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March 1st, 2011
10:33 AM ET

Is it OK to stay on antidepressants long term?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Tuesdays, it's Dr.ย Charles Raison, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, and an expert in the mind-body connection for health.

Question asked by Anonymous of Atlanta, Georgia:

I have a family history of mental illness. Three of my siblings have schizoaffective disorder (one recently told by a doctor that it may be bipolar with hallucinatory symptoms). I have dealt with mild to moderate depression for over 10 years with a few episodes of major depression in that time. About three months ago, I began taking Lexapro even though I have always wondered whether doing so might aggravate an underlying genetic illness. I feel much better on this medication, and do not have a history of mania or hallucinations. (I am a 31-year-old female, and take 10mg of Lexapro a day). I have, however, always been somewhat moody. That has leveled off with this medication. I do still have some concerns about long-term effects of staying on an antidepressant.

Have there been any documented cases of long-term antidepressant use linked to the onset of bipolar or other mental illness? (I know this is a bit like the chicken or the egg question, but I am thinking about research linking antidepressants to increased suicidal thinking.) What about adult onset of mental illness? (I've heard of a few cases like this from people in my life.) Thanks very much for your column. I enjoy reading it and think you're providing an important service for all of us affected by mental illness in our lives.

Expert answer:

Dear Anonymous,

Thanks for your kind words about this column, and I am very glad to hear that taking Lexapro (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant) has helped reduce your moodiness. Last week I wrote about whether people with bipolar disorder in their family should worry about taking an antidepressant and concluded with a resounding "maybe." In your case, however, I would not worry much about your use of Lexapro for several reasons.

First, you are already on Lexapro and it is helping you. So we know you are not going to have a bad initial reaction to it. This is very important because most cases of antidepressant-induced suicidal thinking occurred early in treatment when the risk of agitation from the medication is greatest. You have passed that stage. The other thing you might worry about is that the antidepressant could induce a manic episode. As I said last week the data on how likely this is are mixed.

I should tell our readers that schizoaffective disorder (with which three of your siblings are afflicted) is a very serious mental illness that straddles schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in terms of symptoms and prognosis. The gist of the disorder is that people have significant psychotic symptoms that are often, but not always, accompanied by either depression or mania. Your moodiness and depression are probably small versions of the much larger disturbances endured by your family members.

One thing I didn't say last week regarding the risk of antidepressant-induced mania is that most of the time if it happens, it happens early in the course of treatment. It is less likely for people who have never had a manic episode to have an antidepressant cause one later in treatment. Again, you are in good shape because you have been taking the Lexapro for a while. Still I recommend keeping an eye on yourself, and if you notice that you are getting agitated, losing sleep or showing any other manic symptoms immediately contact your clinician.

Are there long-term risks of antidepressant use that we don't know about yet? It's hard to say because we don't know yet. But millions of people have taken antidepressants for many years with no obvious difficulties. This is reassuring because if their use was often associated with longer-term problems, these problems would be obvious by now.

So all in all, I recommend counting your blessings that you've found a medicine that helps you feel better. Happiness is a precious thing in this life


soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Sarah

    It really touches and encourages me to read articles like this one speaking to those of us who suffer with depression. Thank you to the author of this article who brings this issue to light. So many people suffer in silence through depression because there is still such a social stigma attached to the illness.

    March 1, 2011 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • PseudoSage

      There is a social stigma to most mental illnesses that needs to stop. Depression is one of the quietest ones and is really hard to detect if someone tries to hide it.

      March 1, 2011 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
    • BigBen

      Here you go. This is just one. There are tons of studies out there if you look.
      nimh.nih.gov/science-news/2007/success-or-failure-of-antidepressant-citalopram-predicted-by-gene-variation.shtml
      Not only does it state serotonin is involved in depression. The study found genetic links to the effectiveness of a common drug used to treat depression Celexa.

