Depression & Medication

I was wondering what the latest news on meds for depression is ?  I was on a very high dose for more than 15 years,  then the doctor said because it seemed the meds were no longer working,  & I was already above the recommended dosage he would have to change my meds,  that meant coming off all meds for 5 days.  At the end of the 5 days I all but bounced into his office in love with life again,  and to this day,  a year later,  have not been on any medication.  I still have to work hard at it though.  t’s not easy,  it’s 2 steps forward and one step back,  but it would seem I am better off the meds.  What is the conventional wisdom on this topic?  Madam X

There are a lot of solidly good General Practitioners about – my own Doctor is a sterling example,  but the thing even the best Doctors lack most is time.  Most Doctors prescribe antidepressants regardless of whether they are the best method of dealing with depression.   It is a scattergun approach as they can only tell if an antidepressant works for you if you don’t report discomfort or side effects – add to that the difficulty, that some drugs such as Prozac take three months to build up in the blood stream before they have an effect.  Even that issue is clouded by the placebo effect – people feeling better because they got a little attention & spoke about it feel reassured & better before the pill can possibly work.

I personally have poor reactions in side effects to medications,  and was told that my “no dose” list was the largest of anyone in the surgery – mainly because I don’t come back in a few weeks with a different ailment,  I take notice of the effects meds have on me, so I’m not back reporting new ailments,  but relevant side effects.  Most blood pressure treatments are unsuitable for me,  for example.  I’m very aware that depression meds is a huge industry,  but one that ideally shouldn’t exist on such a scale.  The majority of people report being depressed if they feel a bit down,  which isn’t the same as being depressed.  Clinical depression is the only category of depression that should be treated with drugs in my opinion.  To me, clinical depression  includes nervous breakdown,  PTSD,  Psychotic disorder and personality disorder.  Being a bit fed up,  a bit stressed etc are circumstantial depressions,  relatively minor brain chemical difficulties that are best treated by talking treatments  (which most Doctors have not the time to do)  to locate the causes of the down feelings and process from them.  To some extent,  PTSD falls into this category,  though good therapy being hard to find,  it is more difficult to treat and requires a longer period.  To give antidepressants to people who are not clinically depressed actually causes problems.  This is because depression is actually a symptom of the causative condition,  and while the cause is not being addressed,  the symptom is. Think of it like this:  A kettle full of water is placed over a cooker ring.  The water heats up.  Depression is equivalent to the steam coming from the spout.  “Doctor, I have steam coming out of my spout”  “Take three ice cubes three times a day”.  “Doctor, it helps a bit,  but I still get steam”  “Increase the dose to 5 ice cubes”.  Or the Doctor prescribes something more effective,  such as sealing the spout.  The kettle then has no way to let steam out and it gets worse.  Okay,  thats a humourous way to see it,  but effectively,  the cause needs an outlet or symptom.  If you cure a symptom without addressing the cause,  you develop a new symptom.  The cause is still there,  so symptoms continue to develop.  I think you are wise to feel able to do without anti depressants most of the time if you feel okay.  Co-counselling may be a way for you to cope – in other words,  find someone with similar needs and have regular meetings in private,  use the time to take turns talking and listening.  If you can find a listening skills course  (or basic counselling skills level 1),  that would be the ideal place to find someone to co-counsel with,  and the skills to go about it.  Done at the right time in life,  you may be able to negate the need for anti depressant meds permanently.  I hope this helps.

Illustrating my point regarding symptoms, when children grow up,  but still live at home with parents,  they frequently develop symptoms that are associated with not  “flying the nest”.  Usually this can be skin rashes or asthmatic breathing difficulties,  The symptoms can be treated,  but there is no cure better than growth and independence.

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2 responses to “Depression & Medication

  1. I like the perspective you place on causative disorder…

    It is interesting that my mother was quite upset when she heard about my diagnosis as a Bi Polar because I was first diagnosed as having Psychotic Disorder at the age of 16 and had subsequent nervous breakdowns during the following 10 years…

    Between my first Psychotic Break at 16 and my Bi Polar Diagnosis, there were over 4 hospitalizations and several identity reconstructions…

    On a whole other level, I can testify that by the age of 15, I had sent morse code transmissions into outer space with my flashlight asking to be taken “home” or “to come and visit.” Most of my prayers were to recieve shamanic revelations…However, not being from a formal cultural group with such a legacy, i had no access to this knowledge farther than books, creativity and imagination.

