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Anti-depressants: Life long subscription?


FoxLocke

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For the past three years my mother was in a major depression. I'll bypass all of the details and just say it was a living hell...

 

Anyway, for the past two months she has been on anti-depressants/therapy. I'm happy to say that she is flourishing. She is back to being her old self (e.g. very active, back to a healthy weight, and doing things that she actually enjoys again)...

 

The problem is that she thinks she wants to stop taking the medication. I don't approve of that because I'm scared she'll revert back to being a vegetable. I like how she is now; furthermore, I'm about to move away from home. I'm scared if she goes off the meds we'll be back where we started.

 

She's going to the doctor next week to see what she thinks. However, I feel that she should stay on it for the rest of her life.

 

Which of us is right?

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It's probably somewhere in the middle. Anti-depressants should definitely be used more than a couple of months. They don't "cure" the person, they treat the symptoms. They are a great help in conjunction with therapy. They give the person the opportunity to really begin working on themsleves. I can say, if someone has a history of depression and feels great after just a couple of months on anti-depressants, I would recommend they stay on them and work with their doctor.

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After 2 months it is far too soon for her to be stopping her medication. The drugs are just starting to work.

 

What is her reason for wanting to stop them so soon? Is she having adverse side effects?

 

In a year or 2 maybe she can re-visit the idea of weaning off the medication slowly, once she feels she has the coping strategies from therapy that she needs.

 

She should not just decide to stop taking the meds. It would need to be a gradual process under the supervision of the prescribing doctor.

 

But really, 2 months seems far to soon to even think about that.

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Well, she says that because she feels so much better she doesn't want to get addicted to them. She's had no adverse side effects to them though (other than when she first started taking them they made her sleep all day)...

 

But I feel that she should stay on them. Because the turn around has been almost miraculous.

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Well, she says that because she feels so much better she doesn't want to get addicted to them. She's had no adverse side effects to them though (other than when she first started taking them they made her sleep all day)...

 

But I feel that she should stay on them. Because the turn around has been almost miraculous.

 

Anti-depressants are not chemically addictive, so the chances of her becoming addicted to them are relatively low.

 

There are many different causes of depression, and many different forms of treatment that can be successful (even within the limited sphere of medication), and while a great deal of research has been done (and continues to be done), we still don't know definitively how they work in any one case. It is certainly true that ADs CAN (and typically do) create structural changes in the brain that result in the ADs potentially no longer being needed, which may be the reason there is a wealth of clinical evidence from people who have come off ADs after a year, or sometimes even less, with no ill effects; the ADs really do seem to have played a role in curing them. This is not true for everyone, however, and some people do require long-term use. At the moment, the only way to find out is to come off them and see what happens.

 

Your mother shouldn't come off them yet; all the clinical evidence suggests that two months is too soon. Be willing to revisit the question in six months, however, when she may well be ready to decrease the dosage and see what happens.

 

Needless to say, she should not just stop taking them; it must always be tapered off, and in full consultation with her doctor.

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If she is diagnosed by a doctor with a chemical induced depression, she should not quite her medication. Like bipolar disorder, this is something that she needs medicinal help for.

 

At the same time, if she has recently been experiencing depression and it is not chemical but more situational as far as the cause goes, she should eventually ween herself off of medication.

 

But, from what you have told us, she should listen to her doctor and continue her medication as it seems to be raising her standard of living quite a lot.

 

Talk with her about why she wants to quit her pills. Tell her the changes that you have noticed and use specific examples of changes about her. Ask her to please consult her doctor. And, in the end, accept whatever decision she makes about her life.

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Antidepressants should be taken for at least an additional 6 months after the symptoms disappear. Some people (with chronic depression or anxiety disorders, etc) might need to be on them for the rest of their lives to function normally. If she was medically depressed for 3 years I definitely wouldn't let her stop so soon...

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I have been on different ones for about 20 years. Everytime I go off of them the depression eventually comes back. The problem is that when you are feeling good you think you don't need them. I will never stop taking them. And they are physically addictive, if you stop taking them cold turkey you can get really sick. You have to taper off. But if you need them, who cares if you are addicted?

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