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Depression and Medication

Old 03-21-2007, 07:20 PM
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Thumbs up Depression and Medication

When I don't drink I have symptoms consistent with depression. Not a severe, suicidal case, just mild with some generalized anxiety. Most of my drinking (I was a 2-4 night a week binge drinker) was brought on by this feeling that I wanted to get rid of.

Dry for a few weeks, but really struggling, I went to a doctor and described my symptoms. She put me on effexor. I am on a half dose until tomorrow, and then I bump it up to a full dose.

So far so good. A few times a day the medication gives me a manic rush that lasts for a few minutes and then subsides. I actually enjoyed those little rushes at first, but now I am hoping the medication soon reaches equilibrium in my system and they stop. Its no good getting the giggles at the grocery store.

Other than that, I am really happy with the results. I haven't even felt like drinking this past week - and that is amazing all by itself. I went to a barbecue at a friend's house where there were 5 couples drinking and having a party, but I had no trouble abstaining and still having a good time with my friends. Its way too soon to know if this is a long term solution, but I am more optimistic than I have been for a long time, and I wanted to share that.
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Old 03-22-2007, 08:17 PM
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Can't Stop,

I've had chronic depression for years. However, I drank because I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober a very long time now. In sobriety, I've had several depressive episodes. My problem was finding the right medication. You may or may not know that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Yoy may have seen commercials on TV for Zoloft or Cymbalta. The Zoloft commercial shows the imbalance in a cartoon-like manner. It's not making fun, it's simply an easy was to show what's going on up there in the brain. The commercial for Cymbalta points out the names of the two main chemicals that can be out of whack.

The bottom line is that each person has a balance of these chemicals unique to them. It's only by trial that any doctor and patient can be sure the prescribed drug is actually working. Generally, it take two weeks for an anti-depressant to build up in the system enough to have the desired effect. That's not to say that it doesn't happen sooner.

It's also the case in many instances that an AD can stop working after a period of time. i've had to switch medications three or four times over the last 15 years. I am taking effexor right now. It's working for me. I feel "normal" whatever that is. I've been taking it for three years now.

I hope that your case is mild and that you have found the right medication. I would suggest that you make sure your physician is qualified to deal with depression. Many GP's dispense AD meds without actually knowing what they are faced with. My son-in-law was prescribed a certain AD by a physician at a walk in clinic. Within three months he was so out of control that he has no recollection of what he did during that time. It turns out that the AD prescribed to him increased the level of one chemical in his brain so high that by the time he went to the emergency room, the doc there told him he's never seen levels that high an by all rights he should have been dead.

I ramble on only to be of service. Again, I hope your case is mild and can be quickly taken care of. Just make sure you have the right doc prescribing it.

Ed
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Old 03-22-2007, 10:24 PM
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I, too, hope these meds will work for you. But, Can'tstop,

you must stop now that you are taking psychotropicmedication.

And I agree with Golfman, it is imperative that time is spent

with you and a proper diagnosis is made by a qualified psychiatrist

who specializes in substance abuse or dual diagnosis.

If you have not told your doctor everything, make an

appointment and go now. My sister drank on Effexor and

it was not good. I do know that of which I speak. I am

barely, after nine months, stabilizing on bipolar medication.

But returning to alcohol would kill me within six months or

less. I've been told. And I'm not arguing.

Prayers for you and your recovery,

Love,

IO
(Sherry)
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Old 03-25-2007, 04:59 AM
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Thanks again IO and Golfman - your words rang in my head this weekend as my demon resurfaced. I definitely wanted to drink again, and there was nothing healthy about my obsessing on it.

I stayed sober Friday night because of the warnings you posted here. I was afraid to drink for fear of the combined effects of the meds and alcohol.

Saturday was tougher. I went through my smartrecovery cognitive processes and that helped for a while. In the end, though, I was probably saved by my daughter, who was following me around all evening making it impossible to sneak away until after the stores were all closed.

The meds have me feeling better, but there is clearly still much work to do.

Thanks again.
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Old 03-25-2007, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Golfman View Post
You may or may not know that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.
Hi Ed,

Would you concede, too, that his reported mild depression and anxiety only a few weeks sober may well be the natural process of early recovery? I hate seeing people handed out these drugs like candy, when it can be so difficult to stop later down the line.

No, they aren't "addictive" in any tradition sense but there is a disctinct and sometimes severe discontinuation syndrome associated with trying to come off them.

Originally Posted by Golfman View Post
The commercial for Cymbalta points out the names of the two main chemicals that can be out of whack.
There are three primary neurotransmitters responsible for mood which are affected to some degree by antidepressants; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Cybalta is a neuromodulator to the latter two.

I too, am an alcoholic with long-term sobriety which will be 11 years in mid-April. And I too have been through a few ADs over the years just like you! (Currently Celexa and doing great!) Anyways - back to the caveat - I like your next point...

Originally Posted by Golfman View Post
I would suggest that you make sure your physician is qualified to deal with depression. Many GP's dispense AD meds without actually knowing what they are faced with.
Oh man is that a great point. As I said, I think they are handed WAY too easily and quickly here in the states. I'm not a doctor but psychopharmacology has been a field of high interest to me for 20 years, and what we are now finding is that certain ADs like venlafaxine can be very difficult to come off, should the patient decide he doesn't want to be taking them his whole life.

I'm fine with that, btw. LOL I'm fairly sure that I will be on an AD for as long as I live. But that's a whole other story.

Can't_Stop, the mild depression and anxiety you describe are actually all a part of a healthy recovery from heavy drinking, and if it were me, I would definitely want to give my body longer than mere weeks before commiting to an AD.

I wish you the best either way, and remind you that, if you are taking an AD, it is essential that you not still be going back to the drinking. It will be impossible to know if your Effexor is truly working for you long-term or not.

