Slog

Slog Music

Music, Nightlife,
and Drunks

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What's "harder to come off than alcohol and opiates"?

Posted by on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 7:30 AM

While such comparisons are suspect, it turns out kicking antidepressants is extremely difficult, especially for women.

Also, they are overprescribed (especially for women), and long-term use is becoming more and more common (especially for women), and "no real exit strategy exists" (for women and everyone else).

One expert says, "No one cares about what happens to the brain when you go on these drugs," and, furthermore, "Experts disagree about what exactly happens to the brain when people come off these types of drugs."

And long-term studies of long-term SSRI use still do not exist.

 

Comments (31) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
NopeNope 1
Go ahead and take some pills. The fact that you're miserable is all because you are faulty. There's nothing at all wrong with the civilization and society in which we live...
Posted by NopeNope on January 23, 2014 at 7:39 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 2
I wonder how we made it through a million years of horrors without them?
Posted by Pope Peabrain on January 23, 2014 at 7:52 AM · Report this
douchus 3
I wonder how I even made it to where I am without them. Oh wait, I actually do remember the years of staying up every night thinking about the multiple ways I could kill myself but never coming up with a way to do it that wouldn't hurt those I love. And leaving it to luck didn't work, even when I stacked the deck.

Yes, we do need to study these drugs more. But don't demonize them just because we don't know everything about them. They work and we're still studying them.
Posted by douchus on January 23, 2014 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 4
"no real exit strategy exists" (for women and everyone else).


Isn't that to be expected if it's a situation of a neurological chemical imbalance? The point is that it's a choice for many of being ill or a lifetime of medication to not be ill, for better or worse. It's like complaining that there is no exit strategy exists for someone taking HIV suppressing medication or for someone who has deathly allergies and has to watch what comes into their food like a hawk, or carry an emergency pen. Some conditions are lifetime conditions, as of today.
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 23, 2014 at 8:15 AM · Report this
auntie jim 5
One thing that mass shooters often have in common is a history of treatment of ADD, depression, or other "disorders" with psychiatric drugs. The drugs used to treat hyperactive children are similar to or identical with crystal meth, and withdrawal from the most common anti depressant meds usually causes repeated episodes of violent, uncontrollable rage. The drug and supplement industries need to be strictly regulated and they aren't.
Posted by auntie jim http://www.gaysnohomish.org on January 23, 2014 at 8:18 AM · Report this
6
stick to talking about food, you dolt
Posted by clementines on January 23, 2014 at 8:26 AM · Report this
7
The over-prescription of them is definitely out of hand. The one time I went to see a therapist for depression, a state I was very unfamiliar with and pretty freaked out about, I was immediately asked if I wanted to go on medication. Not told I needed it, but asked if I wanted it. I didn't, and my depression was temporary thank god. There were reasons for it, but until that time I don't think I ever realized the difference between being sad about something and being depressed, in the clinical since at least. I wasn't suicidal or anything, but it sucked pretty bad and was affecting my work and relationships and I didn't know what to do about it. I wasn't expecting to be offered anti-depressants based on 20 minutes of me blabbing about work stress and getting dumped.
Posted by Zbot on January 23, 2014 at 8:28 AM · Report this
8
@4 If SSRIs were being solely prescribed for patients suffering from long-term chemical imbalances (like @3 describes) then it would be a valid point. But they hand them out like candy these days and they don't always think about the other medications you are taking that can impact their use. They've become the "mother's little helper" of this generation and we have no clue what they can do.
Posted by lucyboots on January 23, 2014 at 8:32 AM · Report this
9
The medical industry pushes antidepressants every chance they get. Nice to see Al Jazeera doing fine journalism, and thank you, Ms. Clement, for reposting.
Posted by Marrena on January 23, 2014 at 8:33 AM · Report this
unknown_entity 10
And Vaccines TOO!!!

Or maybe there are good reasons why people are on anti-depressants and a general misunderstanding of depression feeds into fears about the medications.

