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strangebird

Ready to go back on meds...but need to narrow down options first

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Hi, I'm ready to go back on meds but need to feel informed before I meet with the doctor about the right options for me. 

First, history: I'm 38F with a long history of anxiety and depression. When I was 16 I had an amazing response to zoloft but after 1.5 years, it stopped working. I tried prozac, elavil, paxil, wellbutrin, effexor back around my early 20s/late teens and most had negative side effects for me and very few benefits. So I gave up and just didn't take anything until I was 36. At that point, I'd started to see my daughter (6 y/o at the time) exhibiting many of my anxiety traits. I realized that so much of my anxiety was rooted in control and feeling like my anxiety made me more in control of life. I made a promise that I'd finally address it for her sake so I could feel like I had the tools to help her with her own. So I started escitalopram and titrated up to 20mg. 

Well, one year on escitalopram and I gained 20 lbs. I've never had any issues with weight gain in my life. Always been a size 2 or size 4. It was very dramatic and shocking for me to feel out of control of my body like that. My doctor was adamant escitalopram could not cause me to gain weight and that it was probably because I wasn't eating while I was depressed and now that I was happy, I was eating carefreely. This wasn't true. I've always eaten and if anything, i started to eat less on escitalopram. 

Anyway, it helped me somewhat with my depression but I didn't notice a whole lot of difference with my anxiety and felt the risks far outweighed the benefits. I VERY slowly weaned myself off because I'm also extremely sensitive to medications. I would quarter my pills and go down a quarter in dose for 2-3 weeks and then reduce again. It was utter hell. I got brain zaps, night terrors, nausea and just didn't feel myself. I'm now at the 6 month mark since I stopped. I swore that I'd never take another SSRI.

I've had a lot of life stress lately and started to have anxiety attacks every other day (dramatic increase from before where i had them maybe once a year, if that), a lot of nightmares and just feel this massive weight of depression. I also started to read about the signs of depression and realize I have so many I wasn't aware of. Like, I used to love music and reading and avoid both because I tend to avoid anything that's going to cause an emotional shift for me and try to keep things neutral. Writing and music are something I was once passionate about but that could really have a huge emotional impact on me. I avoid the highs and the lows equally now and am generally apathetic. My anxiety tends to manifest in a really short temper--I feel like I must come across to my family as being bipolar because one second I can be happy and calm and then if something stresses me out, I can feel this tightness in my chest and like a band around my head and I end up snapping and yelling. I hate it. That's just the tip of the iceberg. I've hit a point where I really think I need help (and my extended family has reached out to lovingly tell me they think I do as well). 

That's the shortest version of the long version I can come up with. Anyway, I've heard good things about celexa from a few friends. And neither of them had weight gain issues. I'm wondering though if it's related to escitalopram and since escitalopram caused me to gain weight, if it's likely that I'll have the same reaction on celexa?

There are also a lot of new drugs on the market now that weren't there when I was a teen. I guess what I'm looking for is: fewest side effects (particularly weight gain, sexual side effects. I'm also prone to migraines) and really good track record at tackling anxiety. If anyone could share their insight or experience, I'd be so appreciative. 

Thank you!

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I take Celexa and I have manage to stay 

the same weight for a year since I been 

on it.  I don’t seem to have any major 

issues with Celexa and I take 20mg in the 

morning before I get my day started.  

Every now and then I cannot sleep 😴 for 

along time but this side effect seems to go

and come from time to time but I always 

seem to have enough energy to work 12

hours shifts at work.  Good luck 👍 my

friend and hopefully you will have even

better results than I have.

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I took Celexa for over 6 years and it kept me stable. Then recently is stopped working. I am now going to try to get on Lexapro and hope that it works for me even though the Celexa pooped out. Because I've heard their sisters. Celexa did not have me gain weight. I am on Effexor now they put me on in the mental hospital and I'm very disappointed about how much I have to suffer to get off. Thankfully you were able to get off Effexor it's a hard one. However Effexor does take care of 80% of my anxiety but that's about it and that's big. I have heard that Lexapro only takes care of 40%. Is that true?

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8 hours ago, Karolina1 said:

I took Celexa for over 6 years and it kept me stable. Then recently is stopped working. I am now going to try to get on Lexapro and hope that it works for me even though the Celexa pooped out. Because I've heard their sisters. Celexa did not have me gain weight. I am on Effexor now they put me on in the mental hospital and I'm very disappointed about how much I have to suffer to get off. Thankfully you were able to get off Effexor it's a hard one. However Effexor does take care of 80% of my anxiety but that's about it and that's big. I have heard that Lexapro only takes care of 40%. Is that true?

Could you tell me more about your experience on Effexor? 80% of my anxiety gone sounds very tempting. What were the side effects?

i would say lexapro took care of less than 40% of my anxiety but about 50% of my depression. 