      March 1, 2011 at 15:14 | Report abuse |
    • ATL

      Scatman – PLEASE GO TO http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/ and do a search for "causes of depression." Over 84,000 articles come up, many of them showing DIRECT links to neurotransmitters in the brain and mental illness. I am happy for you that you were able to overcome your depression with exercise and other non-medication related treatments, however, not everyone is so LUCKY. I agree that people should not "pop a pill" if they have not tried alternative methods and had serious conversions with a psychiatrist or psychologist, however, for MANY people medication is NEEDED to upregulate Serotonin, Dopamine, or other depleted neurotransmitters that are involved in mood regulation, sleep, aggression, learning and memory, and countless other behaviors. PLEASE do your research before you blast people for something you clearly no nothing about. YOU are part of the problem and with people like you, we will never be able to overcome the stigma attached to mental illness and actually aide in getting people the help they need.

      March 1, 2011 at 15:57 | Report abuse |
    • ATL

      Scatman – PLEASE GO TO http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/ and do a search for "causes of depression." Over 84,000 articles come up, many of them showing DIRECT links to neurotransmitters in the brain and mental illness. I am happy for you that you were able to overcome your depression with exercise and other non-medication related treatments, however, not everyone is so LUCKY. I agree that people should not "pop a pill" if they have not tried alternative methods and had serious conversions with a psychiatrist or psychologist, however, for MANY people medication is NEEDED to upregulate Serotonin, Dopamine, or other depleted neurotransmitters that are involved in mood regulation, sleep, aggression, learning and memory, and countless other behaviors. PLEASE do your research before you blast people for something you clearly know nothing about. YOU are part of the problem and with people like you, we will never be able to overcome the stigma attached to mental illness and actually aide in getting people the help they need.

      March 1, 2011 at 15:58 | Report abuse |
    • bob

      You do realize what the definition of "scat" is, don't you. Seems like Scat man is full of it.

      March 1, 2011 at 16:10 | Report abuse |
    • gimmeabreak

      I still don't see ANY facts. All I see are ideas of what it may mean to be "depressed". Why do you think there are so many different pills that do so many different things to people? Because they want to use you lab rats to find out the perfect "who cares" pills to feed to the masses! SHEEP!

      March 2, 2011 at 22:49 | Report abuse |
    • jo

      although your post was over a year ago, i hope you are well. my advice, get off the antidepressants and use homeopathic strategies and psychological therapy. i weaned off lexapro after being on it two years and have never felt worse in my life. i was better before going on antidepressants. this stuff permanentlay ruins the brain cells that work with neuro transmitters. google it and see for yourself. they transmitters get damaged by antideptressants. Doctors WONTtell you that because they don't do all that research as chemica researchers do. see for yourself and I hope you are well.

      February 16, 2013 at 22:39 | Report abuse |
  2. mrwood

    I have taken various antidepressants for 17 years, and currently take 12.5mg PaxilCR. To date, I have had no serious side effects unless I tried to stop taking it. I have tried to gradually reduce my dosage in the past, but the side effects were so bad that I gave up. That's my only concern. If I decide to quit taking this, will I be able to?

    March 1, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • m5

      yes, you can come off it, but it isn't pretty. I quit paxil almost four years ago, and it was one of the most difficult periods of my life. there are resources out there for dealing with withdrawal symptoms like constant nausea, vertigo, and headaches. I also very much suggest a therapist during the withdrawal period (up to three weeks, usually). It's a hard transition, but if you're serious about stopping paxil use, it's probably worth it.

      March 1, 2011 at 14:48 | Report abuse |
    • Mario

      @ mrwood!! Yes you CAN quit takeing Paxil. DO SO VERY VERY SLOWELY! TAPER..I took 20 mg for 8 years then the last year in a half was cut down to .5mg/day liqued. It was hard and I got very sick. Paxil is very bad LONG term. I had brian zap, sleep deprived and withdrawal..YOU CAN DO IT!!! Have faith and help from family. Good luck to you friend

      March 1, 2011 at 14:52 | Report abuse |
    • kake79

      Another option for withdrawing from Paxil is to switch to a different antidepressant that is longer acting, like Prozac and then stepping down off of that one. But whatever you do, do it under the supervision of a psychiatrist. They'll have the expertise to help you get off of Paxil safely (both psychologically and physically).

