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well, I certainly can understand the "not wanting to take pills the rest of my life" part of it, because I feel that way too. BUT, I can also see that my quality of life, and more importantly, the quality of life for those around me is MUCH MUCH better when I am taking a low dose of anti-depressant medication (Lexapro). I am no really all that concerned about getting off of it, because the trade-offs for me are worth it. I feel like I have lost some of the really really happy feelings, if that makes sense, but it it is so worth it not to have the really really bad, sad, despairing feelings.

For me, right now, this is helping me hold things together. Good luck to you!!
 

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If you do decide to go off, do yourself a favor and wean off gradually. Two years ago, I took myself off without consulting my doc and while I did it slow, it wasn't slow enough. I felt absolutely horrible. I have never been so physically ill. I ended up adding a bit more to my dose and reducing even more slowly.

Having said that, I think your best bet is to let the medication do it's job and than worry about getting off after the 6-12 month mark. I don't think you will become dependant on them. You can learn a lot of good skills with therapy that will help you cope better after coming off. I may not be the best person to respond as I am still taking an SSRI (after three years) but I don't even want to try to come off- my life changed so much after starting them- I never want to go back to the old me so if I have to take meds for the rest of my life- so be it!
 

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Well, I can give you my experience. I started taking Zoloft when I was 30 weeks pregnant with #2 for PPD stuff. I took that until #2 was about 10 months old. I weaned myself off slowly and didn't notice any withdrawl. I'm very glad that I took the Zoloft for that year and I felt it helped me tremendously. I didn't have any problems coming off of it.

Now, this May, I started taking Zoloft again for depression (not PPD). It seemed to help me, but one side effect was a complete numbing of my emotions. I felt nothing. I guess if you are depressed then feeling nothing can be a welcome relief. I did feel that relief, but the emotional numbing was hindering my therapy and dealing with past issues from my childhood. So, I decided that this time, the Zoloft was actually hinderning me instead of helping me. Part of my healing is to actually feel these feelings instead of numbing them. So, I am weaning myself off of them after only 5 weeks and I haven't had any withdrawl (that I notice) this time.

I think each person's body is different. It sounds like to me that you are really benefitting from taking the medication. You are in therapy which you should find extremely helpful. Your therapist will be able to help you come off of the medication when you are ready. If you go off slowly enough, you should be able to minimize any withdrawl sypmtoms.

I can understand not wanting to take the meds. I feel the same way. I also feel like you in that it did help me to be a better mom and I felt that was important.

So, I have experience very good results with meds and then unwanted results. I would just recommend lots of conversation with your therapist and dr. on the subject. They, along with you, should be able to help you determine what is best.

Oh, and don't get too worked up about what you read on the internet about the meds. The horror stories can really get you worked up - I know they did for me. But, just remember that the majority of the people who are going to post about their experiences on meds are going to be the ones who had negative results. Many people have taken these meds and benefited greatly from them.

Best wishes on your journey with this!
 

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The research is pretty strong that continuing for the 6-12 months after you are doing well is really important. It seems this is kind of buyers remorse. You made the decision and now you are doubting it. I would try if you can to stop picking at it and just leave it alone for now. You have no reason to rethink this... that is the depression, the looking for negatives, blaming yourself, not feeling comfortable feeling good. Good luck with your path... it is hard but so worth it for you and your family.
 

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I went through a situation much like yours when I had PPD with my first. Started taking the meds, felt better, then started freaking out that I was medicated and what it might do to me or my son who was getting my milk, etc., etc. I went off and on for a couple of months and then ended up stopping the medication. My ppd then lasted for more than two miserable years. I didn't end up getting out of the depression until I went back on the Zoloft. I've been on for a year now and I wouldn't give it up for anything.

For me, I think the on and off, panicking about meds thing really was part of my anxiety and depression. I don't think drs/therapists always realize how hard it is to trust medication when you are in the throws of anxiety, even if the anxiety is improving.

It is of course up to you, but based on my experience, I would recommend continuing the medication.
 

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I went on Zoloft when ds2 was a couple of months old. It did help, but, a few months ago, I started feeling like I wanted to try something else - sexual side effects and flattened emotions were getting to be too much.

I weaned off the Zoloft (too fast at first - I felt awful, so I had to slow way down) and started taking SAM-e. I had heard SAM-e was a good anti-depressant, and found the book The SAM-e Solution by Deborah Mitchell. I'm sure there are newer resources out there - that book was published in '99. I did some internet research, because I wanted to find information on nursing while taking it. I didn't find much, but what I did find said that SAM-e levels in infants are naturally higher, so there wasn't much concern that it would cause problems. (I can supply the link if you're interested.)

I'm so glad I made the change. SAM-e is really helping me. My emotional levels are normal...it keeps depression at bay, but doesn't flatten positive emotions.

I get my (Source Naturals) SAM-e from http://www.vitacost.com/ It had/has the best price I could find.

The only things I don't like about SAM-e are that I have to wait 30 min. after taking it to eat, and I have to remember to take my vitamins or it doesn't work as well (extra B vitamins are necessary for best results), but those are really minor concerns, AFAIC.

HTH
 

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I suggest that you keep taking them, at least for now.

