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      National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2016   05/01/2016

      Proclamation 9433 of April 28, 2016 National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2016 A Proclamation Nearly 44 million American adults, and millions of children, experience mental health conditions each year, including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress. Although we have made progress expanding mental health coverage and elevating the conversation about mental health, too many people still do not get the help they need. Our Nation is founded on the belief that we must look out for one another—and whether it affects our family members, friends, co-workers, or those unknown to us—we do a service for each other when we reach out and help those struggling with mental health issues. This month, we renew our commitment to ridding our society of the stigma associated with mental illness, encourage those living with mental health conditions to get the help they need, and reaffirm our pledge to ensure those who need help have access to the support, acceptance, and resources they deserve. In the last 7 years, our country has made extraordinary progress in expanding mental health coverage for more people across America. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against people based on pre-existing conditions, requires coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services in individual and small group markets, and expands mental health and substance use disorder parity policies, which are estimated to help more than 60 million Americans. Nearly 15 million more Americans have gained Medicaid coverage since October 2013, significantly improving access to mental health care. And because of more than $100 million in funding from the Affordable Care Act, community health centers have expanded behavioral health services for nearly 900,000 people nationwide over the past 2 years. Still, far too few Americans experiencing mental illnesses do not receive the care and treatment they need. That is why my most recent Budget proposal includes a new half-billion dollar investment to improve access to mental health care, engage individuals with serious mental illness in care, and help ensure behavioral health care systems work for everyone. Our Nation has made strong advances in improving prevention, increasing early intervention, and expanding treatment of mental illnesses. Earlier this year, I established a Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force, which aims to ensure that coverage for mental health benefits is comparable to coverage for medical and surgical care, improve understanding of the requirements of the law, and expand compliance with it. Mental health should be treated as part of a person's overall health, and we must ensure individuals living with mental health conditions can get the treatment they need. My Administration also continues to invest in science and research through the BRAIN initiative to enhance our understanding of the complexities of the human brain and to make it easier to diagnose and treat mental health disorders early. One of our most profound obligations as a Nation is to support the men and women in uniform who return home and continue fighting battles against mental illness. Last year, I signed the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which fills critical gaps in serving veterans with post-traumatic stress and other illnesses, increases peer support and outreach, and recruits more talented individuals to work on mental health issues at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This law will make it easier for veterans to get the care they need when they need it. All Americans, including service members, can get immediate assistance by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or by calling 1-800-662-HELP. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, we recognize those Americans who live with mental illness and substance use disorders, and we pledge solidarity with their families who need our support as well. Let us strive to ensure people living with mental health conditions know that they are not alone, that hope exists, and that the possibility of healing and thriving is real. Together, we can help everyone get the support they need to recover as they continue along the journey to get well. NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2016 as National Mental Health Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-eighth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fortieth.  
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ILMBRMCS

What Do Antidepressants Feel Like?

17 posts in this topic

Posted

I am new to the anguish of depression and am facing taking antidepessants. I have heard so many things about them that I don't know what to think. So what sensation do you get from taking the medication? Does it actually make you feel normal/right again? Can you feel all the things that depression keeps you from feeling? Do you feel happy or just numb?

Thanks,

Tony

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Posted

Hi Tony,

I had all the same questions before I took antidepressants. I was afraid of side effects, and "losing myself". But I have to say that once I made it through the typical 6-8 weeks that it takes for side effects to fade and antidepressant effects to fully kick in, I've never felt better. I'm the same person, minus the depression. So I suppose you can say it's true, ADs "alter" you, but in a good way. Now that my depression is in remission, the more positive aspects of my personality have been able to come forward and grow stronger. I still have the whole range of emotions, but they're more in proportion to the situation. There is no longer a dark cloud hovering over me 24 hours a day. My emotional baseline has been lifted from miserable to neutral, or what I would describe as "reasonably content". And from that new "normal" resting state, I can feel happy or upset, when appropriate, and then come back to neutral.

