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    Old 01-24-2005, 01:59 AM   #1
    sweeterthan
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    Unhappy Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Hello everyone. I have major depression disorder. I have taken several different meds, right now I am taking Remeron. It also helps me sleep at night and seems to be helping my depression alright. I started with Zoloft, that made me lose weight and made depression worse...then moved on to Paxil, I won't get into that evil drug and now its Remeron. By the way I was also diagnose with Panic Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, and PTSD. I also take klonopin at night to calm me down so I don't get anxious.

    Anyways what I wanted to talk about was how sometimes I get depressed for no reason at all. I have gone through alot of ***** in my life and now things are actually going rather well. Still I get depressed some days (not as much as I used to thanks to the band aid, I mean the meds). But is it really a chemical imbalance? I always feel so selfish when I feel depressed and theres no good reason for it. And people don't seem to understand me. The only logical explanation is this chemical imbalance these doctors talk about. I just want to know why I get sad when things are fine.

    Is there something wrong with me? Is anyone else like this, getting depressed for no reason?

    Thanks for reading my post I hope it makes sense.

    Amber

     
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    Old 01-24-2005, 02:23 AM   #2
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Amber,

    You will probably quickly find that the chemical imbalance theory is a hotly debated topic on this board. People have very strong feelings on the topic, both for and against.

    I, too, am hit by episodes of major depression "out of the blue". I can go to bed feeling fine and wake up the next morning unable to function and with omnipresent thoughts of suicide. Unfortunately, I'm not talking about being depressed for a day, but rather for weeks on end. The cyclical nature of my depressive episodes has led to more than one doctor's belief that I'm actually bipolar. (Bipolar, for some reason, is more widely accepted on this board as being a chemical imbalance than depression alone is. Go figure). Akrobat just posted that the same thing happens to him in his thread "new and have a question".

    That said, HOWEVER, there is still the ******* that you've been through in your life. I wonder if you've had adequate therapy to help you deal with that. Trauma that you've suffered in your past doesn't just go away when things are going well for you. It can still be there haunting you.

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 07:52 AM   #3
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by index.html

    Trauma that you've suffered in your past doesn't just go away when things are going well for you. It can still be there haunting you.
    Index and Amber
    Im also bipolar and also I feel a chemical imbalance (which is often heritary) is part of the problem, I also strongly feel the trauma of the past is a factor as well. Rani

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 10:10 AM   #4
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    There is no doubt in my mind that brain chemistry &/or genetics play a big role in depression. Like others have said, you can be going along great, go to sleep, wake up the next day in a pit. From observing my own family--- including distant relatives and cousins, it is clearly genetic/chemical in my family.

    IMHO, all factors play into the problem. Like if you have an immune deficiency disorder, it depends on the infections you are exposed to as to how your health is affected. Same with depression. Your life experiences are like the infections that take advantage of your lack of resistance.

    My attitude is you take stock of it all factors that contribute to decide on what 'fix' or 'fixes' are best for you.

    Essie Lou,
    Better than last week, but still a long way from 'fixed'.

    Last edited by EssieLouHammer; 01-24-2005 at 10:12 AM.

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 10:54 AM   #5
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    I agree with ELH...I absolutely believe that Chemical Imbalances play a huge part in the majority of Clinical Depressions. My experiences so far with my husbands (inherited) major depression, the studies in Anatomy & Physiology that I've had, and my research on the subject leads me to feel very strongly in the neurotransmitter ("chemical balance") and hereditary theories for most depression. Depression is NOT a character flaw or a weakness...It is a physical malady just like diabetes or any other ailment that can manipulated with medicationsmost of the time. Just like other hormones (insulin, estrogen, testosterone, etc)...if your neurotransmitters are undersecreted or oversecreted, you have an imbalance that causes other problems. It is the part of figuring out which neurotransmitter(s) are out of balance that I believe takes the doctors a while "fine tune" the meds to match. God Bless!

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 01:14 PM   #6
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    If it wasn't for the "chemical imbalance" theory then I guess we could say we all CHOOSE to feel this crappy about life, huh?!

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 07:26 PM   #7
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    Arrow Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Wow, thanks so much everybody for posting. Alot of people don't think there is such a thing as chemical imbalance. People think sometimes we make ourselves miserable, or rather we choose to be depressed. No one looks at it like a disease. But really it is, like someone on here posted, like diabetes.

