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Should I take antidepressants? Please give your opinion

Discussion in 'General Treatment' started by Athene, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Hello Friends!

    I have been taking antibiotics and a lot of other treatments for the last three months to treat my borreliosis and other tick-related co-infections. I stopped the antibiotics a week ago as the doctor said I needed a 3-month break for my liver and bone marrow to recover.

    The treatment was definitely very effective - I now rarely get headaches, I rarely have stomach aches, my OI and POTS has improved spectacularly and a host of other symptoms to long to mention has also gone away.

    Pretty much the only constant symptom I am left with is massive, constant, crippling exhaustion. It's not lethargy or sluggishness, it is a feeling of being totally knackered. Exercise makes it worse.

    Am I depressed? Would I feel better with antidepressants?
    In the past I have taken tricyclic antidepressants, which were horrible and made me very ill. I have also used prozac-family type antidepresants twice, for brief periods, and found them extremely helpful - but that was to deal with definite depression when my life had gone completely tits up and I was desperate.

    At the moment I don't feel miserable, but I do feel bored a lot (I am housebound, of course I do) and I think there is a pretty massive amount of apathy too, something that is utterly alien to my character and that I don't remember ever experiencing before. I know people with depression but not CFS say they feel tired, but is it a kind of lethargy that exercise can shake them out of, or is it persistent lack of energy and stamina? Does anyone know?
    One other thing, my mother has been telling me for a long time that whenever she speaks to me on the phone she thinks I am depresed. My mother has very bad CFS too, she is NOT one of those people who think CFS is depression.

    I am sorry this is long, but I have been agonising for quite a while over whether to try antidepresants or not. I'd really appreciate anyone's experiences, or just opinion based on what I've said.
    Thanks for reading.
     
  2. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    it is ofcourse posssible you are depressed. iF that is the case i would pursue gentler methods than antidepressants. Supplements as sam-e, 5htp (predecessor for the amino acid serotonine) and tyrosine (dopamine) have a good (if not better) efficiacy against depression and a much better safety profile, in addition they have the advantage that they do not make you dependent.
    There are some online checkllists where you can see if these amino acids are indeed depleted.
    I myself take 800 mg sam-e daily, and it has been a miracle for restoring my hormones. I am thinking of adding 750 mg tyrosine in the morning and 100 mg in 5 htp in the evening for sleep. Because sam-e is a methylator it is important that your other b vitamins are in place, for example jarrow b right AND methylfolate.
     
  3. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    Hello Athene,

    I am sorry, you feel so exhausted. This is not true depression in my view and I know both these feelings very well. I do not know, if you would feel better with antidepressants, but I agree with leaves, that you can try natural treatments at first and see if it helps. With synthetic antidepressants there is always danger that you will feel yet worse.

    I myself tried an antidepressant month ago and I am not happy with it at all. I got dizzy and very confused on it, so I tried to stop, but during two days I was much worse, than before I started. So I went back on it and am planning second trial. I ordered 5-http 100mg and 200mg time release and will try to supplement in this way.

    From my experience on longterm atb treatment, it is critical to take supplements to counter reactions and effects from atb, otherwise one is going to be exhausted to dead. Here is chart of supplements, that I use. http://www.cpnhelp.org/publicimages/allsupplementschart.html Some of them were extremely helpful for me: lots of C, ubiquinol, ALC, strong B vitamins. Also activated charcoal before night for catching all toxins is important.

    Both borrelia and chlamydia pneumoniae convert to anearobic forms (cystic, cryptic) under the thread of antibiotic treatment. These forms produce extra fatigue and until they are killed it is hard to recover from tiredness. Moreover Chlamydia pneumoniae has third form (elementary body) which should be treated by different class of atb or by NAC. I think these still remain for you to kill them, then the fatigue will certainly improve.
     
  4. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    Athene,

    Antidepessants made me much worse. My stomach never recovered from the Amitrip and others that I tried. I'm lucky that I don't suffer from depression. They were "sold" to me as ways of treating my sleep problems and as a pain relief. I would proceed with caution and try other things before the AD's.

    I'm not surprised that you are bored. I feel trapped at home and it's very frustrating. The apathy you describe is quite understandable. Would it help for you to have a project - like a campaigning project or similar? I'm just saying this because it does help me.

    If you have found the prozac type medication useful and the side-effects were not too bad, they could be worth a try to see if they help at all - as an experiment.

    Good luck.
     
  5. allwxrider

    allwxrider

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    Sadly, I have tried all the pretty little antidepressant pills and no help. I am feeling better after treating a wide host of infections: CMV, EBV, HHV-6 ...
    Yes, 5-HTP + St. John's Wort help. SAMe helps a little for me. Low sugar, higher protien diet helps. Yes, I have candida infections too. Grapefruit Seed Extract right now helps me alot with this.

