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Old 07-19-2006, 09:36 PM   #1
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Pros and cons of meds...

I'm reading a lot of people on here talking about taking meds. There's some talk about side effects, etc. I just wanted to get a discussion going about the pros and cons of using them. I'd like to make one thing clear, though I personally do not like the idea of taking meds, I am NOT trying to tell anyone who is on them to stop. That is up to you and you should talk to your doctor about it.

I have taken many meds over the years... prozac in high school, paxil in college, and most recently effexor and wellbutrin a few years ago. I never felt any kind of significant difference in how I felt on these drugs, and most recently I was went back on them just because I felt I needed something, anything, to give me a chance to get over the hump. I feel that's why many people turn to mends. Finally I decided I did not want to be altering my brain chemistry if I was not getting any tangible results from them and I went off them. I didn't have any kind of lapses, of course, because I never got any benefit. I've most recently turned to non obtrusive methods like self-hypnosis and EMDR, and while it hasn't been miraculous, I do think I have received more tangible benefits from these as compared to using medication.

But that's just me. I do not propose to suggest that what is good for me is good for everyone. But I do feel that the psychiatric profession in general is too quick to prescribe people to meds before exploring alternatives. I'll have to stop myself before I get into a political rant about the influence that big money pharmaceutical companies have had on the medical profession in general, but you get the idea.

Thoughts?

 
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Old 07-19-2006, 09:45 PM   #2
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

I spent many many years on lots of different meds.

Pros: None. They didn't help me.

Cons: Made me an emotional zombie -- which caused me a lot of lost time, poor choices, and the inability to detect evil people from good people. That was the worst side effect. Others? Insomnia, weight gain, headaches, dizziness, nausea, sweating, tremors, acne... I think there is more, but you get the idea.

 
Old 07-19-2006, 10:31 PM   #3
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeludaX
I'm reading a lot of people on here talking about taking meds. There's some talk about side effects, etc. I just wanted to get a discussion going about the pros and cons of using them. I'd like to make one thing clear, though I personally do not like the idea of taking meds, I am NOT trying to tell anyone who is on them to stop. That is up to you and you should talk to your doctor about it.

I have taken many meds over the years... prozac in high school, paxil in college, and most recently effexor and wellbutrin a few years ago. I never felt any kind of significant difference in how I felt on these drugs, and most recently I was went back on them just because I felt I needed something, anything, to give me a chance to get over the hump. I feel that's why many people turn to mends. Finally I decided I did not want to be altering my brain chemistry if I was not getting any tangible results from them and I went off them. I didn't have any kind of lapses, of course, because I never got any benefit. I've most recently turned to non obtrusive methods like self-hypnosis and EMDR, and while it hasn't been miraculous, I do think I have received more tangible benefits from these as compared to using medication.

But that's just me. I do not propose to suggest that what is good for me is good for everyone. But I do feel that the psychiatric profession in general is too quick to prescribe people to meds before exploring alternatives. I'll have to stop myself before I get into a political rant about the influence that big money pharmaceutical companies have had on the medical profession in general, but you get the idea.

Thoughts?
I think you kind of oversimplify things and also make broad generalizations.

You seem to believe in the worst in people, while I think the opposite.

I agree, I dont see a point for you to go the pharmaceutical route if the compounds aren't working for you. One thing that has become amazingly clear to me in my research lately in my battle is that EVERYONE's body/brain chemistry is different. And our advances and contibutions by THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY can help many many people.

I dont think it's always the first answer or something you rush into... as for me, I'm going that route now after probably 6 years of knowing I have depression problems. My doctor a while back stated that there is a nobility and something to be said for not just jumping to "the happy pill" approach, which I obviously didn't.

Everyone is different and needs to be able to make their own decisions for whats right with them.

 
Old 07-19-2006, 11:41 PM   #4
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GHGore
I think you kind of oversimplify things and also make broad generalizations.

You seem to believe in the worst in people, while I think the opposite.

I agree, I dont see a point for you to go the pharmaceutical route if the compounds aren't working for you. One thing that has become amazingly clear to me in my research lately in my battle is that EVERYONE's body/brain chemistry is different. And our advances and contibutions by THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY can help many many people.

I dont think it's always the first answer or something you rush into... as for me, I'm going that route now after probably 6 years of knowing I have depression problems. My doctor a while back stated that there is a nobility and something to be said for not just jumping to "the happy pill" approach, which I obviously didn't.

Everyone is different and needs to be able to make their own decisions for whats right with them.
Hi GHGore, thanks for the response.

