Thinking about meds, Scared - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 11-07-2003, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have had a long history of anxiety and depression, and just recently it has gotten a lot worse. I am usually very, very skeptical of meds. I took Zoloft as a teenager and I had some not so good side effects (took it for a couple of years I think). I then took Celexa for maybe a month a few years ago until I found out I was pregnant with my second child and quit taking it. I would probably jump right into taking some meds right now if it weren't for still nursing my 20 month old. I am just so scared she would have side effects and it would be all my fault. She nurses all night and all day still so there really isn't a time when I can take it and be sure she isn't getting much. That's really the only thing holding me back right now (and the money issue--we have a very small income for the next 3 years while DH goes to school-- and doesn't work... we don't have health insurance.. we don't qualify for state insurance, but the kids do.) Being a hypochondriac is not easy when taking meds! Right now I might have a stomach ulcer and I'm scared to death of taking the Zantac. Anyway, I've got a lot of issues, and I don't know what I am going to do. Thanks for reading if you got this far!

edited to add-- has anybody had screwed up cycles b/c of anxiety? I got my period back about 4 months ago, and the cycles have been really screwy... 35 days, 30 days, 39 days.. I don't think it's related to nursing. I think it's my anxiety. I also had some mid-cycle spotting and cramping last month. I have been thinking about TTC (and did try this month, but I never saw any fertile mucus.. I am on CD 28) b/c I feel so much better when I'm pregnant. Oh yeah, and my husband was home (not working) for one of those whole cycles and I had a normal 30 day cycle... I think because my anxiety and depression are lessened when he is at home. Anyway just wanted to throw that idea out and see if anybody could relate.

Mel
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#2 of 11 Old 11-07-2003, 02:21 PM
 
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First off, HUGS.

Secondly - I think it's perfectly OK to be scared about meds but the recent research has shown that so little ends up in breastmilk, it's completely safe.

Third - if you think you have a stomach ulcer, then see a doctor. Don't self-diagnose and self-medicate - you could do more harm than good. It could be that your stomach problems are directly related to your depression and anxiety and once you get those issued under control, the stomach problem will go away as well.

I am on Lexapro 10 mg and love it. I had some side affects the first few weeks on it, but now, nothing and I feel so much better. Talk to your doctor about it and good luck.
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#3 of 11 Old 11-07-2003, 02:28 PM
 
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Hi Mel. I understand your worries about breastfeeding and meds. Many meds are reportedly safe while breastfeeding...and you have to remember that when mainstream U.S. says "while breastfeeding," what they really mean is "while breastfeeding a tiny baby." Only weirdos like those mamas who read Mothering magazine would breastfeed longer than a few months! : I would suggest doing some research (this PPD board has lots of info) about breastfeeding and anti-depressants. Some are unsafe, and obviously those should be avoided in favor of safer ones. Hearing directly from moms who are taking meds and breastfeeding might make you feel better. Some meds are also deemed safe to take during pregnancy, and that is a really useful thing when the benefits outweigh the risk to the baby, as it does for so many moms who cannot make it without their meds but still want to have children.

As a child gets older, their liver functions better plus their overall weight increases, lessening the dose-per-weight percentage of anything that passes through the breastmilk. You could also choose to cut back some on nursing to minimize the effect.

I don't say all this to try to encourage you to definitely take meds. But it would be nice for you to have another option besides getting pregnant. If the anxiety comes back after the next birth, then you'd have 2 small children plus all the anxiety, and you'd still not have the option of meds because you'd be breastfeeding another baby. That would be a lot to handle.

As for the anxiety affecting your menstrual cycle, that is certainly possible. Stress can cause changes in cycle, and stress is a byproduct of anxiety. I also found that my cycle was screwy for several months after I got my period back at 13 months post-partum, it ranged anywhere from 28-39 days. I also have heavier flow and worse cramping some months than others, and a few days insomnia before my period every time, which I didn't have before.

I am currently taking Lexapro 10 mg, which is the "next generation" of Celexa. I was no longer breastfeeding when I began taking it, but I did take St. John's Wort for several months while breastfeeding my daughter, who was 23 months when I began taking it. I didn't notice any adverse effects. She was nursing only 2-3 times a day at the time.

