Saturday, May 14, 2011

ANTIDEPRESSANTS AS A CRUTCH

Warning: This post will inevitably end up being controversial as I don't have a politically correct opinion of antidepressants. 
I warn you that if you are easily offended not to read on. 

So, in my most recent post titled DO OR DIE



Eileen said...


Have you considered an antidepressant? It may help.

Eileen poses a perfectly good question. However, for anyone who knows me well, they know I am not one for medications or drugs of any kind. In fact the most medicine I take is a few Excedrin migraine when my headaches are out of control.

You see, medication (in my opinion) in most cases (not all) is an agent to mask the real problem. My Excedrin migraine relieves the pain but doesn't take care of the main source of the migraine. Morphine eases the pain of terminal patients but does nothing to help cure them. Aloe Vera gel eases the itch of poison ivy but the rash has to heal in its own time. And in a quite metaphorical sense, a crutch relieves the need to walk on a broken leg/ankle/foot but in no way aids in the healing of that broken leg/ankle/foot.

Antidepressants ease the pain of sadness and other emotional issues and are essentially used in many situations as a crutch. In some instances I DO believe they are necessary. Like on a broken leg a person would definitely need a crutch and like in a cancer situation where the pain is too horrible to bear morphine would allow them to live out the remainder of their days in a less painful state. I believe there are justifiable psychological reasons to need antidepressants. Like in the situation when a person is considering suicide. I would think in a life and death or self inflicted abuse situation, the temporary relief of antidepressants could be useful - helpful - and aid in the recovery of the individual.

However, for a person who is sad or angry, or bored, or what have you, giving that person antidepressants is like telling them they don't have a reason to feel the emotions that rightfully come from certain situations. I may be sad or angry  because my marriage ended and remorseful because of the choices I've made and YES, depressed because of the weight I have gained due to my compulsive eating, BUT NO I should not take antidepressants. Why should I try to mask very real, very necessary feelings?

There are too many people in the world who refuse to feel their feelings because they don't now how to cope and therefore eat copious amounts of food or become bulimic or anorexic or cut or name another coping mechanism. There are even more people who go even a step further to distance themselves from reality by numbing themselves chemically. Relieving the pain so they can pretend it doesn't exist or that there aren't underlying issues that are causing it.

I am not one of those people.

I am sure many people may argue that there is a very real chemical imbalance in my brain or body causing my depression and that an antidepressant would even out and balance those chemicals. I believe for some people that is fine. Not for me. I want to fix the underlying issues that are causing the chemical imbalances. I need to fix my issues with food. Not pretend they don't exist by masking the symptoms. I need to make myself happy. Not be made artificially happy by chemical enhancers.

So, to answer the posed question; No, I will not consider antidepressants although I would never rule them out 100%. I'm just saying I would have to be on the brink of insanity and without any other recourse.

*Remember, these are just my opinions. We all have them and I DO NOT look down on or think poorly of anyone who uses antidepressants on a regular basis for any reason big or small. I have a few family members who I love dearly who use them (though I don't believe they need them) and I don't judge. They simply aren't for me.

Kristen

16 comments :

  1. While I am sure there are some people who take antidepressants because they don't want to feel their feelings, that's not quite how it works. Say that you are a "normal" person -- as in, you do not have depression. Something happens to you and you feel the corresponding response: sadness, happiness, anger, what have you. You feel that feeling and move on. With depression, not only doesn't the feeling stop it generally becomes blown out of proportion. Someone takes your stapler at work? You end up in a full blown rage screaming about how thoughtless everybody around you is. For hours or even days. You ask a guy out and he declines; clearly you are worth nothing, you do not matter, you will be alone forever. It goes to the nth degree and the worst thing is you don't really notice how bad it is. My world had narrowed to a tiny pinprick of light; all the rest was pitch black. I did get to the point where I was suicidal and that's when I sought help, but I lost literally years of my life to depression.

    Note that being depressed is different from having depression. When you're blue, you feel it and as I said before you move on. With depression, it's as if there is no off switch. You just can't snap out of it. It's like diabetes in that way. Many get help from meds and it "fixes" whatever went haywire in the brain. Others, like me, are missing something. Maybe it is a crutch, but for me it is a crutch because I'm missing a leg. It's necessary for my life.

    It may be that you do not have depression. But since I've been there I hope you do not have to make the trip to the brink of insanity if that is in fact what it is. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate your experience and your comment. :) It is for those people who are 'missing a leg' that I agree that antidepressants and whatever else needs to be done as necessary is well - necessary.

    But as you said, true, real depression is a chronic problem. Not something that comes and goes or ebbs and flows. I do not consider myself in any way depressed. Sad. Yes. Angry. Yes. Mildly depressed about certain situations, yes. But I in no way consider myself clinically depressed.

