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Antidepressants and Grief

(5 Posts)
SaintVera Tue 11-Dec-12 16:54:05

My son died six months ago and I have - not surprisingly - had the most appalling depression. It comes in waves, but I am finding as time goes on, the depression feels deeper and flatter and more difficult to cope with than sadness and tearfulness, which is different.

I have always struggled with my self-esteem and my sense of worth, though you wouldn't necessarily know it. I have also had long-standing mild anxiety issues (panic attacks/phobias since a teen). These have not been overwhelming but they now feel quite dangerous emotions to be battling, on top of my loss.

I am thinking of asking the GP for anti-depressants. I have been recommended Citalopram. DH and I are getting counselling for our grief - a listening ear really - but I am also thinking of asking for individual and targetted therapy.

Has anyone resorted to AD's in grief? Have they been helpful, or otherwise? Any particular therapies recommended? I know many 'experts' think that you shouldn't use AD's for grief. I have read up on the subject, but people who have been there generally know best.


GRW Tue 11-Dec-12 17:53:59

I don't have personal experience of taking anti depressants after a bereavement, but my work involves supporting bereaved parents.

I think in some circumstances they are needed, especially when things seem to be getting harder as the months go on. For the first few months many people feel numb, and it is often as time goes by that the intensity of the feelings of loss are felt, and it becomes harder to cope. Anti depressants can certainly help with feelings of panic and anxiety too, once they have kicked in.

I have known parents say to me that they are scared that emotions will be numbed by taking anti depressants and this will delay their grieving, but sometimes a combination of drugs and talking therapy is what's needed.

I am so sorry for the loss of your son and the pain you are feeling. It's especially hard at this time of year with memories of previous Christmases with your son x

SaintVera Tue 11-Dec-12 20:03:33

GRW, thanks, that is very helpful advice and thank you for your condolences. I am quite ok with being 'numbed' a bit. My main fear is that the AD's won't work and I will be left feeling like this. Right now, it's an ok day, only a few tears and less depression. I dread the next wave.

StandYourGround Tue 11-Dec-12 20:30:50

Hi there Saintvera.

I started ad's after my dad dying around 2 years ago. I already had underlying ishoos with self esteem and anxiety, like you. With a bereavement on top, I just 'snapped' and spiralled very quickly into the horrible deep black pit!
I have been prescribed fluoxetine (prozac) and I found it didn't numb things, or 'stop' me grieving - it did help me be more resilliant emotionally. And that was what I needed, I am, and have always been, a very strong person, but obviously everyone had their limits, and I'd reached mine. The ad's helped me feel more inc control, less anxious, and more able to function normally and, eventually, enjoy living again. I had sessions with a psychotherapist too, which were helpful long term, but short term tbh were very traumatic.

Sorry to hear about your son. My heart goes out to you.

SaintVera Tue 11-Dec-12 21:31:42

Stand, that is very helpful too. That is very encouraging that you found medication and psychotherapy useful. I have been recommended Citalopram because I've been told it's good for anxiety and is a bit of a snoozy one, as opposed to some SSRI's like Fluoxetine which can be a bit 'uppy'. I don't expect to 'get over' my darling son's death but I need to enjoy life again for myself and my family.

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