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Finding medication that helps for unipolar depression + anxiety

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Hi all, I'm curious to know how many antidepressants you've tried before finding one that helped. I first started taking antidepressants 10 years ago, and found relief with the first one I tried. It was Lexapro (escitalopram). But 6 months ago I got hit with depression hard, harder than ever before, and I guess that med wasn't enough or didn't work anymore. I tried the following with no luck over the past 5 months:

  1. lexapro + abilify
  2. lexapro + latuda
  3. switching primary ad to effexor/venlafaxine
  4. venlafaxine + lithium

It's been 3 weeks on venlafaxine and lithium and I'm still severely depressed. I have to give it another 2 weeks until I can see my doc again.

So, if you ignore the combos I've basically only tried 2 antidepressants (Lexapro + effexor). I have a couple questions:

1) Has anyone pooped out on an SSRI and found another SSRI that worked? I went from an SSRI (lexapro) to an SNRI (effexor), and I'm wondering if going back to another SSRI could work.

2) How many antidepressants + antidepressant combos did you try before finding something that helped?

3) For anyone who took the Lexapro -> Effexor path, what did your doc try next after Effexor?

I've been severely depressed for 6 months now, my hope is dwindling. Just looking for some reassurance that pharmaceutical help is possible. I've been trying to get long walks in, and eating pretty well, and doing CBT exercises (though not seeing my therapist). Ativan makes all my problems go away, but I don't want to use it too much. I have needed to the past 3 weeks though. Thanks.

Edited by felix_a_cat

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Hey Felix,

I saw that nobody had responded to this. Unfortunately I can't speak to the different combinations of antidepressants, but I wanted to send you some support!

I'm so sorry you've been feeling low. It sounds like you're doing some really good things for yourself by keeping active and eating well. That must be really hard, so I commend you for sticking with it.

Have you thought about going back to your therapist?

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I have depression, anxiety, and ADD. Here are the meds/combos I've tried:

  1. Celexa & Adderall - Celexa made me super tired & depression worse, but when I was awake and took my Adderall, it made me super tense
  2. Lexapro - same as Celexa
  3. Lexapro & Wellbutrin - the Wellbutrin was supposed to counteract the fatigue, but didn't seem to do anything
  4. Strattera - just for ADD, but had little effect
  5. Strattera & Wellbutrin - little effect
  6. Higher dose of Wellbutrin on its own - little effect
  7. Prozac - made me super tired & depression worse
  8. Effexor - I had a rough start of figuring out when to take it so it didn't keep me up all night or make me sleep all day, and because I've been out of work since I started it, I haven't been as good at taking it every day at the same time as other meds.

It's been about 2.5 months that I've been on the same dose (150 mg) of Effexor and I have noticed improvement. I had had severe anhedonia interspersed with bouts of constant sobbing for almost a year, and that's all leveled out. I have emotions again, but not crazy all over the place ones, which I definitely see as a plus. It might need to be tweaked a little bit. I still have some days of sleeping for most of the day, but they seem to be getting further apart.

So basically, SSRIs just seem to make things worse for me. I would be very reluctant to try another one. However, the SNRI, Effexor, seems to be working, but it did take awhile, so you might need to be patient. And as @ladysmurf says, there are lots of other options, so don't give up hope yet. I know it's an incredibly frustrating and disheartening process, especially if the thing that's suppose to help you does the opposite, yet you're being told you have to deal with it for a month or two. Good luck :)

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@HavePatience thank you for your support. I did start seeing my therapist again. It's been somewhat helpful, but not enough to make a big difference yet.

@ladysmurf thank you, I'll be seeing my psych tomorrow and will be likely trying out another anti-psychotic or possibly an MAOI.

@skblue thank you, and I'm glad you're feeling better. Yeah the waiting sucks. But I've given Effexor more than enough time, and now Lithium a good trial as well. It's likely on to something new tomorrow. I kind of want to push for ECT, because I'm tired of waiting for stuff to work. But on paper it probably looks like I haven't tried enough drugs yet so he'll likely not approve.

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