    Mushrooms (reshi, maitake and cordyceps) are food for the bone marrow and White Blood Cells (WBC).
    Silymarin from Milk Thistle is very healing to the liver. I love Dr. Sandra Cabot's books: www.liverdoctor.com Love your liver and live longer.

    Also Dr. Brenda Watson's www.renewlife.com has been paramount to my slow, but definite recovery. 70-80% of the immune system is in the gut, so her Leaky Gut kit is in Day 4 with me and I feel a little better already.

    Glutathione is manf by the liver, but our diet is very lacking in the amino acid Cysteine. 1-2 grams/day of Acetyl L Cysteine will help your liver detox. Glutathione is destroyed by HCL in the stomach so don't bother with buying it. Whey (milk protien) is also very high in cysteine but if your sensitive to milk, it will flood your liver with undigested food particles triggering an immune response.
     
  6. caledonia

    caledonia

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    If you have to ask if you're depressed, I would guess that you're not. Especially since you've already had experience with depression. You should be experiencing feelings of sadness, worthlessness, hopelessness, etc.

    In general, I don't buy that people don't know they're depressed. I think that's just another way to push antidepressants on people.

    I think Lala nailed it - the downstream effects of treating with antibiotics.
     
  7. Jenny

    Jenny Senior Member

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    Hi Athene

    Some people have had success with antidepressants. See this thread:

    http://forums.aboutmecfs.org/showth...tokine-up-down-regulation&p=114428#post114428

    I started sertraline 5 months ago. I started at 12.5 mg and built up very slowly over 2 months to 100mg. I'm doing lots of other things as well, but after about 8 weeks I started to improve. I've been in bed for over a year, but just over the last few weeks I've had some good days and can get out and walk 200 yards or so. I think it's possible that the sertraline kicked started some recovery, but I've also been on abx, pycnogenol, AHCC, niacinamide, Allicinmax and lots of other supps.

    Jenny
     
  8. guest

    guest Guest

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    Our genetic makeup is so different that I would give every treatment a try as long as it doesn't harm you. If it doesn't work, so be it, it was worth a try.
     
  9. caledonia

    caledonia

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  10. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Hi Athene,

    An autonomic specialist gave me very low dose cymbalta which is one of the combined serotonin norepinephrine re-uptake inhibitors. He knew to phase it in very slowly as his patients had found it hard otherwise--even at low doses. So he had me open a capsule and take about one-third every 3rd day and very slowly build up to one capsule a day (it took about 6 weeks). He gave it to me for OI along with another norepinephrine re-up inhibitor. Even at that tiny dose it was hard to get used to.

    So, my suggestion (if you try one of these "new generation" anti-depressants) is not to start with anything like what is usually considered a full therapeutic dose, but to phase it in very slowly. It did help with OI, but after a year or so I wanted to stop (wanting to limit cost and drug exposure) and it was necessary to phase it out extremely slowly too.

    I don't know if others have experience with these, but I wanted to add this caution in case you just swallowed a full dose and had weird reactions.

    Best wishes,
    Sushi
     
  11. Sushi

    Sushi Moderator and Senior Member Albuquerque

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    Hi Caledonia,

    I have taken this test a couple of times. It is a bit hard to read as it tells you how much of different neurotransmitters you are "peeing out," but that doesn't necessary correspond with your levels. There are various factors to consider with how much is found in urine.

    Sushi
     
  12. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    There's so many good points on this thread...

    I too agree with the ones that focus on: detoxing and rebuilding your energy after such an intense treatment... using more natural remedies.

    I think doing some sweating (sauna or baths) might be helpful in addition to many of the other really good recommendations here.
     
  13. SOC

    SOC Moderator and Senior Member

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    Several antidepressants have additional benefits for PWCs. Cymbalta can help with pain issues (and sleep, mildly?). Trazodone helps with sleep maintenance. There may be others.

    You might want to consider trying one of those, which could help ME/CFS symptoms as well as the possible depression. Tricyclics are miserable, IMO. Prozac is not right for everybody. If you haven't tried Cymbalta, Trazodone, or Wellbutrin, you might want to discuss them with your doctor.

    Apathy and lethargy are possible symptoms of depression, but I think a lot of PWCs suffer from them, too, without the "hopeless" feeling or sadness that often comes with depression. And goodness knows most of us have good reasons to be situationally depressed.

