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Oh I love it! You put it so well!

I wholeheartedly agree with you, but I think it largely stems from the stigma which is still attached to anything classed as "mental" rather than "physical" illness. Of course, we now know that the two are much more closely linked than was once thought. Still, it will take a long time to break down the taboos relating to conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Mel could maybe give them a go and view it as a temporary solution. If they're not for her, she can stop. If they do work, great, perhaps she could reassess in a month or two's time if she's ready to stop them.

My 4 cents for what it's worth!

I'm not a fan of pharmaceuticals, so I usually do my best to avoid them. Having said that, I have a history of depression and have benefited from the short-term use of anti-depressants in the past. I think that if the condition has deteriorated to the extent that nothing else helps, they are the best way to get back on your feet. Afterward one can work on other strategies and be weaned off medication. I have just come through my annual "dip" in record time without medication, because I have learned other strategies. Obviously this is what works for me and is in no way a prescription for others.

Mel, take the tablets! It's not a reflection on your ability to cope.

I think a lot of it is circumstantial (sp?). I very well could, and have, benefit from being on medication. But in my case I am depressed by circumstances that surround me. Being on medication give me false happiness...I am in a shitty situation...why should I be happy about it? The medication does not change my situation...it changes how I view it. If I am happy about it I am content to live with it. Realizing its a shitty situation motivates me to do something about it. Now, if I were depressed for now reason, yes, the happy pills would be welcome. But it is a situation I can do something about myself...I refuse to take the medications.

I believe there is a place for medication. HOWEVER - I would try St Johns Wort before taking it. St Johns Wort has been proven to be better than a lot of AD medications. Once you have taken AD medications you may have problems when appling for insurance.

If all the doctors were in on your holistic approach, then I would be fine with anti-depressants. However, I think they are overprescribed without addressing the root cause of anxiety/depression/what-have-you. In other words, I think doctors are lazy and treat symptoms instead of finding cures.

I hope that your sister does take her medication - because sometimes we just need a boost to get our wheels back on track.

my husband only took the medication after some intensive therapy because he found he earned a bit of help by then. He feels very proud of battling his depression this way and pride is a AD in itself for him. of course he's never tell someone else not to take them. I do understand him though it is the same way I have had two natural births without painkillersx. It just fealt like the right thing for me..

i am not anti anti-depressants. i have been on them when i needed them. and off them when my life got a little more in control. i also cannot see what the problem is. i do agree that maybe it should not be the only solution.

when my son was 8, it became apparent that he needed medication. and DH refused! eventually a friend convinced him to let us try it. a few years on ritalin did francois the world of good, and it helped him focus on his work. as a student, he went to the doc himself, and he is now on concerto. he is noticibly better on it.

the perception seems to be that once you are on something you can never turn back. but that does not have to be true. it can be a temporary thing, to help you cope in difficult times. maybe she could try it just for the rest of this year?

oh, and st john's wort did not work for me, and as far as i know (i could be wrong) it is no longer available over the counter, as it has some side-effects.

I'm not one to take a lot of meds -- even if I have a headache I tend to try to ride it out rather than take something. BUT, I do take ADs (Zoloft, or my Vitamin Z as I like to call it.) I agree that drugs are generally over-prescribed, but not always!

Also -- instead of OMG - you can always use the Mormon phrase "Oh my heck'

there are also a lot of people who are ashamed that they needed ART to achieve a take home pregnancy. (those people are different from those who think their private bits are a private matter and don't tell others.)..there are people out there who actually feel shame for their infertility situation.

then there is you, who posted on IF boards under her real name & city, and shared information freely. it's not in your nature baby to feel those torqued emotions for something you have no control over and bless you for it. you've helped so many.

St John's Wort does nothing for this type of depression!!!! Do your research before acting like a doctor!!!!! When you need AD they are a LIFESAVER and must be taken!!!! Nobody is going to say how brave you where when your world collapses and you cant cope anymore and do something to harm yourself!!! Then there will just be a lot of judgement for not taking them in time!!! Dont be a hero TAKE THE BLINKING DRUGS!!!!!

I *heart* my AD's. They make me a better version of myself. My SIL and I call them our "performance enhancing drugs."

Okay, I'll bite since I am one of the people who responded to your sister's post and did not say, "run and pop a pill."

