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Medication Management: Antidepressants

Often, I like to share situations that I run across in my work as a social worker to share with others who are suffering with illness of various kinds. Because we have touched on the relationship between depression and IBS on more than a few occasions, I thought to share some thoughts regarding taking antidepressants that some of you folks might find interesting. I am not a medication pusher, I don’t work for the pharmaceutical companies and I honestly believe that in many (not all) cases, natural remedies, proper diet and health can overcome most things. That said, there are times when antidepressants can be a life saver. Knowing what to expect when considering this medication is, however, very important.

It gets worse before it gets better

This article will not discuss the positives and negatives of various antidepressants. It will also not deal with the various classes of the drug. My thoughts today are based completely on a conversation I had with one of my client’s with major depressive disorder. She has never been able to take her medication for more than a couple of weeks. The doctors and therapists have labeled her as ‘non-compliant’ and difficult. After speaking to her for a while, we both came to a couple of conclusions. The first important observation was that when you are depressed, you have no energy, you feel hopeless to a degree, sad, lonely, unmotivated…depressed. Saying you don’t feel good is an understatement. The second observation was that most high profile antidepressants (Zoloft, Prozac, Effexor, Paxil, Lexapro, Wellbutrin), will to varying degrees make you feel like crap during the first few weeks (maybe up to a month or so). You got your nausea, lethargy, dry mouth, brain fog, etc. So, try to wrap your mind around this. Picture yourself struggling with IBS, anxiety is bad, life is not going so well and you become depressed. So now you feel like absolute poopy. Do you want to take something that will make you feel WORSE for four to six weeks before you may or may not feel better? I thought not. But…if you can muster the strength, maybe you should try.

Antidepressant is trial and error

Finding the right antidepressant is a trial and error thing. I have tried almost all of them and only two or three work for me. And they work really well for depression. Life savers. The others simply didn’t agree with my body chemistry. Because we are all wired so differently it may take several attempts to fine what works for you, which means (yep) that you will have to weather the storm each and every time you need to try something else. Who knows, maybe you’ll find the right one on the first try and that would be great. Maybe you won’t. If you decide that your depression has gotten so bad that diet and exercise will not yank you from the depths, just try to find yourself some support and realize that the journey is not going to be over in a day or two. Please don’t let this keep you from trying though. We’ve all put a lot of hard work in managing our illnesses. This is just one more of those things. Persevere, my friend. Persevere.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.