STRUGGLING with DEPRESSION, ANXIETY, or BIPOLARITY? LEARNING can really HELP. Start with ARTICLES above or Topics below. Ty! Bill

“Maybe I Need Meds!?” 15 Think-It-Overs

Your anxiety has been giving you fits. After last night’s E.R. fiasco you’ve been saying to yourself, “Maybe I need meds!?”

No doubt about it, we human-types don’t care much for pain. Got a headache? Pop a pill. Stomach upset? Pop! Sore throat? Pop! Depressed? Pop! Anxious? Pop!

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did those last two come from? Depression and anxiety up the “Pop!” ante big-time. Enter (hopefully) some serious decision-making.

Throat Lozenges They Are Not

When it comes to depression and the anxiety disorders, the meds du jour are the antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and the benzodiazepines.

Popular antidepressants include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), venlafaxine (Effexor), and bupropion (Wellbutrin/Zyban).

For reference sake, click here to read the first article in my need-to-know antidepressant series.

Amongst the atypical antipsychotics are aripiprazole (Abilify) and quetiapine (Seroquel).

The benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium).

Throat lozenges they are not. So if you’re kicking-around the idea of taking meds for depression and anxiety, forget knee-jerk reactions and snap decisions. Each and every med you may be prescribed has potentially life-altering side-effects and risks. And that’s in the immediate, as well as down the road – even after you’ve quit taking them!

Antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics can generate weight gain, sexual dysfunction, headaches, stomach upset, and nervousness. And the aftermath of discontinuation is no picnic.

The benzodiazepines may bring drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, and withdrawal.

15 Think-It-Overs

Perhaps you’re the one who’s saying, “Maybe I need meds!?” If you are, please consider the following…

  1. What are the true bottom-line reasons you want to turn to meds?
  2. Are you dealing with annoying and inconvenient symptoms or life-interruption (equals disorder)?
  3. Are your pain and emotions trumping reason and good-common-sense?
  4. Are you opting for the easy way out?
  5. If you were to go with meds – and if they knocked-out your misery – would you be robbing yourself of a defining growth opportunity?
  6. Have you researched other treatment options?
  7. What are others in your position doing to manage?
  8. Could you improve your lifestyle habits? Diet, exercise, stress-management, substance use (or abuse)?
  9. What are your goals and expectations regarding meds?
  10. Are they realistic or fantasies?
  11. Are you prepared to do some thorough research? What’s your plan?
  12. What are the risks and side-effects of the meds you believe will help?
  13. Are you aware that meds without therapy is often a disappointing proposition?
  14. Are you willing to participate in therapy?
  15. If so, use it as a relief starting point. It may end-up being the answer. If it doesn’t work as quickly as you’d like, you and your therapist – as a team – can consider a meds option.

Over and Out

I know from personal experience that depression and anxiety can bring great pain – the kind of pain that begs for a very quick fix. How natural it is to repeat and buy-in to, “Maybe I need meds!?”

Who knows? Meds may turn out to be the answer for you. But there’s just so much to pause and consider before giving-in to those knee-jerk reactions and snap decisions.

The next time you’ re tempted, come back to the 15 Think-It-Overs. You’ll be glad you did.

  • I thought you all should know how bad Prozac can really be. I have been depressed almost my whole life and was originally on Lexapro but it just wasn’t doing it. My dr. switched me to Prozac and i was on prozac for about 2 months. That’s when things got really bad I was having crazy suicidal thoughts and violent out bursts. I didn’t know why! I am a very nice person and usually stay at home. One night i attempted suicide and had to be rushed to the ER. While I was in the mental health ward my amazing therapist came to visit me and she had done some research on Prozac.

    The FDA has actually linked prozac to many violent acts causing people to be put in jail, making depressing worse to the point of death and even worse sever birth defects. I couldn’t believe it. Prozac is supposed to be helping people not make them worse!