    I just really think meds are a band aid. Like they just cover up all the bad stuff. I mean I know how there are the SSRI's, I don't take any of those anymore but I know its suppose to fix things, but isn't it really just a band aid if you think about it. Is there life after meds? I don't want to be on this crap the rest of my life.

    Sorry if I'm getting off topic or if I'm rambling but I can't find anyone around me to talk about this stuff cuz I just feel like no one understands.

    Oh yes both my parents have mental conditions. My dad has panic disorder and I think he battled depression, and my mom has anxiety and depression. So theres the biological factor. Am I just finding something to blame this on?

    And yes I have been to therapy, I've also admitteed myself into the hospital b/c of how suicidal I got one night. That was in the summer. I've been alot better since. Now I'm just seeing a psychiatrist basically for my meds. I just don't know. I don't wanna go through life taking meds to get by. I hope one day I can overcome this on my own.

    Thanks again everyone,
    Amber

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 09:51 PM   #8
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sweeterthan
    Wow, thanks so much everybody for posting. Alot of people don't think there is such a thing as chemical imbalance. People think sometimes we make ourselves miserable, or rather we choose to be depressed. No one looks at it like a disease. But really it is, like someone on here posted, like diabetes.

    I just really think meds are a band aid. Like they just cover up all the bad stuff. I mean I know how there are the SSRI's, I don't take any of those anymore but I know its suppose to fix things, but isn't it really just a band aid if you think about it. Is there life after meds? I don't want to be on this crap the rest of my life.

    Sorry if I'm getting off topic or if I'm rambling but I can't find anyone around me to talk about this stuff cuz I just feel like no one understands.

    Oh yes both my parents have mental conditions. My dad has panic disorder and I think he battled depression, and my mom has anxiety and depression. So theres the biological factor. Am I just finding something to blame this on?

    And yes I have been to therapy, I've also admitteed myself into the hospital b/c of how suicidal I got one night. That was in the summer. I've been alot better since. Now I'm just seeing a psychiatrist basically for my meds. I just don't know. I don't wanna go through life taking meds to get by. I hope one day I can overcome this on my own.

    Thanks again everyone,
    Amber
    Ok, I won't go into all the reasons I think chemical imbalance is not the answer in depression. But, I do take offense that doctors feel they have the answer in SSRi's and other drugs, since there is no way to measure your brain chemicals, basically it's experimental and the drugs themselves may create imbalances through dependance and tolerance development; for example, some drugs that increase dopamine can supress serotonin, etc. Also, serotonin is a powerful vasoconstrictor and too much can have many adverse mental and physical effects on one's own health.

    The serotonin theory was born from LSD experiments; since LSD and other hal******agens had "happiness" or euphoria as a side effect, it was deduced that sadness is a lack of serotonin. This is sloppy science which can can adverse health effects is not what one gets with, lets' say diabetes. There are several accurate tests for diabetes and blood sugar can be monitored so proper amounts of medicine are used.

    I know depression is a horrible thing, but mania, diabetes, liver problems, parkinsons' like disorders, high blood pressure, heart disease can also be horrible and many psych drugs cause this plus other health problems over the years.

    The chemicals we need in our brains come from the food we eat. Things like alcohol, drugs, cigarettes can alter the functions negativily. SSRi's just stop natural metabolism of serotonin, recycling it longer if you will. But the latest studies indicate over time this can damage serotonin receptors.

    So, if you chose to take drugs, do be careful and aware of side/adverse effects...also, think in terms of other solutions for the future and not long term use of SSRi's if possible.

    Last edited by Jennita; 01-24-2005 at 09:54 PM.

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 10:33 PM   #9
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Yes yes yes yes yes - it is a chemical imbalance. What causes this imbalance can certainly be debated - and whether a trauma causes the imbalance, or the imbalance causes the trauma - that also can be debated. What I do know for sure is that depression/whatever-you-call-it is a vicious cycle. Your job is to attack this beast from every angle, pursue every reasonable avenue to get control of it. You don't owe anybody explanations. If you had cancer, would you feel obligated to explain to everyone WHY you had it?? Well, maybe in this day and age you would......but you shouldn't have to. I don't feel the need to explain to everyone why my hair, eye and skin color is the way it is. It just IS the way it is.

