Depression and Weight Issues - Do I need medication?




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Wannabeskinny
11-01-2013, 11:53 AM
Hi, I have a family history of depression and I have seen 2 therapists who have indicated that they think I suffer from mild depression as an adult. I've refused medication and have tried to work through it with talk therapy. But in the past couple of years I feel like my anxiety level is extremely high and that my depression might be worse. I don't have problems with sleeping which is supposed to be a key indicator of depression I think? I can totally get out of bed and sleep fine at night, I do feel fatigue but I attribute that to my weight and/or eating habits. Most recently I've been feeling a lot of anger which is a new thing.

Does this sound like I need medication? I'm so scared of being medicated. Are there ways to fight depression without medication?


seabiscuit
11-01-2013, 02:42 PM
Hi Wannabeskinny-

I used to have Clinical Major Depression, then it manifested into Bipolar. I was on meds for the depression, some worked very well but others didn't. There are side effects with all meds and it has taken me awhile to find the right meds. I am on the least amount of psych meds now that I have ever been on while being diagnosed, it is liberating to not feel overly dependent on psych meds. I think that there is a lot to be said for how one deals with challenging times, aspects of one's illness and I find that using healthy coping techniques is very important. Meds only help to a certain degree, at least in my opinion.

Are you still in touch with the therapists? Maybe they can refer you to a psychiatrist to get an opinion.

Good luck.

Amy

Wannabeskinny
11-01-2013, 03:29 PM
Thanks for sharing your story. I suspect that I have a mild depression and that it can be dealt with without drugs. I don't have a therapist at the moment and have been thinking a lot about finding one. Some things that are keeping me from getting to it is that I'm a busy mom and there is nobody around to help me with daycare. So I have to schedule all my "me" activities at times that my husband is not working. I already go to physical therapy twice a week, work on the weekends, take a dance class, and go out with friends every couple of weeks. I don't want to bite anymore into family time. It's so hard!


IBelieveInMe2
11-01-2013, 03:32 PM
Hi! I, too, am recovering from major depression and anxiety. After one manic episode years ago, I was diagnosed bipolar (and apparently will always have the diagnosis and meds to go with it). I have been on anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, and anxiety meds for a very long time now, and ~ while one horrible side effect has been significant weight gain ~ I thank God that the medications (along with long-term therapy) have helped me to cope and be (somewhat) productive in my daily life. It sounds like maybe you would benefit from an anti-anxiety med (I take Buspar daily and Klonopin only as needed) more than an anti-depressant, but I am no doctor. Tell your therapists and doctor about your anxiety and if you feel any tendencies toward depression, so that they can guide you in the right direction. I highly recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for depression, anxiety, and weight loss! It has taken awhile, but I finally found the right combo of meds for me and after years of therapy with a few different therapists, I finally feel like myself again. I couldn't have done it without therapy, meds, and especially (last but certainly NOT least) my strong faith. That is just my 2 cents. I understand your hesitancy to go on meds, but if they can enhance the quality of your life, it might be worth it. If you do go on meds, ask the doctor to first try meds without weight gain (or with minimal weight gain) as a side effect. And, whatever you do, DON'T go on Zyprexa!!! I gained 60 pounds in less than a year because of the drug and the insatiable appetite it gave me. Still trying to get the weight off! :( Best of luck to you!!! Trust your gut and your doctor (if he/she is trustworthy)!!! :)

IBelieveInMe2
11-01-2013, 03:34 PM
P.S. ~ Research has shown that consistent and vigorous EXERCISE can be at least as effective as medication for depression and anxiety!

Wannabeskinny
11-01-2013, 03:39 PM
Thanks IBelieveinme, you have both mentioned manic and bipolar, is this something that is innevitable with people who suffer depression? Like if depression goes unchecked it leads to bipolar? I'm unclear about that.

