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  • Do Antidepressants Really Work?

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    Old 10-09-2006, 04:50 PM   #1
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    Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    I've been reading the "Medication Isn't Going to Solve Your Problems" thread with great interest. Why? Because up until now I've always been anti-med. I believe in doing things the natural way and just sucking it up and getting through the hand life deals you by drawing on your own strength and God's. That philosophy has worked for me through many difficult periods of my life. However, I'm currently finding myself in a depression that feels it might never end. A lot of it is situational (two family deaths in the last two months and watching someone else in my family slowly slip away from cancer), but the depression had already manifested before I became overwhelmed with the situations in my life. I tried an AD during the roughest patch but didn't believe in its effectiveness so came off it (probably before I could even know whether it worked). Although I've finally been able to grieve my losses (I think it numbed me if nothing else), I've been struggling off it now for 18 days, every day thinking: Is this how the rest of my life is going to be? So my question is, is there anyone who actually found depressive relief from an AD...seriously? You all are probably going to hate me for saying this, but I just feel like those they help are experiencing some kind of placebo effect. At this point, I don't know where else to turn. I tried counseling twice, which frankly made me feel worse. Maybe I just haven't found the right counselor but the effort it requires to keep trying is unbearable to even think about. I'm exhausted pretty much 24/7 (although I am finally getting my usual 7-8 hours of sleep again), having crying bouts (perhaps just a natural part of the grieving process), struggling with eating and feeling hopeless about life in general. I enjoy absolutely nothing and getting out of bed each morning is a real chore. I can't, however, tell where the line is between grief and depression. So, if ADs really work, how likely is it they'll work for someone in my position: situational depression versus a pure chemical imbalance? The ultimate solution would be to change my situation, but unfortunately I can't raise the dead.

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    Old 10-09-2006, 06:18 PM   #2
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    Well, they work for me.. My depression is mostly chemically-related though... I know they are often prescribed for situational as well, however, and from what I've heard from others, they can be very helpful.

    Old 10-09-2006, 06:41 PM   #3
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    My depression is both physical and chemical so the meds are kind of helping the chemical. My depression also comes with psycotic features which again the meds help but have not cured for the lack of a better word. I look at the number of prescription meds I take on a daily basis, I have been on 5 of the 6 for almost a year, and wonder if they are working or I am just doped enough so I will not care what is happening in my life. I guess the big thing is I remember where I was and I am somewhat better because of the meds.

    Major Depressive Disorder With Psychotic Features
    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    Borderline Personality Disorder
    Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    Current Meds

    Old 10-09-2006, 08:54 PM   #4
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    im starting meds tomorrow...dont know what to think about it yet

    Old 10-10-2006, 01:37 AM   #5
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    Meds do work but it depends on your specific problem. If it's situational, like yours, you might not need AD's. If it's chemical, like mine, they work. You just have to find the right one and you have to give them time to work.

    I'm so sorry you're struggling. So many deaths in such a short period of time and another loved one suffering....that's a horrible place to be. Sometimes counselling works, and sometimes it doesn't. Have you tried meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, vitamins? Anything along those lines? How about a journal? At the end of each day, you could write down all the things you feel and want to say, no matter how harsh it is, and then shred it. That's actually very theraputic.

    I hope this helps you! Let us know how you're doing!

    Old 10-10-2006, 10:11 AM   #6
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    Thanks, Amy, for the response and condolences. It is a rough place to be in, which is why I can't figure out whether I'm truly in a full-blown depression or just deeply grieving. One of the people I've just lost was my beloved grandmother. She was my rock and got me through all the other tragedies in my life (lost my mom in a car accident at 16 and my grandmother was there to pick up the pieces, so she was much more than just a grandmother to me). Sooo, I no longer have the person who would normally help me through this kind of thing and I'm reliving the death of my mom in the process. What's more, the rest of my support system is all going through the same things I am (my closest relatives are dealing with their mom's cancer on top of the other losses). So there's just misery and unhappiness everywhere I look. But interestingly enough (perhaps my body just sensed what was about to happen), I was already seeing a counselor and doctor about severe anxiety and subsequent depression before all of this hit me. Severe anxiety plagued me once before when my brother was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 30 (he's fine now, thank God). So it seems my mental well-being is compromised every time I have to deal with the prospect of losing someone I love. I know all of this stems back to unresolved issues with losing my mom, which is why I think the right counselor might really help me. However, reliving all that in counseling right now is more than I think I could bear, which is why my prior attempts proved unsuccessful.

    Anyway, yes, I do practice yoga when I feel up to it, which isn't very often these days. Prior to all of this, I exercised daily. An audio meditation is what finally helped me get back into a fairly regular sleeping pattern as well. I've also tried deep breathing for the anxiety, but it wasn't a whole lot of help. I take a multivitamin most days, especially those days when I don't eat enough (which is fairly regularly these days). I do journal my fears fairly regularly as well. Haven't tried shredding them though. I just don't know where else to turn at this point. I wish a pill could magically make me feel better, but I know that it can't.

