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Thread for debating about anti-depressants.

Discuss to your heart's content. 

See the four different "rooms"?  This one is for debate.  Threads in the Chit Chat room are supposed to be relatively light-hearted and innocuous.

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EMG,

I see that You posted a thread regarding the US's ridiculous pharmaceutical industry. I'll preface this by saying that I agree that the US big pharma is a sick, vile, and evil industry that profits off of misinformation and misconceptions.

these misconceptions affect people like YOU as well.

Some people think that depression is just a feeling of sadness, and they don't like feeling sad, so they'll get their doc to write up a prescription that'll fix that. Big pharma makes so much money off of this category of people, partly because of they way they advertise their products.

HOWEVER,

Depression is not just a "social construct" as you'd like to believe. A true mental disorder is defined as such when the symptoms significantly interrupt the person's ability to function; that is, when disorder occurs in all aspects of life.
Also, many people with clinical depression do not have a "cause" or specific reason for feeling sad; sometimes traumatic events, etc. can trigger depression in some people, and oftentimes THESE are the people who can overcome the problems without medication.

you will never understand the real nature of clinical depression--the kind that actually DOES require medication for some, in order to survive--until you find yourself stuck in your own bed, not even knowing what day of the week it is, and not knowing how long you've been there.....you don't even necessarily feel "sad" or "blue" or whateverthefuck YOU seem to think defines depression....you simply feel DEAD.
you think maybe you'd like to kill yourself, but that would simply take too much energy, so you'll opt to lie there and wait for death to take you.
you haven't been to work or school in quite a few weeks (or months) but you have no concept of time; it could be yesterday, or it could be 10 years ago that you last felt "okay." you haven't showered in days or weeks, but there's no reason to do that, anyway. your muscles are starting to atrophy due to lack of use and malnutrition.
you have some notion that you'd like to feel "better" or actually FEEL something, but you really can't even remember what that's like. some vague memories come to you, maybe you recall being involved in sports or music or art at some point, but you're sure as hell not able to do any of that now, and you hardly remember what it feels like to have been involved in those things. So, you know you're probably better off out of this bed and back into your old life, but there is NO WAY (in your mind) that you'll ever get back to that again.....you're as good as dead at this point....why bother?

someone tells you that you should seek some help.

so after a few days or weeks, you decide to shower and put on some clothes and make the 10 minute walk down to the student health clinic, where such services are free and readily available. it seems to take so much physical energy just to do these things, but maybe it'll be worth it..?
on your way, you're overcome with waves of nausea and you have to run into some random building to puke up bile and spittle (there's not much in your stomach these days) and lie in a shriveled ball on the bathroom floor for a few hours. you notice that the clinic will be closing in 3 hours or so, so you decide that maybe tomorrow will work better, and you practically crawl home due to physical weakness and go to sleep for the next 18 hours.

wake, repeat. repeat. repeat.

and hey, it's not like they psychs at your health clinic even know what they're doing anyway.....all they do is offer you pills and then don't bother with follow-up, so if you take them and they don't work, well, that was $130 dollars you've just wasted.
so....we'll just let this slow and disgusting process continue for the next howevermany months. you've got time...what else have you got to do?

Even when taking medications that work, they should be seen as a necessary crutch to help ease the symptoms so that You can start LIVING again, and start tackling Your problems in other ways. When the symptoms take over the ability to function, sometimes medication is the only option for that.

There is NO cure for clinical depression or other mental disorders....there are only ways to lessen the debilitating effects of the symptoms, which can include a multitude of other non-drug related treatments. but as I said, when the symptoms get so bad that You're unable to do anything else, drugs may be the best option to start with.

EMG, if you can't understand the real nature of depression--NOT the kind that big pharma defines so that it can make more money--then there's no point in you even trying to discuss this. misinformation and ignorance does not make your position very solid, I'm afraid.

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Let's create a thread re: Thread for debating about anti-depressants and really shake things up :w00t!:

I'm seriously happy you've never been depressed, or dealt with chronic depression. Consider yourself lucky.

But imagine for a moment, feeling like you do about depression, but still not being able to snap out of it. You know you're being silly. You know that, in reality, your life isn't that bad. You know that you should be stronger than this feeling.

But you still can't shake it. No matter how hard you try. So you feel guilty, and angry... which leads to feeling even more depressed.

Most people with chronic depression don't get treatment, because they think that they just need to "toughen up", and that leads to self-medication. Alcohol, drugs, even gambling. Anything to temporarily relieve the sadness they know they shouldn't be feeling, but do no matter what they try.

And the downward spiral continues.

Try and picture it, please.

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But imagine for a moment, feeling like you do about depression, but still not being able to snap out of it. You know you're being silly. You know that, in reality, your life isn't that bad. You know that you should be stronger than this feeling.
But you still can't shake it. No matter how hard you try. So you feel guilty, and angry... which leads to feeling even more depressed.

This.

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When Houdini died back in June I went through my first (and hopefully only!) bout of depression.  I cried several times a day, couldn't eat without getting sick (PHYSICAL symptoms, not just psychological), and frequently broke out in hives.  I was stubborn and refused to go see a doctor and instead used GABA (a natural anxiety reliever) 5-HTP and lots of meditation and yoga.  The difference between my depression and what most people here on vegweb have described is that I knew mine was caused by a specific reason and that eventually it would (could? should?) get better.  I can't imagine waking up like that every day, especially without a clear reason for feeling so beat down. 

I do think that antidepressants are over-prescribed, but so are meds for high blood pressure and dozens of other things.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me, the natural approach worked.  If it doesn't work for you, get professional help.  No one, NO ONE deserves to feel that way.

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Here's a lighter counter-arguement.

