Review: 'Through the Shadowlands’ describes Julie Rehmeyer's ME/CFS Odyssey
I should note at the outset that this review is based on an audio version of the galleys and the epilogue from the finished work. Julie Rehmeyer sent me the final version as a PDF, but for some reason my text to voice software (Kurzweil) had issues with it. I understand that it is...
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Antidepressants

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Jessie 107, May 21, 2017.

  1. Jessie 107

    Jessie 107

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    Before becoming ill with me/cfs I wasn't depressed, but since finding out this is what I have, I did start to get quite depressed, not surprisingly.
    So I have been taking 20mg of citalopram for six months.
    During this time I have put on nearly a stone in weight! Admittedly I now can't do much exercise wise, and have to sit /lay down alot of the time but I was wondering if the antidepressants were causing weight gain too?
    I read of other people talking citrolopram who don't have cfs and are exercising a lot, who all say they have put on weight with it.
    I am considering coming off it, but not sure how I will be. Does everyone with this illness take antidepressants?
    Does anyone else think that they have gained weight because of them?
     
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  2. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    Antidepressants make you slightly high and thats considered a treatment.
    Being depressed because you can't do most of the activities of living others can do is no surprise at all and taking an upper to mask it may help but its no cure for anything.
    Hence if you stop it you will feel the same as if you never took it, except for any withdrawal effects it may have (and hopefully it has not done any brain damage and if it has you should be stopping it anyways).

    If you decide to discontinue it research its recommended tapering and any withdrawal effects people have had coming off it.
     
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  3. Skippa

    Skippa Senior Member

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    Yes yes yes, so many people put on weight after starting SSRIs.
     
  4. pamojja

    pamojja Senior Member

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    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  5. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I always gained a lot of weight when going on antidepressants which I why I absolutely refuse to take them. Like Alvin2 said, I just don't think drugging the problem will make it go away, but there are other people who swear by them so it depends upon the person. I have researched alternatives for depression such as herbal preparations that keep my mood pretty level. That way, when I do get depressed and go on a crying jag I know it is situational and not a "chemical imbalance."
     
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  6. Jessie 107

    Jessie 107

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    Thankyou, just read through the information I am definitely going to try and stop taking them now. Wish I had known all this before I started taking them.
     
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  7. Learner1

    Learner1 Professional Patient

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    Most psychiatric drugs also damage mitochondria, something that's not desirable either.

    I just posted this on another thread:

    My family member gained and lost significant weight on the various psych meds and is normal weight today.

    Best wishes in finding answers...
     
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  8. pamojja

    pamojja Senior Member

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    But please go slow with a sound protocol to avoid withdrawal. Almost always MDs will interpret withdrawal-symptoms as signs that you actually need them. They are only thought how to prescribe them, not how to stop them. Many psychiatrist don't even believe in withdrawal symptoms from anti-depressants.
     
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  9. belize44

    belize44 Senior Member

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    I find that GABA has helped me enormously, as well as 5HTP for a short time. When I started taking the 5HTP the results were so dramatic that I was stunned. But after a week, it started making me sleepy so I figured that for me, it was a one off thing that needed to be re-balanced at the time, but I am not really sure what happened. I take up to 750 mgs of GABA every night before bed and it relaxes me and helps me sleep. The cool thing about GABA is for people who have to wean off Benzos, it helps keep the receptors in the brain from going into withdrawal because it fools them into thinking that you are still taking the Benzos. I'm not sure how it works with antidepressants but I do know that it is dangerous to take 5HTP if you are still on any. Maybe others hear are more knowledgeable about it than I am. :)
     
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  10. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

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    I am currently coming off citalopram which so far is going well for me. I decided to go on it during an intractable period of anxiety which was very difficult for myself and my family to cope with. I'm in two minds whether that was a good idea or not and would prefer to not use it in future.

    I was on 20 mg for a similar length of time to you. My GP advised to reduce to alternate days of 10mg and 20mg (averaging 15mg daily) as there isn't an in-between tablet. I did that for 4 weeks. Next stage he suggests is to reduce from there to 10mg daily for 4 weeks. I am concerned that may be too fast so I'm going to try pill cutting. I'm trying to take it fairly slowly as I know there can be withdrawal problems and I can be sensitive to changes in meds. There is a liquid form so if I have problems with that I'll go back to my GP and ask for that. I am a bit apprehensive, but anyway I'm coming off!

    It's very possible that it is behind your weight gain. I've put on about a stone too over a similar period of time! (and I was doing so well...!) I also have a suspicion that it exacerbated my ME symptoms as I felt an improvement quite soon after my first reduction. The other thing I noticed for the first 3 weeks was insomnia (unrelated to PEM which is when I'm used to getting it). That's resolved.

    You don't know how you will be until you do it. I would take it carefully, I've come across advice that changing by small increments by percentage can cause fewer withdrawal problems. Maybe look into the liquid form, at least for some of your reductions.

    That's just my personal take. All the best! If you'd like to update I'm interested to know how you get on :)

    edit : because predictive text/brainfog or something
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
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  11. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    Ironic how ME/CFS patients are strongly against any psychogenic explanations for ME/CFS (and rightly so), but when it comes to the depression symptom that is often comorbid with ME/CFS, then they are happy to assume a psychogenic etiology!

    Admittedly though, it is possible that the depression some ME/CFS patients suffer from may have some psychogenic aspects, due to the limitation of life activities that ME/CFS imposes; but remember that depression manifests in many neurological diseases (eg: MS and Parkinson's), and the depression in these diseases is likely neurologically-caused: ie, primarily a result of organic dysfunction in the brain, rather than psychogenic factors. I think the same is likely true in ME/CFS: any depression is probably neurologically-caused.



