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Is there any point to anti depressants?

(23 Posts)
cansu Tue 28-Oct-14 09:32:23

Am feeling very low and am often tearful. The trouble is I know why I am depressed and if it's simply the result of having a shitty set of circumstances to deal with is there any point taking anti depressants? They are not going to change the situation I will have to deal with for the rest of my life so I can't help feeling there is no point. Is this just deluded or am I right?

Spooklingbrook Tue 28-Oct-14 09:35:46

My GP described them as 'something to take the rough edges off' and that's what they do. They enable you to deal with the situation, they can't change the situation.
They enable you to see and think more clearly if that makes sense.

Pandora37 Tue 28-Oct-14 13:57:24

My GP said they can help make you more resilient. So no, they won't change crap stuff going on in your life but they can help you to brush yourself off, move on (if you're able to) or think positively and feel better able to deal with it.

guitarosauras Tue 28-Oct-14 14:03:00

They don't stop the bad stuff, they just help you feel more able to deal with the bad stuff.

They're not fixers.

On me they worked well. I hadn't realized how poorly i was until they lifted the fog slightly.

MollyBdenum Tue 28-Oct-14 14:19:27

They gave me enough energy and hope to change the things that were causing the depression.

LeonardWentToTheOffice Tue 28-Oct-14 15:20:47

OP I'm extremely low. Have been for years. My circumstances are pretty shit. I have finally made an appt for the drs to get APs. I was on them for years but stopped about 5 years ago and I must admit I don't think I've had many happy days since. Not that I was singing and dancing around when I was on them but I must have felt better than this surely. I've needed them again TBH for years but have not had enough get up and go to get up and go get them. A kindly chat with a neighbour had me ringing the dr there and then for an appointment. No I know she will not be able to wave a magic wand and everything will be perfect in my life but after a few weeks of taking them I'm hoping I'll feel a little stronger and capable of coping with my life. Hopefully this strength will also then mean I'm able to make a few positive changes eg get a bloody job, help son with ASD get the help he needs, make arrangements to go out see friends and do the things that do make me feel happy etc

LeonardWentToTheOffice Tue 28-Oct-14 15:23:52

Then hopefully I can start changing some of those shit circumstances. At the moment crippling anxiety about the future is blighting my every waking moment. Surely I don't have to feel like this forever.

When I took them before they did give me enough strength to see clearer and sort myself out. The horrid thing is the depression is the one thing that's been my bloody barrier to seeking out help to fight back at it. I will fight. I will win. I think you can too xxx flowers

LeonardWentToTheOffice Tue 28-Oct-14 15:24:51

...and hope. I am so low on hope. I'm hoping for some hope too smile

Allhallowspeeve Tue 28-Oct-14 15:28:53

Yes take them - give your mind a rest. Then go seek some good counciling.xxx

KnitFastDieWarm Tue 28-Oct-14 15:30:42

Hey OP - I know how scary the prospect of medication is when you've never tried it before. We hear so much guff in the media about 'happy pills' and such that it can make you wonder if it's all worth it.

My two cents (and this is just my experience, obviously)

- I think a lot of the fear around ADs is based on the kind of knock-you-out 'chemical cosh' types that were the only available option until about 1990. Modern SSRIs aren't perfect but they are much, much easier to handle for most people that old-style medication. I went on citalopram convinced that I would either be a zombie or hyperactive within days - in fact, I just felt normal. Able to cope. Able to enjoy the things I used to. It was honestly the best decision, health-wise, that I have ever made for myself. If you don't find a particular type works for you, you can try something else. Or come off them. No pressure.

- Most people (especially people in your situation, where it sounds like how you feel has a basis in your life circumstances) don't need to be on antidepressants for very long. You're usually advised to stay on the for about 6 months. A close friend of mine who lost her mum last year went on a course of ADs for a while and she said that while of course they didn't take away the fact that her mum had passed away, they just helped her to cope, to process the pain and to get to a place where she was able to grieve in a healthy way. A bit like wearing a plaster cast on a broken arm.

Also, I think when we're depressed it's hard to feel like we DESERVE to feel better - almost like we deserve the pain - which can be a big barrier to trying medication.

All I would say is, from personal experience I highly recommend giving ADs a go. If you're feeling horrible already and it's affecting your life badly, you've got nothing to lose by trying something else, is the way I tend look at it.

joanofarchitrave Tue 28-Oct-14 15:40:32

To me, ADs were the difference between being out of my depth in the sea and being spun around and nearly drowned by every wave, and being within my depth - they didn't change the fact that I was in the sea or that the waves were happening, but they put some solid ground under my feet so that i could keep my head above water, and in the end I was able to walk out of the sea and get dry. I really hope you feel better soon.

cansu Tue 28-Oct-14 16:10:33

Thank you. I will maybe get an appointment tomorrow. It's really hard to accept I am in this state as I have always just coped. I just feel like there is absolutely no point doing anything really. I just do the stuff I have to do and then sit there feeling shit. I keep telling myself to just pull myself together but it isn't working at the moment.

IrianofWay Tue 28-Oct-14 16:21:31

They are a bandage that gives support to an injury while it heals. They saved my life more than once.