Most of the bad stories about ADs come from the first few weeks of use. Unfortunately the side effects come first, and when you add that to the depression you're already feeling, it can be very discouraging. But if you can just bear with it for at least 6 weeks, the side effects will fade and you'll get to the good stuff. Some people give up too soon, and it's really a shame. I'd suggest distracting yourself as best you can until you get through the startup phase. I can honestly say that I've never felt better in my life. Depression runs in my family. I inherited faulty wiring or brain chemistry or whatever, and I need ADs to correct it, just like a person with diabetes needs insulin.

I know it can be intimidating, but try to be positive and give ADs a chance. DF has been a big help to me, talking to others who have gone through the same thing. Please keep us posted on your progress.

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Posted

Antidepressants can be very challenging to wrap your mind around -- at least, that is how they are for me. Even in trying to describe them I have difficulty. I think it's important to remember that they work over time and you are experiencing a gradual change. Unlike pain killers you take for a headache, there is no immediate gratification with AD's. Instead, it's a slow process of becoming yourself again. It's not changing into something else due to the medication, a common misconception and one that I had for quite sometime. It's getting rid of something that shouldn't be there; the depression. It's not always obvious that the medication is working and often times other people are the first to notice a difference, well before it dawns on you that things are getting better.

And of course, everyone is different. I have been lucky and have never experienced many side effects from the various medications I have been on. I haven't been 'numbed out' by any medicine I have encountered either. But some people have, and some people struggle with the initial side effects when starting any new medication. If your depression is bad, I would always say give an antidepressant a try. If you don't like it you can always stop.

-boo

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Posted

I've taken about 5-6 different types of anti-depressant, all SSRIs, spread over a span over about 10 years with a period of 6-7 years during that time when I was medication free. So, it's hard to give a single overall perspective because different drugs did - or didn't - do different things.

Firstly, the positive... I currently take Cymbalta, which is the first drug i've taken that's successfully improved my mood without generating a side effect that, for me anyway, was intolerable. Cipramil alleviated my symptoms, but unfortunately it also ruined my sleep - it caused me to have extremely vivid and distressing nightmares, and I couldn't seem to sleep for more than 1.5/2hrs without waking up. Ergo, I never entered 'deep' sleep and so felt exhausted much of the time.

Anyway, I guess the word I would use to describe how Cymbalta has made me feel is 'balanced'. My moods still swing, but nowhere near as extremely as they used to - the highs aren't so high, but more importantly the lows aren't so low. I feel calmer because my anxiety disorder has also improved as a result of the drug. It's not a miracle cure - I still have bad days and, frankly, August was a bad month, but nevertheless the improvement between now and before I took the drug is undeniable. I don't quite have the same mental energy as I used to have, and need to sleep more than I used to, but these side effects are prices worth paying. I also have less sexual desire, which is another common side-effect, but i'm different from most people in that I see that as a positive rather than negative thing.

Something else I would say from my experience of different types of anti-depressant is that while i'll echo what Suburgatory and Boo have said about persevering with your treatment, while it's considered a relatively normal side-effect for there to be a slight worsening of mood when initially starting medication, you MUST go back to your doctor if your state of mind dramatically worsens. This happened to me when I was prescribed Cipralex, and when I told my doctor he put me on a different drug and I improved quite quickly.

Other drugs i've taken - Seroxat, Prozac - simply didn't do anything for me in terms of mood. I had some side-effects (one thing that every anti-depressant i've taken has done is cause me sexual dysfunction), but in myself I didn't feel any better or worse.

You might be thinking that my appraisal isn't as positive as i'm thinking you might have liked, but please don't... I just feel that it's only fair to warn you of the side-effects, and besides there's every chance that you'll be like Boo and not suffer too badly from them. However, I must emphasise that I consider the benefits of how I feel now to have been worth the trial and error process of finding the right medication for me and enduring the various side-effects.

One final thing... if you take one, two, perhaps even more, types of anti-depressant but none of them help you, please don't give up. It took 5 or 6 goes to finally find something that worked for me... hopefully you'll be lucky and your doctor will be right first time, but if not keep going because i'm sure there'll be something out there for you.

All the best Tony.

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Posted

I am new to the anguish of depression and am facing taking antidepessants. I have heard so many things about them that I don't know what to think. So what sensation do you get from taking the medication? Does it actually make you feel normal/right again? Can you feel all the things that depression keeps you from feeling? Do you feel happy or just numb?

