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fighting depression without drugs

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Old 05-10-2004, 02:20 PM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 83
chels896 HB User
fighting depression without drugs

I just had a few thoughts that I would like to share. I have been suffereing with depression for about a year and a half now. I also have some anxiety. I went on Zoloft for my depression last year... and only stayed on it for about 2 months. I couldn't stand the side effects. I was not the least bit interested in sex... I had some nasty dizzy spells once in a while, and I felt "out of my element", just zoned all day long. I also didn't like the idea of being dependant on drugs to make me feel better. Now, today... I have been feeling down once again, and I have contemplated going back on an antidepresant until I read some postings on this board. I have read that SSRIs can make you gain weight. WOW , I never knew that... and the interesting thing is.. I gained about 20 lbs last year, and I had no idea it was from the Zoloft until now!!!!!!!!! I have always been a bit underweight until last year, I am now overweight!! I didn't change any eating habits or anything, so it had to be from the Zoloft. I just think personally I won't go back on an SSRI or any drug.. due to the side effects. I feel that if I start to have more faith in God, and exercise and keep myself involved in things that I love, I can fight my depression on my own!!!!! I think if I went back on an SSRI it would make me gain weight and cause more depression!!!!!!!!!!!! I understand that in some severe cases of depression drugs are used because they are a last resort and they are definatley needed in some cases... but I woudln't consider myself severely depressed. These are just some random thoughts... does anyone else feel the same way, or has anyone else faught depression with out medication and succeeded... if so.. what did you do for yourself?

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Old 05-10-2004, 03:02 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2004
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spbcesr HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

I agree with you - to some extent. I tried this for a long time and a lot of things helped: have you got a good consellor/therapist? It is critical if you think that your depression stems from any aspect of your life that you see someone, it can be a truly wonderful and enlightening experience, but make sure you get someone you are comfortable with and try a couple of people if you are not; in general talking to people, even just to say to friends 'I'm feeling a bit down today', really helps instead of suffering in silence, also I don't know what your work/school situation is but it is good to put them in the picture, I recently told my boss how I was feeling and it was such a relief to be able to say 'look, I'm not slacking but having genuine health issues'; try to get up and out and do things when you have no energy but equally sometimes just accepting that if lying on the sofa watching the tv is what helps then letting yourself do it without guilt. Exercise is wonderful and also have you tried yoga? Both a good, fast routine but also try and find a meditative class aswell, sometimes just sitting and concentrating on your breathing in this kind of setting is very calming and uplifting. Diet can be very important, getting a good all round diet with lots of fruit and veg, some meat and nuts and some dairy, a lot of these low-carb diets can affect your mood so I wouldn't recommend that. NO alcohol, I don't know if that's an issue but I got to the point when even if I had one drink it would be great for a while but ultimately bring me down (also good if you want to diet!). I don't know if you are female but I found that going on birth control helped some aspects of my depression (I'm currently on the OrthoEvra Patch and its great, I also tried the progesterone only injecion but that made me worse).

However, having said all of this I have ended up going back on anti-depressants which have really, really helped me (I'm on Effexor XR), not only is my mood a lot better but I realise that I am one of those people you talk about who needed drugs, you can get a very low dose of Effexor XR (35mg) and that might help if the rest doesn't, yes, they do have some side effects, its taken me a couple of weeks to sleep properly at night, but I haven't got the same not wanting sex side-effect that I got with Prozac, just because Zoloft didn't work for you, it doesnt mean another drug won't.

I really admire you trying to do a great deal of positive things to help, as I said, I did this aswell and it meant that when I remained depressed I knew that it was almost all a chemical imbalance as opposed to any other aspect of my life. Good Luck.

Old 05-10-2004, 11:22 PM   #3
lori j
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Join Date: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,216
lori j HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

Each person reacts differently to each med. Some of the things you read here are significant to only a few people. Some gain weight on a med & others lose weight on the same med.

If you can feel better by going to a counselor than that is good, but if the depression gets worse, meds are sometimes the answer.