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I am really sensitive to meds and even at lowest doses I suffer all the side effects. I go see the Pdoc tomorrow and will start knocking down the list. I think I am going to ask for Prozac and a couple weeks of Benzos to help with my severe anxiety until the meds kick in. Cymbalta was the worst for me.

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Hi.  Chiming in as I am right there with you Strangebird.  I think though if you read through enough AD reviews as I have you will find that each AD does effect each person either for the good, bad, in between, or do nothing at all.  Plus it seems to go the same with weaning and withdrawals. 

I really struggle myself with having to take meds and have very bad responses with regard to feeling well with most ssri's, accept Paxil for some reason.  Its the only ssri that I have held a job on too. The kicker with that one is the weight gain in my tummy.  So for the past year and half I weaned off of it with my doctor's help and tried several others; with either no relief from all my anxiety, panic and depression, or relief but irritability, or the great escitalapram temporary relief from depression but added anxiety and chest pain that requires a benzo  As well as all of them but paxil keeping me captive with ocding about my wellbeing. 

My doctors in my pcp office gave up on me.😢  So I see another in a wellness center who is aware of my medicine sensitivities as well as my genetics. In the end I have tried nearly all of the ssri's that a gene test suggested so as not to get side effects.   I don't have the side effects those recomended but they don't help as well as the paxil. 

So here I am myself getting ready to see my doctor today with no idea of what to do accept return to a low dose of the paxil which the gene test says has moderate side effects ( I know why but its complicated for this note), as winter is coming and that makes things worse. However, I do have an upcoming appointment in November with a real psych specialist. So I am hopeful.

Just try to understand that there really is no magic pill.  The all do come with some side effect.  But I am thinking at this point it  really just matters if you /  we who struggle feel better and are not uncomfortably debilitated with the side effects.

In regards to weight gain that is why I stopped the paxil each time I did.  But last night I visited a female family member with none of my issues and taking zero medicines but her tummy and weight is far worse then mine on medicine.  So... Go figure.  

Good luck and I do recommend the gene testing for medicine side effects.

 

Edited by peachesandbrownie

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Strange bird now that's what I'm afraid of because right now I'm going through a storm and I need a lot of my anxiety taken care of. And as I said Effexor seems to do that at least at dos 112.5 and up. If I went under that dose it wouldn't work. However I load this antidepressant I have to be up at 7:30 a.m. to take it cuz that's what it got used to and it wants to be taken exactly at the same time everyday or you go through a little withdrawal. I've never had that on any other antidepressant. When I went up a dose I had severe anxiety for a week. When I went down a dose same thing. And I mean severe. Now that may not happen for you and a lot of drugs have startup anxiety and withdrawal anxiety. This is just the first one I have experienced with. Celexa couldn't hold me through this big trigger. Also remember that this particular antidepressant is really hard to come off of. If you look up anywhere on the web Effexor withdrawal you'll see. I got put on it while I was in the mental hospital and was not given any warning. So I'm very p***** off about that. Soon I was planning on going off the effexor and getting on to Lexapro but I have to talk to or try to find a few more people and see how much percentage of their anxiety it took away. My depression has to do with my anxiety. But I do notice that the Effexor kind of doesn't make me motivated yet it gives me some energy weird.

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Karolina 1 have you considered gene testing for a med compatability? It really does help to understand how our own system is processing these meds and why we may have an issue with side effects or even early withdrawals.

I took the prozac to bridge off off paxil last year.  It was a nightmare because the prozac addition worsened it.  I know that now because the gene test showed that due to low setum levels and its long half life I should Not take that one as I would have severe side effects.  Even later when off of the paxil quite a while I tried it at 5 and 10 mgs.  I was incredibly irritable and wound all the time.

Also, half lives do have a lot to do with they anxiety returning as it creates an early type of withdrawal if it has a shorter half life.

Unfortunately for me the paxil is a shorter half life but they do have a time release I have considered. But it imay be my only hope for peace in my system for a while on a lower dose. As for me the escitalopram is aweful.  I am presently only on 5mgs.with benzos as said above.

Its hit or miss and life circumstances definitely don't help.  

Hang in there. 

 

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Hi Peachesandbrowni,  I just have to comment because I can relate to all that you're saying.  My first SSRI was Prozac and couldn't tolerate it.   Second SSRI was Citalopram and that was bad for me too.  I am now on Paxil, which works much better without the bad reaction that I had with Prozac and Citalopram.    I have added Wellbutrin to the Paxil which had a stabilizing effect.   I still do experience tiredness, especially after a bad night of sleep, but that goes with the territory of brain pills I guess.   

I have never done the gene testing either, but wouldn't mind doing it.  I just found it interesting that you reacted the same to Prozac and citalopram as I did.  And we're both on Paxil.   Must be the gene factor.

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