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antidepressants and brain damage

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#1 noahfor


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Posted 19 December 2005 - 02:07 AM

I have heard alot of people on other forums talking about antidepressants causing permanent brain damage or permanent down regulation of serotonin receptors. Is there any truth to this? I am afraid to go back on medication because I feel like they might mess me up for the rest of my life.

Also, one of my symptoms is loss of interest in loved ones. I feel extremely disconnected from people. When I'm around people that I know, I don't even feel like I am. Is there one medication that is better at treating this kind of thing, or is it subjective.
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#2 Guest_art.chick_*


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Posted 19 December 2005 - 03:45 AM

I cannot comment on the relative safety of all ADs, but if you are seriously worried about long-term Side Effects (SEs), it is good to request to stick with meds that have a longer proven track record for safety. The Pdoc who handled my workers comp case tended to prescribe the same 2 meds to most of his patients because he found that, even if they were not effective, at least the patient could discontinue their use suddenly if they were not happy with them and have no long-term after-effects. Depending on what is going on with you, you may be able to take something that has been proven very mild over several decades. Ask about that when you are with your Dr.

Also, the loss of interest in loved ones is often a part of depression, just like the disinterest in formerly enjoyable activities. Depression makes our world pretty grey. Do not feel guilty about this. It is actually normal for someone with our problem. I do not know if a specific med could turn around your lackluster enthusiasm, but an elimination of certain stressors in your life may free up some of your brain cells to latch onto the good times as they occur. What stressors impinge upon you right now?

#3 Sheepwoman



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Posted 19 December 2005 - 10:03 AM

I have been on ADs for over 20 years. I have not heard of them causing brain damage. As AC said you may want to check with your pdoc or maybe your pharmacist? I have mild brain damage; however, it is not drug related and the ADs do not seem to affect it. The older tricyclic ADs have a long history, you may want to ask your pdoc about these.
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#4 davidstone32


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Posted 19 December 2005 - 06:46 PM

Best to do a Google. There are lots of different types of ADs. Some people respond well to some types whilst others have no effect. There's also tapering of dosage, so you might start on a low dose, then higher dose etc. Lots of information at the National Institute of Mental Health website.

#5 Eatmorchicken222


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Posted 19 December 2005 - 07:18 PM

I havent heard anything about brain damage besides one forum that talked about taking volume but that is a pretty serious drug. Now on the other hand there are symptos that yes may make you feel disconnected, and can cause a heapful of other side-effects that can be from dry mouth to double suicidal behaivior.

Also there are many anti depressants but out of the 13 that i know of i have not heard anything bad about Chlomipramine(may be spelled incorrectly) or Lexapro

Edited by Eatmorchicken222, 19 December 2005 - 07:22 PM.

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#6 noahfor


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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:20 PM

I don't think they cause brain damage in a cognitive sense, but everyone knows that they can possibly "numb" a person, and I'm worried that the numbness I feel now is a result of being medicated in the past. I'm also worried that it will change me in some negative way, and I won't know it because I will have forgotten what life is supposed to be like. I realize that none of this stuff is certain, and may not even be possible.

What about this "permanent down regulation of serotonin receptors?" Anyone know anything about that?

Thanks for the replies.

#7 twistedemotions



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Posted 19 December 2005 - 11:33 PM

I've taken Effexor for nearly 7 years. I am a pretty d*** smart guy and haven't noticed any change in that manner. If anything depression seems to cloud my mind and make me more stupid.

Effexor however has some nasty side effects when getting off of it, and i've tried a few times. It's hell for me. Though the problems never are mental effects that I would describe as ruining my serotinine system. No crash back into depression. Just all kinds of wierd stuff (loss of equilbrium, electrical feelings, massive headaches).

#8 noahfor


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Posted 20 December 2005 - 12:16 AM

To answer my own question, I was just reading something that said that permanent downregulation is what makes antidepressants effective in the long term.

#9 firelizardee


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Posted 21 December 2005 - 12:05 PM

I have heard and do think its true some meds do mask our emotions. Thats why at the Therapeutic Community I'm at we are encouraged to discontinue certain meds when we feel ready to.

As far as causing permancent brain damage, well I have read somewhere that some ADs do change the brain strucuture ie they create new pathways Ii think but can't remember where I read it), but then so does talking therapies and studying and using the brain. OUr brain changes every day with just normal life. New pathways are made and old ones are discontinued (don't quote me and I can't think what the source might be and I do not have any medical or biological training so I may be talking rot.)

Have you the source of your findings? Is it a reputable source?

Edited by firelizardee, 21 December 2005 - 12:08 PM.

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#10 Forum Admin

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Posted 21 December 2005 - 06:20 PM

I have heard alot of people on other forums talking about antidepressants causing permanent brain damage or permanent down regulation of serotonin receptors. Is there any truth to this? I am afraid to go back on medication because I feel like they might mess me up for the rest of my life.

Also, one of my symptoms is loss of interest in loved ones. I feel extremely disconnected from people. When I'm around people that I know, I don't even feel like I am. Is there one medication that is better at treating this kind of thing, or is it subjective.


