I have not yet heard anyone who shows up and says they're done with course and are recovered!?I only see that they are,"As usual" switched to other meds?
It is possible for a person who is depressed to be able to get off medications at some point with treatment and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) but it is very individualized. Some people can never get off medications without falling back into depression, some people do not improve much even with meds. It just depends on the person and how they respond and how well they can develop coping mechanisms and their outlook.
While antidepressants generally do far more good than harm (I personally have benefited greatly from them), it is however important to understand it's darker side that is often not discussed.
When I first received an antidepressant as well as a couple other medications, I was finally able to get my panic attacks under control, not act like a jerk (being totally honest), and able to conduct myself in social settings that I was not familiar with. Later it turned out that I had PTSD causing my rainbow of issues that at the time I seemed to enjoy collecting. Needless to say, these medications not only helped, but very well may have saved my life at certain points.
After going to therapy for quite some time I was able to decrease many of the meds, however wasn't exactly easy. Yes, most of us have heard tales of withdrawal for those who decide one day to simply stop taking their meds, and yes, there are side effects in the vast majority of cases (which is why it is so important to find the right med for you), they have an even darker secret.
Whenever you play with the brains chemistry, obviously there's risk. When the brain starts to use the seritonin increase as a crutch, it is often the cause of withdrawal. However, even with slow tapers that do not include withdrawal, there is compelling evidence that stopping any of these seritonin based meds will bring about rebound depression and or anxiety. You may have stopped successfully after the slow taper but then become extremely depressed. Often the most obvious response would be that it is a sign that you still need to be on the medication, however as this may be true in many cases, this is not always true and the depression that does rebound if the medication is needed will be that much worse than what had ever been experienced in the past.
The brain is still lacking the seritonin, and while the brain may not feel the starvation due to a gradual taper at first vs. just stopping (which is just bad for you physically), it takes time for the brain to learn that it really does need to produce that chemical on it's own. So, while depression may follow, it becomes almost impossible to truly tell if it's due to still being depressed, or due to the brains slow reflexes.
The second dard secret that is not often discussed is the stunning increase of bipolar depression when looking at the statistics. Strangely there has been a boom in the percentage of people with bipolar depression, and even more strangely is the fact that many of those who first notice symtoms is after taking their first prescription of antidepressant medications. It has become increasingly common for someone to come in for mild depression, be treated with an antidepressant, and come back the following month with obvious signs of a bipolar depression vs. a mild depression. There is no proof of this that I'm aware of, however the facts are extremely suspicious.
As I had mentioned earlier, antidepressants are also an extremely good thing for many many people, myself included. With any medication there's always a benefit vs. risk scenario that has to be weighed out. Always listen to your doctors advise, but it is also just as important to research anything that is taken utilized to modify an organ so complicated as the brain.
It has been found that medication in conjunction to therapy to be the most effective method of CURING depression and or anxiety. Just therapy alone takes much longer and is less likely to provide dramatic results. Medication alone in the majority of cases is nothing more than a pain killer for depression. It doesn't fix depression, only makes it hurt less.
These are issues that I so rarely ever see brought up, and yet are issues that must be weighed in when making the decision if to take a medication or not. Chronic depression is serious, and medication in the vast majority of cases does much more good than it will ever do bad. However, being prescribed antidepressants due to a death in the family or any temporary style depression is more likely than not a bad idea (totally depending on each situation of course).
Hope that this is of some help, and while I deviated from the question quite a bit, I did so cause the above topics are all to often not discussed due to the lacking of public knowledge. Who know's, maybe my info is out of date, but then again, I haven't heard anything stating that the following has been shown not to be true. We all to often have a culture of ignoring problems vs. fixing the root issue. Most meds of this sort do become less effective with time and often need to be switched out with something else (I've had to switch meds a few times and am without doubt am a part of the ignoring the problem culture) due to a problem that is not being fixed.
Hi rick. That's a good question. I took meds for a long time, and went back to school at 42. I didn't need medicine anymore. I walked the campus from one side to the other and inbetween. I exercized my mind. I socialized. Education was always the answer when I needed to improve my spirit and defeat depression. So, yeah, in my case, I was able to stop taking meds during the time I went to school and years after. If I would go again, I'm sure it would lift me up. After school, I started taking a med again. Eventually, the race was on to find a solution to depression. I'll be on medication the rest of my life, adding, deleting, changing. So, now my answer would be no to your question.
Thanks for helping me organize my thoughts. Your a good friend.
God bless you,
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