Antidepressants and the maggots of the mind

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Tubetec

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I know this is a topic I've covered before , I do accept others have diametrically opposed views on the subject , having said that I'm still interested in peoples views/experience on the subject ,whether they agree with my point of view or not.

I recently found out an elder relative of mine has been sectioned(hospitalised for psychiatric reasons) , despite living a good life , working hard in their job , providing very well for family. Around 2 1/2 years back, shortly after the loss of a twin  , was recommended to take antidepressants. 

Steadily his state of mind degraded to the point where the meds no longer worked , voices in his head screaming as loud as fog horns ,  what started as a natural low experienced in the loss of his twin brother has turned into what appears to all around  like full blown bat shit crazyness. Ive seen this happen before ,many times, the difference here is this person had no history of mental illness untill he hit his mid 70's and was prescribed a pill for what we as humans have been dealing with since the dawn of time , the grief of loss .
Instead of hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of years of humans coming to terms with loss ,some bright spark in a suit has a better idea , lets prescribe highly addictive meds that really dont make you well at all. In fact ,as far as I can see do the exact opposite . Of course we normally reserve the word 'Junkie' for people addicted to illeagal drugs , people who've been prescribed legal junk dont often consider themselves drug addicts at all , neither do their doctors .

Im certainly not trying to give medical advice here , if your on the pills and you want to come off its not as simple as just stopping , cold turkey. Even if you wean yourself off  gradually you most likely will still experience a rocky road on the way down . For those with youth on their side , do not be fooled into thinking that a pill or any other drug can 'fix' you  if you happen to have underlying unaddressed trauma from darker times past . Ive seen many in the absence of a talking cure take 20-30-40 years off their lives with drink, dope or pills of one sort or another ,legal or illeagal .

Despite the loss of my mom a  little over 5 months ago now I still enjoy my few drinks of an evening,  a few joints on occasion too , thankfully my doc knows better than to try and get me on the Happy Pills  ;D

Ive always been a very outspoken person since the year dot , I know for a fact if i'd not have had the gift of self expression and the brazeness so say what exactly I think I'd have a brain like Swiss cheese at this stage .

David  :)
 

living sounds

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Sorry for your loss. I (and as far as I know the medical consensus) agree, that generally antidepressants should not be prescribed for an exogen (caused by external factors) depression.

But we have no idea about the actual facts of the case you mentioned. That's for medical experts to decide - who might have been wrong in this case - but we're neither qualified nor properly informed to make that assumption.

To me it sounds like there was an underlying psychiatric condition that actually worsened despite the drugs he was given. But that's just guesswork.

Also, antidepressants are generally not considered addictive.

For many people these medications are a godsent, it's one of the main reasons far fewer people have to be instituationalized today than in earlier times.
 

Dualflip

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I've been taking anti-depressant/anxiety pills for about 5 years, in that time I gained A LOT of weight, can't entirely blame the pills for everything but they certainly contributed to it. They do help me live a normal life, I once tried to quit cold turkey, the first days were ok, probably because the substance was still in my body, after a few days I waked up in the middle of the night sweating, shivering and with the worst case of anxiety ever so I had to go back. Im not taking benzodiazepines which are addictive AF, but still, I am addicted to the thing so be careful.
 

john12ax7

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It's truly unfortunate,  but too much of health care is dictated by the pharmaceutical industry.  Doctors are often way too quick to write a prescription for things that are better solved by other means.
 

ombudsman

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There are reasons why doctors make decisions based large scale studies and not anecdotes. The human brain is inclined to prioritize anecdotes from people we know or have seen far out of proportion to information we have about larger numbers of people. Your experience and observations simply are not that reliable and may not mean what you suppose even if they were reliable.

There is nothing unusual about a person in their mid 70s hitting a wall of cognitive decline, dementia, or other conditions, and no particular reason to blame antidepressants.

This is not to say they don't have occasional bad side effects or aren't prescribed incorrectly or based on poorly conveyed/described symptoms.
 

Dualflip

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john12ax7 said:
It's truly unfortunate,  but too much of health care is dictated by the pharmaceutical industry.  Doctors are often way too quick to write a prescription for things that are better solved by other means.

Absolutely agree with you, many things would be solved by healthier habits, excercise, good diet, and I don't want to turn this into a religious thread but in my case my belief in god has helped me a lot.

