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Thread: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

  1. #1
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    By Michael Banov, MD on 09/12/2010

    There are several steps you should and shouldn't take when considering whether to start an antidepressant. These apply no matter what kind of attitudes you already have about depression and antidepressants.

    Find a pro.
    See a healthcare professional who has a strong background in diagnosing and treating depression. A friend, a family member, or a counselor may have suggested that you're depressed, but to get the right help, you need to be evaluated by a professional with years of mental health experience.

    Challenge authority.
    Ask questions and challenge your doctor on the diagnosis and treatment recommendations. This may sound odd coming from a psychiatrist. But if your doctor recommends that you take antidepressants, it's essential that you find out why you should follow his or her advice. A skilled professional should be able to explain her diagnosis and recommended treatment.

    Seek other opinions.
    Get second and third opinions if you're not convinced you're getting the right care. Since diagnosis and treatment of mental health problems is generally based on symptoms rather than objective tests or physical findings, it's wise to get another professional's perspective. Make sure the second clinician is well-trained, unbiased, and willing to provide a second opinion without treating you.

    Open your mind.
    Educate yourself and be open-minded about mental health conditions and treatments for them. Always be a proactive and informed consumer when it comes to your health. You can get up-to-date and reliable depression information at these websites: www.takingantidepressants, www.webmd.com, www.nimh.nih.gov, and www.ifred.org.

    Get a workup.
    Get a good medical examination, because common medical conditions and medications can mimic depression. Anyone diagnosed with depression should have a thorough physical exam to make sure there are no other medical problems that could be causing or worsening their symptoms.

    Don't self-diagnose.
    While some people resist the idea that they have depression, others may be too willing to diagnosis themselves. Information about depression is all over the media, from antidepressant commercials on TV and print media, to reality TV and talk shows. Don't make the decision without the evaluation of a professional with years of experience.

    Don't treat yourself.
    Many people are reluctant to see a doctor because of the time, expense, and privacy concerns. But the consequences of not getting help or trying to determine your own course of therapy, including medication, could lead to far more expensive, embarrassing, and dangerous problems.

    Be a skeptic.
    Don't believe everything you hear or read about depression. People have a tendency to access resources and people that validate their preconceived idea about a subject. Get all the facts from reliable sources before making a decision about your mental health and well-being.

    http://www.healthiertalk.com/8-steps...pressants-2401
    Last edited by Islander; 09-22-10 at 03:46 PM.

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    Veteran Member Samurai's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    Are you in favor of anti-depressants? What do you think about Benzos?
    Personally, I am not OK with either.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    Sam, I post articles of interest. Remember, we have many members and guests who read but do not post. (And the "Views" counter is broken, don't forget that).

    I personally think anti-depressants and anti-psychotics, including all SSRIs, are poor choices. I would add most psychoactive drugs as well. And the benzodiazepine family readily become addictive.

    The anti-depressants are designed to treat symptoms. There has never been hard evidence to show that preventing serotonin re-uptake elevates mood or is beneficial in any way. Au contraire, studies show that this class of drugs is basically a series of placebos...except for the side effects, a common one of which is becoming anorgasmic. I don't know about you, but inability to achieve orgasm would be just about the final answer to the "Is life worth living?" question.

    Anyway, these drugs have become symptomatic of our quick-fix society. Marriage on the rocks? Bullied at school? Death in the family? Just got pink-slipped? These are life situations that require action. Maybe that action is a normal period of grieving. Maybe it's a matter of assessing the situation and making some difficult decisions. The appropriate response is not, Take a happy pill and watch Dancing with the Stars.

    Sorry, did it again. You asked for the time and I told you how to build a clock.

    Edit: just finished an interesting book on this topic. Scroll down to Recommendations forum to see.
    Last edited by Islander; 09-22-10 at 07:40 PM.

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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    I think that is a good article-it does encourage getting another opinion and researching the medications.
    But I actually would put getting a good work-up to rule out other problems as the first step.

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    Veteran Member Katee's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    What worked - for me - was to change my diet to whole foods.

    I recognize that this is "anecdotal" & not representative of all persons depressed, but it made a huge difference for me. My diet, previously had been simply awful: full of fast food & junk food & i simply didn't care. Of course, it helped too, to recognize that the depression stemmed from the physical issue of having Chronic Fatigue & was not depression in & of itself. Still, i have been off ALL meds for 5+ years now & beyond a day or so here & there of discouragement/depression, i've not been troubled with it any more.

    Again, i recognize that this is what worked for me & is not necessarily going to work for everyone. If i had known more i would have tried whole foods first rather than pharmaceuticals. I think that should be the first step & then if things don't improve, give meds a try (maybe).

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: 8 Steps to Take When Considering Antidepressants

    Also — and I realize this is virtually impossible for those with CFID — vigorous activity that gets the heart pumping for 20-30 minutes is a guaranteed mood elevator. Fish oil (or the equivalent EPA/DHA) also has been shown to alleviate depression.

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