November 15, 2004

Paxil Babies
This recent monkeyfilter post inevitably led to this.

A Canadian study found that a number of women who took Paxil during the last trimester of their pregnancies gave birth to babies that went through withdrawal. Many of the researchers concluded that the withdrawal symptoms could be mistaken as physical illness or a relapse into depression. Warnings about the withdrawal symptoms were placed on Paxil's label in several European nations.

  • I'm a little surprised that women would be taking Paxil that late in their pregnancies, but if trying to get off it had the serious kind of withdrawal effects described in the article they might have had little choice. A few years ago, I saw the first tv ads for Paxil aimed at people with social anxiety disorder and heard people joke, "Isn't that what beer is for?" But it made me wonder if my discomfort in social situations rated disorder status.
  • Pharmaceuticals: The 'Good' Drugs It's OK To Get Addicted To┬«.
  • I'm having a hard time equating paxil with cocaine/crack use and the potential for society stigmatizing babies and children once it is known. I'm not sure there is a parallel that can be found there other than the addiction angle. As for finding out paxil is addictive? Problem with drug trials of any kind is that the scope of the testing is generally limited, done over a short period of time and can not begin to fully expose potential problems. Its like Thalidomide, anti-convulsant drugs etc. There is a huge list. We are all guines pigs for the pharmaceutial companies in the end. My interpretation of what is going on in society is this push to have a pill fix everything that ails us (or we think it does). Prozac and the othe SSRI's have become the modern equivalent of valium was in the 60's and 70's, another drug touted as a 'wonder pill' where there are no 'wonder pills'. In the article they mentioned how the parents tried all these different medications on their daughter. Pills don't solve everything and think it is rather remiss of the parents to assume that, 'the pills will make sally all better'. This line troubled me, "... we'd really like to do is have her on it for a year and then take her off of it in the hope that her body would have unlearned the panic response," Did they try to find out why she was panicing in the first place once they had her on the paxil? Did they work at getting her to realize the circumstances that lead to the anxiety and confront them in a 'healthy' way? Medication should be an adjunct to other non-medicinal therapies not a replacement for it. Its like plugging a leak but never investigating why the leak occurs.
  • I'm having a hard time equating paxil with cocaine/crack use Opiates would be a closer fit.
  • Just briefly on the whole Paxil thing, I used to be on it and have had to go 'cold turkey' twice due to unemployment issues. When they are talking about addictive it's not like 'where can I get my next fix', it's more like your body is trained to need to drug to function normally. The withdrawal symptoms included audio and visual hallucinations, dizziness, quesiness for a period of about two full weeks. Yes, two full weeks. Since I've been off the drug I've read that it is largely ineffective and that nurses and doctors are recommending patients take other medications than Prozac, Paxil or any of the SSRI's. I encourage any Paxil user to visit any of the SSRI user boards or talk to their physician about an alternative. We live in an over-medicated society and it would be best if we look into a way out of that. Since I've been off it I feel much better, and there is no way in hell I would go back. If I need to take anti-depressants ever again, they will not be SSRI's
  • From my experiences weaning myself off Effexor, I can say that there truly are withdrawl symptoms associated with these short-halflife SSRIs, unrelated to the underlying depression/anxiety. In my case, I had received therapy and my life was going quite well when I decided to stop taking the drugs (partly on account of stories like these). I still experienced very unpleasant "withdrawl" symptoms, including senseless rage and anxiety as well as the infamous "electrical shocks" in my brain when I moved to quickly. The symptoms weren't actually that unfamiliar to me, as I had experienced them in a minor way whenever I forgot to take my pill. Thankfully, they eventually lessened (after about two weeks to a month) for me and are now completely gone. I can only imagine what some of the people in this article have gone through. Still, I remain a reluctant proponent of SSRIs, as in many instances these pills can save lives (mine for example). However I also strongly feel that doctors are far too cavalier about prescribing these medications, should prescribe only as a last resort and use lower doses for less extended periods of time (I was on mine for almost three years). I also strongly believe that, as beeza suggests, they should be prescribed in combination with, and preferably after, some form of verbal or behavioral therapy. IMHO the pills are useless if you don't use the period of reprieve they offer to learn how to handle or accept the problems in your life. on preview: there is no way in hell I'm going back on anything either mk1gti! :)
  • I totally agree re the need to get therapy along with the drug treatment, drug treatment alone is *not* effective. I don't care what someones 'qualifications' are. Here's a little story: I was at a social-anxiety disorder workshop. One of the therapists asks what kind of job I have. I tell her it's a high-stress call center job where I am so withdrawn now I have no interactions with others outside of work. Her reaction? "Good!". No, not good, damn stressful, damn unpleasent, *not* a good environment for positive social interaction. Most of the people dropped out of the group by the time I had left, the only other guy who was supposed to attend never did . . . I remember the 'electric shocks' too, and yeah, it was a full month before everything went back to normal . . . Never again. Never again.