Unfortunately, you misinterpreted my post. Perhaps this is because I didn’t communicate myself clearly, or perhaps it’s because you are hastily projecting aspersions on me because you do not agree with my comment about the pharmaceutical industry. Based on your second comment, I can conclude with no doubt that the latter is very much the truth. Do you see the irony in assuming I assume the worst about others, then claiming in the very same sentence you do the opposite? I can assure you your assumption about me is incorrect. Please be careful about making assumptions like that. I believe we can have an intelligent discussion about this subject without taking personal swipes at each other. If I did fail to communicate myself clearly, I’ll attempt to correct that now.

I do agree with you that everyone’s brain chemistry is different. This is something I expressed in my original post when I wrote: “I do not propose to suggest that what is good for me is good for everyone.” (sorry for the redundancy). You related your personal experience with your doctor who did not endorse the “happy pill” approach. My personal experience, with three different doctors, was different. I received prescriptions within two appointments each time. In the end, it was the wrong decision for me each time. Should I have known that? Perhaps, but at the same time, I counted on these doctors to help guide me to the best decisions about my health. This is something we expect of all doctors. In my case, they did not make the best decision for me. In my opinion, all three of these doctors should have explored other options before prescribing me to meds, but not one of them did. So I hope you can understand how my personal experience is coloring my opinion the same way your personal experience is coloring yours.

With regards to the pharmaceutical industry, I did not mean to suggest that the industry has done no good. Clearly they have. At the same time, I think it is naïve not to recognize that it is an industry. It is not in their best interests when people use their products only when it is necessary. I will comfortably assert that the pharmaceutical industry is more motivated by profit then any sort of altruistic ideals. If you care to challenge that assertion, feel free, but do not make it personal. This is not about me assuming the worst about others. I am just being realistic. Industry is motivated by profit. How can that assertion be challenged?

As for how doctors fit into all this, I believe they are only guilty, by in large, of succumbing to the influence that the pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars each year to exert on them. The industry funds favorable studies, they provide free samples which doctors give out to patients regularly (which almost invariably follows with a prescription), all with the express purpose of getting their drugs prescribed and sold. Sadly, too few doctors resist this.

Again, I’m not suggesting that all drugs are bad, or that no one should take them. But I do believe there is something wrong with the system at its core when too many people who don’t need to be medicated are getting medicated. I was one of those people, and I’m hardly alone. These are my thoughts, feel free to disagree.

Last edited by FeludaX; 07-19-2006 at 11:44 PM.

 
Old 07-20-2006, 03:34 AM   #5
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

well, here is my 2 cents. i didn't read all these post however. everyone is intitled to their own opinion.
i have been dealing with major depression for a few months now. i never thought i would be in my life but i am now. i have tried just counseling and it helped for a while. found out some stuff i didn't know about myself. a few weeks ago however i got to the raging point hurting myself so counselor said i need a psy doctor. it didn't take her long to tell me i was in a major depression and needed meds. from what i've been reading about major depression a person HAS to take meds for it.
i tried like he.. to stay away from them. i feel they are a last resort for me. i've heard good and bad with all these AD's meds out there. i just hope the one i'm on is the one for me. i dread gaining weight. i hope i dont'. i've had some itching with it. this is all new to me. i'm just doing what i feel is the rigth thing to do for ME. anyway, thats my 2 cents.

 
Old 07-20-2006, 08:16 AM   #6
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Hi Moxie. Like I said, I'm not arguing that taking meds isn't right for anyone, just that doctors in general seem too quick to want to put people on them. I do think it's good that that it was a last resort for you, and I hope it's working for you. I would disagree with one statement you made:

Quote:
from what i've been reading about major depression a person HAS to take meds for it.
I suppose that depends on how you define "major depression". I attempted suicide in high school, and ten years later, I had to take two weeks off of work on medical leave due to depression. That seems pretty "major" to me, but I can't compare it to the experience of others. Incidentally, under both circumstances, I was already on meds. I'm doing better now, not necessarily because I went off the meds, but because I started taking control of some things in my life. It's just that I didn't need the meds to do that.

 
Old 07-20-2006, 01:24 PM   #7
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FeludaX
Hi GHGore, thanks for the response.

Unfortunately, you misinterpreted my post. Perhaps this is because I didnít communicate myself clearly, or perhaps itís because you are hastily projecting aspersions on me because you do not agree with my comment about the pharmaceutical industry. Based on your second comment, I can conclude with no doubt that the latter is very much the truth. Do you see the irony in assuming I assume the worst about others, then claiming in the very same sentence you do the opposite? I can assure you your assumption about me is incorrect. Please be careful about making assumptions like that. I believe we can have an intelligent discussion about this subject without taking personal swipes at each other. If I did fail to communicate myself clearly, Iíll attempt to correct that now.

