Posted by circusboy on November 18, 2007, at 9:49:44
In reply to Re: SSRI Apathy- This is the *True* SSRI response!, posted by 49er on November 17, 2007, at 18:17:17
> Anyway, as one who never thought in a million years I could get off these meds a few years ago, I am writing to give people hope if they are looking for med alternatives. I don't promise it will be easy but it is doable. My life isn't a rose garden but I will take it any day over what I was previouisly on all these meds.
How long have you been off the meds? I might have written a post a lot like yours 7+ months ago. I spent a lot of time reading -- if not so much time posting in -- the Alternative board, looking for non-pharm solutions, spending hundreds of dollars at iherb.com. Also running a couple of miles nearly every day and eating pretty well.
It went OK for a while. And I felt so much better (so much *saner*) than I did on long-term Prozac. Some herbs and supplements would work (SAM-e and Rhodiola Rosea were the most effective), but the physical and psychological side effects were no good. SAM-e flattened my personality and raised my blood pressure. Rhodiola gave me insomnia (and poor sleep even when I could fall asleep). Other supplements made me *more* depressed or were otherwise flaky and inconsistent.
Still, I was fine for a while. Then I started getting obsessive thoughts (like I was going to hurt someone with my kitchen knife, or drive my car off the highway on purpose, screw up the company's website or delete the database). A new symptom for me! Yay! And the hallmark cognitive symptoms started creeping back: slow thinking, confusion while doing little everyday things things (shopping, driving), difficulty concentrating, slow recall, poor memory in general, very low motivation ... A sort of irrational dread started creeping over me at work. I couldn't take it anymore.
Looking back, except for part of when I was on SAM-e and most of the Rhodiola trial, I'd been just sub-syndromal for MDD. Solidly dysthymic. And I saw the warning signs of a full MDD episode coming on.
I don't really want to be, but now I'm back on an SSRI. I'm very afraid that the effects of long-term SSRI use will start to creep up on me again; I'm hoping (on little evidence... but there is some) that sertraline will be better than fluoxetine and the rest in the cognitive/apathy department. This study focuses on the elderly patient (and was sponsored by Pfizer, so take it with a spoonful of salt), but there's plenty of good info in it:
So. Maybe some of us do better on these drugs in spite of the side-effects? Linkadge's advice is excellent and well-taken. But maybe, MAYBE these terribly flawed drugs are the best tools we have to manage the chronic condition that is depression.