    My personal approach is to try a more controlled dose medication before I go for supplements that give uncontrolled dosages. Not that I don't use supplements, but I like to start my experiments with dosages I know I can control, then go from there. :Retro smile:

    Oh yeah, there's also the point that medications are covered by insurance, while alternative therapies are not. Sometimes that matters. ;)
     
  14. lancelot

    lancelot Senior Member

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    Absolutely not! Cymbalta made me much much worse! CFS/ME is a physical disease not a mental disease. If we don't want doctors and the public viewing us as mental patients, then we should start by boycotting AD's for our own treatment of CFS/ME! We can't be hypocrites.
     
  15. Lala

    Lala Senior Member

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    Hi Sushi, I could not find prices for these neurotransmitters tests. Do you know, where should I look?
     
  16. markmc20001

    markmc20001 Guest

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    pharmaceuticals

    Hi Athene,

    Glad to hear you have finally nailed down something to treat(lyme), and the treatment is working for you! Good news!

    Everybody has their own unique health issues of course(standard qualifier)....

    I'm discovering that my stomach, liver, pancreus, and gallbladder all play a roll in my fatigue and sense of wellbeing. I have figured this out by trial and error with diet, and just paying attention to that whole ecosystem down there. There is so much going on from creating heme, to digestion, to removing toxins, and regulating hormones.

    My experience is that most medications are usually hard on my stomach and liver and make me feel worse. Sleeping pills give me a hangover, acetominophen is REALLY hard on me. Unfortunately, I had figure it out by trial and error, and have made a lot of errors.

    I would have been way healthier right now in my mind if I just understood how to take care of those precious organs, becuase we only get one good set.

    Being tired is part of healing, and when my body asks I do my best to give it rest so it can heal.

    wishing you well!
    Mark
     
  17. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    The inescapable truth is that nearly all pharmaceutical drugs are made of chemicals, and chemicals are toxic substances. If you have any level of chemical sensitivity, which so many PWC's do, then you will most likely have toxic side effects from pharma drugs. That just adds another burden to your body.

    I would steer clear of AD's for that reason. If you are in a serious crisis, and there is absolutely no other option on earth but a pharma drug, then maybe it's time to consider it. But other than that, you are much better off in the long run to look for more natural, less toxic solutions. They may take longer to work and require more effort, but they will be easier on your system in the long run.

    PS I agree with lancelot about Cymbalta. I had a friend, who became much worse from taking it, and has struggled for over a year to wean herself off of it.
     
  18. Athene

    Athene Never give up

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    Thank you so much, everyone, for your really excellent info and advice.

    I am inclining towards trying a big detox (saunas etc) and some careful experimentation with supplements or herbals.
    I know I should try to get that serotonin test, but I just cannot face yet another medical investigation right now!

    I think Lala and others made the very good point that antibiotics have a "depressive" effect on the body, which is not the same thing as depression.

    My sister suggested I might like to try Liquorice tea. Do you guys think that is safe? She said (she she studies this stuff) that liquorice is a stronger natural antidepressant than St John’s Wort, which is ranked alongside prozac etc for efficacy, but that it doesn’t have all the horrid side-effects. Perhaps because of the slightly different effects they have or don’t have on serotonin as explained in this peculiar research article about depressed Swiss mice having to go swimming.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16443316

    Leaves, PLEASE could you post a link to the online checklists for deficiencies in the nutrients that you mentioned? Thx.
     
  19. leaves

    leaves Senior Member

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    In this document on page 6 and 7 there is a check list for dopamine and serotonin as well as GABA, youll have to translate them into cfs language for them to become applicable. I am sure there are online too if you google serotonin or dopamine, you can see the symptoms and check if they coincide.
    On page 148 they give suggestions for supplements, also brands but you can get them much cheaper if you change brands.
     

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  20. Dreambirdie

    Dreambirdie work in progress

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    Licorice is used a lot to help adrenal exhaustion... and adrenal exhaustion will DEFINITELY cause lethargy, fatigue, depression and anxiety symptoms, so it may be helpful for you to look into taking it.

    The ONLY side effect that licorice is known to cause is high blood pressure. So if you have issues with that already, you should steer clear of it.

    There are many adaptogens that also help boost the adrenals, which you might consider:
    siberian eleuthero root (aka siberian ginseng), was used by Russian astronauts to help their endurance in space
    schizandra, which is used a lot in TCM--really good for adrenal fatigue, for the brain, and for the endocrine system in general
    ashwaghanda, an Ayurvedic herb that is great for both adrenals and thyroid
    holy basil, an Indian herb that is both calming--lowers cortisol, and adaptogenic

    So there are many options to investigate. I have used all of them, and try to rotate them, so my body doesn't get used to one of them--which ends up making it less effective.
     

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