My theory on Antidepressants
Personally, I try to avoid most forms of medication as much as possible. Luckily, I’m not sick often enough, nor do I have any major illnesses that require constant medication. That being said, I have grown a disdain for most modern medicine, and they way certain drugs, especially mood altering ones, are hailed as, “Miracle Cures,” despite a plethora of harmful side effects.
Last night, A good friend of mine asked if we could chat. She’s a smart, creative girl, but has had a long term battle with depression. Currently, she is losing this battle. We had a very good conversation, and in the end I believe it installed in her the motivation to try new approaches to battling her depression. However, at one point she brought up the idea of maybe just going back onto her Antidepressants, as they had worked for her in the past to kick start her motivation for life and things like that, and that she would stop taking them once she regained her balance. She explained thats how she had done it in the past.
Well clearly since she is still battling depression, that method is not good for the long run. So I suggested she did not go back on them, But instead attempted to defeat her depression naturally through forms of meditation, exercise, goal setting, and logistical and divergent thinking, methods I used to overcome depression of my own. I explained it to her like this–
You want to climb a very tall tree. With Antidepressants, you build yourself a ‘pill ladder’ which you use to reach the lowest branch. You were only using that ‘pill ladder’ as a kick starter, so now that you have reached that branch and can begin to climb the very tall tree, so you kick the ladder out from under you and are left hanging from the branch. But you yourself never developed the skill or strength to climb a tree in the first place, you were using a ladder, and so you fall. Now, you are back where you started. Depression. Would it not make sense to instead spend the time and effort developing natural strength in yourself, strength you use to climb the trunk of the tree, ladder free, then up the branches as well?
I just told a clinically depressed person not to go back on their prescribed medication.
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@mdonohoo, you are right it is different for every one, i do not know enough to go on discussing this subject but i think that maybe if we were to take a more profound holistic approach that is at the same time an attempt at enriching our understanding, as opposed to the current way of dealing with it which involves drugging the body up so as to weaken the mind and ultimately the symptoms which says a lot about our current attitude to problem solving and our perspective in general.
@alltoohuman, For depression? Healthy raw diet, plenty of exercise and water, mediation, keep yourself busy, concentrate on something you’re passionate about. Just an over all healthy lifestyle. Diet has a huge impact on mental health. I think depression is linked to a vitamin B deficiency in some cases.
@natewl, Are you qualified to make judgements about long standing mental health issues?
Despite your opinions on medications, your advice to an already vulnerable individual may have catastrophic affects.
Let’s hope your mind is strong enough to handle any consequences(?).
@piptherational, you entire post is negative. Thoughts like those should be kept to yourself in conversations like these.
There is a difference between giving a professional opinion and giving a friend advice (from the heart). Advice was given here, and I think it was great advice.
Another point on pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical companies. Many people on HE like to believe that pharmaceutical companies like to give golden hand shakes to Drs to give out exspensive, mind bending drugs.
The fact of the matter is, Drs do not have a preference of manufacturers and are more concerned with outcomes for patients. Which includes long term management of conditions. If a condition can be managed with a 16p per week tablet, that will be used. If it takes a £16 a day tablet, that will be used (that is within the UK and NHS).
I also know that some big UK pharmacies earn more money from simple paracetamol and PPIs for reflux than they do from mental health drugs. The simple reason being they are used for endless amounts of conditions, they have few side effects, they are easy to manufacture and they are cheap to sell.
@ilooklikeawaterbottle, Your entire post is also negative.
In most cases ideas here are taken with a pinch of salt.
When advice is being given to somebody who is clearly having a Hard time with their mental health then it can be taken the wrong way and compound their condition.
It is a very real situation, which needs very real advice.
@natewl, I totally agree. My old boss sells insurance and he’s been trying to become “even” for some time. The more doctors prescribe, the more he feels un-like himself. Doctors are paid and given incentives to push pharmaceuticals on patients. I hate it, it’s unfair. We could have had a cure for AIDS and cancer if the pharmaceuticals wasn’t all about the fucking money.