  • mk1gti What an idiot! Was she even listening? Even though I am in favor of therapy, I have to agree, some of these "therapists" are horrible. Out of the five people I've seen over the years, only the professional student counsellor was any good. He spent the time to earn my trust and let me go at my own pace. Of the others, the general practitioners didn't have time, the social worker pinned my problems on my lack of religion and my final psychiatrist was a dismissive hectoring jerk. The last guy actually said to me "so what other stupid things did you do?" on my very first (and last) appointment, and was surprised when I immediately dropped him (and called me at home to pressure me into going back). So yah, I guess you've got to be careful about picking your therapist too... Of course, when you're depressed and anxious, these are the exactly the type of decisions that you're not fit to make... For me, I'll stick with my less drinking, more running prescription for health. However, I don't think I could have got here without the pills and therapy...maybe we just have to accept that its a messy process, and try to muddle through as best as possible...
  • Of course, when you're depressed and anxious, these are the exactly the type of decisions that you're not fit to make... Oh yeah. Another thing about SSRIs that isn't getting a lot of attention (except by the people on them) is that they often (usually?) stop working over time. I've been unable to find any formal research about this but everyone that I've met that has been on them long-term (more than a year or two) has experienced it. And many of them (us) no longer respond to anything thereafter.
  • So glad to read this thread. I took my last dose of Effexor about 4 weeks ago and finally am no longer experiencing brain shocks. Never again, goddammit. I'd rather have the panic attacks.
  • This is so fucking depressing.......I gotta go take my meds.
  • God, this sucks. I can't believe trained therapists are so callous. Stupid people. /minirant
  • tracicle- The goal of some therapists is to make money with as little effort as possible. If there's a patient with a combination of low self-esteem and mild depression due to unfortunate circumstances, some therapists see an easy case they could solve with a few sessions and a slight change in lifestyle, and other therapists see a problem they can easily compound to get a new regular patient. I was that patient once, and had the second kind of therapist. I changed my lifestyle on my own (improved the cash flow, got a nicer apt, got more exercise and time outside) and then I wondered why my therapist was giving me tests for ADHD and tried to tell me I'm an alcoholic when I started saying that things were improving and I was feeling much better. But don't mind me. Please continue taking your anti-depressants, watching your reality TV, eating your fast food, and spending your money on SUVs and other shit that won't make you happy. (directed at people in general, not monkeys.)
  • sigh. Not all therapists are bad, even though your experience was, and that's unfortunate. I'm still amazed that people are so very, very quick to damn the entire profession, and only this profession, based on a couple of bad experiences. I've had bad service at restaurants; can I now complain that all waitstaff are horrid human beings?
  • tracicle: You're getting s skewed picture here, in that a bunch of people for who SSRIs haven't worked, and hence have a beef, are showing up to damn doctors, therapists, and medical science in general. It's a bit like going to an anti-immunisation fest.
  • But don't mind me. Please continue taking your anti-depressants, watching your reality TV, eating your fast food, and spending your money on SUVs and other shit that won't make you happy. You having an asshole therapist doesn't make me into a stereotype. Some things work for some people; other things work for others. SSRIs work just fine for me, and I'll be taking them for the rest of my life. And I'm cool with that. Psychiatric drugs work differently with each person - that's not any kind of a secret. For that matter, so does therapy, as seen above. Unlike the idiotic and patronizing idea of the "happy pill", there's no instant fix - medication takes work and patience. Instant "Happiness" isn't an option. Working at a better combination of lifestyle, drugs, and you is. Some psychiatric illnesses kill people. Someone with something non-life-threatening that can be treated with a class of drugs also used in treatment of potentially fatal psychiatric ailments should be responsible in how they discourage the use of that drug and demonize those who may need to use it.
  • I said some. And I said what the good therapists would do in the same situation. I wasn't at all trying to imply that they all suck. But I think that a lot of people (myself included at one point) think that they're all objective people dealing in an objective science and deserving of our trust. You shouldn't trust a therapist any more than you should trust a mechanic. No one should be trusted unconditionally when you're exchanging money for services when the results and costs aren't clearly measurable. The people who have had good experiences with therapists have often tried a few before finding one that was right for them.
  • Er, that was a reply to wurwilf. re moneyjane: my last paragraph wasn't directed at people who actually have the chemical imbalances that these drugs correct. The drugs are essential in these instances. Some people take these pills because choices they made have resulted in a life that makes them unhappy. Their reliance on the drugs and their bad experiences weaken the drugs' image as a life-saver more than any snarky comments on the interweb. The problem with doctors prescribing the drugs in the non-necessary cases is more an extension of this problem than anything else. How many people go to a doctor with their mind already made up from watching commercials, rather than to get an honest evaluation and diagnosis? My experience, in retrospect, was irrelevant to the rest of the thread.
  • Smallish Bear. Thanks for the clarification - I now understand the context . Also, why some women may continue taking medication through pregnancy.
  • After the death of my youngest son, my family was so concerned about my being depressed. I was mourning, I didn't want people in my face. I needed time to take in what had happened, organize it and come to terms with it. I had just buried my baby, and just 6 years prior I had buried his brother. I was not eating, or sleeping as I should. I was in pain. I went to the physician, after my family hounded me to no end. He gave me a written test, to see what my level of depression was if any. I scored off the board, he prescribed Paxil. Two weeks after taking it I was pissed at the world. I wanted to hurt most everyone I met. I didn't have a sex drive. I didn't want to eat, food tasted awful. I stopped cold turkey. Within three days I was normal again, still mourning, but not wishing to kill the world. We do live in an overmedicated society. Physicians are too quick to prescribe drugs in my opinion.
