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how to know whether your antidepressant is working

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Old 04-19-2003, 02:29 PM   #1
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Question how to know whether your antidepressant is working

this is an interesting thread from another board, any comments?

how do you know
if the anti-depressant med is working or not? I know this may seem like a stupid question, but I was wondering if there are any signs that I could look for to tell if it's working or not.

I've been on Wellbutrin since late December. I'm still easily tearful at times (I will get teary eyed at the silliest things) and still experience bouts of irritability.

I know everybody's different, but for me, I knew the Lexapro was working when I had a "clouds-lifting" experience on day 17 and the anxiety seemed to melt quickly away. I could also tell it was working because my physical symptoms of SA (blushing, sweating, stomach troubles, etc.) decreased significantly after a few weeks.


I found myself asking the same question. I, too, was on Wellbutrin for several months. I had some hideous initial side-effects and then it kind of tapered off into nothing.

Having been a long time pot-smoker and drinker I was used to taking something and feeling an effect within minutes to an hour. I think anti-depressants are much more subtle.

There might be a little bit of this phenomena going on as well:

Ever notice when the first robins show up in the spring? Or the grass suddenly gets green? It's pretty easy. But do you notice when the last robin leaves? Or when the grass is all dead? It's a much more gradual process. And it might not be until the last robin has been gone for several weeks that you think, "Hey, you know I haven't seen a robin in awhile."

Perhaps it's the same w/ depression. Sure, you might tear up a bit from time to time. But, for me, the profound slash-my-wrists depression had just kind of faded away. What I was hoping for was a feeling of happiness to hit me like a brick wall. But that expectation was probably unrealistic.

How do you know...
Thanks for your responses JD and Blue.

JD, I'm curious... Did Lexapro cause any kind of weight gain? That's my fear with some of the SSRI's. The last thing I want to do is gain weight. That'll just make me even more depressed Blue... What you said makes a lot of sense. I've been depressed most of my life but didn't know it. There have only been a few times where I felt suicidal and it has been after some major negative life event. Luckily I haven't felt that way in years. My depression is a constant low level type where it's hard for me to feel excitement and includes becoming easily irritable or downright *****y and easily brought to tears. Now that I'm typing this... I'm beginning to think that the med isn't working. It definitely hasn't eased up my anxiety at all, but I wasn't expecting it to do that... just get rid of this constant feeling of blah. I have no reason to be depressed whatsoever!

if an antidepressant starts working for your anxiety you will notice that you are staying calm in situations where you would usually be anxious and are not having panic attacks when you should be.

however, if you lead a well organised life with lots of support people, you may be expert in avoiding anxiety producing situations, and may actually have to test yourself by placing yourself in places or situations where you usually would be very anxious or have a panic attack to see what happens

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Old 04-20-2003, 06:13 PM   #2
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I got relatively quick relief from depression after starting anti-depressants. I found out that I was a bit of a closet optimist who could find joy in some silly little things (like moving into a house in winter and finding out that the previous owner had planted a couple of purple tulips [my favorite color] that popped up in spring).

I got used to feeling better and began to take it for granted. In my case, it wasn't that the anti-depressants had stopped working but rather my expectations were greater. I not only expected to not feel depressed, but now I wanted to feel content, and even happy, all the time.

Yes, sometimes I get unhappy with my life and I can feel a bit down, but this is usually because of some real-life situation that I have to deal with rather than the standard non-specific clinical depression.

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