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Is medication really the only answer to long term depression?

(34 Posts)
Kandinsky Tue 21-Sep-21 07:49:14

I’ve been depressed for years. ( a few tragic life events I’ve never really gotten over )
I function normally, hold down a job, keep myself & the house clean etc, so on the surface no one would know.
But I feel so dead inside most of the time. I look forward to very little & just see things getting worse the older I get, as ageing brings even more challenges.
I’ve always avoided anti-depressants as didn’t want to become addicted or ‘numb’ to feelings. But this awful feeling just isn’t going away - so my question is, are anti depressants really the only answer?
Thank you x

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 21-Sep-21 07:55:58

For 3 members of my family , medication is the only thing that has worked. 2 close members were suicidal and are now feeling so much better and able to function normally.
My Mum went on medication when I was 18 and wished that she hadn’t suffered for years without, I wish she had gone to the Dr. sooner, I suspect my life would have been so much better.
Try it and see.

MerylStreep Tue 21-Sep-21 08:02:12

I’m very sorry to hear that your suffering like this. There is a lot
Of information on exercising lifting your serotonin levels.
Here’s just one article.

yggdrasil Tue 21-Sep-21 08:08:31

I was on several different antidepressants until I was finally prescribed fluorextine. This regulates serotonin. It is a chemical imbalance not just a bad feeling.
So I suggest you go for talking therapy first, if you can get a GP to let you. That should let you see what the real problem is

nanna8 Tue 21-Sep-21 08:09:49

That's horrible for you, kandinsky. Try them and see if they help is all I could say to you. I have never had them but one of my daughters has, on and off. Better that than feel down all the time, its only a pill and if it does a good job, go for it. Presumably you have tried other things like talking to someone, natural remedies etc ( if they even work)?

Soozikinzi Tue 21-Sep-21 08:26:59

My husband is on sertraline which works for him . He has also had counselling which he found very beneficial. Some sessions were from the NHS service and he now has a telephone counsellor we found on line who is excellent. Just hope you find your way to get the help you need.

silverlining48 Tue 21-Sep-21 08:32:55

My dh has been on a low level dose for some years and it has made a lot of difference. I can’t see him stopping as the issues could return.
I am sure it will help. Certainly worth a try because feeling as you do is miserable. Speak to your doctor and then decide.

FannyCornforth Tue 21-Sep-21 08:43:31

Citalopram has helped me greatly in the past.
In particular, helping me to keep things in perspective. It’s also helped with my anxiety.
However, currently my mental health is all over the shop, and I think it’s too much for even the citalopram to deal with!
It certainly never made me feel numb, in fact it made me feel more ‘awake’ and gave me clarity if anything.
Please speak to your GP.
I hope that you get some relief soon Kandinskyflowers

sodapop Tue 21-Sep-21 09:24:01

I'm sorry to hear you feel like this Kandinsky it's a horrible illness. That is exactly what depression is, an illness like any other don't be afraid to try medication as you would for a physical problem. Usually a mixture of treatments helps, medication, therapy, counselling etc. Talk to your Dr/ mental health team and try the medication they advise. Good luck.

Anannymous Tue 21-Sep-21 09:25:39

Like you I have suffered with depression and anxiety on and off, probably for most of my life. I have used medication on several occasions and it really helped. On each occasion I took it for about a year then very gradually, (dropping one tablet a week over a couple of months) I came off them with no side effects at all. I felt so much better and I know if things get too bad I can go back on them, I took Fluoxetine. It works for me but I am sure other people deal with things differently. Hope you find something that works for you.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 21-Sep-21 09:32:54

I have taken anti-depressants for many years. They work for me and make me feel so much better. Don’t worry about getting addicted to them. That hasn’t happened to me, but it’s clear that I need them for my mental well-being. Exercise and getting outside, gardening if you are able to do that, are also a huge help but you have to get in the right frame of mind to have the motivation to do that. Anti-depressants get you there. Feeling you have nothing to look forward to is a classic sign of depression. I don’t go out very much and lead a very quiet life but I am now able to look forward to each day and whatever simple pleasures it might bring. Do go and see your doctor. Life can be so much better for you.

Skydancer Tue 21-Sep-21 09:35:40

Kadinsky, as someone has said, depression is an illness. I suffer from it and try to fight it. I don't take medication though I have considered it. Mine also stems from life events which I cannot get over and it may also be in my genes. As I'm getting older it's getting worse. Like you, I feel little enthusiasm for anything. I miss my children and grandchildren being young and feel I have little purpose. I don't want to burden my children with the way I feel and I know I am far too sensitive. I could cry at the drop of a hat. I always feel better when I am out of doors in nature, either in the garden or walking by the sea. Kadinsky, thank you for sharing and just to let you know you are not alone.

Jillyjosie Tue 21-Sep-21 09:56:05

I have also suffered from depression and I've benefitted a lot from therapy. My past has also been difficult to escape from.

I always wonder about these threads and people who confidently advise speaking to GPs. I've never found a GP who was helpful and you'd be hard pressed to get any kind of thoughtful access these days.