  • I'm glad I found this. As a third generation manic-depressive, with my daughter diagnosed as the fourth at age 28, I have little choice about meds. I've been taking psychotropic drugs since the '60's when first put on valium for my 'nerves'. Then I went on the trycyclics in the 70's and so on. Since I never went to the doctor when in a manic phase until the 80's, I managed to elude the complete diagnosis. Antidepressants will work on different neurotransmitters and I've been doing well on effexor since the late 90's when it was available in Canada. It is similar to the old trycylcics in action, but 'cleaner'. Paxil, prozac, did nothing to help and I made suicide attempts on each. ECT, which I was subjected to twice, served to send me manic, as well as wiping out some of my long-term memory facilities. moneyjane, I support what you say. The doctors need to decide which drug action serves the patient best and unfortunately, as yet, there's no clinical way to determine such other than observation and self-reporting. The lithium was ghastly and now I use valproic as a stabiliser. I truly hate the anti-psycotics the worst after years on thorazine, leaving me with tardive dyskinesia issues. It was the internet that helped solve the drug issues as suddenly I could research the meds thoroughly and discuss with others how they worked alone and in the 'cocktails'. The doctors pretty well leave me alone now to determine my own dosage adjustments and just advise as I go along. I take no new meds that I haven't researched thoroughly. It is not 'addiction' per se, but a 'discontinuation problem' that causes the withdrawal issues. Once the neural pathways are in place, like mine, for the symptoms, one is forever going to have problems. I've woken up clawing at my face from taking T-3's after going to the dentist. Just like any junkms when I arbitrarily quit all my meds, inie. I realise now that I created my own hell when abruptly quiting all my meds, including benzo's, in a fit of pique. I was mad, as for the second time a doctor had led me to toxicity on meds. I am now a wiser consumer and much more careful. / I also talk too much on issues dear to me. Sorry
  • Yes, but (smallish bear): But don't mind me. Please continue taking your anti-depressants, watching your reality TV, eating your fast food, and spending your money on SUVs and other shit that won't make you happy. (directed at people in general, not monkeys.) "People in general are idiots because I say so. Oh, except you guys." I find this a little ridiculous. If you're going to make broad stereotypes, have the nerve to say it to our faces, hmm? You are talking about real people here, aren't you, and not just a phantom you can blame things on and feel better about yourself in relation to. Oh, you know, this is a losing battle. I give up. Yes, sb, everybody but you is worthless. Happy?
  • Dang. I thought happiness was just a flaming moe away.
  • Sorry, rodgerd et al - I shouldn't have generalised so much in my comment. My Dad's had a great therapist in the past and has been much happier for having someone he can talk to and get good advice from. And Wurwilf, I think "monkeys" are technically a subset of "people in general", so it's not as if smallish bear is trying to soften the blow. At least, that's how I read it. He/she (sorry, sb) is just saying that the statement wasn't specifically aimed at monkeys. Is that too nitpicky? It is, isn't it.
  • When oh when are they finally going to figure out that kiddies high intake of sugar combined with SSRIs are the cause of most of the problems.
  • moneyjane, I support what you say. The doctors need to decide which drug action serves the patient best and unfortunately, as yet, there's no clinical way to determine such other than observation and self-reporting.
    Well, that's the core problem, isn't it: each patient is (effectively) a mini-experiment. We have a bunch of tools we know have certain outcomes in general, but can behave unpredictably. And we're trying them out on people who aren't in a great state to begin with, so reporting is less reliable. People who diss SSRIs as the source of all evil might want to talk to depressives who've tried tricyclics and compared (SSRIs are better for most everyone), or people who've had IBS alleviated by SSRIs. On therapists and councillers, I might add, the experience of nearly everyone I know is very uneven. Most people I know who've suffered depression have had more value out of a good GP, appopriate medication, and support from friends & family. I am convinced, though, that the huge advertising budgets of drug companies is asking for trouble, though. It doesn't help medical professionals when they have patients demanding $WONDER_DRUG_FROM_TV; nor does it help patients to know doctors are bombarded with junkets and advertising to persuade them to prescribe this drug rather than that drug.
  • Yeahhhh, all right. I read it as "present company excepted," but you're probably right. Still, I think it's an unfair generalization, but arguing never changed anyone's mind on this topic. FWIW, I agree with the sentiment that random overmedication without accompanying good therapy Is A Bad Thing, so I'll just go with that.
  • "happiness is just the absence of pain." Thomas Hardy, Freud, and many others I read that line as a teenager and believed it to be the ultimate truth for three decades, thereafter. Then I learned how to look after myself properly. The meds can work, but much more effectively with the appropriate 'lifestyle hygeine', to allow for any semblance of happiness. Exercise, sunshine, fresh air, good nutrition, proper sleep and not keeping oneself in the circumstances that acerbate depression. Learning one's own triggers for mood changes and acting accordingly is essential. /I did the 'soap opera lifestyle' for too long before smartening up.
