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sunmicroman

Do Antidepressants Actually Work?

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I have read many threads here on how this AD or that AD doesn't work and the many that people have tried. Do any of them actually work?

Also, if they do work, what is the best you can expect? To be just flat or actually be more like your normal self again?

This can get quite disconcerting seeing the problems people have with them.

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Yes, they can make a very significant difference for a lot of people.

But they're tricky. Some people do better on some than others. And they take time to work.

There's a lot of trial and error involved. And you have to be patient... while feeling miserable. It's hard, but it can be worth it.

Remember also that, in general, people are more apt to post when they are having difficulties than when they are doing well. Ever visit a tech support forum? You won't find too many "my product is working great!" posts. :)

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How do they work though?

Just make you feel numb enough not too care or actually make you feel whole again?

Depends on the person and the medicine.

And it's rare for medicine alone to be the entire answer. Often you still need to work on your thoughts and emotions.

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The idea that antidepressants just make you hollow inside isn't true. It happens to some people but if it does and that doesn't change after a time, a competent doctor is going to find them another option, that is not a way to live.

Unfortunately it is a lot of guesswork for those of us who are suffering. Although anxiety can more or less be instantly cured by the right dose of benzodiazepines from the first day except for severe cases but antidepressants are quite a different matter.

Your brain chemistry is not going to be permanently rewired. The unfortunate truth is that many people discontinue antidepressants too early or unnecessarily because that is exactly how they are viewed. Chemicals like serotonin, norepipinherine, and dopamine can alter things like emotions, motivation, self-esteem but their balances don't fundamentally change who you are as a person.

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The issue with many antidepressants is that they take 4-6 weeks for any significant improvement. Moreover many depressive bouts are very short lived (1-2 weeks) and therefore it feels like the antidepressants had absolutely no effect. From the research I did when I was in college; it seems like they don't even really curb your depression they just reduce your "aggressiveness" in said depression. That is to say, they don't improve your mood they just reduce some of the side effects of your mood. However, without the side effects of your mood your quality of life improves which may help you feel better.

I am of the opinion that antidepressants are an effective controller but they are much like antihistamines. In other words they do nothing for the symptoms right now but can help them from occurring in the future. Furthermore I believe that some people suffer hollowness or even worse symptoms when on antidepressants due to the perception that it isn't working. This is sort of like how many people drop asthma control inhalers because they don't feel the "high" that a rescue inhaler delivers.

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I can't speak for anyone else, but antidepressants have worked for me, and worked when nothing else worked. I do not believe I would be alive today without antidepressant medications. I have found them to be the difference between merely second to second survival and the ability to live again, really live, really be myself again, to experience the full range and intensity of human emotions. That does not mean that I was not helped by psychology or therapy or exercise or nutrition or any thing else. All helped me and help me still. But I feel that in my case, antidepressants were the key to getting myself back again. I feel so indebted to those medical researchers who created antidepressant medications that I have little copies of their photos on my refrigerator along with some pics of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists.

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I've been on ADs for many years and they do work. I hate the fact that I have to be on medication, but it's better then dealing with severe depression.

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I've been on ADs for many years and they do work. I hate the fact that I have to be on medication, but it's better then dealing with severe depression.

I most definitely agree with this, although I have only been on AD for about 4 days I must have found the right one because I am already noticing improvements amongst my sick/headachey/spaced out feelings, and I am only on 10mg of Citalopram (Arrow) daily.

Edited by Rayniverse

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I got lucky with the first AD that I tried. I started Zoloft twenty years ago and am still on the same dose that I started with on day one. There wasn't even a generic for it when I started the drug, thats how long ago it was. It worked wonders for me and turned my life around. Although I have some small side effects from taking Zoloft such as sexual side effects, it's a small price to pay for the benefits I get in return. I've tried several times to get off it and I've even tried other types of SSRI's without any success. I sort of realize I probably with be on Zoloft for the rest of my life. I've recently been focusing on diet / excersize as a means to improve my mental well being with some success. For me Zoloft seems to flatten things somewhat, but that is certainly better than the alternative hell I lived in the past. I'm always searching for other ways to improve my mood without taking meds. Who knows, perhaps one day I will stumble upon the correct recipe to rid my self of AD's for good.