If you're remotely sensitive and I think physiological and mental sensitivity often underlies depression, the drugs that get handed out can make things worse for some, they all have side effects.
If you can find a good acupuncturist, that can be very helpful. As can products containing 5htp which raises serotonin levels with few side effects. It has undergone clinical trials and is available online and from Holland and Barrett under various brand names.

There is no one answer and GPs have little training in the more subtle aspects of depression. They also tend to be very out of date with their knowledge. My experience is educate yourself and gently try things and importantly find support.

Hetty58 Tue 21-Sep-21 10:07:26

Kandinsky, if you were low in vitamin D, for instance, you'd hardly object to taking supplements to redress the balance.

It's just the same for serotonin, which you need for the best sleep and digestion. Talk to your doctor.

I'm a great believer in exercise to lift the spirits - especially out in nature and fresh air. Just being surrounded by greenery can lower anxiety. We aren't designed to sit indoors, after all.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 21-Sep-21 10:08:41

Jillyjosie, that wasn’t a very helpful post. In fact potentially dangerous. I have always found my GPs to be very understanding and helpful, certainly up to date, and drugs definitely won’t make things worse. Homeopathic remedies and acupuncture are not the first port of call for someone with clinical depression. I strongly suspect your ‘depression’ was not clinical depression or it wouldn’t have gone away with some therapy or pills from Holland and Barrett. I sincerely hope Kandinsky takes no notice of your post. Are you an anti-vaxxer? You’re certainly the equivalent of one so far as depression is concerned and it’s clear you know very little about it.

FannyCornforth Tue 21-Sep-21 10:10:17

You have a lot of knowledge about GPs JillyJosie

Unhelpful; inaccessible; poorly trained; out of date…

Jaxjacky Tue 21-Sep-21 10:10:32

Jillyjosie I’m going to say the opposite to your comment on GP’s, mine was excellent in May 2020 when we were still in lockdown and helped me tremendously, as did her recommended course of CBT. Not all GP’s or surgeries are the same.

FannyCornforth Tue 21-Sep-21 10:11:19

Good post GermanShepherdsMum

trisher Tue 21-Sep-21 10:20:03

I had anti-depressants at a bad period in my life. I think they can help and they will get you through bad times, but alongside taking them I think you have to build other things into your life to help you. Exercise is one thing. I've been through swimming, yoga, tai-chi and pilates and now I'm back to yoga. I also walk a lot.
But you also have to take a good look at your life and decide if there are things you must change. Sometimes adding a creative activity into it can help (Drawing is really like meditation). Sometimes you need to take a big step and do something like change your job. If you have someone you can talk this through with it also helps. Good luck whatever you decide.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 21-Sep-21 10:22:21

Thanks Fanny. I really identify with OP’s post. If you’re severely depressed, as OP clearly is and as I was, that sort of ‘advice’ is the last thing you need. Having been suicidal myself before I received proper medication, which put and keeps me in a much better place, I find the post quite dangerous so have reported it. I will always be hugely grateful to the GPs who have understood the problem and treated me so well and with such kindness.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 21-Sep-21 10:26:36

I do agree trisher (oh dear, this is getting worrying!). All the things you mention can be so helpful. I found medication got me into a place where I could do them. Depression tends to take away all motivation and medication gave me a kick-start.

Elless Tue 21-Sep-21 11:12:07

My sympathies Kandinsky depression is a horrible thing. I've suffered for 30 years from it and tried most of the medications mentioned above. A lot of people mention not being able to get over a certain event causing depression which I think is a different thing altogether and therapy in one form or another is more likely to help in these situations. Depression is a chemical imbalance in your brain and does need treatment so do not be afraid to take medication. Fortunately for some a course of treatment remedies it but for others it could be a lifelong thing.

trisher Tue 21-Sep-21 11:16:17


I do agree trisher (oh dear, this is getting worrying!). All the things you mention can be so helpful. I found medication got me into a place where I could do them. Depression tends to take away all motivation and medication gave me a kick-start.

Wow Gsm do you think it is possible that we have more in common that we ever imagined?

Blondiescot Tue 21-Sep-21 11:21:26

Please don't shy away from taking medication if you need it. As others have pointed out, if you had a deficiency in certain vitamins, for example, you'd probably be happy to take medication to resolve that issue - and depression is no different. I used to be very dismissive of depression, and was guilty of thinking people needed to 'pull themselves together' - until the menopause struck and brought depression and anxiety with it. I never ever thought I'd take antidepressants, but I've been on mirtazapine for the past few years and it's made a huge difference. You may find you only need to take them for a short period - or on a more long term basis - but there's no shame or stigma in doing so. If they work for you, then you need them - simple.

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 21-Sep-21 11:26:28



I do agree trisher (oh dear, this is getting worrying!). All the things you mention can be so helpful. I found medication got me into a place where I could do them. Depression tends to take away all motivation and medication gave me a kick-start.

Wow Gsm do you think it is possible that we have more in common that we ever imagined?

Perhaps so! Nice not to be arguing!😉