Thanks,

Tony

Hello Tony,

Has your psychiatrist or GP prescribed meds for you at this point? If so, what are you or what will you be taking?

Regards,

Sarah.

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Posted

I am new to the anguish of depression and am facing taking antidepessants. I have heard so many things about them that I don't know what to think. So what sensation do you get from taking the medication? Does it actually make you feel normal/right again? Can you feel all the things that depression keeps you from feeling? Do you feel happy or just numb?

Thanks,

Tony

Hello Tony,

Has your psychiatrist or GP prescribed meds for you at this point? If so, what are you or what will you be taking?

Regards,

Sarah.

i'm taking Symbyax now, but i have been using Zyprexa, Seems like it made a huge impact, Only down side is Increase of appetite, weight gain, and Loss of sex drive.

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Posted

Thanks Everyone,

Hi, Sarah, my GP prescribed me Cymbalta once before I was really bad and it made me feel mentally numb as well as physically. I gave it up after two weeks because I didn't seem to be getting any mental benefit. It sounds like I should have given them more time. The second time was when I came back from my aortic dissection, coma etc. and have crippling horrifying life threatening depression. I took only one pill, after a lot of consternation, and had a panic attack that night at which time I took a xanax and went to bed. Scared me out of going further.

After getting to the point where I couldn't stand it any more, I decided to go to a psychiatrist, since they are supposedly the experts, and he gave me Zoloft 50mgs to start with the understanding that I'd probably go up to 100mgs in another ten days. I asked my GP about this the next day and he deferred to the psychiatrist and said continue with the Zoloft. I'm now sorry that I didn't try the Cymbalta longer because I'll always wonder if it would have worked better if I'd given it a chance.

It's only the second day and, although I actually had a bit of relief last night, though far from perfect. Have had a miserable morning and I've come out of it slightly now. I was at the end of my rope when I started this. I really hope something works BTW does anyone have an opinion on Zoloft Vs. Cymbalta?

Thanks So Much,

Tony

I am new to the anguish of depression and am facing taking antidepessants. I have heard so many things about them that I don't know what to think. So what sensation do you get from taking the medication? Does it actually make you feel normal/right again? Can you feel all the things that depression keeps you from feeling? Do you feel happy or just numb?

Thanks,

Tony

Hello Tony,

Has your psychiatrist or GP prescribed meds for you at this point? If so, what are you or what will you be taking?

Regards,

Sarah.

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Posted

I ALSO WANT TO MENTION that I suspect that a heart/blood pressure medication I'm taking might be responsible for my depression. It's possible that it's not too, but I was in a coma when they started giving me these things, so I wasn't really around to perceive the change. The thing is, though, that I've read a lot of people say that they definitely developed depression after taking these drugs. It's also listed as a possible side effect although some studies (by drug companies?) say that it isn't so. I believe the individuals, though, because they know their own bodies and what they're feeling regardless of studies that may or may not be biased. I want to take a trial in getting off this medication and taking something else instead, maybe an ACE inhibitor or calcium channel blocker, but my GP and cardiologist are against this. I've read people actually stop cold turkey on these meds without even going over it with their doctor, which seems a bit crazy because you can die. If I do it, it will be at my insistence but with some sort of alternative prescription. Only problem is that now that I'm on an AD, how will I know what's causing the change if there is one? I'd like to say what the medication is. Perhaps the admin will tell me if it's allowed.

Thanks Everyone,

Tony

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Posted

I gave it up after two weeks because I didn't seem to be getting any mental benefit. It sounds like I should have given them more time.

You should definitely give it more time than that. The first 2 weeks are the worst with ADs, because all the side effects come on full force, and you're not getting any antidepressant effect yet. After the 2 week mark, the SEs start to fade, as the antidepressant effects begin to ramp up. At about 6-8 weeks, most of the side effects are gone, and the positive benefits have reached full strength. If you only gave it 2 weeks, you weren't feeling any benefit, only side effects. I know time seems to creep by so slowly when you're suffering, but you have to be patient, and just try to distract yourself for a few weeks. Don't base your opinion of an AD on how you feel the first month.

Only problem is that now that I'm on an AD, how will I know what's causing the change if there is one?