Go and google "Cracked 5 Facts Everyone Gets Wrong About Depression" and brush up on the subject.
Posted by unknown_entity on January 23, 2014 at 8:50 AM · Report this
11
A lot of doctors will only prescribe SSRIs for mental health. I hated getting off Zoloft and I wouldn't take it again but several doctors insisted on writing Rx for it that I wouldn't fill. Partly this is because the controlled substance act regulates other psychiatric meds as schdule 3 or 4.
Posted by wxPDX on January 23, 2014 at 8:51 AM · Report this
12
Describing getting depressed when someone stops taking antidepressants as withdrawal is like describing hunger as withdrawal from the addiction of eating or dirtiness as withdrawal from the addictive practice of showering.
Posted by MikeB on January 23, 2014 at 8:54 AM · Report this
13
So if an epileptic keeps taking lamotragine forever....Some things are imbalanced. Medications can help.
Nonetheless, opiates nor alcohol are antidepressants. Alcohol is a depressant and opiates are uppers (heroin is an opiate).
Are many people over mediated, yes. Is this sexist, possibly. Recalculate your figures to account that women are much more likely to seek any medical aid that is preemptive. Also consider that this much more true for mental stability then general maladies.
A pocket full of zanax isn't too hard to come by these days. Most antibiotics aren't even useful. Over medication is a huge issue. But it isn't just about class. It is about miseducation and money. The medical industry has more lobbyists then the oil industry. Think next time.
Posted by pussnboots on January 23, 2014 at 8:56 AM · Report this
Estey 14
Please remember that Klonopin, the first drug mentioned in the article, is not an anti-depressant, it is an anti-anxiety agent. So when you kick Klonopin your mind is swarmed with the most unbelievable agony and insomnia; there are no other withdrawals quite like it. It can't really be compared to SSRIs; though I'm sure withdrawing from those could be rough too. Klonopin withdrawal is in a whole class by itself.
Posted by Estey on January 23, 2014 at 9:25 AM · Report this
15
@10 don't compare the request for long term studies on the effects of overly prescribed medications to a Cracked article. Seriously, fuck you.

and at everyone else, no solutions will come of anything if you're just gonna lob lazy platitudes about how it's no good to seriously question the benefits of drugs.
Posted by cynicism guided as a form of social epidemiology on January 23, 2014 at 9:29 AM · Report this
16
@10 don't compare the request for long term studies on the effects of overly prescribed medications to a Cracked article. Seriously, fuck you.
Posted by social epidemiology on January 23, 2014 at 9:31 AM · Report this
venomlash 17
I was on an SSRI for over a year (at a relatively high dose) and went cold turkey instead of phasing it out slowly. I endured a couple weeks of a delightful symptom known as "brain zaps" but I'm fine now.
Seriously, you can look up "brain zaps" but there is no good way to explain it other than to experience it. It was BIZARRE.
Posted by venomlash on January 23, 2014 at 9:37 AM · Report this
Steven Bradford 18
And so the campaign to cut off medication from the poor and middle class begins.
Posted by Steven Bradford http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ on January 23, 2014 at 9:43 AM · Report this
icouldliveinhope 19
What @3 said. They've helped me out a bunch of times, and I'v gone off them before and am still here. Quitting smoking is harder, although it's still a stressful situation. The first time I went off them (at 15, so like, bad timing anyway) it was Paxil, and I was sick for a week -- puking, the whole nine yards -- and that was even while switching to Prozac. I've gone off a couple since then and it's been much easier, although my Zoloft is a safety net I don't want to get rid of anytime soon.
Posted by icouldliveinhope on January 23, 2014 at 9:49 AM · Report this
pfffter 20
God, what a stupid idiot of an article. Stick to the restaurants, lady. You're out of your depth.
Posted by pfffter on January 23, 2014 at 9:58 AM · Report this
rob! 21
Yeah, the zaps, as @17 says. But they need demystifying, because people need to be aware of them and doctors almost never tell you about them even if they know you're planning to withdraw. I'd describe them this way: if you've ever touched your tongue to the terminals of a 9V battery, it's like that, but inside your brain. It lasts for a fraction of a second, but it can happen several times a minute, gradually diminishing over weeks and months. Even now, more than 10 years after going off Celexa, I still get a zap maybe once every month or two. It's not painful, exactly, but it's tiresome and distracting. Easier to bear if you know what they are and that they will get better.

SSRIs have without doubt done a lot of good for a lot of people. That has to be balanced against doctors with too little time to explain the up- and downsides, and a public largely ignorant of science who will gobble up celebrity gossip by the bushel but lack the ability to research or understand drug information.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 23, 2014 at 10:20 AM · Report this
blip 22
Mojtabai published findings in the April issue of the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics that found almost two-thirds of a sample of 5,000 patients diagnosed with depression within the previous year did not meet the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders criteria for a major depressive episode.

SSRIs work great for many people, however they are over-prescribed. Detoxing is extremely difficult so people end up taking these drugs for life even though they do not need them.
Posted by blip on January 23, 2014 at 10:25 AM · Report this
rob! 23
The book Listening to Prozac still has value, though I didn't make it all the way through—it's extremely dry and repetitive. The most important things I think people should realize going in are that SSRIs can teach you again what it's like to feel normal (able to see things in perspective and enjoy the things most people do), that if proximate stressors can be managed and your depression is not severe you work toward going off the drug, and that withdrawal be explained, carefully managed, and supported.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on January 23, 2014 at 10:39 AM · Report this
douchus 24
#22 - There are depressive disorders, such as persistent depressive disorder (previously known as dysthymia or dysthymic disorder), that don't always include major depressive episodes but can be treated with anti-depressants.