    On a happier note i am back to normal for me at least. I am not in the middle of a law suit against prozac along with thousands of other people. My therapist has been very supportive even finding my this free lawsuit referral site- referer.us/7/FkVbM1.

    They have been extremely helpful! Hope i could help. Prozac might owe you too! make sure you do something before the class action lawsuit expires though.

    • Hi Harmony – and welcome to chipur. Your sharing means a lot to chipur readers, as well as me. Your story is compelling. I don’t know the frequency of reactions such as yours, but we sure as heck know there’s a black box warning on all antidepressants regarding suicidal symptoms in those between ages 18 and 24. It’s of no surprise to me that violent behavior presents in some. You know, that’s what’s so frustrating about meds for the mood and anxiety disorders. It’s a crap shoot, pure and simple. What works wonderfully for some, turns out to be a nightmare for others. I’m so glad to read you’re “back to normal.” I appreciate your sharing the lawsuit link for those who may want to check it out. I’m so pleased to read your therapist has been so helpful to you. And the fact that she visited you in the E.R. is really cool. That’s the way it should be! Thank you for visiting and commenting – your sharing is what chipur is all about. Hey, glad that suicidal episode didn’t work out!

  • JBz

    I just saw a Psychiatrist with experience in Neurobiology and Psychology. He prescribed me with Paxil –he was also the second specialist I’ve visited. They talk about Paroxetine as being the best option for Anxiety/Depression. I am very concerned about taking it -still. Especially after I read about the “zaps” and other potential problems. I am taking Counseling and I’m also self-coaching but mI’m still on “pause” because a) I’m not getting any better yet and b) my life has to move on.

    • Hi Jorge! Good hearing from you – thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad you’re pursuing counseling, self-coaching, and the advice of a psychiatrist (the second time). Given the side effects of paroxetine you’re concerned about, I don’t blame you at all for not taking it. Your statement about being “on pause” interests me. I don’t know how many counseling sessions you’ve had, but have the two of you agreed upon the criteria to qualify for “getting better?” Are you comfortable with your counselor? Regarding “my life has to move on,” well sure it does. But are you saying you’re going to just drop treating your anxiety? Help me understand that statement. Again, good hearing from you.

      • JBz

        Hi Bill! thank you for responding. I believe that anxiety is going to go away as I work on it. The “how” is still my question. I am putting to practice what I’ve learned so far (relaxation, distraction, diet, etc.) but something is still missing. The Counselor has several years of experience in the field and I do feel comfortable with him. However, he told me about numerous success stories of people who have taken Paxil but after reading so many “bad” things about it I am still hesitant to try it. In one hand, I could be wasting my money by not following instructions but in the other hand I may end up getting worse by trying it.
        The “getting better” would be the end of obsessive/irrational thoughts and regaining self-confidence. According to the Conselor I need to try meds and therapy.

      • Glad you wrote back, Jorge. I have no doubt your anxiety will go away, or be very well managed, as you work on it. The techniques you list are all going to help; however, the most noticeable results will come from ongoing work with your counselor. Now, the Paxil issue. Do I believe taking Paxil will help you along your path to recovery? Yes, though it will take several weeks before you notice measurable relief. Does that relief come at a physical price? Yes – in the form of potential side effects and discontinuation issues. I know that’s quite a bit to throw on the balancing scale, but that’s how it is. It doesn’t sound to me like you’re comfortable taking Paxil just yet, so don’t. Continue working with your counselor and let things evolve. Regarding ending your obsessive/irrational thoughts and regaining confidence – I know for a fact both are realistic expectations. But it takes time. Interestingly enough, perhaps it’s your obsessive/irrational thinking that’s keeping you from doing the Paxil thing. Keep on keeping on, Jorge. And as long as you feel comfortable with your counselor, stay true to the relationship.

  • Anonymous

     Hi! What if, I did once have off-the-rails anxiety and have been properly medicated and stabilized for quite some time, and would like to be med-free at some point?  When does someone know that it MIGHT be ok to _stop_ using medication?