    That is where I was trying to get with this post. People who are 'just sad' or 'just upset' either search out or are offered medication as a quick fix. To numb it. And I don't think that is right.

    I agree that there are people who definitely have justification for using medication.

    I just don't consider myself one of them.

    And BTW, I have to measure my 'space' to see if it could fit a treadmill. TY so much for the offer.

    <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. That's where I am right now. I fear my doctor prescribed me an antidepressant because I am sad but then again, like Cilley said, the depressed person doesn't know they are. I'm monitoring myself to see if I need to take the medication or if it is something I can work through with my therapist instead.

    I agree with your statement about someone who doesn't need the chemicals not taking them. If I don't need them I'd rather not have that numb emotional feeling like you talked about.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Some days I feel like I need something for anxiety. I stress a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I agree that antidepressants are overprescribed, but are NECESSARY for those with a real biochemical imbalance. I don't know if you are CLINICALLY depressed or sad. And maybe, if you are clinically depressed, you don't know either.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I agree with much of what you say about antidepressants. In today's world, they are prescribed "at the drop of a hat." Most of us have times in our lives when we become depressed, due to situations (i.e., situational depression). Most of the time we can work through those feelings and come out the other side; however, that road is not without discomfort, sadness, or even anger. But that doesn't mean that antidepressants should be prescribed like aspirin. In my work, I have seen antidepressants prescribed for any feeling of sadness or discomfort-usually by well-meaning family doctors. As a result, people never work through their issues, and in many cases, they end up taking additional medications to counter some of the side effects of the antidepressants. It can become such a vicious cycle that people can become more "messed up" in the end, due to the medications, and the root of the issue never is revealed or dealth with. Sometimes a therapist is very helpful in helping us through tough times.

    Please understand that I am not talking about clinical depression. That is a whole different ballgame, and folks who suffer from this often benefit from antidepressants. This should be appropriately diagnosed, however, and not with just a visit to your family doctor. There are many diagnostic tools that will help a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist, or a clinical social worker determine if a depressive diagnosis applies to you or someone in your family. It is important to understand what type of mental health diagnosis a person has before prescribing medication.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When I was dealing with issues at work in late 2009, I was very depressed. I felt the way Cilley described it: "not only doesn't the feeling stop it generally becomes blown out of proportion. Someone takes your stapler at work? You end up in a full blown rage screaming about how thoughtless everybody around you is." It was scary for me because I couldn't control the way I was feeling. In my case, my doctor chose not to medicate me after speaking with me and my husband. She monitored me closely and encouraged me to leave the job, which I did. Once I had stopped working, all the depression went away. Truth is, if I hadn't been able to leave the job because of financial reasons, I would have ended up on medication or a mental hospital. It was that bad for me, mentally.

    It's normal for someone to become or feel so depressed it's almost debilitating because of stress in their lives. You know it will pass and this episode in your life will be behind you soon and hopefully that will give you the strength you need each day. If you don't feel that you are constantly in a feeling of dread and doom, maybe medication isn't for you. But don't ignore your feelings because it can turn into something worse as the stress levels increase, which they probably will before this is all over. Try some relaxation techniques, you can find lots of info on the 'net. It's what I did during that depressing period in my life and I was able to overcome it. It does help. And if you haven't done it in a while, you should see your doctor and have blood work done; stress and depression can sometimes affect your blood/hormone levels which can make the feelings of sadness even more pronounced which a vitamin/mineral supplement might help stabilize.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I totally respect your opinion but would like to share a few thought on the use of antidepressants.

    Your example of "And in a quite metaphorical sense, a crutch relieves the need to walk on a broken leg/ankle/foot but in no way aids in the healing of that broken leg/ankle/foot." is not very true.

    The crutch that are person used in that type situation allows for less stress on the affected therefore promoting healing. So the crutch actually does help to aleviate the porblem of a broken limb.

    I said all that to say antidepresant are not ment to numb the pain they are ment to aid a person in dealing with their feeling in a rational manner. I'm not saying that you need them because you know yourself but it seems like you may need some kind of help dealing with your feelings.

    Whatever you decide please son't wait untill you are to the point of insanity because then it may be too late. Good luck.