I am not anti-drugs. Depression runs in my family, and I have lost and almost lost people to this illness. There are many positive rolls anti-depression drugs can play.

What I AM against is the over use and over prescription of them with out proper help and support. They are too often used as a band-aid especially for post-natal depression. (I know your sister is dealing with different issues, just an example) They have shown in the UK that while drugs can and do help some women, often what the woman needs is some honest to goodness help and assistance along with tips on how to cope better (and a listening ear).

Thus, I think the drugs should be paired up with therapy - which from reading your blog seems to be what you do. Thus, my suggestion to her was simply to see a professional and see what the pro thinks, but in course of that, also use the pro to learn how to handle stress and how to cope since drugs often are not the best long term solution.

I have nothing against the use of prescription drugs for mental illness of any sort. However, it just isn't as simple as you described. My father was bipolar, he had been hospitalized for his illness at least once that I know of, and put on a variety of drugs, including Lithium. It can take a life time, seriously, to find the drug combination that will work, and half the time something in your brain changes so you need to go back to square one. Many (most) of these drugs have severe side effects, such as liver damage that can lead to death. So if you can avoid taking them by counting to 100 or knocking back an occasional glass of wine you are far better off. (IMHO).

When I suffered from PPD and severe anxiety after the birth of my twins I went on Zoloft. I reacted so badly that I took myself off of it right away. It was the only med they would prescribe me because I was breast feeding. Instead of putting my kids on the bottle and trying different drugs (I figured the hormone crash from weaning plus the guilt would make my depression worse) I tried my own "therapy" of getting out of the house alone more in between feedings, being more physically active and getting outside, and yes, having an occasional glass of wine or beer, or cup of tea, and time with TV or a book to relax. It helped immensely.* Mel seems to have a good head on her shoulders, and she is probably hoping that her tried and true relaxation methods will work for her. However, it doesn't hurt to try to use the drugs and see if they will help, especially if you only need a small dose.

(I have VERY bad responses to medications. After my first C section I became wicked sick on the pain drugs I was given, which I knew would happen. I can't even take Benedryl without getting sick and loopy. Also, I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with PPD/anxiety. I went off the meds, but I had my husband watch me VERY CLOSELY for what could be danger signs, both on and off the meds, and I discussed it with my doctor)

I completely agree.
Most people get to the point where they are going to burn out before they are admitting that they need a little help.

Depression and anxiety is NOTHING to be ashamed of.
You wont have to have a lobotomy, or electric shock treatment.

Ya take the pill, ya do some therapy time, you work on feeling better and dealing with situations a bit better and then your done.
Case closed.

Good on your sister for taking the first step, I am hoping she opens the pill box soon.
For her own good!

lol-read the word "asshole'iness" and immediately picked out the word "holiness" since G had been mentioned. Texan Mom

Because I have seen:

1) Friends & Coworkers say, "Been a bit down lately. Eh, I'll ask the doc for some Zoloft." And they get it, just like they'd get a band-aid for a scrape.

2) Doctors try to give them to me to try and numb feelings that were completely normal. I was divorced and had 2 docs (primary care and gyno) immediately offer me Zoloft upon my mentioning the divorce. It's normal to be sad, it's normal to be scared, it's normal to grieve. I worked through it myself with the help of friends & family.

I'm not saying this is your sister's case at all - I don't know all the details and I'm not a medical professional. Just relating why I haven't taken ADs in the past when offered.

I say that if you are asking yourself whether or not you feel bad enough to take meds (seriously) then you should. That is a key sign. I have chronic depression and question myself when I am depressed. I tell myself that all I need to do is suck it up, just be happy, do something active, go outside, and it will all be better.

The truth is, I need the medication. Then when I take it, I realize I am no longer wondering whether I'm depressed but see that I was and it was about time I finally did something about it.

I have suffered from depression all my life - I know I had it as a kid. One way to look at it is that it is just a chemical malfunction in your brain and all the medication does is help balance those chemicals. My psych it's okay to be addicted to being well.

I was once told a very interesting thing back when I struggled about taking them, I was asked if I had a child with diabetes would I take away their drugs and say, you know, if you just think good thoughts and get exercise and eat right, I bet you won't need insulin. Or, to a child with a wheelchair, If you just believe you can walk, then you won't need this stupid wheelchair. No to both.