The main thing to remember is that treating psychiatric disorders such as depression often involve a three-pronged approach: medication, psychotherapy, and life style modifications. All three are not always required, but this is the basis of current treatment.

The problems lie in funding: physicians do not get to bill NEARLY as much for psychotherapy or patient education and therefore have to limit it as they must make money for their group.

Currently, physicans get paid for services or procedures and not for their time. This needs to change.
Posted by douchus on January 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM · Report this
25
Medication has helped my depression enormously. I had a great life, and no outward reason to feel depressed. I was very functional, and my family/friends wouldn't have guessed I felt bad, but I spent my days feeling terrible. When I went on medication, I remember that first moment I thought, "Hey, what's that strange feeling---oh, it's happiness!" To understand how insidious depression is, I recommend "The Noonday Demon" by Andrew Solomon.
Posted by S. Kelley on January 23, 2014 at 11:06 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 26
@12- The symptoms go far beyond a return of the symptoms that were being treated. Did you read the article?
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on January 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM · Report this
8Way 27
@17, @21. Yes, zaps, Effexor termination supposedly makes for some of the worst SSRI withdrawal effects. Kicking Effexor sucks, I still get zapped every once in a while, ~10 years later, but I can imagine a lot worse demons to ditch.
Posted by 8Way on January 23, 2014 at 11:54 AM · Report this
28
You can take my escitalopram when you pry it from my cold dead hands... Which will take longer, because I'm taking it.

Anti-depressants changed my life, and the times when I have gone off of them, I have quickly become non-functional. Also, until I got my current primary care physician, I had a therapist who effectively refused me the medication I knew worked, by changing the subject every time I tried to bring it up.

They may be over-prescribed, but be careful when you attempt to fix this that you don't cripple or kill people like me who need it to function, and have been a supportive family away from living on the streets, or locked up, or dead, multiple times.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on January 23, 2014 at 1:37 PM · Report this
delirian 29
Fuck doctors and their ignorance about brain zaps. I was once talking to a 30+ year practicing psychiatrist about it and he looked at me like I was talking out of my ass. I told him that turning my head rapidly gave me an electric shock in the head or that showering was like a lightning storm. Even moving my eyes from one side to another could trigger them. He had no idea what I was talking about, the fucker. I talked to a couple other therapists afterwards and they had no clue. Fuckers. Then I search the Internet and lo and behold, tons of people taking or withdrawing from SSRIs have them.

Here's a suggestion to anybody going off SSRIs (because they often don't fucking work and because the doctor's only solution is to continually up the dosage until you fake that they are working so that they will stop): keep a months dosage and only take a dose when you get brain zaps (they will go away after you take a dose). The brain zaps will last up to 3 months if your doctor really amped up the dosage before you quit.
Posted by delirian on January 23, 2014 at 3:08 PM · Report this
30
@ 24: The problems lie in funding? They only get paid for their services/procedures and not time?

Then why do psychologists charge by the hour and why do they charge so much?
[And why do social workers get away with charging an amt comparable to PhDs/MDs? That's for another time I suppose . . . ]

And you refer to them as physicians, not psychologists? Do you mean psychologists, or do you mean general practitioners/family doctors/PCPs? Or do you mean psychiatrists? Psychologists generally can't prescribe medication, and it seems, conversely, that few psychiatrists are psychologists as well or practice talk therapy with clients on an on-going basis.

Get your facts and your terms straight, please, before you post. Thanks.

[Tangent: This is why I *strongly* resist medication. That stuff changes you FOREVER. Once you start, you can't go back. Kinda like cigarettes and hard drugs, it seems, based on what ppl say about those two things (I wouldn't know myself, since I've never tried either one knowingly. Do they put hard drugs in baked goods not marketed as edibles?). Somehow, even though I've had a drink every once in a while, I don't seem to have a problem with alcohol. Never tried pot either, at least not knowingly--I have to have a job, don't want to take a chance with drug tests.]
Posted by hey on January 24, 2014 at 1:03 AM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 31
@30- "And why do social workers get away with charging an amt comparable to PhDs/MDs?"

Because they're doing the same thing PhDs in psychology do.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on January 24, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Advertisement
 

Want great deals and a chance to win tickets to the best shows in Seattle? Join The Stranger Presents email list!


All contents © Index Newspapers, LLC
1535 11th Ave (Third Floor), Seattle, WA 98122
Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Takedown Policy