoking caused lung cancer. I would say they are on to something...

But I would not suggest getting off an SSRi's without a lengthy tapering schedule...withdrawals can be very bad. And I would expect awhile to pass, even after withdrawals, before one would be completely recovered and symptom-free from the use of these drugs....it is a large undertaking but many people have done it successfully.

Last edited by Jennita; 04-17-2004 at 10:08 PM.

 
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Old 04-18-2004, 01:21 PM   #3
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

I had a horrible Zoloft experience, but I've been Zoloft free for almost four years now, and I really don't notice any sequels. There's a lot of stuff we don't know about these meds yet, but little by little the research is coming. It's going to take a while though, because a lot of the research is funded by drug companies themselves, so there might be a certain bias.

 
Old 04-18-2004, 01:31 PM   #4
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Hi Janik! I wanted to just say congratulations on 4 years of freedom! I'm almost 4 years benzo free....ah, what a feeling!

 
Old 04-19-2004, 10:53 AM   #5
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Thank you, but though I quit Zoloft that long ago, I was still put on benzos and I'm not even one year benzo free... Though it's good to know I don't need either SSRI or benzos now.

 
Old 04-19-2004, 11:06 AM   #6
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Good for you!

 
Old 04-19-2004, 11:08 AM   #7
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

No, they should not be able to permanently alter your brain chemisty. They should be out of your system in about 6 weeks and you should go back to "normal" after that. If there appears to be a permanent change, it is probably due to something else.

SSRIs (like Prozac) work by stopping your brain cells from re-uptaking the serotonin they produce, so more gets passed along to the next brain cell. They do not increase the amount of serotonin produced. I don't think they affect the recieving cell's ability to receive it. There's no reason there should bea permanent effect unless you learn new behaviors while you are taking it, in which case it's the learning that has affected you.
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Old 04-19-2004, 02:10 PM   #8
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

I will clarify a bit. They can change the way the brain works, but not permanantly, as in "forever"....instead, possibly long lasting. Certainly more than 6 weeks for some; others, a shorter amount of time. Lots of factors to consider like type of drug, dosage, size of person, other drugs, diseases, lifestyle, diet, etc. The brain can revert back to working without the drugs but there is a time-frame that cannot be as definate as 2 wks, 6 wks, 3 months, etc.

Now as far as long-term use of AD's, there is that new research I mentioned about serotonin receptor damage over time....whether that is reversable, I can't say but I have heard if given enough drug free time, the brain will go back to functioning normally again as it finds and learns new pathways to get the jobs done chemically that it needs to do. I imagine it would be a lengthy recovery.

However, all direct side-effects caused by the drug should remit after it is totally out of the system.

 
Old 04-19-2004, 09:45 PM   #9
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Can it alter the brain after only taking anti depressants one time?
When I took lexapro for the one time I took it. I had a severe panic attack I quit the same day. That was the first time I had ever had a panic attack and now I have been having it every couply months sense. This is followed with even worse depression, anxiety and stress. Before the pill I wasn't like this other than some depression and stress! Now I am constantly paranoid depressed for no reason and having anxiety over things I wouldn't normally have anxiety over. The person I am now is so differant from before taking the pill. At least I think so.

Last edited by beebsqtip; 04-19-2004 at 09:47 PM.

 
Old 04-20-2004, 12:08 AM   #10
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by beebsqtip
Can it alter the brain after only taking anti depressants one time?
When I took lexapro for the one time I took it. I had a severe panic attack I quit the same day. That was the first time I had ever had a panic attack and now I have been having it every couply months sense. This is followed with even worse depression, anxiety and stress. Before the pill I wasn't like this other than some depression and stress! Now I am constantly paranoid depressed for no reason and having anxiety over things I wouldn't normally have anxiety over. The person I am now is so differant from before taking the pill. At least I think so.
Wow, I don't think I've heard of only one pill causing all that, but who knows...I read once that someone had a panic attack after smoking pot once and then seemed to have them months after. But, I just don't see how one dose could actually damage anything (unless it was huge), so maybe the panic attack itself was scary enough to cause you to fear them, to be subconciously thinking about them? I've heard cognitive behavior therapy can help such a thing.

As much as I believe these drugs are unhealthy and damaging, even I would be surprized if any damage could result from only one pill.....maybe you are just still, deep down, worried about the whole experience, who could blame you, it must have been scary!

But I wouldn't worry, even on the slight chance the pill did something, the brain recovers. You will be fine....maybe the CBT would help the anxiety you feel. As far as depression, you can make your own serotonin from protein foods paired with carbs....protein breaks down to amino acids and those in turn create serotonin and other neurotransmitters.

Also, some studies have shown great depression reducers to be fish oil and also vigorous, regular exercise. Hope you feel better soon!

 
Old 04-20-2004, 05:29 AM   #11
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Re: Can antidepressants permanently alter the brains chemicals and its functions?

I thought of something else that sort of belongs in this discussion: Traumatic events, expecially if they go on for a long time, can alter your brain chemistry for years aftersards. In the case of people who have PTSD from wars, it can be permanent; there are WWII vets who still have PTSD today.

But generally, overall, your body's #1 priority is to heal itself, and that goes for your brain too, so I think even if there were the possibility of receptor damage, the chances are it would still either fix itself or find a workaround.
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