Drugs are just tools to help us when our body can't. I am like you T, I don't give a good rats behind whether people know I take meds or not. I feel better and that's all that counts. I also agree that it should go hand in hand with counseling. My doc said she worked with the hardware, the body and I needed another expert to work on the software - the issues.

Mel, do yourself a big favor, take the medication, get over this hump and then reassess.

Also, I noticed on your site that there were questions as to whether you were depressed or just anxious. Truthfully, the two go hand in hand. All the drugs are anitdepressants, but some are more geared to anxiety. What tipped me off is when you said you were so tired when you got up every day. I lot of times, depression is just being too tired to cope.

Best of luck!

Why? Well, because a healthy skepticism of Big Pharma is good. Yes, Western Medicine is a wonderful thing. But just like there is a difference between the 30 year old who is sent to IVF after three months of trying and the 40 year old who may really need it, probably lots of people on ADs don't need them. No idea what your sister needs, of course, but skepticism is good.

For anyone who is interested, Vogue recently published an article about researchers who are revisiting the stance that ADs are safe during pregnancy. They are now finding birth defects may result. I am not saying this is common or that anyone who took ADs while pregnant should be worried, but we need to be our own advocates.

We need to question the real reason why this stuff is so common? Does half our population really suffer from chronic depression (about the number of my friends on ADs). Or does Big Pharma see a profit motive?

Do doctors really, really, really care deeply about each an every one of us, or are they just overworked professionals who sometimes find the easiest course of action is to dispense a pill? (Professionals, I might add, who are winded and dined by Big Pharma).

I am always amazed by how many intelligent, curious and skeptical people lose all reason when it comes to medicine and just decide to trust the good doctor. There is lots of reason not to.

Again, this is not meant personally against you or your sister, who sounds like she has been through a lot and may need ADs. BUT I don't know why you have a problem with skepticism.

Oh and I have two friends, in my own tight circle, who have become addicted.

Mmm, I could *really* do with some medication right now, years of anxiety have caught up with me! But honestly? I am ANXIOUS about taking medication!!! Sigh. Vicious circle.
I admire anyone who has the strength to get help, instead of floundering like a lost f@rt in a wind storm. I am that lost f@rt!!!

"South African for really stupid person. Quite rude".

Ha ha. If that is quite rude I can't imagine what you would consider really rude. Oh wait, you live in the Cape.Guess "jou ma" phrases are worse...

Think of it this way Mel, if you had asthma you would take asthma meds. If you had diabetes you would take insulin. If you had ulcers you would take whatever it is that you take for ulcers.

Antidepressants are the same thing - medicine to get you healthy.

I've been on effexor for 11 years now and will most likely take it the rest of my life due to a chemical imbalance in my brain. It's simply medicine to get and keep me healthy. And if you need antidepressants and you don't take them, you are not the only one who suffers. Your spouse, kids, friends and family all suffer with you. Take them for them if you can't do it for yourself just yet.

Big hugs and good luck vibes from Seattle!

Thank you for this post. It's made me think about myself and that I need to keep an eye on how I've been doing. I might need to call the doctor. I made a comment on my blog about having an anxiety attack on my drive home the other day. I've had a few of them lately, but I've attributed them to an overuse of coffee. Thing is I've always been able to drink lots of coffee and not have any problem before. Before what? Before having twins, a 9-year-old daughter and going back to work. I will be keeping an eye on this and will be thinking of talking to my doctor next week. I've taken a lot on in a short amount of time and while I'm so so so so happy, I'm so so so so exhausted.

I do hope Mel feels better and does decide to take the happy pills. There I said that and didn't make it all about me.

One thing to keep in mind, about ADs being or not being addictive.... you're right in that they are not like pain pills, not that sort of addiction. However, some ADs are NOT simple to stop taking. Some you can stop cold-turkey, but others require long periods of very gradually lowering the dosage in order to manage physical symptoms of withdrawl. Sometimes really serious symptoms. I'm a huge fan of ADs - if you need them, by all means, take them! But do a bit of research first on the particular pill your doctor recommends, and discuss the differences between the various ADs with your doctor, particularly if you are worried about the ease of stopping.

And regarding St. Johns Wort - if you are taking any other medication (prescription or OTC) - check with your doctor first!!! St. Johns Wort has some very significant drug-drug interactions.

Great post Tertia!