    • Hi, and welcome to chipur. Thank you for the visit and comment. Primo question! My first thought is it “might be ok to stop” anytime. Now, we have to be realistic. The specific meds involved is a huge issue. An antidepressant is one thing – the addition of a benzodiazepine (Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, etc.) is quite another. My point is, the use of benzos often gets in the way of learning strong and lasting coping skills. I mean, there often isn’t the need. Tell you what – before I give my final answer, may I ask what meds/dosages you use? Again, thanks for your visit and comment…

      • Anonymous

        hey Bill,

        I am prescribed Klonopin .50/daily, but actually toggle .50 with .25 every other day to maximize my motivation/cognitive process while minimizing my anxiety.

        I’ve been working with a therapist in talk therapy,  but not at attacking the specific symptoms that led me to choose medication.

        Best,

        dummy_profile821 ;)

      • Glad to hear you’re working with a therapist. I hope the two of you have an effective working relationship. I’m thinking you know that a sudden cessation of Klonopin can have some nasty and dangerous withdrawal consequences. So if you decide to stop taking it, please see a physician first. I applaud anyone who strives to move on without meds; however, let’s not be hasty. You say you haven’t addressed the specific symptoms that led you to taking medication. Since you’re working with a therapist, tell her/him you’d like to do so with the goal of coming off the Klonopin. If you and your therapist have a good working relationship, the two of you could put a nice plan together to handle biz. I’m glad you replied to my question – helps everyone…

      • Anonymous

        thanks for the tip. I think the sessions have kind of been free-floating & not directed towards specific skills, but I’m ready to go there now.  It seems that it’s easy in therapy to drift to ‘problem of the week’ and not the meta-picture.

      • Good for you. Make a list of the skills you want to develop and share them with your therapist. And the two of you can check ’em off as your work ensues. I enjoyed our exchanges – keep us current on your progress…

  • lisa

    I THINK ALL ANTIDEPRESSANTS ARE DANGEROUS AND COME WITH A PRICE.I HAVE HAD SO MANY NEGATIVE REACTIONS TO JUST ABOUT ALL OF THEM.PROZAC LANDED ME IN THE HOSPITAL WITH HIVES AND A SWOLLEN THROAT AND TONGUE I COULD NOT BREATH.IT WAS VERY SCARY,I FELT LIKE I WAS EVEN MORE DEPRESSED,AND I TRULY WANTED TO KILL MYSELF,IT WAS NOT A GOOD FEELING.THEY MESS WITH YOUR MIND.THE THING THAT REALLY BOTHERS ME IS THESE DOCTORS SAY WELL THEY ARE ALL DIFFERENT SO YOU NEED TO KEEP TRYING DIFFERENT ONES.I AM TO THE POINT I WILL NEVER TAKE OR TRY ANOTHER ONE EVER AGAIN.I GET ANXIETY JUST THINKING ABOUT IT.AND I KNOW SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO PROBLEMS WITH ANTIDEPRESANTS.WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT.I LIVE WITH CHRONIC BACK PAIN,WHICH CAUSES MOST OF MY DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY ALSO HAVE FIBROMYALGIA.I JUST STARTED TO SEE A COUNCLER,TOMMROW WILL BE MY SECOND VISIT.I HOPE SHE CAN HELP ME.ALSO I HOPE WE CAN CONNECT SOME HOW.ITS LIKE FINDING A DOCTOR.I NEVER BEEN TO ONE BEFORE SO THIS WILL BE NEW TO ME.TAKE CARE EVERYONE.AND I HOPE WE CAN ALL FIND OUR WAY THROUGH THIS.AND PRAY SHE DOES NOT PUSH ANYMORE MEDICATION ON ME.

    • I’m glad you’ve started with a therapist. And I truly hope the two of you connect. That means everything in a therapeutic relationship. Lisa, be sure you tell her what you want to do and where you want to go. Sure, a good therapist’s direction is valuable, but it’s your life and you’re paying the bill. Be proactive in your work. Please let us know how things are going. Glad to have you on board!