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Don't see the point to taking meds anymore


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It's been quite a while since I've been here so I'll give a little background. I was diagnosed with postpartum depression in 2001, took meds and recovered. In 2003, I had my first severe anxiety attack. In 2004, anxiety attacks and depression hit full force with 2 suicide attempts and 3 hospitalizations within a year. Been on meds and seeing both a psychiatrist and therapist ever since. I have also been hospitalized 3 more times since.

I have tried many different meds at different combinations and doses. Some have been changed due to side effects, others simy stopped working.

Now, 7 years after starting treatment, I still have the same struggles: suicidal thoughts, isolation, panic and anxiety attacks, lack of interest, numbness, lethargy, etc. So, I am trying to figure out why I am spending over $100 per month on meds which make no difference? Can someone explain why a doc would keep prescribing me meds after all this time. I plan to ask him to discontinue all meds at my next appt but i'm not sure he'll agree.

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I quit my meds 4 months ago... Lithium for bipolar and Symbyax for depression.... since the sun has come out I am not depressed and I LIKE to be manic... I get sooooo much done...... you do what you think you can handle ... only you know.... .like my doc. tells me.... only you know how you feel... of course I have not told her I quit taking the meds... then she couldn't get her $90.00 an hour from the state..... hiding myself and confused... but I feel good.... JT

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Hi Proverbs31:28, we haven't met before. :)

Were you ever told your diagnosis or diagnoses? For some you need to keep taking the meds, for others not. And it sounds to me like you need another serious med review; if I were feeling like you describe, I wouldn't see the point either. Does the doc know the extent of your feelings and has he actually explained why he keeps prescribing ones that aren't working?

It's worth it to persist trying new meds and combos. My BP is med resistant, I've also had to try SO many meds and sometimes they stop working. But through all the med trials, I've sometimes found one that works, even if it's only for a while.

I'm sorry if I've just said stuff you already know.

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My diagnoses are major depression, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with phobias, and OCD (obsessive thought process with some compulsions.)

I have been on meds that work for a while- some even worked for a year or more. It's always the same- I feel GREAT with a new med/dose and start thinking "this is finally the right combo." But, when it stops working it feels like a crash. It's a frustrating cycle- getting used to a new med, dealing with new side effects, feeling good for a while and then seeing the effects wear off, knowing it will start over again.

Pdoc does know what I am dealing with. He suggested ECT last year, but that's not for me. I asked him when I would be "cured" of all this and he said he said he didn't thnk I would be. So, again, what's the point?

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Well, I spoke to pdoc today. Going off meds is not an option. :-( He did, at least, acknowledge my frustration and agreed to work with me. He again suggested ECT. I again expressed my concerns. He said I had some more options we could try first. He did change my meds and said to report in 2 weeks. I am just not optimistic anymore. At least I know where pdoc stands and I was happy he didn't try to talk me into ECT (though I could see he wanted to!) I'll see how the new med combo does and then see where things stand in 2 weeks.

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It's my understanding that regardless of the original cause of illness, the thoughts, actions, behaviours, feelings will influence and probably throw out the chemicals, as psychological factors can change biology.

The meds address the biochemical imbalances, (in theory, anyway, or when we find the right meds for our individual imbalances). But if we don't address the psychological factors (in therapy) then those factors will be working in opposition to the meds and as Jetliner says, the meds will only be a stop-gap measure. We need to get the meds and our own thoughts and feelings working in the same direction to get any lasting benefit.

And with lesser or greater treatment resistance, the finding of the 'right' meds for each person can be fairly straightforward or can be a very difficult task that requires persistence. To put it mildly.

Some can get the chemicals to 'behave' without the meds, (with psychotherapy alone), but where there is a life-long biological problem, meds will be needed and may always be needed (thinking of BP and Schiz.). But meds alone won't do it, we also have to look after the biochemistry with self-management (attention to sleep, lifestyle, balance in life, stress management and catching and addressing unhelpful thinking).