Perhaps this article below will calm your fears a tad. :hearts:


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#11 LeonaFeroz


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Posted 01 April 2006 - 06:54 PM

GLAD I foud this!!!
I have discontinued my meds couse I thought I was pregnant.
I have been off of them for at least 3 weeks, (don't really want to get back on them). Was on Wellbutrin XL 150mg/d Approx. 10 weeks and Lexapro 10 mg/d for about 3 or 4 wks. I had not thought to call my symptoms "Brain Damage" but it sure may sound a bit like it. I'm slower in speech processing, thinking, greatly decreased focus (veeeery distracted), memory, and alertness.
Now there are other symptoms which I attribute to being depressed again/still. I'm feeling sad, flat affect, sleepy/tired, got mood swings, become easily frustrated/angry/dessperate, and i'm over eating. I am going through a very difficult personal situation, got a new job with increassed responsiblility, and soooo stressed that it has my immune system on the floor. I really think the meds got my brain out of wack :hearts:

#12 Tempesta


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Posted 01 April 2006 - 07:08 PM

Hmmmmm, I haven't heard of brain damage. I have heard that with certain anti-depressants you can't drink cause they may cause seizures. I couldn't take Wellbutrin because it caused my stomach to hurt terribly. Also Effexor caused me to have major headaches. Some I can take, some I can't. I am not on anything right now and should be. I hate when I come off of them, I seem to feel worse then when I started them, so that is part of the reason I don't want to be back on them.

I wish I had some better answers for you. Hope you all find the answers you are looking for. :)

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#13 Lizzy



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Posted 18 April 2006 - 10:08 AM

What do you consider 'long' term? My dad has been on ADs for over 50 years. He now has neurological signs typical of Parkinsonia - but he does not have Parkinson's disease. He has been tested by a neurologist and the letter was returned that his symptoms are due to long-term anti-depressant medication.

Because people are living longer i.e. beyond their late 50s early 60s, we are dealing with pro-totype situations in elderly health care. So people may well sustain different types of 'damage' from long-term use of many drugs for lots of illnesses. The test will be treating the side-effects sustained!

I would rather run the risk of brain-type damage and live a life with my hubby. I could be run down by a bus in the morning if I actually step outside - but if I am too ill to step outside, I won't be going anywhere at all ...... not even anywhere to find a bus!

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#14 Chester Cheetoh

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 08:22 AM

I have found that Celexa and Lexapro have really dumbed me down.

I certainly hope this is not permanent.

#15 bijou


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Posted 03 April 2008 - 11:37 AM

i wonder about this a lot... i've been on different psych meds since i was about 13... and i think i used to be sharper.. i also did a lot of drugs in my teens, so it's hard to say which one is responsible... but i do kind of feel burned out and a little slow..

#16 kirkwuk



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Posted 12 April 2008 - 02:56 AM

I'm pretty sure if you Google anything you will get something which will increase your anxiety even more.
Beating depression since 2007

#17 gentle sun

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 07:54 AM

Gee I sure hope not. Ive been on Paxil 15 years and now Wellbutrin 9 months. I have to say my vocabulary used to be pretty good. Now, I cant think of the word I want to say. I really dont feel very sharp like I used to be, but its been so long, maybe its just the normal aging process.

Some news I heard that might make us feel a lot better!!!

I recently read that Depression can cause Brain Damage if not treated. I can believe that. I forget where I read that. But, I did write it down and it was recently. Maybe if I wasnt taking meds, I would remember. Just Kidding :hearts:


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#18 T on C

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 08:14 AM

I don't think it's brain damage per se but more of a physical nature (damage) due to the brain zaps that are still coming on after being off of a SSRI for a year. Pdoc, Neurologist and GP are still at a loss to explain fully what the med did to me, and I'm still getting the shocks.
The meds I'm taking now are keeping me even with no noticeable loss of memory or motor skill functions and besides an occasional shaky feeling that pops up every few months.

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#19 Burgy


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Posted 16 April 2008 - 09:41 AM

Recent studies have shown that antidepressants actually repair the brain.

Google "antidepressants" and "neurogenesis" to read more about it.

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#20 Waynef48


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Posted 26 May 2008 - 09:49 AM

I'm just coming off Effexor for the second time, for the same reasons, too expencive and i hate the side effects, but more so, because the reason for taking them was to numb the loneliness i feel not having a woman in my life. I realised that anti-depressants were just a band-aid on a severed leg and that untill i got the "love of my life" all the anti-depressants in the world were just a waist of time and money, hence as i said again why I'm coming off. I'm also coming off because of the fear of the posibility of "brain damage" as I've heard and read reciently,...hope it's not true. I just don't know what to believe anymore, some say yes it does, some say no it doesn't cause brain damage, who do i believe?????

#21 DeeBear


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Posted 26 May 2008 - 09:26 PM

I'm a member of Mensa, the high IQ society. And I've been taking meds for most of the last decade, and was taking a higher dose when I took the IQ test to get in. I tried coming off of them because I convinced myself I didn't need them - and quickly began to lose all ability to concentrate. My mental faculties declined to the point that it took me forever to read a simple paragraph - I'd read the same sentence over and over again, trying to comprehend, but I couldn't. When I went to the doc and was put back on meds - well, after months of struggling to find the right one, anyway, my mind became much sharper, more focused, again. I do have trouble recalling names, and sometimes have trouble finding the right word, but my mind is much clearer on meds than it ever was on depression.

I still can't find the remote, though.....

But I do know that meds can make you very foggy headed, that was one of the reasons I wanted off of them the first time - but found that I didn't have that foggy feeling with the meds I'm taking now. If your meds are making it difficult to concentrate, then perhaps another med would help more? It has for me, anyway. I know for a fact that going off meds doesn't help me, though, and I'm not doing that again.....

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#22 UnOccupied



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Posted 15 March 2009 - 05:28 AM

Im not sure if im allowed to post links on these forums, sorry if im not, but heres a very good website related to that....."Please PM member for Link" ....if that article doesnt interest you, you should browse the website, its very informative.

#23 tomtensfarfar


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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:10 PM

I'm also worried about this, but permanent damage seems unlikely. Anyone have something to add? Calm me down please.

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