It's quicker and easier to swallow a pill than making a significative and meaningful change in your life, I know it because I take the the pill... sad but true.
 

okgb

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I've seen a few people on this horror rollercoaster ramping up & down on different meds trying to get the dose right with the least amount of side effects, even when it's ok sometimes it doesn't last and then another round of up & down.  Personally I'd have to 100% believe that I needed it and it would help.
 

Winston OBoogie

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I think 'horses for courses' is important, along with 'first do no harm'. 

I take a rather high daily dose (600 mg*) of Pregabalin for epilepsy.  This medication is also sometimes prescribed in lower doses for generalised anxiety.         

I also take a high dose - the maximum recommended (60mg) - of Paroxetine which is an SSRI.  This I take to stave off  the worst of the demons from clinical depression.

I've been taking both these medications solidly for almost 10 years.  There are side effects for sure, the biggest for me has been an enormous weight gain over the last decade.  But without them I don't know what kind of mess I'd be in.

My own personal biggest problems with taking SSRI medications came when I was living in the US and frequently couldn't afford to buy what had been prescribed, which led to on-again, off-again patterns and abrupt discontinuations of meds.  Most of those experiences were hellish. 

* Edit I've just checked online and this too (600mg) seems to be the maximum recommended dose in the UK.
 

Winston OBoogie

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P.S.  I forgot to address David's point about 'talking therapies' being more beneficial than pills in dealing with past trauma.  Or recent/any trauma for that fact.
I absolutely agree with this view.  However, some people may need a little temporary help from "pills" to get them through the worst of the crisis they find themselves in.  Something that helps enable them to actually get out of bed and make their way to the therapist's office to do the work of talking through the things that need talking through.

I've spent $thousands+ on therapy in my life thus far.  Money well spent.  It certainly helped me deal with issues which were preventing me from living a good life. 
But whether through nature or nurture, it just happened that, after all was said and done, my particular synapses still need a little help from the pills. 

I hope your elderly relative is able to find peace David,  however that may be.

Take care. 
 
 

boji

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shortly after the loss of a twin
 

Can only imagine it's like broken heart only way worse, as it's been shown the brain patterns of a "jilted lover" measures a whole lot like the experience of a family member dying.

Since we know twins have a 'special, strange connection', losing your twin must have the lost love component plus death of a family member, only it's the mirrored-self that has died.  :(    Incomprehensibly tragic.  Sorry to hear about that TT.
 

ruffrecords

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What really annoys me about regular doctors is their propensity to go for the easiest diagnosis and treatment. In my own case, back last millennium, after 20 years as a high powered international technology consultant and co-founder of a multi-million pound business, I had a 'nervous breakdown'. I found sleep was near impossible with the problems of the day forever circulating in my head plus a dread of attending meetings of any kind. The doctor said I was depressed and put me on anti-depressants. I did not like them at all - they seemed to wrap me in cotton wool and I could sleep 20 hours a day. I kept going back to get them to try something different but nothing worked and I just stopped them. Fortunately I was able to take early retirement and settle down by the seaside. But I still got panicky all the time and the thought of any type of confrontation was unbearable. The I happened to read an article in the newspaper about the male menopause. The listed symptoms were exactly what I was experiencing. After a difficult meeting with my doctor I managed to persuade him to give me a blood test. The results a few days later showed my testosterone levels were clinically low. To cut a long story short it turns out I had developed a shrunken pituitary gland which is what controls the creation of testosterone. Since then I have been on a course of testosterone gel and I feel like a new man. It turns out that shrunken pituitary glands are quite common as you get older.

Moral of the story is the symptoms of depression are actually also the exact same symptoms of several other physical problems.

Cheers

Ian
 

crazydoc

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ombudsman said:
There are reasons why doctors make decisions based large scale studies and not anecdotes. The human brain is inclined to prioritize anecdotes from people we know or have seen far out of proportion to information we have about larger numbers of people. Your experience and observations simply are not that reliable and may not mean what you suppose even if they were reliable.

There is nothing unusual about a person in their mid 70s hitting a wall of cognitive decline, dementia, or other conditions, and no particular reason to blame antidepressants.