When I was in hospital after giving birth to the girls I asked for AD's immediately. I wasn't going to put myself through the same shite as my first born. And I'm so happy I did.
If things get a bit rough I'll ride it our for a bit, but when feel I'm not getting better and the days are getting darker I report to my GP.
It is nothing to be ashamed about.

i don't know if it's true over there, but here in the states there is a really unfortunate stigma about depression. i wish it would go away.

i think one of the best ways to make it go away is for people to do exactly what you are doing.

we should all stand up and say "hell, yeah, I'm taking ADs and they work. and I'm a vibrant, functional woman and if you don't like that I'm thriving and enjoying better living through chemistry, you can just step off."

i run information sessions on depression for people in their senior years, sponsored by an Aussie organisation called Beyond Blue . . . the address for info is www.beyondblue.org.au . . . and it has heaps of info regarding this complex problem.

many people find it hard to admit that they have a problem, because it is seen as a 'mind' or 'mental' issue, rather than a physical issue (like asthma and heart conditions etc). interestingly, many of the symptoms (racing heart adrenalin surges etc) are PHYSICAL in nature. we need greater public awareness of the mind/body connection, and that depression and anxiety are not just located in the brain or mind (and therefore making you mentally ill), but are 'whole body' or 'whole person' conditions.

being run down emotionally and physically can make all sorts of things get out of whack in your mind and body, and it depends on the person involved as to where it will show up. depression and anxiety are often cumulative disorders - i.e. this, plus this, plus this, plus this + SNAP . . . so they show the person is overloaded or has been. also, they often show up after a series of major stresses, because the fight flight freeze or faint mechanism has been accessed way too often, way too many adrenalin surges, and has worn some bits of you out! think tyres on a car, or oil in a car, when you have been on a huge mountain rally - they gonna burst or run out baby - and as humans, so do we!!!

from my own experience, i say take the meds to help repair the areas in the brain that are depleted of vital chemicals, but also, look seriously at preventative and maintenance behaviours - nutrition, exercise, rest, meditation, massage, and of course, talk therapy WHILE on the meds. build yourself up again, and BE KIND TO YOURSELF. its okay to break occasionally. thats why god invented tears, and hugs, and other people's shoulders, and tissues, and couches and talking and sobbing. he wants you to use them when needed!!! once the brain has achieved equilibrium (around 6 months to a year), then you can work to keep yourself from getting so stressed and run down that the problem re-emerges.

one thing research has shown is that if the person actively engages in their own therapy, and lets people in, to help, the process can be less difficult.

finally, if your beloved mum and dad were threatened with deadly conditions, your beloved sister had had a baby after so many many years of stress and anguish and grief - why would you not be depressed and anxious for a while. its okay to be human, and fragile, and vulnerable, and to need help.

Interesting post. I must confess I think I am one of those types who don't suffer from depression. I have been depressed many times in my life, and once after a miscarriage I pleaded for ADs but the doctor said he didn't believe I was clinically depressed (a decision I actually respected)

That is all a preface to say that I don't know exactly what everyone else is going through. But, I do have a problem with one of the most common arguments used in favor of ADs. the suggestion that, If you had asthma/osteporosis/ etc etc etc, you name it, you'd take a drug for it, so why not depression.

Actually, it has been well documented that medicine of all kinds are over prescribed. Years ago menopausal women were told that hormone replacement therapy was almost essential. Then it was linked to cancer. Millions of women have gone on medicine to treat lost bone density, only to discover that it made their bones crumble. Heart medicines once approved by the FDA have been pulled from the market, found to cause heart disease. The examples go on and on and on. And this is not to mention all the nasty drug interactions, all the older people who live in virtual stupors because they are on so many meds. Not to mention all the kids getting high out of their parents medicine cabinets. Not to mention all the drug overdoses caused by legally-prescribed drugs. See a pattern.

So, while I am certain that ADs have saved lives and made many other lives more livable, I am just as certain that they are widely over-prescribed. If South Africa is anything like the U.S., it is a pill popping nation. This stuff can be bad for the liver, bad for so many reasons. No it is not always bad, but I feel that your attack on the skeptics is a bit unfair.

I refused to take antidepressants for years. Had I taken them sooner I would likely have a whole different life. Yet I remember how hard it was to take the first one. I wish I understood why. I know reasons but most of them had to do with other people's judgments (mental illness was not accepted as illness within the religious community I was in at that time).

