Phoenix Series: Shake what your doctor gave you

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There are over 30 different antidepressants on the market. I take three different medications daily to control and alleviate my symptoms. It is very tedious finding the right combination of medications when you have anxiety and depression. It took 4 months before we found the right combination for me. I started off with Zoloft which worked amazingly; however, it killed my libido. The other medications we tried were Remeron, Lexapro, and Trazadone. Weight gain, low libido and not being able to achieve orgasm are common side effects of antidepressants; which is why a lot of people stop taking their medication. I was also prescribed a mood stabilizer to try to counteract this side effect as well as improve my mood and alertness. I failed 3 antidepressants before we tried the one that I am currently on. Most insurance companies have guidelines on the medications that need to be tried first in order to try other ones or they will not cover the cost of them. To fail a medication, it basically means it did not work for you or you experienced too many side effects to the point that it was deemed more harmful than helpful. During this process some of the weight I worked hard to lose came back. I gained 15 pounds back taking medications.

Currently, I take Wellbutrin and Trintellix in the morning and before bedtime I take Seroquel for my insomnia. Trintellix is fairly new, but it does not cause sexual side effects or significant weight gain like the others. The weight is starting to come off since I have been on this combination for a while now. Most antidepressants do not start working overnight. You usually don’t notice a difference until it has been about 2-4 weeks. Lexapro made me very aggressive and worsened my depression so I was quickly taken off of it. If you do not feel your meds are working for you let your doctor know. If you are experiencing a lot of side effects tell your doctor. A lot of people are embarrassed to mention the sexual side effects to their doctors, but don’t be. They need to know so they can fix the issues to keep you on your treatment plan.

Here are different types of anti-depressants. These medications are also used to treat other disorders such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): These are the most common medications prescribed to treat anxiety and depression. Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. Symbyax is approved for treating depression that is treatment resistant. Yes, treatment-resistant depression is real. Abilify, Seroquel (one of the meds I take), and Rexulti are considered add-on drugs. Viibryd and Trintellix (what I currently take) are used for treating MDD and anxiety. Trintellix is also sometimes used for people who have low libido not related to depression as it has been clinically proven to increase sex drive.
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): These drugs are pretty new and they include Cymbalta, Effexor (one of the ones I failed), Fetzima, and Pristiq.
  • Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs): This is basically a mood stabilizer. Wellbutrin (what I currently take)
  • Tetracyclics are another form of antidepressants that doctors prescribe such as Asendin, Ludiomil, and Remeron (I was on this one for insomnia and it worked but made me feel groggy and irritable in the mornings). Remeron doesn’t stop the reuptake the same way as the other medications do. It stops neurotransmitters from sticking together with certain receptors on your nerves.
  • Serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARIs): These can help stabilize mood swings etc. Serzone and Trazodone (I was prescribed this one for insomnia but didn’t like it). jar-2338584_960_720

Just because a certain drug(s) didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. We are all different. It is funny how these medications work. For example, some of my friends who were on Lexapro loved it. For me, I hated it and it didn’t work at all. It is best to familiarize yourself with any potential side effects that the medications may have and you and your doctor can weigh the pros and cons and see if certain risks outweigh the effectiveness of the treatment. I also like to encourage people to look into holistic remedies as well to use in conjunction with the medication.

Keep up with your prescriptions and pay attention to when you need refills. It is best to get your refills as early as you can to avoid running out of medication. However, if the person has a history of abusing medications, they will not be able to fill their prescriptions in large quantities, etc. I set reminders on my phone to take my medication. There were a few times I forgot to take them because I was not used to taking meds every day since it had been years without them. Now my husband asks if I have taken them, my oldest two know that I take medication and they know what my condition is. I explained it to them in an age-appropriate way and they have been very supportive and looking out for me and such. My bad days affected everyone. I would stay in bed, cry randomly, get angry or hostile, shut myself in, procrastinate a lot, and I lost interest in a lot of things I once enjoyed. When things got to the point where I could not function day to day and it started to impact my quality of life, it was time to seek help. I expressed my feelings to my beau and my friends and everyone encouraged me to go ahead and find a dr. I wasn’t embarrassed at all. Everyone knew something wasn’t right but didn’t know how to approach the situation. This is why stigma needs to be done with when it comes to mental health.

It is normal to feel embarrassed or defeated if you have to be put on medication. Just know that you are not alone. You will be surprised at how many people you may know who have at one point been on or currently take medication for anxiety and depression or other mental disorders. I refused to suffer in silence any longer. Do what is BEST for you. Take care of yourself and be well as a whole. I feel like I am a stronger person because I took the steps to get my shxt together instead of sulking in whatever misery my brain created. IMG_20190129_231440_080

 

Being depressed and anxious can be very lonely. It is important to have support if it’s having people around or people checking in on you. Pick someone you trust to open up to. I frequently discuss my condition with my friends and my beau. Everyone asks questions and I explain things the best I can and sometimes we try to think of solutions together. For me, having high functioning MDD and anxiety made it harder for people to acknowledge the severity of things. People like me who are high functioning can still get things done and such, be successful and interact with others by masking the symptoms. It becomes so mundane over time. Depression and anxiety doesn’t just impact the person who has it, it impacts everyone around them as well. Depression and anxiety will drain your energy, motivation, and outlook on things. If you know someone who has the condition be the support they may not know they need.

Call 1-800-273-8255
Available 24 hours everyday

Until next time,Breyona

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