     
    Old 01-24-2005, 10:57 PM   #10
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Trauma -> imbalance? Imbalance -> Trauma? I think it can happen both way's but like people have said you certainly don't go out there trying to feel like that. Who knows, maybe food could be an influence on the chemicals in our bodies which could lead to an imbalance. I'm not saying that's the case but just looking at different angles. The point is, we just get it and that's the part we have to tackle.

     
    Old 01-25-2005, 09:33 AM   #11
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    This is my first time here and this was the first post I read. I felt like I had written it myself. I feel so selfish for being so up and down with my depression. I struggle to get help anymore. I have tried several different meds - each ending with me getting off them because I hate the side effects or I just for some reason stop taking them. Is that some form of self-destruction? My best friend gets so mad because I stop taking the meds -- but it is not like I plan on it. Some meds make me feel like a zombie (which is no better than the alternative in my mind) while others work for awhile and then I just stop. And now I just am so tired I dont know if I can go another round of going to the doctor, getting meds, taking meds, stop taking meds!!! SO FRUSTRATED AND ANGRY WITH MYSELF!!

    I am also very, very, very exhausted all the time. I don't think I have recovered from my hospital stay of over a week due to depression. This was almost four months ago yet I am still not over it. Is this normal? This was my first (and hopefully only) hospital stay due to depression and suicidal thoughts. How do I get my strength and energy back when I have none.

    Thanks for listening.

     
    Old 01-25-2005, 12:25 PM   #12
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Sweet_yet_sour
    Trauma -> imbalance? Imbalance -> Trauma? I think it can happen both way's but like people have said you certainly don't go out there trying to feel like that. Who knows, maybe food could be an influence on the chemicals in our bodies which could lead to an imbalance. I'm not saying that's the case but just looking at different angles. The point is, we just get it and that's the part we have to tackle.
    On the subject of food, food actually creates the vital neurotransmitters
    we need in our brains/bodies. Protein, with assistance of carbs and vitamins, breaks down into amino acids which are what create various neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the body. Lack of proper nutrition can lead to all sorts of mental dysfunction; they discovered some forms of schizophrenia to be from a disease called pellegra, which came from B-vitamin defiency or a persons inability to absorb the vitamins.

    Other schizophrenia causes were from prior use of LSD and sometimes heavy pot use. So the moral of the story is, what we ingest does mean alot to our brains as well as bodies.

    Another example, things that stimulates adrenaline too much can cause anxiety....this can be SSRi's, or amphetamines or even cigarettes. The vicious cycle comes from, for example, when the addicted cig smoker needs one to calm down and creates a dependancey.

    What can cause imbalance is the ingesting of chemical substances such as drugs, cigarettes and alcohol; things that do not nourish the body. If you look into the past of many celebs with bi-polar, they all admit to either alcoholic tendencies or experiments with uppers and downers like cocaine and valium.

    Those drugs can cause the symptoms of mood cycles and also their dependancy/withdrawal syndromes. Uppers and downers are also part of prescription medications; for example, uppers could be Adderall, SSRi's...any dopamine/adrenaline/serotonin drug. Downers are typical Xanax, Ativan or the power downers like neuroleptics such as Zyprexa, which was recently linked to diabetes.

    Depression can be situational, but can cancer, for example, get better because your spouse decided not to divorce you or you got a great job? THere is no such thing as situational cancer or diabetes(situational is from outside source). And each can be tested biologically....depression cannot.

    So, chemical imbalance is pure theory, and unless a doctor can measure and determine those levels of chemicals in my brain, I wouldn't allow myself to be put on medication which could be allowing drugs that perhaps may harm in the long run rather than help.

    IMHO

     
    Old 01-25-2005, 12:43 PM   #13
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Wow! I hadn't realised how strongly people feel over this topic. I am heavily on the side of "chemical imbalance" -altho' I agree that the causes for this are still unclear.

    People who have no problem with people with diabetes taking medication or people with epilepsy taking medication, seem to have a problem with people with depression taking medication. Is this partly a reflex reaction to mental illness?

    One thing that really gets to me is the impression some people give of "blaming" you for your depression - as if any of us choose to have it! Or preferred to stay depressed rather than do something about it if we could!