I do agree with you that everyoneís brain chemistry is different. This is something I expressed in my original post when I wrote: ďI do not propose to suggest that what is good for me is good for everyone.Ē (sorry for the redundancy). You related your personal experience with your doctor who did not endorse the ďhappy pillĒ approach. My personal experience, with three different doctors, was different. I received prescriptions within two appointments each time. In the end, it was the wrong decision for me each time. Should I have known that? Perhaps, but at the same time, I counted on these doctors to help guide me to the best decisions about my health. This is something we expect of all doctors. In my case, they did not make the best decision for me. In my opinion, all three of these doctors should have explored other options before prescribing me to meds, but not one of them did. So I hope you can understand how my personal experience is coloring my opinion the same way your personal experience is coloring yours.

With regards to the pharmaceutical industry, I did not mean to suggest that the industry has done no good. Clearly they have. At the same time, I think it is naÔve not to recognize that it is an industry. It is not in their best interests when people use their products only when it is necessary. I will comfortably assert that the pharmaceutical industry is more motivated by profit then any sort of altruistic ideals. If you care to challenge that assertion, feel free, but do not make it personal. This is not about me assuming the worst about others. I am just being realistic. Industry is motivated by profit. How can that assertion be challenged?

As for how doctors fit into all this, I believe they are only guilty, by in large, of succumbing to the influence that the pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars each year to exert on them. The industry funds favorable studies, they provide free samples which doctors give out to patients regularly (which almost invariably follows with a prescription), all with the express purpose of getting their drugs prescribed and sold. Sadly, too few doctors resist this.

Again, Iím not suggesting that all drugs are bad, or that no one should take them. But I do believe there is something wrong with the system at its core when too many people who donít need to be medicated are getting medicated. I was one of those people, and Iím hardly alone. These are my thoughts, feel free to disagree.
Quite touche'.... Sorry I misinterpreted your post.

 
Old 07-20-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

I think yes, they do prescribe too easily, too quickly. Too many situational/life occurances are in the DSM manual of psychiatric conditions, everything from PMS, nailbiting, menopause (this isn't an actual biological illness technically, but they make it into one).

Lately they have added road rage, bodybuilders eating disorder, and teen sex. If you ask me, given the endless list of conditions in the manual, nobody on earth escapes some sort of mental illness classification. It's all in there, ready to diagnois and prescribe intil the end of days.

Meanwhile, psychoactive medications downregulate and cause receptor death and desensitization over time in the brain, bringing about issues like medication dependancy (physical addiction), tolerance, abnormal upregulation of opposing receptors( the true chemical imbalance cause IMHO), new mental conditions develop, withdrawal syndromes while on medication due to tolerance, need for stronger and more medications over time (leading to higher side/adverse effect profile), physical disease/disorders of adrenals, hormones and nervous system, etc. etc.

So yeah, I'm thinking only severely mentally ill people should even consider these meds but that is far from what is really going on today.

BTW, due to downregualtion, cell death and unnatural upregulation of oppossing receptors, tolerance and physical dependancy, psychiatry might actually be causing mental illness, just like street drug, alcohol use tends to.

After all, do they really know what they are doing to chemicals in the brain that they have no way of testing amounts/nor really know proper amounts(unlike blood sugar in diabetics and other physical issues). I mean, imagine just blindly giving someone insulin without knowing if they are diabetic or never testing the blood daily for proper amounts of insulin.... but that is what psychiatry does everyday to the brain.

Congrats to you on taking charge of your life.

 
Old 07-20-2006, 10:12 PM   #9
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Well... I agree that meds are over-prescribed. But for some people, they really do help.

The times I have tried going off meds, I have fallen into deep pits of depression, coming very close to suicide, crying every day, being unable to concentrate, excessively forgetful, etc. Now I am on Wellbutrin and Lexapro, and while I still consider myself somewhat depressed, I am certainly functioning a lot better.

I am aware of the risks involved in taking meds, especially Wellbutrin I know can do stuff to the liver and kidneys, so I plan to get that all checked out on a regular basis. For me, the benefits of taking meds outweigh the risks.

As far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned... yes, I definitely think it is corrupt. But even with that being the case, I am not going to turn something down that helps me so much.

 
Old 07-21-2006, 05:29 PM   #10
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Yes, I know that most people who are on meds for a long time simply cannot get off them ever. It would take too long for them to recover and the symptoms regarding downregulation/upregulation are the lingering and intense withdrawal symptoms and are sometimes too much to take.

The hope is that the tolerance levels will not max out in the person's lifetime. Sometimes it does, then the meds just never work right again. That's the other risks, along with the physical ones. I hope your meds continue to work as long as you need.

Personally, I chose not to degrade my brain with psychoactive meds, but I realize each person has to decide for themselves and only hope it was the right decision. Mine has already proved to have been the right one.

 
Old 07-21-2006, 07:27 PM   #11
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

If there is anyone out there who is depressed and who hasn't started taking meds, who is thinking about it, I would strongly urge you to do a lot of research and consider alternatives. Psychiatrists aren't likely to hesitate when it comes to prescribing meds, so you'll have to take the precautions on your own.