      March 1, 2011 at 21:18 | Report abuse |
    • Garlic78

      Oh yes...Im going through the PAXIL withdrawal NOW and it is horrible! Ive never been a "cry baby" but I am now. I cry at everything. Not to mention the brain zaps and attention span of a field mouse. I have been on PAXIL for yrs (prob 7 yrs) and on 40mg. My Dr thinks it has ran its course so wants to switch me to CELEXA. OK, I am good with that. UNTIL i started going thro all this......Its horrible! the Dr told me to just go ahead and switch in 1 day from 40mg of PAXIL to 40mg of CELEXA...WRONG....I was so sick...so I decided to stop the CELEXA (after 5 days) and ween myself off the paxil. 40mg to 20mg to 10mg....NOW I am at the stage of switching to the CELEXA but scared....Am i that dependant on the PAXIL still? Its rough and part of me thinks I should stay off the meds all together....but I havent made the decision yet~
      Good Luck to you!

      April 12, 2011 at 11:05 | Report abuse |
  3. taint funny Mgee

    I have taken antidepressants for about 15 years. Yes, there are side effects, but the question is not finding a drug with no side effects, but finding one with side effects that you can tolerate. I get some insomnia, and restless legs, but have learned to deal with it. ADs have greatly improved the quality of my llife!!:)

    March 1, 2011 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Diane

    I have been on 10mg Lexapro once a day for two years, primarily for its anti-anxiety properties rather than depression. This drug has changed my life in positive ways I couldn't have fully imagined before I began taking it at age 47. It is a very clean, very precise drug, and personally I have had no side-effects whatsoever from taking it, since day one.

    March 1, 2011 at 13:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Mr B

    I think it's irresponsible for a doctor to advise people in a way that contradicts the actual research. Read Anatomy of an Epidemic. The research into the devestating long-term effects of these drugs is profound. The worst part is, that when these people begin developing worse illnesses (both physical and mental), doctors do everything possible to attribute the illness to something other than the history of anti-depressants or other psychotropic drugs. The fact is, they have no idea what causes depression, and despite using serotonin uptake inhibitors to attack "symptoms".....there is zero evidence suggesting a serotonin imbalance in people suffering from depression. Psychiatrist and pharmacuetical companies have been making a mint off of that lie for decades. This practice is awful.

    March 1, 2011 at 13:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MoreKnowledgeable

      Your ignorance is showing Scatman. The anger that is obvious in your post would seem to offer evidence that you haven't "conquered" your depression. I suppose if someone you know says they are suffering from diabees you'll tell them "quit whining you pathetic worm andjust snap out of it". Hopefully you'll seek further help with your problem.

      March 1, 2011 at 15:24 | Report abuse |
    • babyfacemagee

      see http://ssristories.com and you'll learn about tons of side effects as well as horrible long term consequences of taking ssris. There are some people on this post board that obviously have been brainwashed by the pharmaceutical industry to believe that drugs are the way to go. They're not. Remember, psychiatrists feel validated by giving out drugs and recommending them. It's their JOB to do so. They make their living by giving out these pharmaceuticals and if they didn't convince you to take them they'd have to find another line of work. Psychiatrists and pharmaceutical companies have a VESTED INTEREST in downplaying antidepressant side effects as well as their addictive qualities and lack of effectiveness. Don't be a lemming. Do the research and you'll realize it's a giant scam.

      March 6, 2011 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
  6. Samuel Scott

    I wouldn't take an antidepressant again if you paid me after what these drugs have and continue to put me through. For me, they were poison. So yes, there are long-term adverse consequences to being on anti-depressants for some.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Guest

    Unfortunately, I have tried Lexapro in the past and had horrific side effects from it. (auditory hallucinations) Effexor did help me greatly. I guess it just depends on your makeup whether a certain antidepressant will cause side effects.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Agitated Depression

    Why don't doctors automatically prescribe an atypical antipsychotic to reduce the agitation during the early stages of Lexapro or other antidepressents? I have agitated depression, and taking both Zyprexa and Prozac have helped me tremendously. Taking Lexapro at first with no Zyprexa caused my agitation to greatly increase–even now trying to wean off of it causes the agitation to come back.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. John