Do you have a doctor or therapist you trust to speak to about your situation? One who is unbiased and will give you all the info and options? That might be a help. Sometimes when you're in the middle of the whirlwind, it's hard to see the whole picture, so talking here, to your husband, to a trusted doctor, etc. might help you get some perspective and maybe come up with even more options you haven't thought of yet. {{{Hugs to you}}}

Warmly,
Carol
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#4 of 11 Old 11-07-2003, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Penguintrax,

I did see a doc about my stomach issues last week. He was the one that suggested I do something about my anxiety. He also suggested I try an antacid because I probably do have an ulcer. (I also asked another dr friend of mine and he agreed, to take the zantac.)

I am really interested in Lexapro because I hear so many good things about it. I will ask my doc about it. Thank you ladies for the reassurance. I think I am going to start taking something when I talk to my doc next week. Do you know if there are any studies on Lexapro in breastmilk? Is it the same or better than Celexa?

Mel
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#5 of 11 Old 11-08-2003, 12:54 AM
 
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I don't know about studies regarding Lexapro and breastmilk. I went to their website (www.lexapro.com) and I found a couple things regarding breastfeeding. Click on "Prescribing Information" link on the left hand side of the homepage and you'll be taken to a long .pdf document. There is a section about half-way through called "Nursing Mothers" that includes information about two cases where adverse effect were reported. There was also the following statement earlier in the document: "Patients should be advised to notify their doctor if they are breast feeding an infant." I would imagine the adverse effects would not be nearly as likely to occur in a toddler, but would recommend discussing it with a trusted doctor or psychiatrist.

Lexapro is considered to be better than Celexa in that they isolated the effective isomer and so you can take a much smaller dose to get the same effect. With Celexa I think the standard dose is 40 mg, whereas with Lexapro the standard is 10 mg (also available in 20 mg). Because it's less medicine, the side effects like nausea are also supposedly lessened. Side effects for me included nausea, insomnia, hot flashes/sweating, and feeling spacey. Feeling spacey lasted about 3 days, the other symptoms lasted about one week. Along with the nausea, certain things also tasted strange/disgusting for a while. Like I had a sip of wine and it tasted like antifreeze, for instance.

I suffered from depression but only mild anxiety, so I don't know if there is a better drug to take for people with more acute anxiety. Within 2 weeks of taking Lexapro I felt like my old self again. I hadn't realized how far from my old self I had gotten till my brain got back in sync. There are still hard times, but I now look at my daughter and smile and interact instead of feeling miserable and yelling at her. My feeling of total hopelessness has been replaced with a willingness to try things (like attending a yoga class) even if I feel scared to. For me, it is worth it. I missed out on a lot in the last year. But I'm glad I can move forward with hope now.

Let us know what you find out and decide.

Carol
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#6 of 11 Old 11-08-2003, 01:16 AM
 
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Hi!
I am a complete newbie to MDC so please forgive me if this has already been discussed recently. Regarding depression & anxiety- have you read Julia Ross' book, The Mood Cure?
She offers a program for relieving depression through diet and supplementing w/ amino acids in order to rebalance our brain chemistry. I was quite pleased w/ the results, and it's certainly something you could do while bfing.
here's a link for her site:
http://moodcure.com

All the best to you!
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#7 of 11 Old 11-08-2003, 05:52 PM
 
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coriy, that sounds really interesting. It made me think of another book I read called "Mother Nurture." It's a great book that deals with a "syndrome" it refers to as "depletion" -- depletion can occur from some of the usual byproducts of AP mothering like extended breastfeeding while possibly getting an inadequate diet, and sleep-deprivation. She suggests therapies such as upping certain vitamins. I'm not doing the book justice, but it is a really great, nurturing read, and can help you track down things you might be deficient in.

Carol
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#8 of 11 Old 11-08-2003, 06:32 PM
 
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That sounds like a great book! D you know who wrote it by chance?
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#9 of 11 Old 11-10-2003, 02:26 PM
 
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I am way pressed for time, but wanted to add that I was on Lexapro for clinical depression and health anxiety (severe) and it worked wonders for me, especially the anxiety.
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#10 of 11 Old 11-11-2003, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I keep going back and forth. I'm not sure what I am going to do. Tomorrow I have an abdominal ultrasound because I have been worried about my stomach. I will let you know what it says. If you are religious at all, please say a prayer for me!!

Mel
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#11 of 11 Old 11-12-2003, 12:56 AM
 
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coriy, Mother Nurture was written by Rick Hansen (a psychologist), Jan Hansen (an acupuncturist and nutritionist), and Ricki Pollycove (an MD with a masters in health science). More details are at:

http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/bibli...2-0142000620-0

(Powells also has used books available)

It's a great book. My therapist, who is wonderful and an AP mom herself, recommended it to me. It made me realize I was not alone.

Carol
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