I’ve had almost the exact same discussion with friends of mine. Those pills are what’s making people “clinically” depressed. When did people go from being “sad” to “depressed”? I mean, I understand the chemical imbalance and all, but..
Anyway, I think you made the right choice. If it doesn’t work out, your friend will notice and go back on the meds.
@natewl, From a non-medical perspective I think anti-depressants only make you stay alive, like a zombie. I think that in order to fully live your life I firmly believe you need to stand on your own two feet. If not, what is it worth? As long as you’re on anti-depressants you’ll never fight the cause of the depression, only the symptoms, and therefore the roots will stay there and grow bitter. I think it’s better to let the depression grow and die in stead of prolonging it. It’s better to fight the cause of the depression, to face the demons. Because if not you’re not actually dealing with the issue. In order to actually defeat it, you have to know what it is that is bothering you, and not put a lid on it and hope it will pass. I think that kind of medication holds the potential of increasing what it is supposed to erase. It just makes you numb. It would be better to smoke weed in stead. If you don’t get to feel what it’s like to pick yourself up without ‘help’, you will always be dependent upon the ‘help’. That’s what I think. I have suffered from depression, but never been on drugs for it. I wouldn’t want to. I think it would have made it worse, because then it would become more unclear what I was depressed about. And I think it’s best to face the truth, because then you know what you’re dealing with. Much easier to face something scary when you at least see things clearly.
@mdonohoo, movies man, that`s my problem, i`ve been fed some doom day scenarios about this stuff, forgot that the people that are helping other people are empathic and not doom day scenario one flew over the cuckoo`s nest -esque characters. Btw, so it`s not the pills in themselves that have helped you through the 12 years.
Would you not take insulin if you had diabetes? Would you avoid AD’s if you suffered from depression. There is almost no research that suggests that alt. methods are effective and therefore, based on years of fighting the beast and counseling others, I give no credence to the anti-med so-called cures. It’s a chronic illness in my case, currently under control, but never gone. Anti-depressants are not happy pills, they are normal pills. Going without is, for me, a death warrant. This from an 8 times in hospital and 4 time suicide attempt survivor.
Anti-depressants keep me alive and functioning and have done so for 12 years and counting.
@tomgra, i was severely depressed for a few years and i`ve avoided medication and got out of it without them, you absolutely can!! why not??
“suicide attempt survivor” i don`t want to sound insensitive but who tried to suicide you and who is it that survived?
@steven, Ever battle depression? His analogy made a lot of sense for me, because that’s exactly how it went down for me. Depression hit me hard, and I couldn’t cope with it alone so I went to my doctor and she prescribed me anxiety pills and anti-depressants. That helped me regain the motivation and fight the battle. Then I got off them, and slowly started slipping back into depression. I was crushed, would I really need to be on pills with ridiculously bad side-effects for the rest of my life just so I could stay alive? (I had not attempted suicide yet, but had considered it a lot) Then I learned about meditation, yoga, started exercising and many other things and my depression went away. I don’t think I would have made it without the pills to start though, so it’s a tough call for me. I always suggest that the pills are a good kickstarter, but you should also do things that will develop coping skills for the future (like OP mentioned).
@alltoohuman, tapering is key. I tried cold turkey and my mind felt like slop for a month. Gotta go easy and do it slowly.
Obviously professional advice is always mandatory before you make this kind of decision, but I’d be willing to bet that the doc will just throw pills at you and leave it at that.
I think it is different for every person, but it’s important to remember that mental illness is real and there are actual chemical differences in people’s brain. Some people do not produce enough of one chemical or another and medicine can help with that. I don’t think anyone should have the mentality that medicine will cure everything, but I have been on medicine for 6 years and have tried to go off it twice and both times fell back into my mental illness. If you were sick with cancer, would you get chemo? Mental illness is stigmatized in this country, but it’s just as real as anything esle.