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It has always been difficult for me to assess whether a medication works or not. The only one I knew for sure that something was happening was Parnate, a dinosaur of a drug that affects neurotransmitters differently than you standard SSRIs. I've been on many antidepressants in the past, including the Lithium I take now (to what effect I don't really know).

What I would say is if there are a lot of circumstances that are causing your depression, medications won't be very effective. If instead everything seems to be in order in your life and you still feel down, medications could work wonders. Just my thoughts.

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For myself Zoloft has worked very well. It has taken away my severe anxiety which caused my depression. Getting though start up side effects was rough but I pushed through, and some side effects still linger but on a much milder scale. The AD hasn't changed who I am as a person but it has enabled me to function again and be productive instead of laying in bed worrying about everything, crying all the time, and hating life. I suffered for years and finally went on meds, best thing I ever did. For me I do have moments of feeling numb but overall I am happy again and positive about the future.

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I’ve been on different ones at different times, and YES, THEY WORK! When they have worked well for me, I feel like my old self again — not flat and emotionless.

Often, when you first start taking an anti-depressant, you might feel flat at first before you start to feel better. You just need to give it time. Or, it could be the wrong med or dosage for you.

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I've been taking Zoloft for about two years now. It's a low dosage that I'm on, and I probably should get it increased, but I honestly don't see a point. I've mentioned elsewhere on this website how, in my opinion, anti-depressants are more for the benefit of those around somebody with depression, rather than actually helping to alleviate said depression.

Based on my personal experiences, anti-depressants cause you to suppress your depressive behaviors, but don't remove (or even lessen) depressive thoughts. You're still as unhappy as ever, but the medications limit your ability to express that. Personally, I think that's at least partly why there are so many anti-depressant related suicides.

I continue to take it mainly because I'm afraid of what will happen if I stop. It's a low dosage, and I don't really find it effective, but I'm sure it does have at least some influence over my moods and behavior. I'm extremely low most of the time as it is. I don't want to, you know, end up doing something I might regret.

To sum it up, they don't really solve any problems. They just sweep them under the rug. Everything that was previously there is still present, it's just hidden from view.

Edited by TheVengefulOne
grammar; additional info

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I stole my mother's tablets because I thought they would make me feel better. I thought they did but then if they really had helped I probably wouldn't be posting. I think though personally I became too dependent on them so I'm sorry I can't be more help if  you need them you should maybe try them. But don't become dependent on them. 

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It's tough to get an accurate portrayal of anti-depressant effectiveness online since most success stories are unlikely to spend their time on depression-related forums. There tends to be a negative bias towards them, which is not to say the bad reviews are unwarranted.

The best summary on AD effectiveness is one a psychiatrist mentioned during a visit: 'They tend to work 50% of the time at about 50% of their efficacy". Some people do experience a life transforming effect that bounces them back into vitality and a meaningful existence. Many notice some improvement, but not to a degree where they would consider themselves 'cured'. And there are some who gain no benefit or even, find their condition worsens.

Personally, they have been a double-edged sword. Some of the best moments in my life have been while on anti-depressants. Conversely, the worst moments in my life, including a couple of suicide attempts and visits to the psychiatric ward, have also been while undergoing AD treatment. 

They truly are a matter of YMMV (your mileage may vary). 

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 for me it helped a lot reading books not just medication. The books by mark hyman on diet and the book How to be happy in the 2010/2020s by Victor Hagen was the most important one for me. Read whatever works for you i guess

https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0748JDJJR/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1504799036&sr=8-1&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=victor+eckhart&dpPl=1&dpID=41hqTXyAI1L&ref=plSrch

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Do they work yes.  Do they give you a better life no.  Usually they make you gain tons of weight and take away your ability to have sex.  The first thing a person wants when they feel better is to find a partner.  Good luck with that.

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21 hours ago, sober4life said:

Do they work yes.  Do they give you a better life no.  Usually they make you gain tons of weight and take away your ability to have sex.  The first thing a person wants when they feel better is to find a partner.  Good luck with that.

Sober is 100% correct.  I have gained tons of weight 60 pounds and they have taken away my hope of having sex.

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That's why pills are unacceptable to me.  Without the pills I have a sex drive that is constantly on full tilt all day every day.  With pills I feel like I am turned into a neutered pet.  I will never choose that.  Why would I choose that?

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