  • rodgerd Are you a licensed therapist? Have you had any personal experiences with these medications? Have you done any research on SSRI's vs. other meds? I have done my research, both by reading magazine articles, comparing notes with others on SSRI's and getting professional opinions. The current thinking with SSRI's going back pretty much since they've come out is that they are *way* over-rated and way over-prescribed and they have directly contributed to dangerous behaviors in those who otherwise were quite normal (i.e. doctors and nurses who have taken these meds on an experimental basis to evaluate their effectiveness). When these meds have been found to be so dangerous that there has been recently approved legislation to put labels on these druges stating "May Cause Suicide in Children Being Treated With" or something to that effect, it's time to wake up and not belittle what is a serious and dangerous problem. Overprescription of dangerous medications. Look up articles in 'Mother Jones' and 'The Nation' re these drugs. There's been articles in the major newspapers about a month or two ago re the new warning labels. People that have issues with these drugs are not 'cranks' as you call them, they are people who have had personal and in some cases, devestatingly negative experiences with these meds. As far as therapists go, I'm sure there are an equal number of good and bad ones, but all my experiences have been, for the most part, bad. At this point I really don't need any therapist, don't need any meds, and considering my experiences with both, I will gladly 'seek my own console' and happily so. Oh, and in conclusion, a little exercise from my 'Social Anxiety Disorder' workbook that I thought pointed out the whole stupidity and navel-gazing of the profession: 'For an exercise, go to a mall and interact with people. If you don't feel comfortable doing this, bring a friend and ask them for support.' The problem with this, if you're a guy with Social Anxiety Disorder is that all your friends, for the most part guys, tend to be somewhat superficial friendships. Imagine some guy who is a nodding aquaintence being approached by someone who he has a beer with once a month or otherwise barely sees calls him up and says 'Hey, can you go out to the mall with me and be my moral support while I try to make friends with people?' Yeah, *thats* realistic . . . My opinion of therapists and their ilk? 'Best Friends For Money' My solution? Get a cat. Maybe two. Problem solved. I don't have a lot of friends, but those who I do have now I consider to be pretty close, not 'walking to the mall for therapy exercises close', but close nonetheless. And where their friendship drops off, that's where the cats come in. ..
  • People that have issues with these drugs are not 'cranks' as you call them
    Except I didn't, of course. Your poorly formed rant, however, does tempt me.
  • Look, there are people who genuinely have problems. Some of them have posted here. Some of them you can read about in the news. Then, there are people who get no exercise, sit in front of the tv or computer all day, who have no social interaction, eat poorly, live in a sty. All of these things have a huge effect on a person's mood, and a poor living style can make you depressed. Some of them do get depressed and get drugs for it. I know some of these people. I think there's a lot of them. Enough of them for the drug companies to spend billions of dollars to reach them. My 'monkeys not included' statement simply meant that I wasn't pointing a finger at anyone here in particular. Also, my deepest respect goes to anyone, monkey or otherwise, who is dealing depression from causes beyond their control (chemical, genetic, or otherwise), and this isn't at all affected by my perception of people who create a bad environment and then get sad in it. Now, on a barely relevant but unoffensive and unmisinterpretable topic, who's seen garden state? I enjoyed watching the main character become more engaged through the course of the film as the lithium left his system. (I realize that lithium isn't an SSRIs.) I also enjoyed the part where he woke up after the party and some random guy walked by in a suit of armor.
  • rodgerd racicle: You're getting s skewed picture here, in that a bunch of people for who SSRIs haven't worked, and hence have a beef, are showing up to damn doctors, therapists, and medical science in general. It's a bit like going to an anti-immunisation fest. posted by rodgerd at 08:12PM UTC on November 15 ---------------------------------------------- If it looks like a label of crank . . .
  • In addition, as far as the 'keep on trying till you find a therapist that works' advice. I was throwing away $80.00 a week to find a decent therapist. That's on the *low* end of treatment costs. I couldn't imagine what it would be like for someone to throw more money than that to cure their problem and still feel like they weren't getting anywhere. Ideally there shouldn't have to be a cost for therapy (socialized medicine). Then persons could shop around until they found someone they felt comfortable with. In the U.S., unfortunatly, it's pretty expensive to play 'russian roulette' finding a good therapist. And very discouraging if you're already pretty distrustful, for good reason of the profession.
  • Haven't had the chance to read the entire thread yet, but Beth Hawkins also did an excellent interview about antidepressant usage, which addresses things I had thought for a long time, but really wanted to hear come from someone in the profession. I also enjoy it because Dr. Browne looks like George Costanza's dad from Seinfeld in the article's picture. orococo, are you in the Twin Cities? Nice to see some fellow Minnesota Monkeys here.
  • Sorry wander, left coaster here. But hello to Minnesota!
  • I was throwing away $80.00 a week to find a decent therapist. That's on the *low* end of treatment costs My therapy was five dollars a week, for one hour's visit a week. It was essentially a teaching clinic, run through a university; I think my therapists were grad students. And I had good experiences with that. (I wasn't a student there, but they took clients from the public too.) There are options for most people if they want to try this avenue; whining about money as if it were a foregone conclusion doesn't really wash.
  • mk1gti My experiences with the USian health care system (I'm a Canadian transplant) are what prompted me to try life without the meds. Too much shuttling around from doctor to doctor, half the time spent talking about my insurance and I still got stuck with a huge bill for incorrectly managing my referral. I really agree with the socialized medicare idea, I experienced far less stress dealing with the system back home...but perhaps that's just me, as I'm not the most organized fella. Of course, I've always found its better to do something than complain, but I don't know what to do to help. I've been considering joining some sort of patient advocacy group for some time but don't know of any good ones (i.e. professional, effective and active). Wurwilf, As a non-student at my research institute, I didn't have those sort of cheaper alternatives, although I agree that they can be great, my best therapist was a grad-student as well.