This is not to say they don't have occasional bad side effects or aren't prescribed incorrectly or based on poorly conveyed/described symptoms.
Right on.
 

boji

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Thanks Ian for sharing, I have someone close to me that had super low testerone levels. Too young he thought, but in fact suffered from severe depression and anxiety due to it. Injections have since reversed his symptoms.
 

john12ax7

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ruffrecords said:
What really annoys me about regular doctors is their propensity to go for the easiest diagnosis and treatment.

Exactly.  It's interesting that this is common across different countries with different medical systems.

Thanks for sharing your story.
 

ruffrecords

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boji said:
Thanks Ian for sharing, I have someone close to me that had super low testerone levels. Too young he thought, but in fact suffered from severe depression and anxiety due to it. Injections have since reversed his symptoms.

The good news is that the local hospital in Norwich is also a university hospital and students often spend time with local doctors talking to real patients about their medical issues. I was invited to talk with students once a year about my experience. Hopefully I primed a few doctors to be into an awareness of the alternative causes of depression like symptoms.

Cheers

ian
 

iomegaman

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Everyone gets older and age has its mental difficulties as well as physical, one size does not fit all.

Medical professionals are probably spread quite thin as well, so short-cuts optimize THEIR day and anecdotal medical approaches might be rules of thumb where no thumbs should be used.

I will only add this thought that comes as reflection on the current world state gyrates the pools of thought...

Most modern cultures have moved away from "mourning"...we simply do not deal with grief and death and failure the way the ancients did.

Pretty much all of the ancient religions created ESSENTIAL space to mourn loss...many of the more traditional cultures still practice some sort of recognition and honoring of the transition from life to death...

We simply do not know how to mourn anymore especially in the West...its inconvenient, its burdensome and time consuming so it doesn't fit into our neat little virtual lifestyle...

I suspect there is a LOT of latent anger and depression building up across the world due to the covid deaths...in the USA we have over 200,000 dead (many will argue "cause of" but death is not fake, there are real death numbers there and they are exponentially higher than the norm) and many of those deaths were not honored with any sort of traditional funeral process.

If you look into the older Jewish poetry recorded in Psalms and Job you find a lot of energy devoted to mourning and anger at God...regardless of what you believe about a higher power there is something healthy about yelling at the unfairness of it all...we are forced to live with the concept of fairness because culture mandates it...but we no longer know how to adequately divest ourselves of "unfairness"...mourning used to be that release...

We've been operating without any sort of relief valve for the chaos and debt of mortality...cynicism can only take you so far and after a point your emotional capacity to enjoy life begins to suffer...hence the drugs...and substance abuse...

"Maggots of the mind" can also infect the emotional battery reserves of our earth suit...

I don't know...I can remember going to wakes as a kid or "sittings" as they were called...very depressive, but final as well...

I think mourning was the ancients way of taking the excess current of depression to ground...we've lost that.
 

Mbira

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I am on antidepressants.  They have helped me tremendously.  I have also stopped taking them for about 6 months, and there was not any bad withdrawal symptoms for me.  I just found that my mood slowly returned to the state that it used to be before medication (IE, I slowly started viewing the world in a more negative way). I am a supporter of antidepressants, and while obviously they don't work for everyone, I am in favor of things that help the vast majority of people. 
 

Tubetec

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Interesting and honest perspectives , thank you all for taking the time to reply .

I know of one person who uses the Pregabalin , not for depression or fits but for nerve pain , he did seem to get some relief initially on a smaller dose , over time the doc increased the dose and with that some side effects became apparent, mainly lack of concentration and possibly a feeling of detachment at times . Also somewhat unpredictable effects if mixed with moderate enough amounts of alcohol (although thats probably against the makers advice).

I think thats a good point too Iomega, covid in particular has changed our long standing customs and traditions surrounding death . I was always the kind who made sure I stood alongside family in times of grief , Id always make time to go to funerals of older relatives and support my mom in particular . On the other hand my younger brothers reply when asked if he would attend was always , 'Well I didnt know that person at all , why would I show up at their funeral'. Unfortunately his ability to empathise and even imagine himself in someone elses shoes was damaged by persistant bullying that happened back in school days , the reality of which he has only begun to deal with in recent years .

My moms passing during the height of lockdown ,although not covid related , made a tough situation even more difficult , the shaking of hands and hugs and kisses of relatives and friends makes a huge difference at a time like that. I can only hope that on her one year aniversary I can assemble family and friends to give her the send off she deserved .



 

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