    Some psychiatric drugs may potentially cause some mitochondrial damage — see this post for a list of such drugs. But this is just a fairly small list, and it is not even certain that they do damage mitochondria.

    Other psychiatric drugs can be beneficial and protective of mitochondria, eg the antidepressant deprenyl (selegiline) protects mitochondria — see this study. The antidepressant nortriptyline also protects mitochondria.



    @Jessie 107, if the citalopram SSRI is actually helping to improve your mood, to that extent, you can consider yourself quite lucky, as sometimes it can be hard to find any drug that helps with depression.

    In my case I have found very difficult to find any drugs or supplements that improve my depression symptoms. I think my depression would be classed as treatment-resistant. Thankfully it is not always present, it comes and goes from one week to the next (independently of any life events or psychogenic factors, I should add).

    I do however get some antidepressant benefits from the very low dose amisulpride protocol, which can be classed as a dopamine system stabilizer protocol.

    I appreciate that weight gain is not desirable. It is possible that trying a different class of antidepressant drug might help avoid this weight gain.

    Classes of antidepressant include:
    SSRI — like Prozac, Lexapro, citalopram
    SNRI — like venlafaxine (Effexor), duloxetine (Cymbalta)
    NRI —like bupropion (Wellbutrin)
    Tricyclic antidepressants — like amitriptyline (Elavil)
    Selective MAO-A inhibitors — like moclobemide
    Selective MAO-B inhibitors — like deprenyl / selegiline
    Neuroleptics — like very low dose amisulpride (I use this, and it works for me)

    For more classes, see: List of antidepressants - Wikipedia


    There are also some supplements that have useful antidepressant effects, like high dose inositol, the 5-HTP already mentioned above (but be aware of its heart valve side effects), and saffron, which many studies have shown is as effective as antidepressant drugs. I find these all have some benefits for treating my depression.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017
  12. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

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    I wonder if this is also true of anxiety. I've thought it could be so from my experiences
     
  13. Hip

    Hip Senior Member

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    I generally think psychiatrists and the general public alike place far too high an emphasis on possible psychogenic causes of mental symptoms like anxiety, depression, etc, while ignoring the fact that a dysfunction in the brain may be the primary cause of these mental conditions.

    I developed pretty bad generalized anxiety disorder after catching a virus, which I think was likely caused by this chronic viral infection inducing inflammation in my brain. Chronic brain inflammation releases lots of glutamate, and high glutamate in certain parts of the brain such as the amygdala is linked to increased anxiety.

    I had great success in treating my generalized anxiety disorder using supplements that I think work by reducing brain inflammation. See: Completely eliminated my severe anxiety symptoms with three supplements!



    I think you need to use your common sense a bit when it comes to figuring out the causes of psychiatric symptoms. I have had in my life experiences of periods of depression caused by very upsetting life events, and in these cases it was clear in my mind that the depression was primarily psychogenic. So I dealt with the depression by addressing these factors in my life.

    Whereas since developing ME/CFS, I am pretty sure that the weeks of depression I get hit with on a regular basis, which come and go unrelated to any external life events or activities in my life, must primarily be due to some physical brain biochemistry dysfunctions, so I deal with this depression using biochemical tools: drugs and supplements. I don't think changing anything in my life would have any effect on this depression, because I am quite sure it is not caused by events in my life.
     
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  14. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Changing the dose suddenly is a very bad idea. The brain doesn't adapt that fast. It takes the brain at least 3-6 weeks to adapt to a change in dose.

    I suggest doing some research at survivingantidepressants.org. They use a 10% reduction taper schedule. That's 10% of the previous dose, not the original dose.

    You can use a milligram scale and Xacto knife or razor blade to cut the pills down. Liquid is also good.
     
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  15. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Yes, I've gained 40lbs. I've done some research on it, and they can cause leptin resistance. So your body develops a new set point on what your weight should be. The reports I've seen from people who taper off, are that they start to lose the weight after they've been off the drug for 6 months.

    You need to do your research and be very careful when tapering off. I suggest visiting the http://survivingantidepressants.org/ forum and using their 10% taper method.

    I've been using that method successfully with my Zoloft taper. I previously had a horrendous withdrawal syndrome trying to come off too fast. It screwed me up for the better part of a year with akathisia.
     
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  16. Jessie 107

    Jessie 107

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    Thank you for all the information. As I am not able to sleep tonight due to falling asleep while I was resting earlier, I have been reading up about reducing the dose and the 10% taper I think is the way I will do it.
    I will start tomorrow and take it very slowly, don't want to feel anymore ill than I already do!
     
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  17. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

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    That's exactly exactly what I've experienced with anxiety. It's good to hear you say that (not good it happens, obviously)

    Thank you v. much too for the link to your thread.
     
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  18. Skycloud

    Skycloud Senior Member

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    @caledonia - thanks for the link, will read and follow the advice

    @Jessie 107 - All the best with coming off!
     
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  19. Alvin2

    Alvin2 Senior Member

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    Is this a joke, someone feels depressed because they have lost hope and its caused by a biochemical imbalance?
    We know ME/CFS is not psychosomatic based on a great deal of evidence, not to mention the lack of efficacy of CBT/GET

    If you have an organic disease then you have an organic disease (brain damage, hydrocephalus, genetic disorders, tumours etc are legitimate brain diseases). If you feel sad because of a lost life due to a debilitating illness then its not a biochemical imbalance, its a reaction to bad circumstances.
    In this case both are very logical
     
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  20. gabriella17

    gabriella17 Senior Member

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    Anti-depressants do not make you high. They are NOT uppers. I would suggest doing some research on it.
     
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