  • wander, hello from south Minneapolis!
  • The 'doctor' from that Beth Hawkin's interview is a crack pot. 'If you take a really hard-nosed scientific approach and look at this research and find there's little there to support the use of psychiatric drugs' Tell that to my paranoid schizophrenic uncle or the millions of others who have been helped by the use of medication. His claim that mental illness isn't 'real' because there isn't hard medical evidence. I guess PET, CAT, MRI's scans and a bevy of other medical tools don't count as 'hard proof'. meh ... I'd equate him with Thomas Szasz except Thomas Szasz has some good things to say.
  • While I think it's worthwhile to examine the use of antidepressants, and particularly when they are prescribed under less than ideal conditions (I saw a commercial about a sad little ball that lost all interest in bugs! Can you prescribe me a sample with little or no interview of my actual condition?), the whole "keep taking your stupid pills while you poison your brain with reality teevee" response is not discussion. I lived with untreated depression for over two decades, and Paxil has simply and plainly improved my quality of life. Far from shutting off my emotions, it has contributed to my becoming more open to them and to welcoming greater attachments to my loved ones because I am not so insulated by depression and prone to withdraw from situations with a potential for emotional distress. I chose to introduce chemicals after several years of talk therapy and with the additional advice of a psychiatrist (a second professional from my therapist, a psychologist). When I choose to go off it, I will develop a plan with the same professionals and if there are after-effects, I will deal with them. From the reading and research I've done they seem an acceptable price for the benefits I've experienced. The way drugs are marketed and sold and the recalcitrance of drug companies to publicize possible side-effects unless they are basically forced to is a whole big issue, but it is far from unique to anti-depressants. Of course my anectdotal experience is no more universal than anyone's, but it's worth noting that, for example, the City Page's article was overwhelmingly based on anectdotes. I do notice that a lot of people who talk about having problems coming off something chose, for their own reasons, to make the decision and do it without professional input. Taking medications is serious business and it should be treated as such.
  • As long as we're on the subject of anecdotes, I might as well contribute another one. A friend of a few years surprised everyone he knew a few weeks before this last election by emailing out a long, anguished, rambling screed which was mostly incoherent but had a few glimmerings of truth. I figured "no big deal, all of us lose it one time or another." About a week later, however, he emailed out another letter, this one apologizing for the first, and blaming what he revealed to be a general mental breakdown (the rambling letter was only one event in said breakdown) on taking effexor, which he had been recommended by a therapist and prescribed by a psychiatrist. By his own decision he had subsequently discontinued effexor and said he was now "detoxing" from it and feeling much better. Just another isolated incident.
  • Not all medications work the same for all people. I don't think it proves anything. Sorry.
  • Just another isolated incident.
    Chemotherapy failed to cure my aunt of cancer and she died! Abandon chemotherapy! It's a con!
  • Problems concerning the use of SSRI's will hit the mainstream media as soon as the pharm patents run out. There will, of course, be a new "miracle" from our beloved pharmaceutical industry. In the meantime, amuse yourselves with this: Of Doctors, Drugs, and Trust
  • I do notice that a lot of people who talk about having problems coming off something chose, for their own reasons, to make the decision and do it without professional input. Taking medications is serious business and it should be treated as such. (Wow, this comment really pissed me off for some reason...) Frankly, I took getting on and getting off my medications very seriously. I proceeded under complete professional guidance and still had problems. Problems which were treated flippantly and dismissed (much as some have dismissed the experiences of people on this thread) by various doctors.
  • Just another isolated incident. Exactly. I had my blood pressure jacked into the stroke zone by the same drug. And? It's a known side effect. All drugs have side effects. Psychiatric ailments often have a social component, and so side effects will be seen by those around them. Many, many people on drug treatments for HIV have a chronic case of the trots, which is probably as embarrassing as 'losing it' in an e-mail, but your friends are less likely to know about it unless you're mailing the evidence to them in ziplock baggies. I think a lot of this defensive bitching comes from the stigma around having a mental illness in the first place. Speaking from my own experience, I know it's easier to blame the drugs than do the work required in addition to just taking the damn drugs. It's easier if the drugs are really what's making you crazy, and not something wrong with your self-image or biochemistry. The bottom line? Being crazy isn't for pussies. It's a lot of hard work, it's years and years of hard work, and if what you're really doing is trying to deny your problem exists at all by blaming the drugs, blaming the therapists, blaming the ever-handy "system", then knock yourself out. The rest of us will just deal, as best we can, just as we've been doing, alone, for years.
  • Actually, I think there are two very separate issues here; Are the pay-offs of psychiatric drugs worth the side-effects in milder conditions like social anxiety? If not, why are they prescribing them in these cases? Am I qualified to condemn psychiatric drugs if I'm never going to experience the pay-offs being more than worth the side effects because my disorder will most likely never make me cease functioning in a meaningful way or choose to kill myself or harm others? To my point of view; no, the pay-offs are not going to exceed the side-effects, and they shouldn't be prescribed in these cases; and; no, you aren't.
