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Old 11-28-2006, 10:24 PM   #1
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How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I'm wondering, because I know when you go to see a psychiatrist for depression they'll be quick to give you an SSRI... well how do you really know you have low serotonin levels? Is there a way to find out? And if it there isn't anything wrong with your serotonin, could it be dangerous to take an SSRI?

But even if your depression isn't caused by low serotonin levels... isn't it true that depression will cause low serotonin levels? Thanks in advance.

 
Old 11-28-2006, 10:34 PM   #2
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

To my knowledge there is no test for the chemicals of the brain. I think this is why there is so much trial and error when it comes to antidepressants. I wonder if peoples poor reaction to medication could be the cause of too much of one chemical in the brain.

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Old 11-29-2006, 06:17 AM   #3
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I personaly do not believe that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. If that was the case, then why do some anti depressants help some people and not others? Why change brands if they all work the same? I guess i'm just going along with the doctor and taking celexa, but i do not believe it's a drug that will "cure" me by balancing out chemicals. I guess sucsess storys happen when the person on SSRI's finds life easier, because while they are on it, it makes them feel happier (like other drugs like alcohol, or cocain) and therefore there brain learns to be happy, and if the brain repeats these habbits, happiness can remain. That's just my theory though, no one knows for sure what really causes depression.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

From my understanding of it, our experiences affect our brain. They have done studies on abused/neglected children and their brains appear different on scans. This makes sense to me because when you learn anything and remember it something had to change in your brain to record this info. Anyway, it seems that when a person gets depressed from experiences that the brain is affected and it is changed. In my understanding, this is why meds can help because they affect this change to bring it back to "normal". I believe that the issues need to be worked on to have lasting change with depression, however (issues meaning the environment that caused the depression). With almost all diseases, science has shown that it is genetics with environment. Once again, the way that I understand it, your genetics make you more vulnerable to depression by maybe how easily the brain changes into depression. I am sure that you could take two people, one with depression in the family and one without and submit them to the same stressors in the environment and one would more easily get depression.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 09:29 AM   #5
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I've read that there are more chemical imbalances with depression than the three most commonly mentioned neurotransmitters. It could be one reason why results from antidepressants are so mixed. They may not target all the right chemicals. As I understand it, everyone with depression has chemical imbalances. I think the point that experiences affect our brain is very important. Chemicals fluctuate throughout the day. A positive or negative thought changes their levels. I think therapy gives an opportunity to change them for the better. If someone has negative stuff going on in their life, it may overwhelm an antidepressant's ability to work right.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 03:53 PM   #6
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

It's impossible for anyone, expert or just me, to give a conclusive answer as to what causes depression in some.
My mother, although undiagnosed, was a classic case of clinical depression. I was with her when I was little, so I suppose that my "coping" mechansims for my depression pretty much are those that I saw her turn to. Isolation, withdrawal and prescription drugs, which I am sure were only given to her out of a doctorly need to do something, anything, for this obviously suffering woman. My mother's drug was a sleeping pill, and it never did a speck of good to help her get out of her sadness. My father helped her to isolate herself, and eventually I have perfected the antisocial life, maybe as a desparate need to avoid facing people when I am so without hope.
As for what triggers depression, I challange any sensitive human being to not feel sadness, regret and hopelessness from simply reading the nightly news.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 04:05 PM   #7
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bloodyhell
As for what triggers depression, I challange any sensitive human being to not feel sadness, regret and hopelessness from simply reading the nightly news.
Sadness, regret and hopelessness are some symptoms of depression, however i person does not have to be sensitive or emotional to have depression. another syptom of depression is numbness, and the inabilty to care or love for anything/ anyone.

Last edited by xxxzoexxx; 11-29-2006 at 04:06 PM.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 04:11 PM   #8
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I was curious about that, too. From what I've read, going through certain events (esp. several back-to-back events) can lead to a chemical imbalance. I firmly believe this. I went through a robbery, moving, my aunt's illness, a break-up all at once basically, and I realized I just wasn't getting over it in a timely manner. Something was definitely off. I think I have been depressed for a few years because the last three years have just been really bad years, and I've gradually gone downhill. I didn't want to face it - I was able to lead a "normal" life until all of these events happened at once and forced me to acknowledge the truth. About three years ago is also when my cycle became messed up, when it was perfectly regular before, and I didn't connect this to depression. My gyno explained that just going on birth control pills isn't the best the way to straighten it out because your brain controls the hormones, and when you have a chemical imbalance (depression), chances are your hormones could be screwed up, too. Sure enough, since being on Lexapro, I've had three perfect cycles - right on time like clockwork. May be just a coincidence (and sorry if it's TMI), but I do think that I had a chemical imbalance that controlled certain activities and thought processes. I'm unsure about how exactly the Lexapro works or if it's a lasting affect, but I know I feel much better. Part of that is also getting help in the form of support - it's not just about an imbalance, but I believe imbalance plays a big part in it.

