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Old 12-18-2007, 10:32 PM   #1
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long term effects of ssri's

Hi I have recently contemplated starting on an antidepressent for variious personal reasons. I am kind of scared though because of the side effect profile and to be honest I am afraid of long term effects that dont wear off once off the medication... like a permanent chemical imbalance of sorts causing a permanent depression, tremors, etc. Has anyone been on zoloft (the ssri I am thinking of being on) and what have been your experiences-- both good and bad. thanks.

 
Old 12-18-2007, 11:25 PM   #2
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

Hi:

To my knowledge there is no long term damage once ssri's or others leave your bodies. The side effects range from med to med and some of them really suck but for the most part they are liveable. When I start a new med I am aware of the side effects but what I am concerned with is that this may be the med that puts me back on track as I need to make it long term before I need to worry about side effects. Each med has its own ups and downs - Effexor is an amazing drug for a lot of people but you will go through great difficulty trying to go off of it, Nardil one of the drugs I am on now has a great history in helping people where no other antidepressant has been able to work but the wrong food makes you very sick and a bad drug interaction can kill you. There is no antidepressant that is risk free every one of them has a risk no matter how slight. The thing is sometimes you need to take the risk in order to get back on track or find another way to accomplish the same goal. Not every med works for every person so there is a trial and error period to finding the right drug and the right dosage plus it takes over four weeks to kick in everytime you start a new antidepressant. It is not an easy choice whether or not to enter the antidepressant world. Really do your homework first.

take care
trg247
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:02 AM   #3
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

Ok, I'm sure this isn't always what happens to everyone but it seems that science has discovered that usually brain receptors, when consistently exposed to a drug that stimulate them, over time start to desensitize or actually die off. This is called down regulation. Other receptor systems might also down regulate or up regulate depending on the brain's natural choices of defense.

So it's possible to get a form of brain cell damage at some point or another. Now, some of it can be recovered by the brain when it gets used to no more chemical stimulation, but it's unclear if recovery is complete or not. Probably some people have complete recovery, some don't, some take only months to recover or some may take years.

Down regulation is a fact but its not so clear as to any time frame, type of drug, etc. Everyone is different but usually most people must continue an antidepressant forever if they can't recover the lost cells while some can recover enough to discontinue the pills. It's just something to consider when pondering the future. Nobody can really have an accurate answer or predict the future.

 
Old 12-19-2007, 12:34 AM   #4
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennita View Post
Ok, I'm sure this isn't always what happens to everyone but it seems that science has discovered that usually brain receptors, when consistently exposed to a drug that stimulate them, over time start to desensitize or actually die off. This is called down regulation. Other receptor systems might also down regulate or up regulate depending on the brain's natural choices of defense.

So it's possible to get a form of brain cell damage at some point or another. Now, some of it can be recovered by the brain when it gets used to no more chemical stimulation, but it's unclear if recovery is complete or not. Probably some people have complete recovery, some don't, some take only months to recover or some may take years.

Down regulation is a fact but its not so clear as to any time frame, type of drug, etc. Everyone is different but usually most people must continue an antidepressant forever if they can't recover the lost cells while some can recover enough to discontinue the pills. It's just something to consider when pondering the future. Nobody can really have an accurate answer or predict the future.

Hi jennita, thanks for your response. Wow... if that is true I dont think I will be going on any anti depressants anytime soon... although I think I do need it as I have extreme social phobia! What to do? One question... you said that science has proven there is an actual down regulation of receptors due to drug induced stimulation of such receptors... but do you know what drugs specifically were used?

 
Old 12-19-2007, 01:40 AM   #5
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

Hi:

Hi Jennita I have not seen you in a long time hope everything is going well.

When it comes to antidepressants I think too many people are taking them that shouldn't be as doctors tend to hand them out like candy these days. I have taken every class of antidepressant and a good number from each one in the last couple of years. Total med count I think is somewhere around 15 but that includes other types of meds like mood stabilizers, antipsycotics, etc. A med will work really well for me for a while then just die out so I get put on a different med. Effexor worked for me for a good while and Paxil put me in the hospital in a matter of days. All meds work on different receptors so it is a matter of finding what you are lacking and then finding the right match. I don't think long term with antidepressants or any med for that matter as I need to win the battle before me then I will concern myself about long term damage. I didn't have much choice when I started meds it was either take these and hope they will help or go find a nice building to jump off of as I was at the end of my rope. I will probably be on one med or another for the rest of my life and that is from the chemical depression side (you have to love genetics) as the majority of my family are long term AD users so chances are after I deal with therapy there will still be enough of a depression left to require meds but maybe I will get lucky.