  • Here's another anecdotal story of not taking meds, from the SF Chronicle. The bottom line? Being crazy isn't for pussies. moneyjane, what a great drop line. I shall use it on my psychiatrist next visit. Shall I credit you?
  • Are the pay-offs of psychiatric drugs worth the side-effects in milder conditions like social anxiety? If not, why are they prescribing them in these cases? I don't think the pay-offs of psychotropic medications are worth the side-effects in milder conditions, like social anxiety or situational depression. That was my point exactly. In my case, my physician thought I would benifit, even though I was convinced I didn't need Paxil. I felt what I was going through was a normal reaction to the recent trauma in my life. I never needed psych drugs to deal with trauma before, and didn't then. I more or less took Paxil to satisfy my family. The side-effects were real, I didn't like how I felt at all. So I stopped taking Paxil and worked through it on my own. Which is what I was doing to begin with. I believe some physicians are too quick to diagnose depression and prescribe drugs as a quick fix. Am I qualified to condemn psychiatric drugs if I'm never going to experience the pay-offs being more than worth the side effects because my disorder will most likely never make me cease functioning in a meaningful way or choose to kill myself or harm others? I do not condemn physh drugs when used appropriately. Many people with severe psych problems, absolutely need the medication. Psych disorders are devestating to the person experiencing it and to their loved ones.
  • benifit=benefit
  • devestating=devastating man I suck at previewing.
  • dxlifer; I send it out there collective commons license to all us nutters ;)
  • Thanks, moneyjane, I didn't know how I'd explain a charge to you on my card if the ol' guy noticed. bratcat, I've to fight off the doctors in the past to escape their need to try new drugs on me. Sadly it took me awhile to realise their intent was as much for their gain, as mine in these 'experimentations'.
  • moneyjane, I have to agree that the stigma plays a big role in how bad side effects are peceived to be. If people were able to say to their employer and co-workers that they'd be a bit wonky for a few days while trying a new medication (or coming off one) there'd be a heck of alot less stress all around... I know that in my work place, I am frankly paranoid about anyone finding out about my illness.
  • Monkeyfilter: Being crazy isn't for pussies. Monkeyfilter: I am frankly paranoid Monkeyfilter: So never again, never again. Monkeyfilter: What other stupid things did you do? Monkeyfilter: I'd rather have the panic attacks. Monkeyfiltera: This is so fucking depressing.......I gotta go take my meds. Monkeyfilter:I thought happiness was just a flaming moe away. OK, sorry, blame it on my SSRIs. Seriously, I've run the gauntlet of talk therapy and RX drugs for at least half my adult life and finally was diagnosed bi-polar-- Thanky Lord, I'm not nuts, I'm JUST BI-POLAR! You will now pry my Lamictal from my cold, dead fingers. I occasionally go on anti-depressants when things get sucky around here--and they do on a fairly regular basis--but I just gotta keep on. For the nonce, I'm on Celexa--What with Thanksgiving, the anniversary of my mother's suicide Dec 8, Christmas Dec 25, I like to be sure my coping mechanisms are working. At least now, I CAN cope and not drive everyone else nuts. When the damn things work, they work well, when they don't ... Time for a change. I took the Ffkn Effexor and it was like being repeatedly hit by lightning. Try withdrawals while riding ten miles at a trot on horseback in 100 degree weather. Whoo--puked all down the side of the horse. The people I was riding with tried to get me to stop, but they said it was like trying to reason with a grizzly--a pissed grizzly. When I got back to the trailer, I watered the horse and tied him up, dropped on the grass and swore I'd NEVER take that crap again. Life is tough--those of you that can get by without pharmaceutical help--dandy. Those of us that need this stuff--well, we're just lucky that it's available. Meanwhile, however you do it, just keep keepin' on.
  • Oh yea, I have a cat, too.
  • I wouldn't call social anxiety mild. Would tend to think 'mild' or 'severe' is relative to each persons experience and that the degree of suffering is subjective. When a persons body reacts physically to a stressor and the reaction to a stressor leads to problems with work/school/friends/family then maybe they do need medication but they also need therapy to hopefully get to the root of the problem so they don't need medication anymore. Generally those who suffer from it self medicate with alcohol. So self medicating is ok but a drug prescribed by a physician is not? Alcohol has side effects as well, its legal and requires no prescription. So which is better? I think I'm a little irritated at the idea social anxiety may be dismissed because it isn't seen as crippling as other mental illnesses and being generalized as a case of the 'jitters'*. If 'jitters' turns into avoiding enjoying life and creates interference with living life ... they need some help. I tend to think that if someone is suffering and need help that they should get help. As with all things it should be dealt with on a case by case basis. Who am I to judge whether anothers anxiety warrents medication or not? *sidenote: social anxiety can coexist with panic disorder and depression as well
  • I wouldn't call social anxiety mild. Would tend to think 'mild' or 'severe' is relative to each persons experience and that the degree of suffering is subjective. I actually agree with this, each case should be evaluated on its own symptoms and how the person with the problem is coping, some cases can be severe some mild. Still I believe physicians are too quick to prescribe psych meds, in the milder cases.