    I agree that doctors should usually prescribe an anti-anxiety medicine when first introducing extremely depressed/anxious patients to antidepressants. I was started on Paxil alone and my anxiety went through the roof – I barely escaped having to be hospitalized. On an emergency visit to my medical clinic, my regular doctor was gone, so I saw a different doctor who prescribed celexa and zanax together. I got better immediately, and have stayed reasonably well since (twelve years). I have found that the side effects of these two medicines can be almost completely avoided by taking them at bed time instead of during the day as the doctor recommended. Since the main side effect I have is drowsiness, this seemed like a logical solution. I feel so much better when I stay on my medicines that I am willing to risk what I consider to be a small chance of serious drawbacks from long term use. I highly recommend Celexa (cytalopram) for those who have had trrouble with other antidepressants.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Prometheus507616

    Scatman, try to remember that everyone is not as perfect as you are.

    March 1, 2011 at 14:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. techy5

    Scatman- you are a wrong. Know that's hard for you to handle, but you are so strong you will, lol.

    March 1, 2011 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Melissa

    I think I understand what scatman is trying to say. Alot of people have anxiety and depression related to negative things in their life and they choose to pop a pill instead of fixing it. I do however believe there are some people who truly need these pills but they are few and far between. Alot of medications are overused and alot do more harm than good.

    March 1, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Dee

      I can't speak for everyone else. There is a lot that is not understood. I think a lot needs to be examined in a more case by case basis.

      I do have a story that I hope may be encouraging to those who will wish to try to stop. I was hospitalized twice 6 years ago and went on medication (Celexa and later Lexapro) for a year. Using the medication I was able to confront some deeper childhood issues... by having my emotions more tempered, I was able to examine them more closely and work through them. Being more self aware, questioning my own motives, being emotionally healthy (asking myself what I can do best for myself and spending less time thinking about what other people think), pushing myself to exercise and balance my life, going to bed and getting adequate amount of sleep and aligning my priorities, I was able to stop taking medications and have been fine for the past 3 years. So it took another 3 years after getting off medication to wrestle with any negativity and insecurities I had. It's not an easy road but it can be done. I wish all the best. God bless.

      March 1, 2011 at 16:54 | Report abuse |
  13. JR

    Scatman, be thankful that you did not inherit this dark passenger, it can run in families. If you knew their agony you would
    drop to your knees and beg God to take you. Depressed people are very strong to fight it with all they have available and they
    do it for YOU (the people they love)

    March 1, 2011 at 15:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sandy

    @Scatman – That's great that your "coping mechanisms" have miraculously made you immune to any type of mental illness. Any chance you have a "coping mechanism" for your obvious anger issues? Your ranting on a message board and being judgmental of others that have the strength to get treatment for their real problems shows just how well you cope with life drug-free.

    March 1, 2011 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gimmeabreak

      YOU are the problem. A person displays passion about somethign and they are immediatley labeled with having anger problems. GIVE 'EM A PILL!.Real brilliant SANDY.

      March 2, 2011 at 22:47 | Report abuse |
  15. Marine57

    I have been on Prozac or a generic equivalent for 20 years now with no obvious problems. I am a retired Mechanical Engineer (Purdue) I hope this data will be an encouragement to those who may worry about this issue.

    March 1, 2011 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Someone

    Hmmmmm

    March 1, 2011 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. inthegrae

    I was on Paxil for 9 years for what was thought to be an anxiety disorder (more recently rediagnosed as simply a reaction to weed...thanks, doc). I did struggle with some depression and difficulties coping before I started taking it, and in those departments Paxil numbed a lot of the negative things going on with me psychologically. It also seemed to help with my focus and motivation. In many ways, Paxil worked wonders for me, despite some series negative side affects that let's just say killed some of the pleasure in life. So after 5 years, if you had asked me if Paxil was ok for long term use, I would have said it worked for me.

    Then things changed. First, I had a very scary episode in which I blacked out and apparently attacked my best friend and destroyed everything in my room. I woke up to a sea of disarray with no idea what happened. I had never once in my life shown any violent tendencies or any signs of serious psychological issues like that. Nothing is conclusive about the cause of the incident, but I suspect Paxil playing a role.

    Then over the course of the next few years I started to notice memory loss and difficulty concentrating. I felt that it might be related to being on Paxil for so long, so I set out to come off the drug, believing that it had done it's job with me and that I was ready to face the world unmedicated. I was on 20 mg, which is a relatively small dose nowadays, so I went down to 10 mgs for a couple months, and cut the 10s in half for another few weeks and finally came off the medication.

