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Kramer: does depression ever stay in remission?

Posted by allisonm on April 3, 2002, at 7:41:57

Dear Dr. Kramer,

A little over four years ago, I was diagnosed with major depression, single episode, moderate. I have tried Effexor, Zoloft, Remeron, lithium, Wellbutrin, Neurontin, Celexa, and Serzone for at least a couple of months (except for Zoloft, Celexa, and Effexor). I have taken Remeron, Wellbutrin for several years; Serzone for slightly more than a year. Currently taking Wellbutrin SR 150mg in the morning and at 3 pm; Serzone 150mg in morning and around 9 p.m.

My pdoc says my depression is chronic and treatment resistant. He thinks I have had depression since childhood (I am 40). When I was diagnosed, my life was going downhill (marriage breaking up; alcoholic mother's health declining). I was referred to my psychiatrist by a university sleep clinic because I was complaining of insomnia. Six mos. later, separation and mom's death happened within 2 weeks of each other July '98). With much help from my psychiatrist, who sees me weekly because he also is my psychotherapist, I have gotten better. In January, I made major changes in my life (quit a well-paying job as a department manager and went back to college for a master's that I hope I can combine with current skills and go in another direction). I had not felt this happy and positive in 10-15 years.

A few weeks before Easter, I started feeling weepy, sad, more lately despairing. I suspect it has to do with holidays and not having family, and increased work at school as the semester comes to a close. My doctor gave me
Ativan for times when the anxiety starts to impair my thinking. My doctor seems to think these feelings are normal. The last few days, I have been having trouble just getting through the day.

I apologize for such a long message. My question: is it possible to ever find the right combination of drugs/lifestyle, etc. so that depression such as this will go away for long lengths of time or maybe even permanently? (I have given up the notion of ever getting off ADs.) I visit this board periodically (especially when I start feeling bad). Of course, there aren't many stories of total success; everyone here is looking for some sort of relief. For the usual reasons, outside of this board I say little or nothing about my depression. Consequently, I don't know anyone who has overcome depression after many years. Do they exist?

Thank you very much for your time.




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