Just for the record, for a person who needs pain meds, pain meds are not addictive. Pain meds are addictive when used improperly. So many people fear taking them because they think they will be addicted. They really are ok. I see this fear so much in my work, from people who just had surgery or a serious injury. It's ok.

Another thing about antidepressants that really helped me when I needed them and was afraid: I read that (and from my experience on nearly every one that is available) antidepressants aren't fun meds. They have side effects. In general, a person who needs an antidepressant will handle the side effects because they feel better on the med. But if you don't really need it, it won't do anything for you at all except cause side effects, and you are very unlikely to take it. It helped me feel better that my body would know. In my case unfortunately the doctors were a bit clueless, but I also had a lost more involved situation than depression (bipolar, PTSD, and a few other fun diagnoses). On the other hand, I take meds a lot more scary than antidepressants now and I can vouch that I don't care about side effects because it's pretty nice to not have my life be a living hell.

Great post! I enjoyed reading it! My mother once told me that if you take a drug frequently your body gets immune with it that sometimes it won't take effect anymore. I don't know if that is true.

Well, my issues is that they don't solve anything. They make you feel good for the moment but it doesn't fix the issue. To me, they are just like drugs for ADD - way over prescribed.

Is Mel the happy clapper? I'd try spiritial healing before mind alter/mood drugs. I know the Bible speaks against pharmakia, so there is some confusion on how we are to handle these drugs as Christians.

I need some crazy drugs. I've had them before. And I need them again. Take the pills!!!!

I was on AD's after my bf got shot and they didn't agree with me, i was getting head aches, nausea, Insomnia, and the list goes on, i tried about 4 diffrent kinds and i had the same reaction with all of them, then my doc put me on a sedative called "Xanor" i think this medication was created by a genius, it helped my anxiety and NO side effects it was great. I was having such bad anxiety attacks that i coudln't move. I was literally paralysed, some times for a few seconds sometimes for upto 10 minutes. If you sis doesn't want to take the AD's maybe suggest the Xanor to her, whatever she decides i hope she feel better soon.
P.S Love you blog

I think it is very important to understand why one needs the medication. In your sister’s case, she is clearly burnt out, and the whole stress has caught up with her. The serotonin in her brain has been demolished by this stress, causing the anxiety.
I used to be VERY anti anti depressants. Then my son was born prem and after 9 weeks of N.I.C.U, I crashed. Badly. I went onto medication (Cipralex), and within about 9 months the depression was all but a bad memory. My anxiety was so bad that for the first time I understood why people commit suicide. I think without medical intervention I would have jumped off a cliff.
My sister-in-law had bad PND. She refused to go onto meds. She believed with exercise and good eating she would come right. She did. But, it took 3 years.
However, I believe that going on and off medication is potentially very dangerous. Once on the meds, one should be weaned off very slowly and ensure that this kind of medication only gets taken under the supervision of a good psychiatrist.
A holistic approach is definitely the way to go, especially if you want to get to the route of the problem.

The whole stigma re ad's I do not understand - if your head hurts you pop a pill (well I do) if you have a heart condition you pop a pill.... so why can't you medicate if you are depressed/stressed?? A very simplistic way of looking at the whole debate I know - but really now, if meds are prescribed by your health care provider and used as prescribed I fail to see what the issue is.

Lizelle, you see not all of us are like that.

If I have a headache the last thing I do is pop a pill. First I'll try to work out WHY I have it. Do I need to drink more water, are my eyes strained, am I tense, have I had too much (or not enough (meaning less than usual)) coffee etc etc. Address the CAUSE not just treat/mask the symptom with more chemicals.

If I had high blood pressure I would look at weight/diet/exercise etc first. Look at WHY you have that condition. A lot of us like this approach first.

I never 'just pop a pill' ever. I only do so for migraines, because I get pretty debilitating ones, and medicating makes the difference between 8 hours of pain vs 24-36 hours. But even then I do other things to work on why/when they strike and I have been migraine free (and therefore med free) for many months now.

That said I too have a serious seratonin depletion issue at present which is affecting my quality of life so I have been looking for some help to increase this faster than I can on my own to get me over the hump. Sometimes we DO need help.

But blinding 'popping a pill' because 'it's a disease' and 'my doctor said so' is not the answer. Certainly not the only answer and certainly not for everyone.

