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Medication for depression/anxiety

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I've been depressed for what seems like forever. It comes and goes....I get it under control through therapy or self-talk but it comes back all the time. Same with anxiety. Sometimes I'm so anxious I shake from head to toe and I won't leave my house. I call in sick to work a lot. I am incredibly lucky that I have sick-leave and that my boss is very understanding to my situation.

I've been in therapy for 3.5 years and I don't find it's helping at this point. I am considering switching therapists.

I visited my medical doctor (not my therapist) a month or so ago and asked for anti-depressants. I feel like I can't handle the anxiety and depression anymore. It's taking over my life. My doctor prescribed Wellbutrin, solely because it doesn't cause sexual side effects. I was only able to stay on it for 2 weeks in the end. At first I felt great. I started to feel happy by day 2. But I was nauseous for 2 weeks straight and more anxious than I've ever been. I'd cry for no reason and I couldn't sleep. I had chest pain and body tremors. It was horrible. My doctor pulled me off of it and said what I experienced was not normal. Now, he doesn't know what to prescribe, since other drugs cause sexual side effects and he knows I'm not willing to try anything that will do that to me.

When I went to see my doctor (the day he took me off the drug), I was quite aggravated. I very bluntly said to him that I was extremely frustrated that after 3.5 years of therapy with another doctor, I'm still depressed and anxious and no one will diagnose me. I know I'm depressed. I know I'm anxious. But no doctor has ever told me I was, or has taken the time to explore what's going on in my body. He didn't seem to know what to say. He now wants to run blood tests...siting that he probably should have done that in the first place before prescribing something. He seemed concerned.

My question is....for those who take medication for depression/anxiety...how did you come to that decision? Was it your decision, or your doctor? I feel like I've had to diagnose myself....like my doctor(s) are not listening to me. I'm not a doctor though...how am I to know what is best for my health??

I'm just feeling a little lost. I want to feel better. I'm tired of fighting with myself every day.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello, Buttons,

I'm sorry you're still struggling so much :(... It seemed to me you were much better already! And it's back again :(. Maybe it's time to switch therapists as you say. And also - you mentioned "your medical doctor" - does it mean he's not psychiatrist? Because you surely need to see a good psychiatrist. It's very strange when he says that "every other AD has sexuality-related sides effects"!!! It's not true at all!! Probably every psychiatric med could have this kind of side effects (well, of very different types!), but not on everybody! The side effects are very individual! Don't give up a med without trying it only because of the list of possible side effect. Don't use it only when it makes you feel too bad (for longer than some days - depending on the seriousness of the effects).

To your question: I decided to see a psychiatrist for therapy and he prescribed me mirtazapine for anxiety. It helped me a lot, I was taking it about 1,5 year and was only extremely tired the first 4-6 weeks, then I only needed more sleep than usual, but was fine in general - no bad side effects (although there is a lot on the list to this med!). I know, I was particularly lucky with this med, usually it takes much longer to find something that works...

So don't give it up and search for a good doc and for a good therapist. You're worth this effort and their time :o.

Good luck!

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LaLa, yes, I was doing quite well for some time after I made some positive life changes. But it seems that around this time of the year, I get very depressed. I am dealing with a lot of family issues still, but I do get depressed and more anxious in the fall and winter months. My psychotherapist has suggested that it's SAD, however my family doctor disagrees. My family doctor has not been very helpful as you can probably tell. I have been back to see him since, and I actually left his office crying. I felt like he wasn't listening at all. I kept telling him how depressed and anxious I am and he kept saying not to worry about it and to some back when it gets serious. As he was walking out of the appointment, I told him I felt hopeless and he said to see how things go and to come back if things get really bad. I had just spent 20 minutes trying to tell him things are bad!!!

I found a new family doctor today. I can't get in to see him until December 2nd, but that's ok. I am seeing a Naturopath next week so hopefully that will help in the meantime.

As for whether I see a psychiatrist, no, I don't. I've never been referred to one although I'm going to ask to see one. I don't believe most family doctors are skilled enough in the area of psychiatric medicine to really know what to prescribe. I've struggled with depression and anxiety all my life, and no one will diagnose me or help me it seems. I'm very frustrated!!

I will be switching therapists too. Mine is good, but I want to try CBT for my anxiety. I think a change or a series of changes at this point is a good idea.

Thanks for the well wishes! Also, LaLa it's nice to know you've had some success with your medication. That gives me hope! :(

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I'm glad you're moving forward and found new docs! However, I strongly recommend you a psychiatrist. I don't know if it's different in Canada, but "normally" you don't need to be referred to him - you can visit his without recommendation from any other doc! Family doctors can't know much about ADs. You need a specialist. There is no reason for you to suffer - there are possibilities to get help and I hope you're going to search for them more actively than before :(!!! I hope you'll find good professionals soon...

Take care!

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I agree with Lala, a good psychiatrist would be worth looking for. I read about psychiatrists who check up on you every couple of weeks, tweak the dosage, check the side effects, suggest alternatives if what you're on isn't working. Unfortunately I gave up on meds because I never had this experience. Just 'here, try this', then a snooty response and reluctance to give you a second appointment. There's a real shortage of shrinks in my town. I guess they can afford to be insensitive, incompetent A--holes.

I seem to recall you live out west. I believe a far more caring environment than central Ontario. Seems like most of the cool alternative therapies exist out there too. I looked up 'neurofeedback' the other day. Oodles of practitioners out west. You might check into that. I read an article in the paper about that a while back. Sounds very promising.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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