It's true, unless you make only one med change at a time, you'll never know for sure what caused what. But I'd say that as long as you find relief from depression, it's all worth it. Some people stop ADs after a few months of remission and they're fine, while others like me have to stay on them. You could always try going off the ADs sometime down the road (with a doctor's supervision, of course) and see how you feel.

I'd like to say what the medication is. Perhaps the admin will tell me if it's allowed.

Yes, you're absolutely allowed, and encouraged, to talk about your specific medication. We also have specific forums for each med, so you can have a look in there and post, and get responses from others on the same med. We just like to remind people that everyone responds differently to ADs, so we don't want people to say one is better or worse than another. But please, talk about it, and feel free to tell is how your med is affecting you.

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Posted

Hi ILMBRMCS,

That's interesting you say that about the heart medication because I am on two types of heart med, a betablocker and an anti arrythmia drug also.

I feel my depression was partly caused not by the drugs but by the feeling so ill for ages before getting a proper cardiac diagnosis which is now much improved and the hospital do not want to see me unless the gp says I need to go back.I lost what little confidence I did have.

I had got to the stage where I was not sleeping, I was lying on my bed most of the day and feeling wretched. I don't think the heart meds caused the depression at all.

love Daisychain.

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Posted

Hi Tony (ILMBRMCS),

My name is Marco, I'm a newbie. I live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For the last five (5) years I didn't have the awareness that I was actually suffering from anxiety, and mild depression. I finally came to me senses, and asked for help. I felt extremely vulnerable and weak at the time... :bump: I'm not too sure what the true contribution was towards my anxiety, but in South Africa we unfortunately have to be continuously concerned about the crime...which I presume didn't help!

My Doctor prescribed 1x 10mg tab per day Cipralex and 1/2 tab twice per day (morning and evening) Zopax. The first 2-3 months for me was fantastic. I didn't have a care in the world. I could actually pin point all my worries/concerns, and tackle each one at a time. Unfortunately, this sensation dissipated by the 5th month, but at least a developed a deeper level of awareness to understand how I should be feeling. I'm currently weaning off the medication now. I'm currently on my 7th month and taking 1/2 tab of Cipralex per day, and I only use the Zopax for emergencies. I've still been having my ups and downs, but I'm trying my best to maintain my sanity...i'm at least better than before. The Zopax has been a true life saver, especially for my anxiety. The Zopax puts everything into perspective...just by chewing 1/2 a tab...carrying it around in my pocket makes me feel calmer, since I know its there as a rescue medication.

Anyways...don't feel skeptical about the AD meds. We all have to realize we at least have the courage to take care of ourselves. Just remember that one should never depend on the meds for life, unless truly required, either way we must dig deep to find inner peace and fulfillment. :hearts:

Best Regards,

Marco.

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Posted

Hi,

Yes, the medication in question is, indeed beta blockers. First I was on Coreg and then switched to Atenolol after reading that it supposedly has the least side effects. I read that Atenolol doesn't seep past the blood brain barrier and so doesn't get into your central nervous system as much. The switch has not made the depression subside. But all beta blockers have been reported to cause depression as far as I know. If I hadn't been in a coma when they started on them, perhaps I'd have a better idea if they're a factor or not. At this point, I can only go by what others have said. If there is a chance, though, that I could be well simply by changing a medication (monitored by doctor) I have to look at that. Maybe they won't even let me. I hope this isn't the case but I also hope I don't have a heart episode or stroke. I'm told that everyone is different. One person can do great on a med while it could be the pit of hell for another. In any case, all input on the subject is greatly appreciated.

Let's All Be Well,

Tony

I gave it up after two weeks because I didn't seem to be getting any mental benefit. It sounds like I should have given them more time.

You should definitely give it more time than that. The first 2 weeks are the worst with ADs, because all the side effects come on full force, and you're not getting any antidepressant effect yet. After the 2 week mark, the SEs start to fade, as the antidepressant effects begin to ramp up. At about 6-8 weeks, most of the side effects are gone, and the positive benefits have reached full strength. If you only gave it 2 weeks, you weren't feeling any benefit, only side effects. I know time seems to creep by so slowly when you're suffering, but you have to be patient, and just try to distract yourself for a few weeks. Don't base your opinion of an AD on how you feel the first month.