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Old 04-04-2007, 06:06 AM
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An update and a question:
I took my wife to Las Vegas last weekend for our anniversary. We had a great time and even renewed our vows to celebrate. I had never done Vegas sober before, and I honestly think I had more fun than ever.

Now that I am home, though, I am noticing something unusual. I am groggy as can be. I am going on 3 weeks with the Effexor, and 2 weeks at the full strength dose (75 mg). I am having trouble concentrating and I feel sleepy most of the time. I feel 'stoned' to the point that I don't want to drive unless absolutely necessary.

I am wondering if some of these new side effects may have been brought on by having an unusual schedule for a few days. Las Vegas is 3 time zones away from where I live, and we stayed up late and slept less than normal while there. Ate differently, too. Could this be contributing to my new issues? Might this pass in a few more days?

I can't get in to see my doctor until next week. Can I cut back on the Effexor by extending the interval between doses to 36 hours? Will that help?

on a side note...

I just realized that I have not had a drink since Feb 28th.

Last edited by Can't_Stop; 04-04-2007 at 06:07 AM. Reason: spelling error
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Old 04-04-2007, 10:04 AM
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well i was on lexipro for depression, i was on this for sometime. and it just quit working. so monday of this week the doctor put me on zoloft. right now its making me extremely sleepy. but it will be worth it if it helps me. i wish all of you that fight depression luck.. cuz its not easy thing to have. i hate having it. that is why i used my doc meth it numbed it. but no more numbing for me. i guess it should be a privilege to be able to feel it depression that is... anyhow thanks for letting me share.
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Old 04-04-2007, 11:36 AM
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I was on Effexor several years ago. It did make me very tired.
As a result, my psych had me take Wellbetrin, in addition, which reduced Effexor's side effects (including the tiredness). I am currently taking Cymbalta with good results.
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Old 04-04-2007, 12:36 PM
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well leo the cat i think i will cut it down to half a pill until my body adjusts to it. i sure hope the tiredness goes away..... thanks
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:35 AM
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I got the antidepressant Lexapro before I quit drinking because I thought I was depressed... probably am some. But the benefit I found was the anti-anxiety aspect of Lexapro. I know that everyone is different, but cutting back on my anxiety has made it easier to quit drinking becasue I don't feel that panic to supress my feelings and zone out of life.

Of course it's not 100%... I'm not immune to my triggers, but it makes not drinking a bit better than I think it would be without Lexapro.

I did have the buzz effect when I started, and it did go away. And then I did get the tiredness in the afternoon after that (morning dose). To combat the tiredness, I just used old fashioned caffine! It helped me get through the grogginess and now I'm past all those side effects at 5 weeks.

best of luck, cant!
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:13 AM
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thanks azure i hope i get the tiredness feeling out soon. going on week 2 for me on zoloft. so i am not feeling as tired though.,
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Old 07-01-2007, 01:46 AM
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75 mg isn't the highest dose...i'm on 450 mg of Effexor
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Old 07-01-2007, 09:31 AM
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I tried several antidepressants and I think I actually got worse on Paxil and Prozac--I got very apathetic and a little reckless--I actually STARTED doing drugs while on these!! Plus they made me so exhausted and vegetative! But after those experiences I was a little afraid of trying again, but I am now on Wellbutrin and Cymbalta for a few years and it has totally changed my life for the better. Still having a hard time quitting drinking/drugs, but amnow determined to do my best every day to stay sober, and I think with that final step I will be able to begin the best phase of my life. You truly do have to find the correct medicine for you.
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Old 07-01-2007, 10:20 AM
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Can't_Stop, the mild depression and anxiety you describe are actually all a part of a healthy recovery from heavy drinking, and if it were me, I would definitely want to give my body longer than mere weeks before commiting to an AD.
This.

My chronic depression and anxiety lessened and/or disappeared completely with recovery.
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:23 PM
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I came to this board because of my current oxy addiction, but it was the booze that completely destroyed my life and led me to the oxy. But that's not even the real truth. the booze and the oxy are only the symptoms. The underlying cause is the depression. My relationship with the booze was a twisted, vicious cycle. I drank because I was depressed and had anxiety when in large groups, but I would drink to the point of enebriation and blackout. The blackouts would make me even more anxious because of the missing time and the fear of something terrible happening while in that state. And the days after a binge, I would be even more depressed because the alcohol would deplete all vitamins and screw all brain chemicals. So the result was a brain chemistry that was even more out of whack. Vicious cycle. So I eventually stopped - traded in the big glass bottle for a small plastic one. And became an oxy addict. That worked well for close to two years, and now that's doing less and less for me. Time to go in-patient.

Hey Glassprisoner, how relevant are the lyrics to 'These Walls' and 'Panic Attack' off of Octavarium??
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GreenTNHoney View Post
*snip*
Hey Glassprisoner, how relevant are the lyrics to 'These Walls' and 'Panic Attack' off of Octavarium??
Well, DTs lyrics are always open to interpretation I (obviously) enjoy Mikes AA saga throught the last 4 studio albums.

[/hijack]
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Old 07-18-2007, 10:37 AM
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Can't Stop: You're story sounds similar to mine. I was a binge drinker. I drank away my anxiety and depression. When I finally wised up and got sober my depression took a hold of me. Almost 2 years being sober and I'm still trying to deal with my depression. I do think it's possible the anxiety and depression you're dealing with can be (like others here mentioned) just a normal part of your early recovery.

I'm proud of you for keeping sober. I know how hard it is. And when that thought or feeling comes over you that may be, just tonight, may be I can have a few, just get a little buzz, just tonight......and the thinking. The obsessing. It can get you. It sounds to me like you're on the right path and in really very good shape.

hugs
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