IBelieveInMe2
11-01-2013, 03:40 PM
I just noticed that we have very similar stats, except you are ahead of me in weight loss. Let's keep in touch and cheer each other on to VICTORY!!! We can do this!!! ;)

IBelieveInMe2
11-01-2013, 03:47 PM
NO, absolutely not, depression does NOT inevitably lead to bipolar. Bipolar depression is another category of depression, characterized by episodes of mania (very high/euphoric feelings) and/or deep depression. Please do not worry that you will "become" bipolar. It doesn't work that way. Some anti-depressants can trigger manic episodes, though, so you might want to discuss that with your doctor as well. Lots to think about I know. Just take a deep breath and remain calm. And talk with your doctor and a good therapist! You will be okay!

tefrey
11-01-2013, 04:01 PM
We hear a lot about new medicines but not as much about new talk therapies ... but there are some good ones. I recommend going back into therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy was great for me and I believe it can help with a lot of conditions. Personally, it does more for me than any medications ever has, but that doesn't mean everyone will have the same reaction. My emotional issues do not have a strong biological component, but many people's do, and medication is great for that.

When you see the therapist, be honest about your medication concerns, and he or she will take that into consideration, but understand that if he still recommend medication it's because it's really something you need.

Good luck!

Addendum: I see a lot more replies since I started writing my post!

I will add one thing: treating mental issues without medication takes a lot of time. For a while I was seeing my therapist twice a week. Medication is a lot less time consuming.

Something to think about if your schedule is really busy, medication may be appropriate merely because it's a better fit to your lifestyle.

seabiscuit
11-01-2013, 04:44 PM
Hi wannabeskinny-

I understand what you are saying with regards to the 'me' time. Although I have a lot of time on my hands now because of recovering from my ankle surgery, for awhile I had almost no time to myself and that can be really frustrating. Maybe you can try to carve out little bits of time to take care of yourself, like the positive coping techniques idea I mentioned in my earlier post. So maybe that could be: a mani/pedi, bubble bath, going for a walk, things that help you relax and re center.

I used to be in physical therapy too and I will have to do something like that soon, I know that can be time consuming. I found that it helped a lot for me, and that is a good way to take care of yourself. If you have at home exercises, maybe try putting the radio on or watching TV while you do it, I have found that makes it seem more enjoyable. I completely agree, exercise can be very uplifting, I can hardly wait to go back to swimming laps, long walks, etc.

Good luck!!

Wannabeskinny
11-02-2013, 09:55 AM
Thanks everyone for your input. I am not opposed to medication, I am just weary of it being used uncessarily and I'm not sure if I actually have depression or not. I guess the best way to address it is to go see a therapist. It's a long arduous road finding someone who is right for me. Last time I found a therapist I had to see several people, most of whom were terrible. My last therapist I stopped seeing her after 2yrs because I didn't like her anymore.

Desiderata
11-02-2013, 11:15 AM
There are supplements that can be extremely effective - like SAM-e - but it's best to do some research and try it with the supervision of someone qualified.

Wannabeskinny
11-02-2013, 02:28 PM
There are supplements that can be extremely effective - like SAM-e - but it's best to do some research and try it with the supervision of someone qualified.

What is it and is it over the counter?

seabiscuit
11-02-2013, 03:33 PM
Wannabeskinny-

I hear you on not liking a therapist after awhile, I think that is perfectly fine to move on from a certain therapist, I feel like I have outgrown certain therapists and sometimes it is healthy when one feels the need to move on. I hope that you do find a therapist who you click with. I had taken a break from therapy, I am going to go back to a different place for therapy, but less often. For me, therapy has seemed like a place where I can vent, get insight from the therapist and work on goals.

I don't know much about Sam-e, maybe ask your pharmacist or doctor about it.

Take care.

IBelieveInMe2
11-03-2013, 02:44 PM
SAM-e is over the counter and I believe it is a natural supplement to help with depression/mood. There are many supplements out there for you to try before you go the medication route. Maybe one would work to at least take the edge off for you, which might be all you need. You mentioned in your first post that anxiety was your biggest problem recently. I would make sure to discuss this with your doctor or a therapist, as anxiety meds are different than depression meds. If anxiety is your issue, then your therapy should also be targeted toward that and not depression so much. Different strategies for two different issues. I know of a supplement called Tranquility Kare through Kare N Herbs that you might want to try. (I am not affiliated with this company in any way; just mentioning it in case it could help you.) I am on a daily anti-anxiety med and have never tried Tranquility Kare, but I do get another supplement through them for energy, which I love. Have always been curious about the Tranquility supplement, but I am already taking tons of meds and supplements. Again, best of luck to you! Hope you find what works for YOU!

coffeeshopgirl
11-03-2013, 03:38 PM
I've heard that vitamin B-3 (Niacin) is good for depression. It's over-the-counter and can have a "flushing" side effect, so make sure you research it before trying. I've tried it, and it's helped me in the past. I take it occasionally when I find myself becoming depressed, and it works really well for me.