  • bluehorse...I always knew you were a kindred spirit! Perhaps we should cycle off on our trusty steeds into the sunset? But don't you barf on mine! i count dots, i told everyone at work about my diagnosis and treatments as they happened. Frankly, I didn't give a fuck. But then I had dedicated job security with the government. that helps when it is their own policy not to discriminate. I also preferred to explain away the various facial tics and body tremours I developed. They finally decided I was not able to handle my position anymore and I am on a decent pension. Every couple of years I call and tell them I want to go back to work, just for the fun of the reaction it prompts. Best of all they can't force me to take any work other than that "equal to" my former position and qualifications. /'tis a tough life, in some ways.
  • dxlifer, I believe you're my new hero for today! Thanks for the smile. :) Unfortunately, in my experience, the research community isn't nearly as good an environment for being open about these things . Scientists can be remarkably ignorant about these issues, and typecast people actions as being solely determined by their illness. Personally, my former supervisor was quite vocally abusive and dismissive towards people on Prozac and would attribute their every mistake to them being "stoned" (never to their face of course). He and others in my lab were of the opinion that mental illness made you "weak" and not fit to do science. In a field that relies on reputation as much as mine does, having people cutting you down behind your back (and in your reference letters) can be a career killer. Given that I was already a bit of a freak (my wife's friends nicknamed me rainbow brite due to my rapid and shocking hair color changes), I didn't want to give people another excuse to dismiss me, so I was never open about my experiences. Frankly, my former lab was a messed-up abusive place and not very helpful for my mental health (but I'll save those stories for another time). Anyways, now that I'm in a new lab with what seem to be tolerant and wonderful people, I'm still pretty hesitant to be open about my past. I wish I had your courage! :)
  • i count dots, I even let my clients know about it..parolees and probationers. With so many of them being involved in the mental health system, it ended up being a good thing to do. /besides of which, the more canny ones clicked onto my 'excessive knowledge' anyway. So I went with the flow. /i was more disgruntled by the ones that said "you smoke dope too, don't you?" I could only smile enigmatically at them. I do admit that I could not now handle the stress of caring for over a hundred distressed souls and the required paperwork and stats. And luckily, since I was quite happy in my position, I wasn't concerned about advancement, although governments tend to promote those who are square pegs into bigger and rounder holes. /must call the government again soon, come to think of it.
  • And, i count dots, just tell folks that each hair colour change is reflective of your new mood cycle and dare them to guess the significance of each shade. Might as well have fun with it. My shrink gets very upset when I grin and say 'but I'm just a poor psychiatric case, what do you expect from me?' Humour and insanity mix beautifully.
  • Beeza I agree with you on this - I think I was trying to be concise at the risk of imprecision - the degree to which any illness is serious or less serious is really defined as its effect on a given individual rather than the by the idea of particular illness itself. This is what bugs me about quick prescriptions based on the idea of an illness; say a prescription follows this statement by a doctor; "You're not as comfortable around social events as your peers, you've gained weight, are sleeping ten hours a day, and your grades have dropped". And so a stressed-out first year college student gets an SSRI prescription for Prozac. After 2 weeks of headaches, dizziness, and insomnia, our student stops taking the pills and spends the rest of creation telling everybody, including a friend with undiagnosed chronic depression that SSRI's are shit. All of the student's symptoms are just as indicative of an introvert coping with being away from home and a more intense scholastic workload as they are of social anxiety and/or mild depression. But because of our doctor, and a patient who really didn't appreciate two extra-crappy weeks on top of the normal stress they were already dealing with, we've got someone convinced by their own experience that SSRIs are worthless. So Christmas arrives, and our disgruntled student's friend's depression takes a turn for the worst, and, still undiagnosed and unmedicated, alone on Christmas Eve, wondering why he can't even handle shit like a man, he hangs himself. And everyone is quite shocked, nobody more than our SSRI-hating student because they knew the dead guy had been "a little down, but it really didn't seem like that big a deal". Doctors need to thoroughly question potential SSRI candidates; potential candidates need to educate themselves about mental illness and drugs, and side effects of those drugs, and the whole stigma around treating mentall illness has to be worked through without the hysteria from either end - neither "everybody's doing it, there's no big deal with these anymore" from doctors, nor "only brainwashed stooges of The Man ever take psychiatric drugs" should be cutting it with informed consumers these days.
