Antidepressants - good or bad experiences?

After filling in a questionnaire at the doctors it appears I'm depressed and should consider anti depressants. Well, only to be expected I guess. The drugs mentioned have been citalopram and amitiyptyline, I've never been on anti depressants - in fact I'd never taken any prescription drug before my injury so wondered what people here's experiences have been. I have a friend on mirtazapine for depression and anxiety who says it knocks him out, which might sort my dire sleeping... although it sets his bowels into concrete which sounds bad. Anyway, I have time to decide whether to take a course. As a footnote CBT wasn't mentioned once by the doc.

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  • I took citrilopram for a bit, it helped me a bit while I sorted myself out.

    Bare in mind that it won't fix any problems, just dull the symptoms they're causing so you can think clearer, and I wouldn't stay on them too long or you'll get stuck on them.

  • Ooohh, Citalopram.... I'm still on this. Have tried a couple of times to ramp it down with a view to coming off it. Unfortunately life would often bite back with stressful incidents I would end up staying on it for a little while longer.

    I found it very subtle in its effect, it just takes the edge off the lows and I don't have many really bad days (unless everything goes wrong at once). It takes a week or two to start working fully and during that time you can get some side effects. For me, once the dosage built up in my system there were no really bad side effects. The only side effects I am having while taking it are sweating and drowsiness for an hour or two after taking it. That isn't so bad since I take it before bed. Currently on a relatively low dose of 20mg, I was upped to 30mg for a month (everything went wrong at once!).

    Mentally I feel as though I've slowed down a bit, but that's probably a symptom of the depression and overload that I'm recovering from.

    Like you I had never taken antidepressants before and I was adamant that I wasn't going to. My GP was very reassuring and for me it was a case of being backed into a corner with no other solutions available at the time. I had to remain functional in order to care for my wife (she had the BI).

    Oh, and no problems bowel-wise ;-)

    Hope that helps,

    Dev

  • I would opt for CBT. My experience of depression with my Mother got significantly worse after starting AD's. 15 years of hell followed for her. A good diet, exercise and support to deal with the causes of your depression would be more beneficial to you in the long run. I have personally had CBT as I refuse all prescription drugs where possible. It was incredible how changing ones perception changed my whole outlook on life. Good luck

  • Yes, I'm wary of taking the drugs route as I see it as initially a quick fix but with later problems. I'm looking into CBT with the Wellbeing Centre. I need to go to some Headway meets too, more human support.

    @Devastated Have you tried to taper off citalopram, I read you have to come off AD's very slowly, 5mg at a time.

  • Yes, GP said any time I want to come off it just taper down the dose over two weeks or more. Tried a couple of times but life got in way. I've been getting carers counselling and hope to have another go soon. 20mg is a fairly low dose anyway, so it shouldn't be too hard. I'll post how it goes.

    Dev

  • MY REACTION TO COMING OFF 20MG WAS AWFUL. EVEN THOUGH THE NEURO MADE ME DO IT REALLY SLOWLY IT MADE MYEPILEPSY HELL (NEURO PRESCRIBED IT ) I HAD OVER 100 LITTLE 'ELECTRIC JOLTS' A DAY FOR THE WHOLE TIME IWAS COMING OFF (A FEW WEEKS) WITH FITS THROWN IN .

    AFTER ALL THAT WHEN I WAS COMPLETELY WEANED OFF IT AFTER SOME TIME IT TURNED OUT TO BE THE WRONG THING FOR ME. THE ANXIETY CAME BACK WORSE THAN EVER SO I WENT .BACK ON IT & IT'S WORKED REALLY WELL. I TAKE 30MG/DAY 20 IN AM & 10 IN PM.

    I'M A GREAT BELIEVER IN IF IT WORKS DON'T CHANGE IT. THERE'S NO WAY I COULD GO THROUGH THAT LEVEL OF ANXIETY AGAIN, I'D END UP IN MY PINE BOX.

  • I had amytritiline and it was in small doses but as it went up I could not stay awake in the morning and I was all over th place.

    They tried nortriptiline because that has less effects bu I still struggled. Some drugs effects seem very much larger than before I go the tbi. They put me on seroxat the first year after the injury it didnt last but I don't know why! Mayb it was my memory that got worse! ;-)

  • What you need to remember is that antidepressants like citalopram are used to help balance the chemicals not being produced by your body. When you are under stress your body uses these chemicals faster than you can produce them so you need a little help til it balances out.

    As said they take a couple of weeks before you start to feel the benefit so you mustn't feel they're not working if you don't feel an immediate benefit. They won't take the stressful situations away just help you deal with them.

    I've been on 10mg of citalopram for over 2 years now, the hospital put me on them I think in anticipation that I would need them and because it's such a low dose my GP has kept me on them, I don't notice any side effects and I only take them for 5 days a week not the 7 I've been prescribed, my consultant said I should continue taking them indefinitely, I haven't got a problem with that.

  • I've taken anti-depressants for most of my life, not from choice but necessity. I'm aware of the adverse effects but, on balance, I prefer to be who I am today than the constantly agitated, fearful mess I was prior to using them. Other forms of therapy haven't actually scratched the surface.

    I took amitriptyline for over ten years then, after some trial & error with various SSRIs, I settled on paroxetine which I've used now for 20 years. I've no objection to taking medication when it improves my quality of life so radically.

    I'm certainly not trying to promote anti-depressants but I can't understand why they're often maligned when they've saved so many people from misery and despair.

  • I've been on a 6 week CBT course which was helpful to a degree, but because my memory is hopeless I forget to use it at times (it has helped in my attitude when confronted with idiots I can just think 'tosser' and let it go to a greater degree) and I am more accepting of 'this is life' and less 'why me?'.