    SO….

    as my “Psychotic Episode” began, I was under the impression that I was becoming initiated, even though this language would not be available to me until almost a year later when I began seeing a psychiatrist, who specialized in Male Rites of Passage and was rooted in an afro-based spirituality. He did, however, prescribe haldol and cogentin at the time, which would not have been appropriate for a Bi Polar….

    This, I would not learn until later, much later…but the relevant parts of my becoming, my identity-building, my personal unfolding and fulfillment has come from psychotherapy and psychology.

    Why?

    …because I am my best psychologist who needs to share with other psychologists who are their own best psychologists.

    This is not about who is right or wrong…it is about exploration of psyche at all…

    I guess that medications are useful to help people maintain a certain funcionality, but not helpful in integrating the emergent information spewing from both the subconscious and unconscious mind.

    It has been my experience that medications tend to suppress the reality of the experience and deny the patient from truly coming to a point of understanding where the schism is between the inner and outer worlds….

    In many cultures even today, such “episodes” appear during rites where a period of time is allotted for such discovery with no social pressures or social responsibilities outside of self-fulfillment and discovery…A genuine memeber of such a society or community is one who is fully responsible to their own intrinsic nature and is able to share their knowledge with others.

    This may also point a way towards the over-population issue. One human being even 200 years ago had the knowledge and capability, emotive and communicative capacity of perhaps 300 or more people today. We need to keep in mind that this individual would have known how to hunt, gather food, make tools, build, and travel without a passport, with no boundaries, save intuition and curiousity. Everything else would have been taken on faith..but a faith in SELF as part of the Nature that supported their life experience.

    This has changed drastically and dynamically. i sense that the majority of mental disorders are an allergy to this separation from Nature and psyche-natural phenomenon and communicative learning.

    We must remember that this particular version of reality, the society and its structure, at best, from a systemic and technological point of view…is barely 200 years old…and the human mind is far older…

    Even one hundred years ago the majority of people walked and moved as fast as their mind moved and their brain could percieve. (i.e. no cars). One hundred years ago, the majority of people on the planet, even those living in cities, ate fresh foods picked that very same week and grown locally.

    The history of the United States or even Britain is not the world..and now we truly are living in a global community, so the dynamic has changed… the disorders are appearing because the methods of cognitive formation in many societies lacks dynamic interaction and developmental capability.

    We are still monkeys with cellphones trying to use the phones as sticks to catch bugs….

    The frustrations we experience have to do with a disequilibrium…but it may not necessarily be based on racial or cultural lines as much as it is pedagogic and formative, the manner by which we raise our children, and are or are not attentive to their needs or on their terms…

    We are one humanity made up of different species of human sapiens sapiens mutating and evolving in many different ways.. We cannot assume that one treatment is universal for all, nor that the ailments are “the same.”

    This is what I liked about the shaman who once said to the doctor…”How can you know what ails your patient if you do not live amongst your patients? While you see many patients each day, I spend many days with each patient. The process of true healing comes from not only observing, but learning from how others live.”

    The value of modern medicine is a value that condemns it. It is slavery for everyone involved, creating more fear than security, harboring more dis-ease than finding ease through suffering….and eventually makes us weaker, and less able to cope in a dynamic Cosmos necessitating adaptive skills and the capability to assimilate new information…

    My Bi Polar episodes are like Microsoft upgrades…where I can uplink and “God” downlinks…either way I have not otherwise felt more synchronous or in harmony despite the social and physical discomfort.

    • ginatoaster

      Its a very good piece, very self aware. If you can, get hold of Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock”, I believe he was the first author to recognise the growing range of disorders caused by our departure from nature and the distance from our instincts and cultural histories. Very correct too that we can be our own best analysts if not psychologists. I despair of medical people who think they know my body and mind more than me. Great assumptions are made of people in psychosis, the first being that the first indications of an unreality negates all awareness instead of indicating the presence of awareness and sensitivity. Keep speaking up Enrique, its clear you have much of great relevance to say.

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