However just like leaving a bandage on forever might lead to weakening of the limb/joint, ADs are not a forever solution.

joanofarchitrave Tue 28-Oct-14 16:33:58

'ADs are not a forever solution'

I disagree with this as a blanket statement, sorry. [Disclaimer: I was on them for six months]. My husband will almost certainly be on them for life, and that is a happy statement as I am delighted that such an effective treatment is available for his depression.

IrianofWay Tue 28-Oct-14 16:40:25

I have suffered from depression for over 15 years, joan. I could be on them permanently. My GP has told me so. But I don't want to be, I don't like them enough to be on them all the time - there are side-effects that I am not prepared to suffer from unless I absolutely have to. SAD is a big component in my depression. I come off the ADs around about April and I am very aware that as the winter gets nearer I may well need them again... but it's better for ME to monitor my mood and mental health than be taking them permanently. Thankfully my GP is on board with that.

IrianofWay Tue 28-Oct-14 16:41:35

And I would argue that ADs aren't an effective treatment for depression. They are quite good at treating the symptoms of depression.

IrianofWay Tue 28-Oct-14 16:51:37

But of course you are right. Blanket statements are rarely sensible.

gormenghast Tue 28-Oct-14 17:15:14

Why oh why is mental illness treated differently to physical illness. I have suffered from acute anxiety and depression for over twenty years and have been on different anti depressant at different times.When I told my GP that someone I knew (she wasn't aware of my mental illness) had talked disparagingly about people being on 'happy pills' and that this had made me feel very weak and useless for taking them, his answer was " if you had diabetes you would have to take insulin or if you had thyroid problems you would have to take thyroxine and no-one would think you were being weak." I know that without anti depressants I would probably be dead by now or been hospitalised . No they haven't always suited me and there have been side effects (just as people frequently experience side effects when taking a range of medications for physical illnesses)but on the whole they have helped me to keep on top of the anxiety and depression.So to those Mumsnetters who have to take anti-depressants I say don't feel weak or ashamed and if one medication doesn't work find another, just as those suffering physical illnesses sometimes have adverse reactions and doctors try another drug

foreverdepressed Tue 28-Oct-14 18:02:10

Well they certainly help some people to manage depression and they most likely help some people to cope with shit life circumstances (not necessarily depression) by "taking the edge off", so there certainly is a place for antidepressants.

Unfortunately having suffered from depression and anxiety for almost 15 years I've yet to find one that helps me, and believe me I've tried lots.

The only thing I would add is that I think antidepressants are probably over prescribed, the evidence is they don't help much for anything other than severe depression. And the way people talk about mental illness as being 'low serotonin' gets on my tits too, clearly tweaking serotonin helps some people but depression isn't as simple as a 'chemical imbalance'.

violator Thu 30-Oct-14 10:22:12

The "low serotonin" thing is wrong too. SSRIs don't increase serotonin. In fact, something like 95% of serotonin is made in the gut. They inhibit the reuptake of serotonin, which can work well until you stop taking them and the reuptake mechanism is fucked because its been out of action for so long.
I asked my psychiatrist out straight how they work and he said they don't really know.

For some people antidepressants can help enormously. For many others they don't and sometimes make things worse.
They can also be a complete bitch to get off and stay off. I think that's where the "taboo" comes from.

foreverdepressed Thu 30-Oct-14 13:47:45

I asked my psychiatrist out straight how they work and he said they don't really know.
Great that you found a doctor who wasn't afraid to tell the truth and hasn't swallowed all the marketing guff from the drug companies.

They can also be a complete bitch to get off and stay off.
Yes and healthcare workers often deny this until they are blue in the face. I defy anyone to W/D from high dose venlafaxine or paroxetine without very unpleasant symptoms that make you desperate to start taking the drug again. hmm

violator Thu 30-Oct-14 21:46:14

Well foreverdepressed I think he realised after meeting me a few times I wasn't a patient who would just do as he said and not question anything!

I had a hellish time coming off escitalopram - and that was after taking six months to wean down from 10mgs. Just 10mgs.
I can completely understand why people get better, wean off and go back on antidepressants because the withdrawal is confused with 'original' illness.

WonOnBingo Fri 31-Oct-14 11:06:29

I asked a similar question myself on my thread because my GP thinks I should take ADs due to being sad and down but like you OP there is a clear cause for me feeling this way.

My view is that there is absolutely no right answer or no one-size-fits-all answer.

I agree with the poster who said she was not sure ADs were a good treatment for depression but they were a good treatment for the symptoms. Wonderful for giving you a boost to get yourself sorted, and also great for those with chemical / physiological reasons for their depression but for those who are depressed due to life circumstances I think ADs can be a mistake.

First of all because the grieving, sadness, misery might be a natural response to circumstances and it might be a necessary thing to "feel" that and two because it might be running away from facing things.

My ex partner got depression, and while he only went to a few counselling sessions a year on he is still on ADs. If he tries to come off them, wihin a week he is crying on my doorstep and suicidal again. He goes back on the pills and he is laughing and joking.

I don't believe in his situation this is because he chemically needs those pills, but more than they turn him into an emotional zombie and enable him to avoid facing things. The longer he goes on like that, the harder it will be for him to heal.

I think all cases are diferrent. In some cases of depression what people really need to do is go into long term therapy and explore why they are depressed and change things.

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