You thought long and hard before starting, and decided to go with them for at least 6 months. It's only been a few weeks- by now, the side effects should be wearing off and the beneficial effect should be kicking in.

I know that I felt like a "failure" when I realized the meds were helping- like my body was failing me- why else would I need drugs to be happy? I had kind of hoped the meds wouldn't help and I'd have the perfect excuse to stop taking them.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by caloli
-My doctor said that studies show people who take antidepressants for 6-12 months, in conjunction with therapy, and then wean off slowly, have a much lower chance of having a repeat episode of depression in the future. This is something which made the antidepressants seem more attractive.
-They took a while to kick in, and I had some horrible side effects but now they're working and everything is much better. I want to be on them for a very short time, so I'm trying extremely hard with therapy and I'm doing everything I can to get myself back to normal as quickly as possible.
-But now I'm starting to second guess my decision. I know there can be bad withdrawl effects, and I'm worried that I'll dependent on them forever. What if I can't stop taking them after 6-12 months? What if they alter my brain chemistry forever?
-I really want the rest of my life to be like this in terms of emotions and happiness, but I don't want to be taking antidepressants forever.
Caloli I feel for your situation. Your doing everything right IMO.
I have taken medication off and on for the past 10 years. I was
med free for 5 years in the middle of those 10 years. When I
felt like I needed to go back on medication last Fall I felt like I had
failed. But I know I have to take the best care of myself I can.
I feel it's really important to take medication with therapy. In therapy
you can learn skills to help with depression. Then when the time
comes that you stop taking the medication, you still have those
skills to cope. Learning those skills has done a world of good for
me.
I have had long periods in my life of depression that I didn't get
help when I was younger. These periods of my life have altered
me far more than medication ever did. I know it's scary to feel like
your depending on a medication, but for a short period, while
getting help, to make good positive changes in your life is nothing
to feel bad about.
Try to give yourself a break, and put more energy into the recovery
and not the time spend recovering. Don't rush yourself, or put a time
limit on getting better.
Withdrawal is different for everybody, and it depends on what
medication you are on. As another poster said don't allow the horror
stories on the internet to scare you. It's different for everybody. If
you take your time slowly getting off medication, using herbal remedies
to help while coming off most do just fine. Plus the skills in therapy will
help too. Many people who have the horror stories didn't get help
slowly going down in doses, or have therapy.
In my past I felt like I was just going to do the best I can, but my
best would never feel like enough. Slowly over the past 5 years
I have been feeling better and better. The past 6 months I feel like
I am living the live I could only dream of living in my past. I feel like
a whole person.
I have family members who have been on medication for years, and
I was afraid I would become one of those. But they didn't put in the
work or seek therapy, they just took the pills. Your putting in your time
and energy to seek a better life and balance. That is something to be
proud of.

I wish you the very best.
 

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I second the strong suggestion for therapy at the same time as the medication. Without (the right) therapy, the only thing that changes is the symptom (depression). If you don't learn how to cope better, nothing will change in the long run. Medication only helps to a point.

I've been in therapy before, but not with the right therapists, so it didn't help and actually made things worse. However, I have finally found someone I believe will be able to help me, and I will start seeing her again soon. (I had to interrupt seeing her because of an insurance snafu.)

Anyway, best of luck in your journey through depression.
 

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I agree with pjlioness, SAM-e is great. There are other amino acids too, if this doesn't work. Have you read the book "Depression Free Naturally" by Dr. Larson?

The correct amino acids, vitamins and food can cure all chemical imbalances. I wouldn't take the anti-depressants their are alternatives that work.
 

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You are going to get different reconditions form every one.


IMO Anti-depressants are not the end all solution and therapy and alternative remedies can help but, it is a balance. Anti-depressant maybe needed to jump start healthy changes. When you are really depressed it's hard to research or start new lifestyle changes and when you feel better you just never want to be sick again so it's the last thing you want to consider. I wish everyone luck and health, I am still figuring it out.
:
 

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You're right, if the antidepressant will improve the quality of your life (and give your children back their mother), it is something you should do. Just remember with antidepressants: it sometimes takes 2 weeks or up to a month to get into your system good and start working, so don't get frustrated and quit.

If it makes you feel better about it, you could also ask your doctor to do a blood test for magnesium deficiency. When I decided to go off the Zoloft (well, I admit, not really by choice, we couldn't afford it last month), I started taking magnesium supplements. I usually crash HARD if I miss more than a dose of the medicine. That, to date, has not happened, and it's been a stressful month (complete with an emergency room visit, two doctor visits, plus two more scheduled, for blood pressure problems, and I work at a bookstore and this has been Harry Potter Hell Week.)

I'm not trying to discourage you from taking the meds. If you need them, you need them. It is NOT a sign of failure. It is a sign that you're keeping up the fight. I've dealt with depression for years, it is a difficult thing to deal with. Keep it up. Take the meds if that's what you and your doctor decide you need. It was put to me this way once: a depressed person sometimes needs antidepressants like a diabetic needs insuline. You do what you need to keep healthy.

Good luck, and keep us updated!
 

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Well it sounds like you have a good plan and I wish you luck. I would stay on the zoloft for at least 6 months, I think that is a good idea. What you are going through is very hard. I also, don't want to take meds forever but, it is what is best for me right now. keep us posted.
 
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