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If An Anti-depressant Is Working Well, What Should It Do For You?

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If an anti-depressant is working well, what should it do for you? I know it doesn't do everything, ie fix the problem, but what should you be able to actually notice? Should I feel motivated... want to get out of bed and really do things? Is it a really obvious shift? I just don't know how much my ad is actually doing =o\

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Hi Spiffyfirefly

Meds affect people in different ways and you are right that it does not fix everything. Basically many people may still have problems with motivation and it helps to give yourself a routine to try and get yourself motivated.

Basically it should lift the dark thoughts and feelings of constant sadness.


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When I was on the right antidepressant, I felt dramatically different from how I feel when I'm symptomatic or just experiencing partial relief from a medication. In short, I was able to wake up at a decent time every day feeling refreshed, I had enough energy to do the things that I wanted to do, my thoughts were no longer slowed down, and I was able to enjoy the things that I genuinely liked to do. Basically what I experienced was full remission from all of my symptoms. Based on what I've read on the Internet and elsewhere, it seems rather uncommon for patients with depressive disorders to experience full remission. Oftentimes, patients must settle for partial responses and just do the best with the less-than-robust results that they get from taking their antidepressants.

Although I don't think that antidepressants do everything for everyone, I do think that it's possible that they can get to the root of the problem in certain cases. Research has shown that some patients with major depressive disorder have abnormally high levels of the enzyme monoamine oxidase A (Meyer et al., 2006, 2009), which metabolizes mood and energy-regulating chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Some of the medications used to treat depressive disorders (i.e., the MAOIs) actually inhibit the MAO-A enzyme. So, they are known not only to relieve depression, but also to correct a known biochemical abnormality in major depressive disorder.




Meyer, J.H., Ginovart, N., Boovariwala, A., Sagrati, S., Hussey, D., Garcia, A., et al. (2006). Elevated monoamine oxidase A levels in the brain: An explanation for the monoamine imbalance of major depression. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 1209-1216.

Meyer, J.H., Wilson, A.A., Sagrati, S., Miler, L., Rusjan, P., Bloomfield, P.M., et al. (2009). Brain monoamine oxidase A binding in major depressive disorder: Relationship to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor treatment, recovery, and recurrence. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66, 1304-1312.

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Thank you for the responses :)

I should mention that I also have social anxiety. I've read, more than once, that MAOI's are the best meds for social anxiety but they don't seem to use them much. I'm just guessing at that due to the fact that I've never been offered that type and I don't see it used much here on the boards. I know they come with a lot of restrictions and I think, side effects but if it really works and they know it... why not prescribe it? Especially if in addition to helping SA, it can help the depression =o\

I see my new 'med' person tomorrow... I may ask about it.

As for the depression, I'm on zoloft at 200mg right now but I've also been on an add-on anti-psychotic, navane (thiothixene)since I up'd to the 200mg, which, I'm not positive but I think, has been making the depression worse. The navane hasn't done anything else it's suppose to do though. And I'm not sure I'm getting the full effect of the up'd level of zoloft. Not sure of anything. The major depression (situational) has definitely gotten better but I'm fairly certain I have dysthymia and I'm mostly back to that, I think. I seem to have little 'bouts' of depression that have been occurring but subside fairly quickly. These just keep coming back though and I get worried that the next one will last longer.

I am seeing a counselor but I'm not sure what I'm getting from that... I want to be doing CBT, which I've mentioned to her but I'm not sure that we 'techinically' are, it all seems rather random.

Anyway, I don't know if this conveys my confusion (probably does lol) but yeah I feel lost. My anxiety rules my world, therefore I have no life and that's all I want... to have a life and feel, at least, somewhat, normal... for once.

Thanks again


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  • 2 months later...

I think it would probably differ for everyone. You might feel your mood lighten, or less anxiety than usual, etc. With a couple of anti-anxiety meds, I did feel a decrease in my anxiety levels, especially around people, but the anxiety never disappeared. With Wellbutrin, I felt myself regaining my old thinking patterns, which were much clearer than the depression had driven them to. That was so amazing to me, b/c feeling the block in my thinking had frustrated me so much that it had spurred my depression on even more.

Crashbk, are you completely sure that your blunted senses are related to your depression? Because if not, then the med wouldn't help. I know that not having those senses up to par can be frustrating, though.

In sum, I think you'd just know, although that's hard to explain. I think you'd feel something going on. I've heard that you generally experience side effects first, and if that happens, then the med is likely to work.

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