    I noticed that thngs were very different. I had much less ability to focus than even before I ever went on Paxil. I was more irritable. I couldn't think straight. My head felt like there was pressure in it. I had these weird ticks and muscle spasms, I even blinked much more often. I felt like I looked neurotic. My entire experience of the world was of a much lesser quality than before I went on Paxil. I may have had some coping problems beforehand, but I didn't have anything remotely resembling what I felt now.

    6 months after coming off the drug, I had what I thought was a panic attack on steroids. It was a massive neurological attack that left me weak, dizzy and bedridden for a week (They've never completely stopped ever since. I've simply adapted to what has become my experience and quality of life as best I can). I went to my doctor, told him what happened, and asked to be put back on Paxil. Three times I tried to start taking it again. All three times I went to the emergency room feeling like my neurological system was going berserk. I couldn't get back on it no matter how hard I tried. I've had awful neurological issues ever since, and have been treated like a hypochondriac by doctors. I've been left to experience my own version of hell by the same people who pushed this drug on me in the first place.

    So is it safe for long term use? Depends if you believe Paxil is what caused my problems. I personally don't know if it was the sole contributing factor, but I know for certain it was a factor.

    March 1, 2011 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Libby

      Where you ever checked for seizures.

      October 22, 2016 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
  18. Bob

    Just be careful getting off these drugs.. Go very slowly with Professional Help.... It can be deadly! The risk of Suicide increases when you try and get off these drugs.. I wish Drs would be trained in Non-drug therapy for depression.. My son died at the age of 19 trying to get off Effexor.. He was under the care of a Psychiatrist.. The side-effects of withdrawing from this medicine were excruciating for him.. I miss him so much.

    March 1, 2011 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Ryan

    I took paxil for ten years for GAD and depression (later), started at the age of 13. No orgasm in 10 years. Emotional blunting. Not caring about anything, even if it was important. Suicidal thoughts. Sedated. Alcohol over consumption. I once took up to 50 mg. It will alter your mind in ways doctors don't know. They don't even know what brain zaps are.
    I've been off for 6 months now. Time line: tapering, horrible withdrawal, post-withdrawal (you don't feel horrible, but you don't feel good), relapse. My pleasure is almost completely gone..Paxil may have potentially ruin my life. Still no orgasm. I lost 25 lbs in little more than a month, and now 35 lbs after 6 months. I'm never tired now, now concerned about life and choices (everything seems serious), More controlled anger, much more aware, but more reserved, my thinking is clearer, sharper memory, but less creative, before I was very interested in everything-, but now I'm indifferent to everything. Moral of the story: drugs can change who you are at a fundamental level. I'm still pretty depressed right now, however, I wasn't on paxil. I occasionally get anxiety/panic attacks and existential crises. Anyone study that claims paxil works no differently than a placebo, never tested people that were actually mentally ill or the drug didn't match their biology.
    My psychologist told me that anxiety and depression are influenced by genetics, situation, and thinking patterns. So if your biology or genetics is really messed up- medicine is for you. If your situations sucks, you need to changed that. If your thinking is messed up, you need cognitive therapy. My situation does now suck, because I'm unemployed out of college and not sure what I want to do with my life. My pessimistic way of viewing life always existed with or without medicine so my thinking might be off.
    It's weird ,when I was around 5, I was given dynahist (Chlorphenamine) an anti-histamine. The drug is also a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. Did that mess me up over time? Did paxil mess me up over time? I will always believe that mind drugs can mess up the mind. Illegal drugs mess up neurotransmitters, and over time these can have a permit impact on the brain, the reward system is destroyed. Brain receptors become desensitized. They don't do long term studies on anti-depressants, because there is no money to be made, they are too busy doing studies on the new hip drugs.
    All I know, however, if I still feel horrible after another 6 months of being off, and even though my living situation is improved, I will probably get on another medicine.
    What is happiness? Is it the world we live in and what we have, or how we perceive the world to be?