Just my 2c ;)

"Sometimes exercise, positive thinking and 'being grateful for what you' etc is not enough"

Well said.

Also, sometimes knowing the cause of the anxiety/depression doesn't do diddelysquat to "fix" it.

I usually know why I am depressed, but it doesn't change the fact that my brain automatically goes to "depressed" as its fall back mode in times of stress and has for 25 or my 36 years. Even the most concerted efforts on my part to understand and avoid or understand and alleviate don't change that fact. I don't know WHY I am programmed thus, but I am.

That said, not everyone needs a/ds to overcome an episode of depression or to deal with anxiety, but many people do and if taking a little pill every day for 6 or 9 months helps them get over it faster/better/easier, than I'm all for it. I can't see any point in suffering just for the sake of not taking medicine.

There's a couple of things where one has to hit rock bottom before you actually take the first step to get better. Seeing an infertility specialist is one (ok, you're the exception here :) but most people live in denial and maybe-this-month hope a bit longer than sanity). Other one is stopping some addiction (my mil had to wake up with an oxygen mask in the hospital on death's door before she stopped smoking). And AD falls with those. And, like all the others, once you do take that first step, you can't believe why you didn't do it long ago. But it is still hard. I think especially for someone where prayer should be all that is needed. Give the old girl some time...

My cousin is one of those idiots who believe diet etc can fix everything!!! Well going from being one of the fittest healthiest people I know with a VERY healthy lifestyle to having a massive stroke!!!(Bloodpressure meds are for druggies) Well he now needs to relearn to write!!!

Take the #$@%$^% DRUGS!!!!

Sorry for being so straight forward but I nearly lost it after my little one was born and had to take meds for a while but I am off them now (no withdrawal symptoms -sorry to dissapoint all you "DOCTORS" out there) and I am doing well!!!!

I agree with you 100%...when I lost my mom I was in hyper mode all thru the 2 year long illness and final days. I handled it all...I was the rock for the whole family. I even the planned and spoke at her funeral. I did it all while still holding down a full time job.

Then 2 months after her passing I FELL TO PIECES, a million little itby pieces. My husband never knew what he was going to come home to...the crying wife, the out of control cleaning wife, or the wife staring at the wall.

I had to quit my job, got into therapy, started on anti-depressants.

It took 6 months to just feel normal again.

It took almost 1 year before I was able to go back to work (much better job, by the way).

But as you said, I finally realized I couldn't do it all, I needed help. There is no shame in needing help.

You are a great sister...she is lucky to have you, just as you are lucky to have her. I love the way you take care of each other.

My doc had a great way of helping me through a similar concern.... No one would ever expect DH to just pull it together instead of taking Diabetes pills. In my case, the chemical imbalance in my brain is not going to be fixed just because I will it to. I've been though diet, therapy and such. All the items I had control of have been altered, but I just cannot will the chemicals to behave! So back to the meds.

Over the years, I've tried many scripts and can definitely say that each one is very different - if the first does not work/ is unpleasant try another. It's like cutting your hair - you can always grow it out and start over.

A few notes on herbs and vitamins from a **non-medical** person....

There are two main chemicals in your brain that effect your moods: Dopamine and Seratonin. If either or both is too high or too low, you'll feel out of balance, depressed, anxious or such. Herbs and vitamins effect these -- take the one that moves the problem chemical back towards center and it's great -- take one that moves it the wrong way or effects the other chemical and you won't. For this reason, I cannot take St. Johns Wort, but vitamins B6 and B12 do wonders.

So, don't despair if the 'cure' that worked for someone else does not work for you. Find out from a proper doc or psychiatrist what your situation is before attempting to self-medicate.

I haven't read all the previous comments, but just want to say "BRAVO!", I agree with every word you've said, Tertia. I too have been very frustrated with family members and friends who have refused to try anti-depressants, and yet show every symptom of depression and I believe could be incredibly helped by them. Some people above have said "how can a pill change my situation"; clearly they really don't get it... the pill *doesn't* change your situation; no one says it does! You'll still have to deal with it. But you'll be better able to deal with it if your brain chemistry is working correctly, and you have all of your "best self" available to tackle whatever situation is troubling you. I guess what really bugs me (bewilders me!) is that some people are not even willing to TRY it! So if you don't like it, then quit, but what's the harm in giving it a try??? Something that could totally transform your life; make you feel 100% better, and you're not even willing to give it a try? I truly don't understand...