Plus, I think, even when the illness wasn't originally caused by biology, psychological factors can be very strong and have a lasting influence and can groove in imbalances, so that biology actually changes over the long term. Then the chemical - psychological thing becomes a vicious circle, and needs addressing on several fronts.

I know that for me, I can only make gains and progress in psychotherapy, when my chemicals are reasonably OK (I don't know that 'perfect' is ever going to be attainable). But meds alone will never keep me well.

(This is my own theory, which may or may not be what actually happens. It's just a useful model for me.)

Edited by Luna-
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Thank you all for taking time to reply. I just wanted to clarify a few things. First, I am in therapy and have been off and on for 6 years, consistently for the past 2 years. Second, I personally don't see meds as a "cure" or fix. Quite the opposite in fact. When I started meds, it was my understanding that it would be short term- 6 months to a year. The fact that I don't see any permanent improvement after all these years makes me question not only their efficacy but their necessity.

I have seen people "recover" from depression and bring their anxiety under control. My frustration comes from doing everything I'm told- psychoanalysis, cbt, taking meds and still feeling like I'm stuck.

Both my pdoc and T believe my depression is due to a chemical imbalance and is exacerbated by my anxiety.

I do not know what caused my anxiety, but I do know most of my triggers, which causes a lot of avoidance. That is how I cope- avoid triggers and stressors. This causes isolation and lots of negative feelings of failure/inadequacy. It is a vicious cycle that I have not been able to break. Even when I get to a point of "normalcy," it only takes a small amount of stress or anxiety to start back down the slippery slope.

The truth is, I have accepted that this is my life. I don't hope or believe in a recovery FOR ME anymore. So, I guess where that leaves me is, if I'm not going to be better on meds, why take them. If this is my lot in life, it will still be my lot in life without the expense and false hope of medication.

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Hi again Proverbs :)

I just wanted to clarify a few things. First, I am in therapy and have been off and on for 6 years, consistently for the past 2 years. Second, I personally don't see meds as a "cure" or fix. Quite the opposite in fact...

I'm sorry if it sounded in any way as though I was 'preaching' and you felt judged - really not my intention. I think your thread title "Don't see the point to taking meds anymore" probably resonated with a lot of us (certainly me) because I wonder if there is anyone who hasn't at some stage wondered what the point was to taking meds anymore! In every grinding depression, I think about this, when month after month, nothing changes - if I'm already flat on the floor and STILL falling, then why on earth bother with the same old meds...? But I am so terrified of the 'stuck in bed, fantasise all day about suicide and it starts to look good and right' level of depression that I just dare not stop taking them. I really am in danger of, and capable of suicide, I very nearly 'succeeded' before, but landed up on a ventilator. ;)

So, we got into the perennial 'meds vs no meds' discussion on your thread. I think we probably all tend to want to justify whatever decision we have taken (I do). My pdoc has also tried to persuade me to have ECT and I just said I wasn't ready. (Then we tried Seroquel, with success.) But I am realising that I probably need to make a decision about ECT while I still feel OK (and able to think clearly about it), because every other med has pooped out, so what's to say this one won't do the same? Meanwhile I just keep taking the tablets...

Anyway, I've felt what you're feeling, for what that's worth.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Proverbs,

First, let me say that I am very pleased to hear from you again. Welcome back.

Second, I am sorry you are having such a hard time of it. I happen to agree that medications can be helpful but the real help comes in the form of psychotherapy.

My professional belief is that therapy helps when there is a real commitment between patient and therapist and that the relationship is the key to feeling better. That means that the ability of the therapist is very important, regardless of the type of therapy being done. For all of us struggling with these chronic emotional problems, it is the long term relationship between patient and therapist that counnts most, as the relationship goes up and down in intensity and difficulty.

Sadly, today people change therapists like they are changing socks. Perhaps that is encouraged by cognitive behavioral therapy even though its a good type of treatment.

In any case the training, skill and humanity of the therapist and the bond of trust built with the therapist is extremely important. That means the therapist must cope with a lot of anger and intensity during the years of treatime.

I suggest all of you read the many wonderful books by Irvin Yalom.

Allan ;)

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