    I thought that people with brain injury could benefit from a modified version of CBT over a longer period to reinforce it and to build a group of friends (or 'peer support' as it seems to be called these days). I asked to do the course again to reinforce it and was asked by the person who ran it to have a session with a councillor next week as my life has been eventful in the last 3 years.

    One part of CBT was confront your difficulties, if you don't like tall buildings go and do it a few minutes at a time then build up. Some of my difficulties are large supermarkets and social situations where there are lots of people chattering, and I don't recognise the faces of people I know and I am totally disorientated with the building..

    There is no need for me to go in large supermarkets I can order on line or go to a convenience store and no amount of time in social situations will help me recognises faces or be able to hear just one conversation out of a babbling mass.

    Do you know how long the wait is for CBT in your area?

    I have a great deal of difficulty remembering to take medication which might be why the GP thought CBT was best.

  • My hospital put me on them before I left I did not know what they was (very confused) this what antagonising my already bad situation feeling tired groggy luckily the person I was living with throw them so I rally don,t know if this helps I suppose now I look at it they where probably trying to control my mood swings (violent) outbursts etc

  • From what I've read everyone reacts differently to anyone drug and it could take a bit of basically experimentation (not a phrase doctors would admit to I bet) before you find one that helps. I guess a sign you're on the right drug is the benefits out weight the drawbacks and the dose is as low as possible. I used to keep balanced by exercise, releasing endorphin's and socialising at the moment I can't do much of that which is why I feel low.

    @kirk5w7 I always find it strange that GP's keep people on drugs indefinitely, I'm curious why CBT or dietary changes aren't tried at some point to come off them and give the brain time to adjust.

    @Stardrop I'm not sure how long the wait for CBT will be, I'm getting a phone assessment next week, don't know what happens after that.

  • CITALOPRAM IS EXCELLENT HAS REALLY HELPED.

  • Maybe I am one of very few who found anti-depressants to work for me.

    Admittedly I did take them for 10 years and it was Prozac !

    I have read many horror stories about Prozac.

    I was forced off Prozac when I became homeless after my accident because I had no access to GP services.

    They say you must be supervised coming off Prozac after many years, but that was not an option.

    So I don't need them now and I think they helped me a lot over the years prior to my accident.

    But I think its a personal thing whether you get benefit from them or not and what level of feeling of well being they give.

    What I think they do is help your brain to retain seratonin for longer? Which is your own internal feel good chemical.

  • Quite right hayabusa; they're SSRIs (Selective Seratonin Re-uptake Inhibitors). Used sensibly, they can literally save lives.

    But, as you say, it's a personal issue & they're not for everyone.

  • Hmmm, I suppose alcohol and caffeine are mind altering drugs that most people take all their lives, and diabetics take insulin, so why not AD's. I agree cat3 it is a personal thing.

    @hayabusa have you tried 5-htp that increases serotonin levels.

  • No I genuinely don't feel the need for treatment of any kind in respect of depression. I think a forced medical retirement from a very stressful job was a major factor in this. I had to accept certain things and come to terms with them.

    I still have dark days driven by pain and anger, but not too often.

  • I've taken citalopram I thought it was brilliant, then I took my self off it, they put me on something else, same happened again. I had to go back as I spiralled down last year. My therapy wasn't doing any thing and I couldn't cope I was diagnosed with severe depression and put on fluoxetine I'm in a much better place now. I think give yourself a head start with the antidepressant and then you can work on natural ways, like smiling! I forgot how much I love to smile. Good luck!

  • When I had depression I was resistant to taking ads but was so desperate I agreed. Tried one had side effects then went on to citalopram no problems it helped I was on high dose but had scaled down to 20 msg was about to phase off slowly when had my accident so will wait now as last thing my poor old brain needs is more challenges. As Phat01 says you take other meds like insulin or statins no guilt or shame why is it different if it is brain function problems? It does not have to be either drugs or therapy I used both, and diet, exercise, supplements, complementary therapies.

  • My son was prescribed Sertaline a few months ago and I think they really help.

  • I've gone to my doctor's recently asking about beta blockers because i had one in a stressful and environment and I was able to stay and had some fun (yay!). My doctor won't prescribe me beta blockers but encouraged citalopram. I was thinking 'you don't even know me!' but actually this is long term a long term problem and I think she might be right...

    After being released from hospital the help that I got was a course of electronic CBT for 6 weeks. 10 months on and I'm reading through CBT again and thinking about anti-depressants. Just to slow things down and create the right environment and get the right help to make the future the slightest bit hopeful. oh sigh.

    sage tea is also excellent and a leaf under my tongue stopped me having panic attacks.

    I'm going on my first solo holiday next week and I'm definitely not ready. I'm staying with a friend and taking loads of books and it will be okay. Kalms and rescue remedy and sade leaves.. eeeeeep.

  • I say try it. Everything is dependent on your brain chemistry. One time I took a stimulant to see if it helped with my thinking and it just made me want to punch everyone in the face. I was a mean person on it, so I quickly took myself off of it. Try it, if it works, it works and if it doesn't it doesn't.

  • Prescribed citalopram on return from my first independent holiday. Possibly taking my first dose today after talking to my doctor about being confused with having some highs pop up among all the lows..

    Balance being the key word.

  • i have found citalopram helpful

  • I never notice a difference when im on them.

  • I am also on citalopram took a while but they work for me, no alcholol and caffeine I also think assisted.

  • tried lots of antideppresants and I am tired alltime now and they just made me a whole lot worse

  • Hi, I've just binned my citrilopram, a thick fog in the head all the time, but now off, some clarity.

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