I mentioned two alternatives, hypnotherapy and EMDR, both of which tend to be greeted with considerable skepticism. I'm not going to pimp these alternatives, only to say that I've clearly gotten more positive results from them then any of the four meds I had taken previously. But I think it is ironic that there is a perception with those methods, especially hypnotherapy, that it is "meddling with the brain", while altering brain chemistry with meds is established and accepted in the medical community.

It seems to me that it's far safer to try these alternatives and find that they do not work for you versus trying meds and finding they are not working and dealing with the side effects.

Last edited by FeludaX; 07-21-2006 at 07:28 PM.

 
Old 07-21-2006, 09:27 PM   #12
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

I don't believe that all psych meds "ruin" your brain. Some MAOI's, like Selegiline are known to be neuroprotective, so they help preserve the aging brain's funtioning.

 
Old 07-21-2006, 10:18 PM   #13
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

FeludaX,

I'm going to be trying EMDR and hypnosis with a therapist. I'm encouraged to hear that it has helped you. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the 'most' out of these techniques? I'm not exactly sure which issues I need to work on, as I seem to have SO many. How do you know where to begin? (don't know if I'm making any sense)

 
Old 07-21-2006, 11:58 PM   #14
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Neuroprotective? I've read antioxidants and exercise clinically studied as being neuroprotective, so while the med has effects like nausea, dyskinesia, and some psychiatric disturbances such as hallucinations, and confusion, severe blood pressure drop and such, antioxidants and exercise really don't carry alot of side effects. I do believe the reuptake of dopamine the drug provides does help those who have virtually none left, as in parkinson's and such.

I think IMHO only people who are that far gone(obvious nervous system damage) might as well take the meds if all else fails but as we all know and are discussing, the prescribing of such meds are never restricted to the obvious neurologically ill......and that's where the danger of hurting the brain of a person who isn't neurologically diseased lies.

I also will add it seems latest information has debunked the theory that Selegiline is neuroprotective at all(although does help symptoms of Parkinsons at any rate). But there is still alot of old-school thinking that keeps it controversial.

Last edited by Jennita; 07-22-2006 at 12:05 AM.

 
Old 07-22-2006, 11:18 AM   #15
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Re: Pros and cons of meds...

Oceandreams,

I donít really have any advice over how to get the most out of the techniques. Iím not an expert, Iíd just ask your therapist.

I had mixed results with hypnotherapy, though I donít think there was any down side to it. Mostly itís because I havenít used it consistently enough. First I went to a therapist that did hypnotherapy, but who didnít seem to think to could be used all that much for depression (there are therapists that do, and I wish I had looked harder for one). We focused mostly on my social anxiety with the hypnotherapy sessions, and I donít really think I made much progress with that. We only had two in office sessions then it basically became standard ďtalk therapyĒ until I finally decided to stop seeing him. He did make a tape for me of the sessions for me to listen to at home. I thought the sessions were enjoyable and relaxing. I also bought a book named ďInstant Self-HypnosisĒ by Forbes Robbins Blair in which you read hypnosis scripts out loud to yourself, which and hypnotize yourself ďwith your eyes openĒ. As hokey as it sounds, I actually found that book to be pretty useful (especially given the fact that it costs less than half as much as the copay of a single therapy session!), though I wish Iíd use it more consistently. I have a bad habit of starting things and letting it slip away, and this is no different. It has a ďstop procrastinatingĒ script, but Iím procrastinating on using the book too much to help me stop procrastinating. The book has about 35 different scripts (plus it tells you how to write your own), and like you, there are so many different issues I have that Iíve had trouble narrowing it down, which probably contributed to my procrastination. But overall Iím intrigued by the potential of hypnosis for therapy.

Iíve only recently started doing EMDR. Iíve only gone through three sessions so far (the last time we sort of did it but most of the session wound up being talk therapy). Itís really simple, that if you were watching someone else do it youíd be really skeptical that itís working, but Iíve gone away from a couple of the sessions feeling great, optimistic, and feeling like I can change things. Then it fades away a bit, but I think my overall outlook has improved, and Iím enjoying the sessions so far. I wish I could afford to have them more frequently. Right now Iím only going once a month. I recently ordered a CD which costs $30 which is supposed to have the same affect when listened to with headphones, with the sound/music switching from right channel to left channel, so I can do it at home. I was hesitant to pay that much for a CD, but then I thought about the price compared to the price of the copay for a therapy sessionÖ I havenít received the CD yet, but Iíll let you know how that works when I do.

Like I said, I donít want to pimp these techniques since Iíve only dabbled with them, but would I advocate trying them before trying meds? Absolutely.

Let us know how it goes for you, oceandreams.

 
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