  • I don't disagree with you. Think we might even be saying similar things differently. What was bothering me was social anxiety being passed off as a case of the 'jitters' and being considered inconsequential and just wanted to point out that what may send one into screams of pain isn't necessarily true for another and vice versa. From my experience working in the feild there is a tendency to 'rank' mental illness like a hierarchy, 'top dog' on the totem pole going to people with schizophrenia. Not sure if it was being done here or not but part of my point was with that in mind. I don't disagree medications are over prescribed (or the wrong ones given) and it extends to all areas of the medical profession. I've seen doctors prescribe Haldol and then prescribe cogetin to deal with the side effects of the Haldol and then prescribe chlorol(?) hydrate on top of that - compounding side effects upon side effect. Treating the side effects from the medication rather than look at an alternative to Haldol. For misuse look at anti-biotics, patients with a cold go to their doctor and demand anti-biotics. Doctors know you don't treat a virus this way yet they cave in to their patients demands. As a consequence we are on the verge of a medical crisis because anti-biotics are over prescribed, not taken properly and new virus strains are coming out that are resistant to all anti biotics. I don't think fault can be put on any one component in this I think all parties are guilty of creating this mess. Pharmacuetical companies for advertising like they do and creating 'pop quizes' for the populace to take to verify they have a condition before going to see a doctor. The doctors who don't have as much time as they used to to investigate. The patients who push to have medication prescribed because it is new, they think its harmless and the pop quiz told them they had the condition. I think insurance companies are partly to blame as well with their imposed time constraints ('only allowed to see patient X for 5 minutes Dr Smith or we wont pay you!'), limitations on second opinions etc. I understand all too well about the stigma associated with mental illness. I saw my uncle go from being 'John' to 'John the schizophrenic' and every action he made being questioned, 'did John do X because he is psychotic?' He was no longer deemed competent in any regard by my family and still isn't. Even his mother treated him badly and she herself had been put into Riverview for a 'case of the nerves' back in the 60's. You'd think she'd treat him better than she did because of her personal experience but she didn't. (I didnt find out until after her death. The fear of the stigma associated with medications,hospitals and diagnosis was so strong) ps: There is a online character that you keep alive by feeding it and giving it attention and one of the questions it asks is, 'choose between prozac and camomile tea' thought it said a lot about our current culture. As a culture we'd rather pop a pill to lose weight than exercise and eat right. Sadly some are looking for a 'wonder pill' that will make them 'happy shiny people' when there isnt a 'happy shiny people pill'.
  • Dang, Beeza, you mean these are just mints I've been popping? /happy shiny
  • He and others in my lab were of the opinion that mental illness made you "weak" and not fit to do science.
    Yeah, well, he gets plenty of encouragement from some sections of the anti-drug lobby, too. You can see them in action here.
  • Crazymeds handy-dandy thoughts on Paxil.
  • just a note: for a while effexor was a first line medication of any SSRIs which was very odd considering i did not and have not ever found someone who did not experience extremely intolerable side effects from it (unless somewhat ameliorated by other drugs) and there was an extreme pharmaceutical drug push behind it. I personally was forced to take it and assumed i was having extreme PTSD but it turned out those particular months to be exclusively from adjusting, taking and withdrawl from effexor. on the way to continue an investigation of why this would be the first line automatic option a year later-- let's just say the strange and dropped "resisting arrest' charges were dropped and all my information amongst other items were missing. As for paxil, it can be extremely unpleasant as well but does fit some people very well. everyone is different and some people are lucky enough to find a chemical fit without a lot of customization, but some drugs are just so very "dirty" or old that they are used simply because they have no idea what to do and it will incapacitate you-- --i'm just stopping here
  • and yes, effexor is a multiple reuptake and not just serotonin and i have to stop again before i talk about what happens when screwing with your other brain juices
  • I simply have to reinterate here. It seems I'm the only person who has become a successful consumer of effexor. By the time I started on it, in 1997, I'd had serious depression issues for years, on paxil, prozac and the other meds available then. I went on the effexor and it was literally a miracle for me and still is. I stay on it all the time now and change the dosage according to what is happening within the brain. When stable or manic, it is reduced. When I know a depression is taking hold, I increase. I'm fortunate in knowing that by the fourth day of increase I have the full effect and that after a few days of mental agony, things will be better. I've never had any of the side effects others describe. My dosages range from 37.5 to 150, at most per day. If this amount seems lacking then I add a bit of topamax to the mess, as it serves as a stimulant for me. I admit that going over the 150 mark, makes me feel not quite right and I won't go higher. The topomax I take only in very small doses, as needed, as it has a nasty habit of smixing up ones peech.
  • I'm sure there are others for whom $medication works, but it's a fair statement that in places like this (meaning the Internet) you're more likely to hear the negatives, no matter the topic. I guess (excuse my ignorance) that it's like any course of treatment; you try different things and eventually, hopefully, you find one right for you.
  • i hope it didn't seem i was dissuading anyone from medication i'm often one to impress upon people they should try standard medical routes before discounting them, since for a lot of people the general standard "flavor of the month" or first thing they try doesn't fit, people will then stop trying. i hadn't ever seen that crazymed site (or this thread), so i'm really glad someone posted it. people often need validation that what they are going through (esp. when rare or negative) is real as medical practioners are oft prone give little more than a "give it time" or dismissive somesuch, and people often don't know they have options to find a different doc, therapist, drug/combination, etc. which is why there are so many groups to support online what there isn't readily available in their enviroment. being new to dealing with medical anything, or any new situation involving new never-needed-to-know information, can be an extremely daunting thing. if it wasn't for online first hand information, i myself would have died years from a gross mismedication and a doctor who didn't have time to listen to me. and depending on the care, some people don't even know things can be better than they are if even part of it is working. certain drugs are prevalent because they do work for lots of people but those who don't get the full benefits from the general standard have much more ahead of them to have to get figured-- i'll say for the sake of misunderstanding/overexplanation (which will be epidemic if you've been luck enough to not notice yet), always check your sources and options, whatever your situation/dilemma/current fill in blank let's channel our inner critics towards where they are most beneficial, they're there for some reason
  • For what its worth, I didn't see anyone dissuading anyone from medication except that article from that 'doctor' later in the thread. His views are dangerous (he advocates no medication) not a bunch of people talking about the nasty side effects of a group of drugs.