Only problem is that now that I'm on an AD, how will I know what's causing the change if there is one?

It's true, unless you make only one med change at a time, you'll never know for sure what caused what. But I'd say that as long as you find relief from depression, it's all worth it. Some people stop ADs after a few months of remission and they're fine, while others like me have to stay on them. You could always try going off the ADs sometime down the road (with a doctor's supervision, of course) and see how you feel.

I'd like to say what the medication is. Perhaps the admin will tell me if it's allowed.

Yes, you're absolutely allowed, and encouraged, to talk about your specific medication. We also have specific forums for each med, so you can have a look in there and post, and get responses from others on the same med. We just like to remind people that everyone responds differently to ADs, so we don't want people to say one is better or worse than another. But please, talk about it, and feel free to tell is how your med is affecting you.

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Posted

Ah, yes, I remember you mentioning that before. I have no personal experience with beta blockers, but maybe you could find some help in our "Other Medications" Forum. I don't feel qualified to say anything about that kind of medication, but hopefully you can find people who've had experience with it. Best of luck to you, Tony.

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Posted (edited)

I found anti-depressants very hard to get on and even worse to remove from your system. Everyone is different taking these pills, but for the first month or so I didn't sleep, so the paranoia of hoping I would sleep at night sent me crazy (especially with working). Then over time when I had them in my system, I developed severe physical side effects which made me more miserable and self-destructive. Yes, it can sometimes take a year for side effects to manifest. I am coming off them now and have had hurdle upon hurdle to jump. I would not advise going on anti-depressants unless absolutely necessary, and would advise analysing the problems at hand first and trying your best to conquer them naturally with exercise, diet etc... I know some people swear by anti-depressants but they are not a 100% success story.

Edited by kirkwuk

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Posted (edited)

I have been prescribed a beta-blocker (Propranonol) a few months ago for anxiety. At first it seemed to work well. It eased my anxiety. I felt better. My phone anxiety basically disappeared. However it made me lethargic, so I stopped taking it.

I have now been taking Paroxetine (Paxil) for almost a week. I started off with 10mg, then the pdoc told me to increase the dose to 20mg. After maybe 3 days I started experiencing a unexpected and totally unmotivated feeling of well-being. :bump:

The side effects I have had so far are somnolence and dry mouth. Guess I'm lucky... :hearts:

Edited by lynx

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Posted

My betablocker [for other heart probs] is Propranalol and I also take Fleconaide for an arrythmia [barlows syndrome]

I will be on them for life now.

The Citalopram is hopefully just helping me over a bad patch as a lot of stuff landed on me at once.

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Posted

Hi Tony,

I had all the same questions before I took antidepressants. I was afraid of side effects, and "losing myself". But I have to say that once I made it through the typical 6-8 weeks that it takes for side effects to fade and antidepressant effects to fully kick in, I've never felt better. I'm the same person, minus the depression. So I suppose you can say it's true, ADs "alter" you, but in a good way. Now that my depression is in remission, the more positive aspects of my personality have been able to come forward and grow stronger. I still have the whole range of emotions, but they're more in proportion to the situation. There is no longer a dark cloud hovering over me 24 hours a day. My emotional baseline has been lifted from miserable to neutral, or what I would describe as "reasonably content". And from that new "normal" resting state, I can feel happy or upset, when appropriate, and then come back to neutral.

Most of the bad stories about ADs come from the first few weeks of use. Unfortunately the side effects come first, and when you add that to the depression you're already feeling, it can be very discouraging. But if you can just bear with it for at least 6 weeks, the side effects will fade and you'll get to the good stuff. Some people give up too soon, and it's really a shame. I'd suggest distracting yourself as best you can until you get through the startup phase. I can honestly say that I've never felt better in my life. Depression runs in my family. I inherited faulty wiring or brain chemistry or whatever, and I need ADs to correct it, just like a person with diabetes needs insulin.

I know it can be intimidating, but try to be positive and give ADs a chance. DF has been a big help to me, talking to others who have gone through the same thing. Please keep us posted on your progress.

Thank you, needed this :)

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