    Peace and Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love that you are willing to talk about this and your opinion. I agree that anti-depressents are not for everyone. I am one of those people. Wiht hard work in therapy and working out my issues I have been ok with out the help of drugs. My husband on the other hand who suffers from severe (formally diagnosed as clinical) depression he needed medication to get his brain chemistry right. After several months of drugs and grueling therapy sessions I have my husband back from the brink of being a suicidal mess. He is currently weaning himself off of his drugs so that he can be sure to not become dependent on them. I do aplaud you for calling out those who do use those drugs not because they need it but because they don't want to do the hard work in that needs to get done. Thanks for a great discussion

    ReplyDelete
  10. Actually, the chemical imbalances you reference are the **root cause** for clinical depression, not a symptom. Someone who suffers isn't "masking" or "numbing" feelings by taking SSRIs or MAOI inhibitors (the two major types of meds). They're correcting a biological problem, in MUCH the same way a diabetic takes insulin to normalize blood sugar levels. Seratonin levels in chronically depressed people cannot be controlled with food, sex, sleep, etc. Not in any sustainable way. It may very well be that you're one of those people who have out-of-whack chemicals. In that case, taking an antidepressant isn't "numbing" the pain. It's making up for a chemical your body isn't normally producing in order to lead a life like everyone else. Are they over prescribed? Sure. But so are antibiotics. So are eyeglasses. So are ADHD meds. That doesn't make them useless to YOU. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I have to respectfully add, that after a year of weeping and feeling totally under an emotional cloud that wouldn't stop raining, my doctor asked me if I thought I was depressed. (Uh yeah since I am 45 and crying in your office because the tech is coming to take a blood sample - you might have something there) Anyway, long story short, I have been on them a couple of years now. I have tried to wean off them just to simplify my life because I don't like having to remember to take them everyday but I end up feeling the same feelings of unworth, sadness, anger, anxiety and tension and go right back. While taking Lexipro - I still cry at weddings and funerals and the pledge of allegience to the flag(I am very patriotic). I still get mad at my husband but not where I feel like he has committed the unpardonable sin and I still have ups and downs. i just find that I don't down quite soooo low. Anyway - just wanted to add that for anyone thinking about talking to their doctor about ongoing depression, i am so glad I did. I'm still me - just more of the better side instead of the worst.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I agree with you! I was put on antidepressants in college and became even more depressed because I stopped feeling *anything*. I got off the meds and into actual therapy, and that worked for me. My depression was more situational - some people have bigger issues and meds might work for them, but I definitely don't think they're the one and only solution for the issue. It's good to know that pills aren't the only option.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Everyone has such great comments :) I'd like to add to Curvy Diva -- as a person who is currently wearing a cast because of a stress fracture in my leg, the cast is helping to heal me. It takes the pressure off the bones by distributing it to the rest of the leg so that the fracture can heal.

    I know people who simply have needed a jump start to their brain chemistry. They take antidepressants for a month or two and then go off them. I envy them! Like Beginning Anew, I've tried to go off them just because I feel like I take enough pills as it is, but then the dark places return. It's very easy just to write it off to having a bad day/I'm on my period/what have you, but for me it just doesn't stop.

    By the way, I also went to see a psychologist once I was diagnosed with depression and got on the meds. After one and a half sessions, he told me I was too mentally healthy for therapy and that it would be a waste of money for me to continue. I knew what made me feel sad/angry/happy/etc; it was my personal chemistry that made it all crazy. Once the meds stopped the crazy, I still had problems but they were dealable.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I want to second the insulin diabetes point.
    And let me add this thought I get for you you don't. But I do take issue that you. Comment taking medication for depression as pretending a problem doesn't exist and they are numbing themselves. In all niceness they aren't doing either by making a choice such as this to help thmselves

    ReplyDelete
  15. I believe that many people are overmedicated, we live in a pill pushing society. If a depression is situational I DO believe it's best to work through it without meds, but if it's so bad that the depression makes the effort of working through it too much, it may help temporarily but doesn't need to be a long term fix. There are different levels I think...and degrees of severity to peoples illnesses and there are many ways to treat them.

    That being said, I'm bipolar and I take abilify. Depression is not my main problem, but mania is and it's very dangerous to myself and those around me if I'm in a state. I tried to go off my med, I would prefer to be off if I could be this' me' without them I would prefer it, but I can't. I've tried. That's why when people come to me, because they know I"m "on something" for advice, I can't tell them what to do because I dont' know the real causes or the severity but I Tell them if they can get by without it, do it. It took me 5 years to find a medication that worked and wasn't slowly killing me or at least feeling like it was. I have been on over 20 meds trying to find the control and stability I now have. If it had been a matter of those 5 years and then this bliss, or nothing, I would take the 5 year struggle, I would give ANYTHING to be where I am today, I have a long mental health history with many hospitalizations and I never ever want to go back to that life. In July I will have been out of hospital and not back in for 4 years. I think if we can avoid meds, do, but if not, don't feel shamed into thinking that it's a crutch. Sometimes the chemicals ARE the problem and not the other way around, which is a definite issue.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...