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anti-depressants do help

when I was well I was so laid back I was coming round the other way! The last thing I thought I'd need were anti-depressants.

My gp told me I wasn't a diabetic.

He then asked if I were would I take Insulin? I said yes.

Well, he said, you are lacking another body chemical, an imbalance; will you take a supplement?

When I agreed he told me it was an anti-depressant because of low seratonin levels.

What a geniious! put that way it made such sense. it still does.

please don't be put off by old beliefs, they can help. it is not weakness,

regards, sandra

15 Replies

Hi Sandra, you have got a good GP, antidepressants do work in many many ways, myself I take them to help raise my pain threshold and perhaps helps me not too fall apart lol, i take insulin too and that helps me do all the things I want to do, such as live an be positive. I still feel the pains but like you my GP is pretty good too and he has helped me to sort things out so that I can carry on being me. Your right in what you say, it isn't a weakness it's a help.

Take care



Hi Sandra, I also take antidepressants as Philip says they do help with the pain threshold, I think they help you divert your mind away from it, pushing it more into the background. I am on two types , I take one in the morning that normalizes my mood swings and in the evening I take a different one that helps me sleep, since starting the 2nd one I am getting my full 8 hours :-) instead of a night of broken sleep and i'm dreaming again.

I to have a fantastic GP he had to put up with a 58 year old man bursting into tears and ready to end it all because of this awfull condition (RA) I now can function at a normal level much to the relief of my wife and daughters. As you say Depression is a unbalancing of the chemicals in your brain, so if any of you out there are suffering please, please go to your GP and talk, it might take a couple of goes to get the right pills for you, but it is worth it.



Id go along with this but ive always thought that it was quite reasonable to be depressed with ra and therefore am holding back on taking more pills. Id be interested to have comments on this!


I think for myself I'm more of your persuasion Cathie but then for me dependency on pills is what makes me depressed? Tilda x


Hi Cathie & Tilda, I used to to think like you, but when it got so bad, my GP said you cannot go on like this and persuaded me to try the pills for a short time, he explained what was going on in my head in a calm and factual way, and he sees me once a month to keep a check on my mood as well as my pain control. I ask you both why suffer? If your depressed to the point of considering suicide and making life hell for your nearest and dearest why not take a few more pills? and yes Depression is very common with RA. It is an illness like any other , the biggest problem is not talking about it, there is no shame in addmitting you cannot cope and asking for help. I also get support from a mental health counciller, it is much easier to talk to a stranger sometimes about your problems, without the added stress of the emotional baggage you carry with your partner and family. Ray x


So agree with you Ray, my unhappiness was was not only

affecting me but those nearest to me.

I was in a very dark place and having panic attacks before being

given a mild dose of sertraline, life once again has some meaning.

With all I am going through at the moment, pain, unhelpful doctors

and hospital mess ups I do think that without my 'happy pill' I

would have cracked.

My mother led a miserable later life due to lack of understanding of

her medical needs, as did thousands of women back in the sixties.

If anyone needed a 'happy pill' she did god bless her.

Ann x


I think it is vital to treat mind and body when you have a chronic condition to cope with day in day out. It effects every part of your life, family relationships, friendships, ability to cope at work and in your normal life.

Loss is a huge's like a bereavement..not having the life you want to have..the one you hoped for.

I see in this website a lot of support going on which is wonderful, bit at times I also read a lot of blogs where people are very embroiled in the negatives of having this disease. (Please don't see this as a critisism...I have times when I feel the same)

I too have been like this and made the decision to take a small amount of antidepressant to help me through. The difference it has made is that I now see a lot more of the positive things in my life. I worry less about now and the future and I am more confident about my ability to do some of the things I want to do and to accept there are things that I cannot.

I now exercise more...aqua fit and pilates, when I can, if I have too much pain I don't do it and I get the rest I need. I also do tai chi, which I find is really good for my flexibiluty and it is very calming.

I am lucky to have a supportive health team, family and good friends, but I know the management of RA is my responsibility with this support and I try as much as possible to keep a positive outlook.

Take care of yourself.


I've needed anti depressants a couple of times in the past when depression or anxiety or both have made life thoroughly miserable. The pills had a place at the time, they helped me cope and gave my body a rest from the exhausting struggle I was facing on a daily basis. At the same time they had their drawbacks. I suffered awful fatigue, showed less emotion, gained weight and I had zero sex drive. For this reason I came off anti depressants as soon as I was well enough. To those in need they do have a place but beware of the side effects which are not without their own problems. Personally my life was improved by looking at what was making me unhappy and making changes. I also learnt to better understand anxiety and coping strategies with a short course of cognitive behaviour therapy(CBT). This is also available on referral by your GP but not as readily prescribed as medication.