    March 1, 2011 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. ty

    Mind zaps, I know what those are. I tried to explain to my doc what it was once, And he just looked at me like a deer caught in the headlights. I have been put on different ads. The ones that work the best are most epensive, or they do not make a generic for yet. Try Gaba.

    March 1, 2011 at 17:55 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rebecca

      Those were probably the worst reactive symptom I had while on anti-depressants, they are horrible!

      March 13, 2011 at 22:44 | Report abuse |
  21. hdtv

    I feels you scatman. I was depressed. Took lexapro. Got off lexapro and had rebound depression. I didn't change the things in my life that depressed me and I especially didn't try and work on my problems. That has all changed now
    But scat, what you need to know is some people can't work on their problems because of their depression.

    What really depresses me now is how retarded everyone on the internet is. Yes, all of you. Everyone that has posted above me. Retarded

    March 9, 2011 at 00:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Mari Forquer

    I've been on anti-depressant meds for over 20 years. I'm 68, and still hanging in there. I want to say we all respond differently to the various meds available for depression. We also can respond positively to a drug differently at different periods in our life. Hormones of various kinds kick in at different stages of our lives. (e.g., menopause/hormonal effect; immune deficiency illness; pregnancy; weight loss program effects). Likewise, a particular med may work for awhile (years?) then not work any more. So we have other meds to try in its place. I have experienced that. Right now I'm on Effexor XR, and it's working pretty well. Life is not a piece of pie. But then is it for anyone if you consider long term histories?

    Thank you all for sharing. You are brave to live with and confront your illnesses.

    March 11, 2011 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Rebecca

    I am by no means saying that that this it the only way to go, but this has been my situation. I was placed on anti-depressants in 2005. I was severly suicidal and was on suicide watch at the time. I had to try multiple drugs to find the right "fit" and finally zoloft worked for me. I was on 75mg until May, at that point my psyciatrist switched me to a combination of welbutrin xl and zoloft. This help at first and then stopped working all together. I decided I was done with the drugs, they only ever seemed to offer temporary relief. I slowly stopped taking them all together and have been off of them all together since december, and I have never felt better. I honestly think that towards the end the pills were making me depressed. More studies need to be done to further evaluate the disease that is depression, it is a truely life altering disease, and the stigma and stereotyping needs to stop. we need to stand together and raise awareness to truely fight this issue!!

    March 13, 2011 at 22:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. davidadams281

    I was just wondering this exact thing. There doesn't seem to be a definitive answer yet to the question of taking meds long-term, but like what was said, if anything significant was going on it would have been found by now.

    Cheers,
    David
    http://www.allthingsdepression.com

    March 30, 2011 at 07:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Jean1

    Has anyone tried adding Deplin to their antidepressant regime? Go to google and enter deplin and depression.

    April 5, 2011 at 09:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OJA

      Jean1, I have had success taking deplin with my antidepressants. AND, I am currently having success taking a regular b complex (sublingual). If you can afford deplin, I say take it!
      much luck to you. Also, I take a giant dose of vit. D3 everyday.....talk to your health care provider or read up on it...it really affects mood.
      ๐Ÿ™‚
      JennyAnn

      April 10, 2011 at 02:19 | Report abuse |
  26. RN ICU

    I predicted this would happen over 15 years ago when I was in nursing school. This was back when Prozac was the new miracle drug with "no side effects." I'm proud of myself for never buying into it. It was the simple known principle that altering neurotransmitters will cause your body to adapt to the exogenous influence and become dependent on it that clued me in. You see it with narcotics and opiod receptors. And although it is a hormone, you see it with corticosteroids and adrenal insufficency. I became convinced pretty fast, when my son had difficulty as a child with Asperger's, that it was unwise to mess around with a developing nervous system. I've said it before and I'll say it again. I'm so glad I think for myself.

    Short term for adults may be okay to get out of a rut, but be informed.

    April 10, 2011 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RN ICU

      By the way trust drug companies and the FDA about as far as you can throw them.

      April 10, 2011 at 01:25 | Report abuse |
    • jo

      thank you for your honest comments. it's difficult finding articles on teh internet that support your theory. I totally agree. why mess around with the brain function to give the body an articificial happiness. it ruins the nerve cells...someone is making lots of money on antidepressants .... imagine the world if ll those on drugs were to stop....I read over 10% of America is on antidepressats! how sad...50 years ago it was so much less.....look at what we have bought into....

