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    Old 03-20-2006, 12:22 PM   #1
    oceandreams
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    Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    I've had chronic depression off and on since adolescence (now in my 50's, so this has been going on for a long time). In the past I've taken Paxil (made me anxious) and Zoloft (caused insomnia and stomach problems, but at least I was mellow ). I have been taking St. John's Wort for a few months now, and it helps, but not enough.

    I wake up almost every morning feeling very sad and hopeless. As afternoon approaches I start to feel better, but there's almost always at least a low level of depression there throughout the day. I don't ever seem to sleep well anymore, waking up several times a night, so I end up only getting maybe 4-5 hours sleep. Whenever I take a sleeping pill (temazepam), I wake up feeling SO much better, it is amazing. I think if I could just get some decent sleep on a regular basis it would help tremendously. (I'm wondering if sleep deprivation actually causes depression.)

    I dread the thought of having to take prescription meds and deal with side effects again, as well as worrying about what the long-term effects might be. I'm seeing a psychiatrist tomorrow to discuss all of this. I'm also trying to find a support group.

    I know that no one else can make the decision for me, but any suggestions would be appreciated. What are some of your experiences with support groups--were they helpful? Are there any prescription sleeping pills that can be taken long-term?

     
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    Old 03-20-2006, 01:14 PM   #2
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Well let me know what you start taking. I have tried all the SSRI'S and can't handle the side effects. I will try a med, stop it and say I'm thru then I'm so bad I want to try meds again. Vicious cycle really.

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 03:29 PM   #3
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    You sound just like me, age too! How long have you been taking sleeping pills? I have been on dalmane and xanax off and on for 15 yrs , plus did all the ssri's too. I found sleeping pills helped, but, addictive. The reason you may feel better after taking one is from addiction? I never thought of it that way til lately and studied up and find I am addicted. The reason I feel better with the pill is filling the withdrawal symptom. After even a short duration on these drugs one is addicted. The anxiety and depression are withdrawal symptoms, even though you take the drug, its short life brings on withdrawal symptoms, the same ones we are trying to rid of! So I just started "tapering' down, and big time anxiety feelings etc. I am on wk 2 with a very low dose and starting to feel more normal. Plus it effects our hormones that we have lost. So ck into the pill situation and see if its in the 'benzo' class? even tylonal pm long term is a no no. I am cleaning out all meds and seeing how I feel after? I also use a little progest cream at night, helps some. (total hysterectomy age 25) no hormone replacement.50 now. ps if it is benzo's taper very slowly!!!

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 04:25 PM   #4
    oceandreams
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    janart, What do you do now for your depression?

    kindspirit, I just looked up my sleeping pills, and sure enough they're in the benzo group. I hardly ever take them, maybe once a week, sometimes twice. I just take one when I get to the point where it's been days since I've had a decent night's sleep, when I'm desperate!

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 04:54 PM   #5
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Hi,

    I am close to your age..44 and I also have been suffering from depression since my teenage years. I finally decided enough was enough..and was put on SSRI's when I was about 38 with horrible side effects, and they also made me numb emotionally..I tried most of them..Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta (which I believe is an SSNRI), etc..to no avail. I finally tried all the natural remedies such as L-arginine, St. Johns Wort, and the one I finally found that really helped me was SAM-e. I took it for three years and was depression free..I took 400mg (started with 200mg) once a day, about 45 minutes before a meal. I had no side effects on it..and did alot of research on it. It is very safe dietary supplement and is in respected medical journals. I took the Nature Made Brand - which can be found in the dietary supplement isle in Grocery stores or drug stores, health food stores, etc.

    Unfortunately, it pooped out of me after I had a bad virus..and so I had to take another look at the chemical antidepressants. Like you, I was very nervous..frightened about the side effects, but knew I did not want to continue to suffer. I was put on Cymbalta and ended up being hospitalized. While I was in the hospital, they were doing a med review, and I begged them to not put me on any more new antidepressants..especially the SSRI's. They put me on an older antidepressant which I believe came out in 1997 - called Remeron. It was a lifesaver, and is very well tolerated. I had no side effects on it. It is a Tetracyclic antidepressant (NASSa - structure). I am wondering, if you might do better on the older antidepressants such as a Tetracyclic or Tricyclic which are better tolerated, than the SSRI's for some people. I am really sensitive to the SSRI's. Keep us posted.