Paula x


hi Paula, sorry you had problems, it is a fact that everyone is an individual and finding the right meds takes time - I reacted badly to amitriptylene [sp?] .

CBT helped me too and I would recommend it. I am open to anything that might help.

regards, sandra


Hi all some very interesting reading, I take antidepressants as well if there was a reason there would be many but as my dr once said having any format of arthritis you lose part of your life the part that enjoyed gardening, visitors coming to stay,late nights out,to name a few even for some the simple things in life,like walking up the stairs,washing ourselves,making a meal, so this is why we take this meds,to get our basic life come to some sort of normality, gentle hugs to you all xxx


Hi Sandra and all , I take antidpreants cant spell it i have been taking them for approx 10 yrs. i saw my GP as i was in pain at night could not sleep felt awful GP said about antid tablets i said i am not depressed GP told me they would help at night in bed with pain i asked her how she said they help to relax your muscles that cause some of the pain so i tried them for 2 months first to see if there was any unwanted side effects bloods etc i was starting to get pain relief from taking them so i was put on them take 2 about an hour before i go to bed they help.Just a warning though Sandra you can become addicted to them and have withdrawall symptoms not good i had to stop them as my heart beat was really high cardiologist thought it was antid that was causing heart problem but it was not antid that caused heart problem i was having really bad withdrawel symptoms by then as it was not antid my GP put me back on them thank God hope you get things sorted out Sandra and all xxx


thanks Thomas, that sounds rough. I hopethey sort you out too. regards, sandra


I suppose that we all experience this chronic illness in different ways. I've had very dark times, but have found psychological support through transactional analysis and reasonably judicious resort to supportive friends and my partner. I think that professional support can help but it isn't easy to get it through the NHS and costs about £50 an hour privately. I also find tai chi is very helpful as its gentle, exercises joints and can involve profound relaxation techniques which are just blissful.

I think there ought to be more of this available for us. There are plenty of accounts of people struggling with difficult relationships and lack of support. That's one aspect of the causes of depression - need for help to deal with the loss that's involved in this disease. I would say though that its not a downward straight line is it. I've had RA for more than 10 years and am coping much better with life than I was even five years ago.

Hope everyone is doing OK this afternoon,

XX Cathie


I'm not anti-antidepressants, but I do also recommend counselling. I've had two rounds of it now since diagnosis and it's been really helpful. The first sessions turned out to be about helping me to come to terms with the diagnosis and difficulties at work as a result. The second set of sessions, about eighteen months later, turned out to be about helping me formulate my plans to move on in my life and live in new ways. It was available on the NHS through my GP, though I know different trusts have different funding priorities. It really helped me to understand myself and my approach to life better, and to understand how I make my decisions. It also gave me lots of confidence, once I had chewed my plans and ideas over with someone outside my family and friends.


Adelade, You have said it all! and, Sandra's GP. That is the perfect analogy to describe what actually causes the symptoms of depression. It is a chemical imbalance, a lack of the serotonin and norepinephrin (Spelling) That the brain produces during deep sleep. If sleep is disturbed, you don't get into enough deep sleep (REM) to allow the brain to do its job.

Most people are unaware of the chemical exchanges that take place in the brain all the time.

So..if you are lacking a substance that then causes symptoms of depression, which then turns your life even more upside down..the logical action to fix it all is to replace what is missing. Just as in the lack of the Pancreas making enough insulin to keep your blood sugar level, you would replace the missing insulin. There are different antidepressants because there are different chemicals from the brain. Rather than test for those chemicals , which is extremely expensive, the trial doses of an antidepressant is used. If it doesn't make enough difference, then you may be given a different one. Just the same as how we settle for the RA meds that work the best.

Most antidepressants have very few side-effects unless the dosage is too high, or the one being used is not the one that is missing. It may take a very small dose to make a big difference, so if you feel things are not right, contact your GP immediately. Never accept and live with side-effects if they are a problem.

But, refusing to take a drug that your body is missing, because you don't want one more pill..

Hmmm. It's just a little pill. Living with the problems associated with the missing chemical surely is worse!!

OK. I'm off my soap box now. Hope I managed to explain the necessity in an acceptable way. That is just the way it is. Wonderful that Sandra's GP presented it to her in that manner.



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