    Old 10-10-2006, 10:18 AM   #7
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    I haven't found an AD yet that has helped me--I always suffer bad side effects from them and usually have to stop taking them before they have a chance to (perhaps) work.

    St. John's Wort has helped me some in the past, though it is rather subtle. You might give it a try before resorting to ADs.

    Old 10-10-2006, 11:25 AM   #8
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    anxiousagain-----i am so sorry you are going through this. i have jokingly called myself the "grim reaper". first my Dad, then my daughter (which of course is something i will never get over) then my best friend, my only sister and lastly my mother and father -in-law. i have been through counseling for GAD, PTSD and now depression. i ahve tried every SSRI on the market with more horrible side effects than i have without them. just started remeron last week and it has stabilized my mood so i can get some where in counseling and every day life. through my grief i found that nothing worked except allowing myself to grieve for as long as it took. i also believe there is no right or wrong way to grieve. very personal to each individual. my depression is situational. have never had a chemical imbalance but still could not get through the day without something. i was going no where because i couldn't function. my situation right now isn't caused by grief but multiple health and financial issues. i was overwhelmed and just couldn't pull myself up until the remeron. i don't think it's a placebo effect with me since i am so med sensitive that i would have negative side effects and i don't. I wish you well.

    Old 10-21-2006, 04:22 PM   #9
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    anxiousagain, I would think that for you antidepressants should be an absolute last resort. I'm terribly sorry to hear of your losses and I can definitely empathize with your situation. In my case my depression is mostly physical (ie chemical) but added to in the most severe way situationally. I've always been "moody"--for as long as I can remember and I've been told by relatives about times I don't remember. I really didn't hit rock bottom until we lost my brother in 1997, and even then it took another year and a half for me to get to the absolute lowest point where I needed meds to come back. And it took a few experiments with different meds to get me functional. It's been a 9 and a half year process and I'm still not back to being "myself".... but then again, I think that I am myself as I am supposed to be now. I believe everything happens for a reason and I'm not supposed to go back to the way I was before my brother died. But I still need the meds for that chemical imbalance so I can somewhat function in life.

    It is very hard to distinguish between what is "true" depression and what is grief. That's why, I suppose, I took so long getting treatment after my brother died. I had to work through my grief first, though I never really worked all the way through it until years later. And that's why my advice to you is to only try antidepressants as a last resort. Too many people have had really bad experiences with antidepressants, even if they need them, and I would never recommend to anyone to just jump right in there and give them a try.

    I hope everything works out for the best for you.

    Old 10-21-2006, 11:37 PM   #10
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    I'd be leary of thinking that meds can solve things, they may help a while but then when you decide that you no longer want/need to take them. Some of them can be wreckers to get off of. Just be careful and know all you can about a med before you take any!!!!

    Tired of this.

    Last edited by effexorruinme; 10-21-2006 at 11:38 PM.

    Old 10-22-2006, 08:03 AM   #11
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    Ahh, as I suspected, viewpoints vary widely on this one. Well, here's an update on my situation. I do think I have a bit of chemical depression on top of the situational depression since I was feeling depressed BEFORE the deaths started. Add to that the fact that anxiety runs pretty rampant in my family and I suppose a case could be made for me having a biological basis for depression as well. I tried a short course of Remeron when the depression first hit, but I never gave it the proper chance to work, nor did I ever get up past the initial low dose. Every day, I consider calling my doc and telling her I think I need to give it another go.

    In any event, my aunt died last week, so I had to deal with my third funeral in two months. I'm pretty dysfunctional at this point...feel like I'm just floating through life and living a life of misery. I'm quite obviously traumatized and consumed by thoughts of death. Case in point: Yesterday I was up my cousin's house when a report of a motorcycle accident on our road came over the scanner. Since it was the time my brother usually comes home from work, I immediately assumed it was him and that he was probably lying in a ditch dead. (We're very rural.) I tore down the road, my heart and mind racing, wondering what I've done so wrong to deserve all that I'm enduring of late. Thank God it was not my brother, but the accident occurred in our field right across from my family farm and I watched them pull out this kid, who may never walk again if he even survives. I honestly don't know how much more I can take. I'm at the end of my rope and desperate for any kind of relief I can get...and yet, I still hate the idea of resorting to a pill to get through life. At the same time, I'm no longer really living, so what's the harm in giving them another whirl? Those are the questions I struggle with multiple times a day.

    Last edited by anxiousagain; 10-22-2006 at 08:04 AM.

    Old 10-22-2006, 12:58 PM   #12
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    Re: Do Antidepressants Really Work?

    It's not the type of question you can answer "yes' or "no" to. Antidepressants certainly have a higher success rate for individuals with physiological imbalances as opposed to environmental issues. They don't solve all of life's problems. I have been on various anti d's for many years. They tend to wear off after a few years. If someone has a chemical imbalance and is chronically depressed, I would say that antidepressants should certainly be a part of a treatment plan. I think we all agree that nothing is worse than the depression itself.

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