    I have a sister with depression who insists it is situational only and that she doesn't need either meds or psych.therapy. Over the years I have watched her life get worse and worse - and I feel so helpless for her. She and I are very alike in many ways, but I have chosen to treat my depression. The contrast in our lives is tragic - I am SO MUCH better off than she is. I guess you could say we'd make a good case study for the pros and cons of depression treatment.

    I think you need both psych. therapy and meds - or I did anyway. Both helped. Nothing removes the depression totally or forever, but it does make it manageable (for me anyway). I can't understand why anyone would choose NOT to get treatment when the results can be SOO worthwhile. I know there is concern over long term effects of drug use, but is being seriously depressed better than the possible side effects of some drugs? No, IMO!!

     
    Old 01-25-2005, 01:17 PM   #14
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by baia
    Wow! I hadn't realised how strongly people feel over this topic. I am heavily on the side of "chemical imbalance" -altho' I agree that the causes for this are still unclear.

    People who have no problem with people with diabetes taking medication or people with epilepsy taking medication, seem to have a problem with people with depression taking medication. Is this partly a reflex reaction to mental illness?

    One thing that really gets to me is the impression some people give of "blaming" you for your depression - as if any of us choose to have it! Or preferred to stay depressed rather than do something about it if we could!

    I have a sister with depression who insists it is situational only and that she doesn't need either meds or psych.therapy. Over the years I have watched her life get worse and worse - and I feel so helpless for her. She and I are very alike in many ways, but I have chosen to treat my depression. The contrast in our lives is tragic - I am SO MUCH better off than she is. I guess you could say we'd make a good case study for the pros and cons of depression treatment.

    I think you need both psych. therapy and meds - or I did anyway. Both helped. Nothing removes the depression totally or forever, but it does make it manageable (for me anyway). I can't understand why anyone would choose NOT to get treatment when the results can be SOO worthwhile. I know there is concern over long term effects of drug use, but is being seriously depressed better than the possible side effects of some drugs? No, IMO!!
    Have you read websites of Dr. Ann Tracy, Dr. Peter Breggin, Dr. Joseph Glenmullen and countless other professionals who are on the other side of the issue? I'm not saying give up your meds, just read a bit and consider what they say because these drugs can work great in some people for years and then one day just poop out due to tolerance. This is when things can get bad, I'm not saying that will happen to you but it's best to be informed about the dark side of these drugs just in case.

    I have a story like your sisters' which involves a friend of my mother-in-law....but she got worse and worse after years of TAKING the medication and therapy. She is now in bed 100% of the time and her husband may lose the house to medical bills over the last 10 years. She is still on medication. She had only mild depression at first. So if your sister had taken drugs, perhaps she'd be no better off or even worse.

    Your sister probably needs psychotherapy, a complete physical (some medical conditions cause depression) and needs to examine any self medicating with alcohol, etc. Also, some prescriptions for medical condtions cause depression, so if she takes any that would have to be considered....

    For example, my mother takes prednisone for an inflammatory condition and it sometimes makes her depressed.....she knows its a side effect but her condition is serious so she has little option. She never has been depressed before, in fact, she's still pretty tough and bright at age 80 despite her health condition. My father takes a blood pressure med that also has depression as side effect.

    Anyway, your sister does need to try and get to the bottom of what her "situation" is, or what could be causing her ongoing depression.... she shouldn't ignore it but if she doesn't want meds there are other options out there to help.

    Some clinicallly proven stuff for is regular, vigorous exercise and also fish oil or omega oils. But she needs to work on her depression in some way even if she doesn't take pills, I hope she will. I may not believe in the chemical imbalance as ultimate cause or these psychoactive drugs like SSRi's as the ultimate answer to depression but it's clear depression should be addressed and dealt with.

     
    Old 01-25-2005, 02:30 PM   #15
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    Re: Blame It On The "Chemical Imbalance"??

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by baia

    People who have no problem with people with diabetes taking medication or people with epilepsy taking medication, seem to have a problem with people with depression taking medication. Is this partly a reflex reaction to mental illness?
    Personally, I think the difference is that there are known scientific tests for diabetes and epilepsy -- but not depression. Depression is more of a guessing game when it comes to diagnosis.

     
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