Good luck! Hope you find what works for you :)

novangel
11-03-2013, 07:22 PM
I do not feel mild depression warrants an SSRI until your life/sleep is getting disrupted. Like someone else said exercise works very well and that should get you through. If things ever get worse then maybe consider meds.

You also mentioned anxiety but I don't know how significant it is, people have it at different severity levels. On a scale from 1-10 mine was an 11. If yours doesn't disrupt your life/sleep then I don't feel meds are necessary for that either.

GL.

Wannabeskinny
11-04-2013, 12:16 AM
What is a flushing effect? And what is an SSRI?

Thanks for the input everyone sorry I'm not familiar with all this terminology.

Fiona W
11-04-2013, 01:57 AM
SSRI = Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor

SSRI's are a frequently prescribed category of antidepressants (For example, Prozac).

I'm Bipolar and have been in therapy and on various medications. I think you're on the right track to be looking for a therapist. The kind of therapy that has the best track record for helping mild depression is called Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It's also sometimes combined with Mindfulness Therapy. But you can learn a bunch of the CBT and Mindfulness techniques from books: For CBT I recommend David D. Burns's Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy (and there's a handbook or workbook with exercises you do). For mindfulness I recommend Bhante Gunaratana's Mindfulness in Plain English, which is especially good on the subject of mindfulness meditation.

As for supplements, I've tried several, including those other posters have mentioned. Everyone's brain is different, so take this with a grain of salt: the one supplement that's been really helpful to me is N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC). You can buy NAC at health food stores, organic groceries, and the like, and also online. I buy mine from the Puritan's Pride website. I take three 600-mg capsules twice a day. I still have ups and downs, but NAC significantly raises my baseline. I've run out of it a couple of times, and really noticed myself getting depressed without it: I make sure not to run out of it now!

I hope this helps... good luck!

Wannabeskinny
11-04-2013, 08:36 AM
Thank you, the thought of supplements sounds appealing because it doesn't sound too dangerous. Is it like vitamins? My anxiety and stress levels cause me to feel hopeless. My sleep isn't affected day to day, but I can remember plenty of times that I've not been able to sleep due to anger or anxiety. Exercise does help but I am limited to what I can do at the moment due to an injury and time spent on physical therapy. Ideally I want to start a C25K program, take a dance class (which I am) and continue with Qi Gong/Tai Chi (which I'm still trying to figure out when/where).

I know that part of my problem is exacrerbated by an overloading of carbs, I fail sometimes at my low-carb plan and when I do is when I feel the most anxious and hopeless. When I'm on track my mood stabilizes but for some reason I always fall off the wagon.

Fiona W
11-04-2013, 02:16 PM
Wannabeskinny, I just started a new thread on the 300+ forum called "Cravings...let's talk about 'em." You might want to go there and check it out (you'll see 300+ listed with Support Groups) because I'm on a low-carb plan, too, and I listed a whole bunch of things I do when I get hit with a craving for carbs.

novangel
11-05-2013, 03:48 PM
I think you may be a worry wart, anxiety is much more complex than what you're describing but I don't know you on a personal level nor am I doctor. I'm only speaking from experience. Sounds like you do have mild depression and you worry about it some nights and it keeps you up. I do not feel SSRI's are dangerous but that's just my opinion, I also don't feel you're at that point of needing meds yet. When/if you do need them you won't be asking, you'll know. In the meantime look into St. Johns wort as a herbal remedy.

The anger is something that can't be fixed with medication. That's something to work out in therapy to get to the root of it all.

Wannabeskinny
11-06-2013, 09:56 AM
I think you may be a worry wart, anxiety is much more complex than what you're describing but I don't know you on a personal level nor am I doctor. I'm only speaking from experience. Sounds like you do have mild depression and you worry about it some nights and it keeps you up. I do not feel SSRI's are dangerous but that's just my opinion, I also don't feel you're at that point of needing meds yet. When/if you do need them you won't be asking, you'll know. In the meantime look into St. Johns wort as a herbal remedy.

The anger is something that can't be fixed with medication. That's something to work out in therapy to get to the root of it all.