 
Old 11-29-2006, 07:24 PM   #9
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxzoexxx
I personaly do not believe that depression is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. If that was the case, then why do some anti depressants help some people and not others? Why change brands if they all work the same? I guess i'm just going along with the doctor and taking celexa, but i do not believe it's a drug that will "cure" me by balancing out chemicals. I guess sucsess storys happen when the person on SSRI's finds life easier, because while they are on it, it makes them feel happier (like other drugs like alcohol, or cocain) and therefore there brain learns to be happy, and if the brain repeats these habbits, happiness can remain. That's just my theory though, no one knows for sure what really causes depression.
why do some people need insulin and others don't? Why do people need different amounts of insulin....because we are all different. Why do you think anti depressents make you feel happy? Newsflash....they don't. They simply give your brain the proper amount of neurotransmitters so you can function normally. It is in no way a ticket to happiness...still takes a lot of work and effort. And using anti depressants in the same sentence with alcohol and coc is really.....simple.

 
Old 11-30-2006, 06:12 AM   #10
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I did not say i have the answers, this is just my theory. In My experience (and many others im sure) i did feel "happy" on anti depressants for a good while. I believe this way mainy in my mind, as i believed this would help me. As soon as i stopped believing in it, it stopped working for me. I have read articles that show that anti depressants are only have a slighty better sucess than placebos.

some people need to take insulin because they are lacking in it, but there has been no evidence that depression is caused by low serotonin levels.

I think therapy or conceling is the best option for most people. Anti depressants can harm the body, and are addictive.

 
Old 11-30-2006, 07:12 AM   #11
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

I have read articles that show that anti depressants are only have a slighty better sucess than placebos.


Yes. Alarming, isn't it?

 
Old 11-30-2006, 06:14 PM   #12
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxxzoexxx
I think therapy or conceling is the best option for most people. Anti depressants can harm the body, and are addictive.
where did you read/hear this??? what do you base this on?

You have your theories and opinions and that's fine, but I think you need to do a bit more research. There are plenty of studies showing correlation of low serotonin levels....and dopimine levels and depression..as well as other disorders. Also a ton of support in placebo studies. Nothing causational but that doesn't mean it should be ignored.

They dont' work for everyone...and not everyone that uses them has a chemical imbalance. That's why it's important to work with your doctor and go to therapy...to make sure you are getting to the problem. But all the therapy in the world might not help without that added benefit of meds if you really do lack these brain chemicals.

 
Old 11-30-2006, 06:38 PM   #13
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

we all need to do more research. You can not say "this is how it is" because no one knows for sure what causes depression, there are only theorys, your theory is no better than mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiasmama
where did you read/hear this??? what do you base this on?

.
even doctors will tell you that alot of anti depressants are addictive (alot of patients have experienced this) And on patient info leaflets with the pills it explains the dangers it can cause, eg slight liver damage and a raised blood presure, which can cause problems.

 
Old 12-01-2006, 08:52 AM   #14
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

Opinion in the medical community is divided when it comes to anti depressants being addictive......

 
Old 12-01-2006, 12:03 PM   #15
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Re: How do you know if you're REALLY "chemically imbalanced"?

The medical community is not the most reliable source of information. They are being told by the pharmacutical companys that there drugs are the best and their patients will get better. You can call the people who make effexor and ask them if they are addictive and they are going to lie or beat around the bush. Yet if you have followed this board or the many others out their you see the problems people have when they stop taking it. Look at all the black labels out there stating " it may cause an increase in suicidal ideation for those under the age of eighteen" are you telling me they never knew about this before.

I knew when I started taking the combo that there was a risk attached to it because pretty much all meds have some sort of risk to them. The thing was I was in a hospital, fighting suicidal ideation and intrusive thoughts that I would not wish on my worst enemy, I had problems sleeping and no appetite. In other words I was getting my butt kicked something severely so I agreed to take the meds.

I believe everyone should do there own research and in the end have enough infor whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. In my opinion if you have a chemical imbalance you are going to need meds to get better. The big thing is telling if you have a chemical deficiency or not

Sorry for the length

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