Jennita knows more about long term stuff then I do so I am not going to disagree. The thing that caught my attention is you suffer from Social Phobia why are you looking at Antidepressants wouldn't a med like Ativan or Seroquel be more benificial? There are some AD's that help with anxiety but there is a good number that can make it worse or have no effect on it at all. Just a thought

take care
trg247
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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Current Meds
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Cymbalta
Seroquel
Temazapam

 
Old 12-19-2007, 11:25 AM   #6
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

Prozac Backlash covers anti depressants and the brain. Joseph Glenmullen M.D. wrote the book. He is a Harvard psychiatrist.

 
Old 12-19-2007, 01:48 PM   #7
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

I don't really think about what will happen long term with the med that I am on (Zoloft). I try to stay in the moment and deal with what is going on now in my life.

Right now i need a medication to get me through my anxiety and depression. I too had social phobia and in a few weeks of CBT and Zoloft I am on my way to feeling better.I am really liking zoloft. I do need to increase tomorrow morning and a bit scared but 50mg is not enough for my system.

when it is time to come off my medication I will then deal with that situation. But for now I need a medication to make me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

 
Old 12-19-2007, 01:53 PM   #8
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

I do take xanax as needed.. like before doing anything that involves stepping outside my front door, LOL... just started it and it works wonders!!! But the problem is it can become addicting if taken everyday so that is why I dont want to start on a daily regimin of it... isnt paxil and zoloft for social phobia as well as depression... and is anyone taking them for it and what have been your results? thanks

 
Old 12-19-2007, 02:57 PM   #9
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

I take zoloft for anxiety and depression. And it works. I also take klonopin as needed.

I do like Prozac as well.

 
Old 12-20-2007, 01:17 PM   #10
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Re: long term effects of ssri's

trg, yes, I think although the long term use scenario isn't a good choice for most people, I think there are always exceptions to everything so when a person has such severe symptoms as to have no choice to go on meds like you, that would most likely be the right choice.

It is also a good choice for acute, severe traumas and such. I'm not completely, totally anti-med but feel they are harmful to most people and most people who are on them shouldn't be....I'm not talking severe cases here, or cases of temporary trauma.

For example, my aunt went on Zoloft after my uncle died. Now, I don't believe she should have went on it but then again, if her state of mind was severe, it was helpful for a short time. She had a doctor who seemed to believe this, and decided to wean her off of it after a year when my aunt had enough time to recover from her trauma.

Now in your case, your problems were no doubt too severe to consider no meds. I'm sorry for that; there is hope someday that could change but if not, still it doesn't always mean you will be damaged severely.

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body, and it is capable of doing so much and can recover from even illegal drug abuse so that's amazing in itself, isn't it!

To answer the poster about which drugs, I think it was mentioned most psychoactive drugs were found to do this, the serotonin drug, tranquilizers, etc. I saw a rat study that was done with antidepressants only, which seemed to damage the receptors of the rats at high doses...they at this point in time, can't determine how that computes in relation to lower doses, short or long periods of time but basically that's how they discovered other toxins like nicotine, for example...they had animals chain smoking for long periods to discover the long-term effects.

So a study like that, despite the very large doses the rats were given, is valid yet leaves so many details/questions unanswered.

I think the best way to approach it is realize that the drugs can be damaging but since it's unclear how much/how long and also how much the brain can tolerate, how much it can repair, etc., if a person is truly a severe case, perhaps the benefit of the drug does outweigh the risks.

However, we all know that can be grossly overrated. Too many people are taking these meds that really don't need them (but being convinced they do) too many people and kids are being labeled with mental illness when there is no such proof.

So I'd say anyone with any doubts about their diagnosis should steer clear of these drugs. Most people like Trg have no doubts, and definitely should continue the course, while still exploring possibliltes that might lead to someday less drugs or maybe no drugs if possible. It's really an individual thing.

Last edited by Jennita; 12-20-2007 at 01:20 PM.

 
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