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 05:01 PM   #6
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    PS - I forgot to mention..Remeron is also excellent for to help with sleep. When I was depressed - going through major depressive episode, I would wake up at 3am and my heart was pounding..and could not get back to sleep, I felt very depressed, sad, hopeless and anxious. The Psychiatrist told me to take Remeron before I go to bed, because of its sedative properties, and I sleep all night through. It is very rare that I have to have a sleeping pill, and if I do take one, it is Sonata which does not make me feel drowsy in the morning, like the others. I have also heard some good things about Trazodone - which I think is a mild antidepressant, and sleep aid.

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 05:04 PM   #7
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    oceandreams I'm not taking anything right now other than vitamins and omega 3. I just got off Buspar. Hoped it would help with my worrying, NOPE.
    I really do need something though. I liked how Lexapro made me feel as far as looking forward to things but it made my jaws hurt really bad. I didn't grind it just made me clench my jaws all the time so I had to stop it. Always have sexual side effects with those classes also.

    Rianna I tried Remeron years ago. It made me sleepy till we upped the dose then it was a little better but it seemed to make me tired all day. I may have to try some of the other classes again though.

     
    Old 03-20-2006, 05:08 PM   #8
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by kindspirit
    even tylonal pm long term is a no no.
    My pharmacist told me the only thing in Tylenol PM for sleep is Benedryl. The rest is the standard pain reliever. I don't think you can get physically addicted to Benedryl or Tylenol.

     
    Old 03-21-2006, 09:14 PM   #9
    oceandreams
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Thanks everyone for your replies.

    I saw the psychiatrist today and asked her about Remeron (it sounds like it might be right for me). However, she seemed rather fixated on Effexor XR. I agreed to try it, but told her that I have borderline high blood pressure and therefore need to make sure anything I took would not impact that.

    She gave me some samples of Effexor to try. Well, later when I read the insert where it says "Who should not take Effexor".....you guessed it....."Effexor XR can increase your blood pressure".

    What is wrong with some of these doctors?! Was she not listening to me, or just doesn't know her meds or what? And she charges $200 for the first consultation! (thank god I have insurance).

    Then reading the list of possible side effects and possible problems for this drug has me worried all over again. I had thought I was willing to give prescription drugs a try again, but now once again I just don't know

     
    Old 03-21-2006, 09:29 PM   #10
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Stay away from Effexor if you're worried about high blood pressure. "Severe hypertension" is it's #1 cardio side effect. What's wrong with doctors? Who the heck knows. They all seem to know far less about the drugs they prescribe than almost anyone willing to do an internet search. Drug companies have them all brainwashed, I swear. Why do so many people have to turn to the internet with questions?

    Suspect the information that your doctor gives you about psych meds, especially when they gloss over side effects and deny the common withdrawal problem.

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 12:32 AM   #11
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    oceandreams, some of the tricyclic antidepressants are good for sleep. Look out tho for Amitriptyline/Elavil or Trazadone/ Deseryl. Those aren't good for heart problems. Doxepin works for me for sleep and doesn't give me the hang over feeling that some of the other tricyclics do.

    Benedryl or Tylenol Simply Sleep have the same active ingredient, as was mentioned.

    Effexor seems to be popular with docs these days supposedly because it can be better with the sexual side effects. But it can be one of the two more challenging a/d's to taper off eventually.

    I'm partial to Zoloft as the side effects were shortlived for the most part. There are things they can do to make the initial side effects more tolerable, if that might be an option. Same things work with the other meds as well.

    Psychiatrists have shifted somewhat in the last 10 or so years--it seems they are more willing to act as a consultant rather than gods on pedestals. I think I'd leave if mine were to have a bee in her bonnet about my taking the med of HER choice. I'm happy to listen to what she has to say and don't expect that I know everything about every med, but it's easy enough to research them these days.

    What was it about Remeron that you wanted to try out?

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 09:45 AM   #12
    oceandreams
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Rianna, thanks for the information on tricyclic antidepressants. I hadn't known much about them and am still researching. I too seem to be super senstive to the SSRI's.

    Spin44, my doctor did indeed deny the withdrawal problems that people have with Effexor when I asked about that!

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 03:22 PM   #13
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    I would maybe switch to a different Psychiatrist. I wonder why he/she was pushing Effexor so hard? I wonder if they get commissions on the "newer" drugs - or maybe that is what they have the most samples of. Try to see if you can go to another Psychiatrist who is willing to try Remeron, if that is what you would like.

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 04:19 PM   #14
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Rianna, did Remeron cause any weight gain for you? That seems to be a common problem, and I can't afford to gain even a little weight. That might be why my psychiatrist was avoiding it.

     
    Old 03-22-2006, 05:31 PM   #15
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    Re: Trying to decide whether to take meds..

    Oceandreams remeron made we crave sweets really bad. Just my experiance though.

     
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