Depression is a disease just like any other. If a person has to take heart meds their whole life or any other med their whole life, no one thinks they are dependant on them, but i hear that alot about depression meds. I was depressed for toooooo many years to give up my meds. I finally have a normal life & can enjoy it, I wasted tooooooo many years without anything to help. good luck I hope you find an answer.

Old 05-11-2004, 12:31 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 8
somegirlygirl2 HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

yeah the weight gain made me more depressed than I was before going on this nasty stuff. I just hope I can stay off these drugs because my depression over this weight gain is pretty bad and almost makes me want to try something anything just to make the pain go away but I know that it's just a vicious cycle and I will never get these drugs out of my system if I do that. I think too that these drugs should be the last resort not so easy to get like they are right now.

Old 05-11-2004, 01:27 AM   #5
Join Date: May 2004
Location: uk, dorset
Posts: 97
clairey21 HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

Many of us do fight depression without drugs nowadays.
Have you thought about natural remedies?

Like saint johns wort? i never thought it would help but its been great for many! taken along side a good vitamin B complex will boost its effectiveness! it can take weeks or mabie months but the results are worth it.

Amino acids such as 5htp, tryptophan are good too, they raise serotonin like SSRI's but dont carry as many side effects.

Also the vitamin B inositol can be effective, it raises serotonin too! people take grams of inositol like for OCD they take up to 18 grams! but it works and it is safe in much higher doses than that! the liver loves it too!

SAMe(pronounced sammy) is also said to work very well! very quicky too!! If you are interested in natural remedies i would try SAMe first its pricey but effective. Then give 5htp a try if you dont like SAMe, you can take 5htp with Saint johns wort if its not effective alone. You just have to increase dosages slowly and see how it works for you.

All of the natural remedies have some side effects (not for all of us though) but they arent as bad as drugs. They are worth a try too as they are as good in my opinion!

Old 05-11-2004, 04:39 AM   #6
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 535
crabbyroad HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs


I think its great what your doing, especially since its not severe depression. Yes, being around positive people, good conversation, staying active with things you are passionate about, your belief in God and trust knowing he is always watching over you, always there you. Don't forget to spread your joy and smiles with others, it can be contagious, and help them to have a better day.

Old 05-11-2004, 07:37 AM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 38
ckellym HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

Chels896 -

I dont have severe depression either and I refuse to take medication. But I have been seeing a great therapist and have been exercising almost every day, eating very healthy and not to be a religion pusher, but attending mass as well. So i agree with you, doing alot of these things has personally helped me, but I realize that it may not be the case for everyone, some people need the medication - and thats fine too.
I also started reading some anti - anxiety / panic books that have assisted in my thought process.

Take care!

Old 05-11-2004, 03:31 PM   #8
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 83
chels896 HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

Thanks to everyone for your responses....I think you all have some great points. I am just so confused. The more I read different people's opinions.. the more confused I get. I don't know what to do. Today I am feeling especially down.. and I am not sure if I should try the SSRI or not???!! My main concern is weight gain. I did gain weight on zoloft I really would like to try and control my depression with out drugs first, but it seems like my depression is interfereing with my life and relationships. I just never feel like myself.. and I never feel like doing the things I used to love. Does anyone have any suggestions?? Should I just try the meds and if I don't like them go off.. or should I wait it out through the summer and see how things go... and if I still feel down.. then try the drugs?? I am so confused

Old 05-11-2004, 03:50 PM   #9
Senior Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,193
Crossbow HB User
Re: fighting depression without drugs

There's no way to tell if you will gain weight. I gained weight on Paxil but not Lexapro, and they are pretty similar. There are also a lot of other classes of meds besides SSRIs. Nine other classes, in fact. Here is a chart:

If youre depression is severe, meds and/or therapy are required.
For less severe depression, some things that help are:

a healthy diet
no sugar
no alcahol
aerobic exercise
St. John's Wort (ask your DOCTOR if you should take it)

Actually, except for the SJW, these will also help a bit with severe depression too.

You might also talk to your doctor about underlying illnesses or nutritional deficiencies that can cause depressive symptoms.
Choose the devil you don't know.

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