      February 16, 2013 at 22:43 | Report abuse |
    • Eeyore

      @RN ICU: I hope I NEVER encounter a nurse like you anywhere. You are not a doctor. You are NOT a psychiatrist. You are NOT qualified to evaluate the safety or efficacy of any medications, and with very good reason. If you want to spout off, then get an MD. Otherwise, you are not worth the time of day.

      May 5, 2014 at 20:59 | Report abuse |
  27. Cynthia

    To answer the original question: I was on antidepressants for 13 years. I had a terrible time coming off of them, but after three months of withdrawal effects, I felt better. Keep in mind, I am not "depressed", but bipolar depressed. I have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder and have spent nearly 30 years depressed. Eventually research revealed that antidepressants cause rapid-cyclers to cycle more rapidly, with suicidality as a real risk (as it was with me). I was then put on mood stabilizers and anti-psychotics. I have felt so much better with this new regimen. But to answer the original question, 13 years of antidepressants caused no permanent harm to my body or thinking. Don't pay attention to the ignorant haters.

    May 5, 2014 at 20:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Alyson Clegg

    Has anyone developed a subtle "muscle jerkiness" after taking antidepressants long term and then quitting them?

    September 27, 2014 at 21:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Deb

    I have been diagnosed for close to 30 years and on have been on many psych meds.....

    I really appreciate what NURSE ICU is saying.....

    I have been through side effect hell and lived to tell about it.....

    Withdrawal from psych meds is a nightmare.

    The side effect of suicide is severely underrated ..... Most official info says it only happens to children and young adults... This is just not true.....

    As for jerkiness on withdrawal of psych meds....YEP it happens....

    As for depression getting worse on antidepressants YEP that happens also.

    By the way , for me, the negative side effects of suicide , depression and agitation BEGIN at 3 months and the surreptiously sneaks up on me.......

    September 28, 2014 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Alyson

    I was put on antidepressants originally to prevent migraines. I still got the migraines but I kept taking them because now I felt depressed. I had been off them for several years, when I developed an unexplained nausea. My labs were normal. My doctor put me back on antidepressants, seeing from my chart that I had a history of depression. Depression can cause strange symptoms he said, even though I didn't feel depressed.The nausea stopped but the depression came back. I 've been off them for about a year now and the migraines stopped with menopause and I don't have the nausea but I have a weird thing with my muscles now. The thing is that the depression symptoms crept in slowly, and I didn't associate the depression with taking the pill until I'd taken them a while.. .For me, I think they were a mistake. For everybody it really depends on weighing the risks vs. the benefits. It won't be for nothing though, if someone out there can benefit from my mistake.

    September 28, 2014 at 16:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. ClaireClair

    Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.see more

    http://www.douban1.com

    June 26, 2015 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Luigi de Poli

    Amazing question asked!
    I have been on Lexapro for 7 years after a heavy HEP C treatment for 11 months and YES, Lexapro made me happy and better yet, made my family much happier.
    I wanted to get out of it, thus I tried twice by tapering down for 3 to 4 weeks and I BECAME A FURIOUS MONSTER again...
    I am now trying HTP 5 and L-Theanine, not sure if they are helping or will help, because once again I am FURIOUS, terrible mood, negative and MAD. My doctor told me to immediately go back to Lexapro, BUT, I really want to get out of it because my sex drive is GONE, and that is because of Lexapro or any other anti-depressants.
    I hear the advice in here, I am am almoxt buying it, as I think I will also have to be on Lexapro for life. I am 50, started when I was 43, it is going to be 8 years soon...and I am not happy with what is going on...and again, like the Doctor mentioned, Lexapro made me feel great, and life is lived only once.
    Go figure...what is best...
    Thanks everyone.
    Luigi

    April 13, 2018 at 08:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. GABA Wirkung

    Im impressed, I must say. Really rarely do I encounter a blog thats both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your idea is outstanding; the issue is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I stumbled across this in my search for something relating to this.

    https://gehirn-doping.org/gaba-erfahrung-wirkung/

    June 17, 2018 at 05:02 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.