As you can see, therapy and drugs are nowhere on there.  ;)

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Up until a few months ago I was part of the community that did not believe depression was an actual medical disorder.  All that chemical imbalance rhetoric was just made up by pharmaceutical companies.  In September the most influence person in my life (David Foster Wallace) committed suicide.  Needless to say I was caught off guard why such a successful writer would end his life.  In the proceeding weeks stories began to emerge about the chronic depression he had fought his entire life.  To the point where he had undergone several bouts of electric shock therapy this summer.  Nothing worked for him.  These events totally changed my views about depression and the medicines that combat depression.  I realized how ignorant my previous opinions were.  Although they didn't work for DFW, I know they are working for hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and around the world.  Are people using anti-depressants that do not need them?  Certainly.  But the drugs provide a net benefit to society.

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Are people using anti-depressants that do not need them?  Certainly.  But the drugs provide a net benefit to society.

Oh, of course.  It's like ADHD.  Is it over-diagnosed?  In all likelihood.  But are there absolutely people who need the drugs?  Yes.  Some of my students have been prescribed meds since the beginning of the year, and the change is phenomenal.  I would never, ever think it wise to take these kids off medication, for their own sake and the sake of all others in the class.  And COULD we treat ADHD in other non-chemical ways?  Ideally, yes, with infinite time and resources and the appropriate setting.  But that's not always feasible.  And besides, there's a chemical imbalance there.  I think depression is similar.  Like you said, there's a net benefit. 

And I'm not one to rely on drugs.  I don't even take painkillers unless I am in extreme pain.  But if you need them, you need them.  To say that depression is a fabricated illness is to exhibit total ignorance of basic science and medicine.  There's a logical flaw there--associating over- and mis-prescription with the illegitimacy of the disease.  The disease is real.  If there are flaws within the system used to treat it, that is an entirely different issue. 

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Seratonin can be raised by a number of positive activities, such as exercise, instead of artificially increasing it via drugs.

Yes, but can it be raised enough. Sometimes, the answer is no.

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Seratonin can be raised by a number of positive activities, such as exercise, instead of artificially increasing it via drugs.

And when you're bed ridden from surgery for months and all you can do is feel your muscles' last spasms before they go loose as they atrophy, your friends have moved on in their lives, and your family is at work/school living theirs.....how then do you suggest one makes themselves happy? Watch TV? Knit? Read? Depress yourself further by scrap-booking times when you were happy, or (even worse) when you weren't but others were? I was told by an optometrist that I shouldn't read as much as I do years ago b/c my eyes were going out of focus at random moments. What do you suggest one do when you have to rely on others for sustenance, and transportation?
Oh and fyi, sometimes a person's serotonin levels are at correct levels, it is their brain's inability to properly receive/transmit it that is the problem. This is what a lot of the pharmaceuticals treat.

Also, I know many drs and pharmacists that would love to see a ban on those damn commercials just as they did with cigarettes.

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I don't like being on drugs, I don't like big pharma, I don't really care for the way healthcare on the whole is run.

But I do like being alive, and functioning. And whether or not there were other ways of correcting the chemical imbalances in my brain, the antidepressants worked.

Of course, I don't believe that, in general, antidepressants are a solution. They're a boost, a crutch. I don't think that there are very many cases in which the root of the depression is strictly physiological - depression is, in my experience, just a symptom of something in your life that's out of whack that needs to be fixed. It kind of cheeses me off to see doctors prescribing antidepressants and then just sort of forgetting about the patient.

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quoted from the thread on the chit chat board

I would be wary of anti-depressants and seek other alternative therapies to find the root of the problem. Antidepressants forever alter your brain chemistry in order to increase 'seratonin' when you can gain seratonin from a number of positive activities. Western medicine can be evil and doctors get those lovely kickbacks to prescribe the Rx's-- they're not looking for you, but their own bank account.

emg, antidepessants used in western medicine do NOT 'forever alter your brain chemistry' - many of the antidepressants used in western medicines have a very short half life and so a cleared from the body within a day or so.  As far as I am aware studies done have not shown that there is an long term changes to the brain. 
I am no expert on antidepressant pharmacology as this is not my area of expertise (ask me about cardiac, respiratory or diabetic drugs and I will be able to give much more information as this is more my area of practice), but from what I remember, by inhibiting the reuptake of neorotransmitters there are no long-term changes on the brain, as it doesn't increase or decrease the number of receptors in the brain - it just means that there is more of that particular neurotransmitter hanging around the synapse and so can be utilised by the post-synaptic receptors.  (the neurotransmitters primarily involved seem to be serotonin AND noradrenaline)

(please note - this info is being dragged out of my memory from uni lectures and my basic mental health work during my training, so sorry if it's a bit disjointed)

In the UK, anidepressants do seem to be overly prescribed and this is acknowledged by many helathcare professionals.
The last time I checked, NICE guidance recommended cognitive behavioural therapy (ie counselling) is first line treatment.  Unfortunately, there is a huge shortage of appropriately qualified counsellors, so antidepressants are often prescribed as first line therapy.  I think this is a real shame as from my experience counselling is really useful for depression - I think I was lucky enough to have GP that would spend the time counselling me rather than automatically reaching for his prescription pad.  I was also lucky enough to have mild depression that did respong to counselling alone.

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you haven't been to work or school in quite a few weeks (or months)

One time (not at band camp), I was out of work for three months...couldn't hardly get out of bed the whole time...now that I'm on Effexor, I can at least go to work and stay out of the hospital...some days are good, others are bad...like today...got a veggie that will help with giving a rat's ass about anything?  :-\

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I take anti depressants and no amount of therapy or 'talking to people' will help.

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