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Author Topic: Can you get off meds and live a normal life?  (Read 278 times)

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Offline radiance_94

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Can you get off meds and live a normal life?
« on: April 21, 2014, 07:58:53 PM »
Once you're on meds and have your anxiety under control, is it possible to get off of them and live a normal life? I'm thinking about trying meds out, but i'm very hesitant. I don't want to be dependent on meds for the rest of my life...i'm only 19. Is it even healthy for someone my age to be on antidepressants? My anxiety has gotten pretty bad recently, so I feel like I should give them a chance. I will of course consult my therapist first.   

And can someone explain the scientific process of how antidepressants work? I'm just really curious (i'm a bio major :)). Are there any harmful effects it can have on the brain?   
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Offline insights

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Re: Can you get off meds and live a normal life?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2014, 08:32:01 PM »
Once you're on meds and have your anxiety under control, is it possible to get off of them and live a normal life?

Perhaps. Anxiety disorders and depression can be chronic conditions which wax and wane, but never permanently go away. So you may need to take them from time to time. Antidepressants are not cures, but treatments, as are the psychotherapies.

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I don't want to be dependent on meds for the rest of my life...i'm only 19.

The usual recommendation is to stay on an antidepressant for a year and then wean off. If the anxiety keeps returning then there is an argument for staying on them permanently as there is growing evidence that antidepressants become progressively less effective every time they are stopped and restarted, requiring higher doses to achieve the previous level of control. They may also produce more severe, and sometimes different, initial side-effects. According to one study the odds of antidepressants working after each restart drops by nearly 20%. Note that this applies to all antidepressants, not just the one/s you've taken in the past.

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And can someone explain the scientific process of how antidepressants work?

They work by encouraging the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampal regions of the brain to replace those killed off, or prevented from growing by chronic exposure to stress hormones, principally cortisol. They also strengthen connections between both individual cell and across brain regions, particularly parts of the Limbic system and the frontal lobes.

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Are there any harmful effects it can have on the brain?

No. I've been taking antidepressants almost continually for over 27 years and my brain hasn't turned to mush yet. There is some evidence that they may inhibit the growth of neural plaques linked to Alzheimer's disease. Most of the serotonergic antidepressants also 'thin' the blood which can reduce the incidence of heart disease and ischemic stroke.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline radiance_94

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Re: Can you get off meds and live a normal life?
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2014, 09:46:23 PM »
Thanks for the information :)
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Offline danilan80

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Re: Can you get off meds and live a normal life?
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 05:02:34 PM »
Hi! So I wanted to throw in my 2 cents because I am currently dealing with a sister who is going through a hard time and has the same concerns about taking meds as you do Radiance. I'm 33 yrs old and have been dealing with severe anxiety, panic disorder, clinical depression, and a touch of OCD since I was 9 yrs old. Mine comes in cycles every couple yrs or so when I get triggered by something. When the cycle starts up I begin therapy and start on meds. I usually do that for a year or 2 until I have been "stable" for quite some time and then I wean off of the meds. I have never had a problem weaning off, and I am usually good for a few yrs with no meds until the cycle starts up again. For me, meds, along with therapy and exercise have helped me tremendously throughout the last 18 yrs and are just a piece of the puzzle I need to recover during difficult times. I say give it a try and u can decide for yourself whether it is for you or not. Meds have helped so many of us, and it may help you too. Take care!! Hope things get better for you soon!!
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