Prozac is the greatest invention EVER. It gave me back my happy life. End of story.

Just my opinion Tertia, but I think that once again this is a cultural issue.

In the US and Canada, ADs are now prescribed for just about everything, from excessive peeing, to back strain, by GPs who have no experience with diagnosis and quite often do a lot of damage. ADs ARE an excellent treatment for people with actual depression, but they don't work for diarrhea and constipation, and I don't care how many drug companies say so.

ADs work for major and minor depression, but they don't work for bipolar disorder for example, until a mood stabilizer is started first. They can, in fact, make bipolar people manic. They can also make people with PTSD have serious anxiety attacks. (Which is why propranolol is a better med for PTSD.) And they have absolutely zero effect on ADD/ADHD.

The key is getting the right diagnosis and the right treatment. I love my ADD meds, and they have made my life absolutely wonderful, but they might suck for someone who isn't ADD. But when you have an entire medical culture devoted to handing out only one kind of drug and no others, there will be people who resist the overwhelming pressure on patients.

For example, my GP keeps referring me to shrinks for assessments. Three different ones have now confirmed that I am NOT depressed, and that for me, ADs are not the right treatment and would not help at all. Other meds would, or special therapies, but not ADs. But she keeps offering me ADs at almost every visit. Why? Because that's what doctors do in the US and Canada. When I had a bone and jaw infection in my skull, it took two years of begging to get antibiotics and surgery and painkillers. They were quite willing to give me ADs, bucketfuls in fact, but refused to treat the actual problem. (They did not believe it was real.) I ended up with a bone graft. Not clear how ADs would have helped that.

I would love for every ADD person to try meds, and I know they are almost never diagnosed and almost never treated, and the stigma is huge. But if the person doesn't have the correct diagnosis, it won't help at all.

There is something over the counter called 5HTP which is the natural precursor to seratonin. It is the main ingredient in anti-depressants, but doesn't include other things like mild tranquilizers that you might find in a prescription anti-depressant.
It is very effective.

Poor Mel, I think you are right, she has just momentarily run out of steam from all of the events of the year. I think a key thing to remember is that she has tried the things that normally work for her (all healthy things) and this time they are not working. She knows herself and this is different. So a short course of medication along with, hopefully, some therapy, and all the other things Mel already knows are beneficial to her, may help over this rough patch. She's got genetics against her too if anxiety seems to run in the family. Feel better soon, Mel!

Excellent comments from Ruth and Aurelia; thank you!

A very thorough history, and testing if necessary, by a good psychiatrist is essential for prescribing the best medical treatment. Not a GP, a GYN, or internist, either.
Holistic treatment can include psychotherapy as well as a range of other holistic supportive approaches like meditation, massage, movement classes (like yoga, tai chi, Pilates, whatever), nutrition and vitamins, reducing avoidable stressors, increasing social support and spiritual health etc.

What most people don't or won't understand is that major mood disorders are not a symptom-----the symptoms are the result of the disorder. A brain function disorder may result in acute symptoms such as inability to function at work, as a parent, to sleep, even to drive a car safely.
The mood disorder is the CAUSE of the symptoms. Medical treatment addresses the disorder in the brain that is malfunctioning. Seritonin or Dopamine re-uptake or other malfunctions are repaired by the particular medication prescribed.

And a course of treatment is not usually effective, may even cause more problems, if used for a couple of months, or by going on & off constantly as some people do.
Some people's brains can re-train themselves to function correctly, some don't seem able to. But it's likely to be 6 mos, if not a year or even longer to get lasting benefit & reduce relapse potential.

Another MAJOR issue to be aware of is that longterm untreated or under-treated mood disorders have been shown to cause actual brain damage.

Lots of people with them have been physically fit, super-healthy diet, spiritually & socially active, whatever some folks think are the missing ingredients, and still been overwhelmed with malfunctioning brain chemistry. It is simply not a moral issue----it is a medical one for many, many people.

I will be sending her my good wishes and prayers

Tertia ADs are a new thing. Invented by drug companies to make more money. You do not need them - exercise, have sex, eat well and that will straighten whatever the doctors have screwed your head up with. Your sister is correct.

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