I am a worry wart, though at times of real stress when I have an event coming up at work I do wake up with shortness of breath, and have panic attacks. At those times I worry about my heart, and try to calm myself knowing that this is probably not a heart attack. I can even hear myself breathing as I try to calm myself down and read to get to sleep, my heart is beating wildly and I can't settle. That is anxiety from what I understand. It's not constantly like that, but it does bubble up to that.

The anger like I said is a new issue. It probably stems from poorly communicating maybe and being misunderstood. I think I do need to see somebody but cannot devote any of my spare time to it until I finish physical therapy.

novangel
11-06-2013, 07:53 PM
I do wake up with shortness of breath, and have panic attacks. At those times I worry about my heart, and try to calm myself knowing that this is probably not a heart attack. I can even hear myself breathing as I try to calm myself down and read to get to sleep, my heart is beating wildly and I can't settle. That is anxiety from what I understand. It's not constantly like that, but it does bubble up to that.

Yes, that's definitely anxiety. Luckily it's not constant and hopefully you can manage everything with exercise and therapy. I was not so lucky. :/ I'm not anti-meds but it pisses me off that I have to take them. There was no way around it for me.

Fiona W
11-06-2013, 08:17 PM
Wannabeskinny, I really encourage you to check out those two books I recommended. A practice of regular meditation (that's the mindfulness book) is very good at reducing overall anxiety. And those CBT techniques (those are in the "feeling good" book) are very helpful for things like work-related anxiety.

Wannabeskinny
11-07-2013, 07:52 AM
Thanks Fiona, I will check it out.

I'm not anti-meds either, I just prefer that they are last option. When I was in therapy a couple of years ago my therapist did suggest I go on medication and I refused. I worked very hard to work through my symptoms and came out ok but recently not so much.

alwaystomorrow
11-07-2013, 08:50 PM
First of all, thank you for sharing with us, and I am glad you are looking at your options. Even if you have depression, it is different for everyone and what works for one may not work for another.

Working towards a a healthy lifestyle (emphasis on physical activity and sunshine) will put you in the best starting point possible. From there I would recommend talking to a psychiatrist, if that is an option for you. Physicians are great, but if you decide to start medication a psychiatrist will be most qualified to work with you to find the one that is best for you, and help you in the case of side effects, and adjusting meds.

I have dealt with major depressive disorder for 8 years medically, and have been on 5 different meds. It has not been easy, but I could not have lived my daily life at times without them. Others who have less severe types may be able to work through with lifestyle changes and talk therapy. But I am a firm believer that exploring all of your options is the best choice.

Best of luck to you, and keep reaching out :) Having support makes all the difference in the world.

Wannabeskinny
11-08-2013, 08:04 AM
Thanks alwaystomorrow :) I have thought to look for a psychologist first. In my mind I think that a psychiatrist will automatically put me on medication and don't know if they even consider talk therapy or other types of therapy.

emilym
11-15-2013, 12:14 AM
I was diagnosed with depression and I went on Lexapro for a while. I think the Lexapro was really important to my weight loss efforts because it gave me the "get up and go" that I needed to get going.

I know exercise can cure depression too, but if you're so depressed that you literally can't pull yourself up off the couch, this fact isn't going to help much. If you're depressed, it can be pretty hard to pick yourself up and start working out. When I was in the deepest throes of depression, I couldn't even motivate myself to start working towards a healthy lifestyle, or to even care about being healthy. Sometimes, really, people can become so depressed that they're incapable of doing much of anything. Depression isn't a "character flaw." It's an imbalance of neurochemicals. And medication will help to correct that chemical imbalance. Since so much of depression is physiological, I'm not certain that it's possible to "just will yourself out of it." For some people, it won't get ever get better until the neurochemical problem is corrected.

The meds gave me the mental boost that I needed to start caring about my health, to pull myself up off the couch, get to the gym, and start working out. Right now, yeah, I find that the workouts do wonders for my mood and I no longer need the medication.

But if someone is overweight and struggling to take those first steps, I'd say medication can really be a lifesaver.

(edited to add: I also did talk therapy along with the medication. No reputable or responsible psychiatrist will prescribe medication without also prescribing talk therapy. Both are very important. But in my experience, talk therapy alone couldn't have gotten me to where I am now. The combination of talk therapy AND medication has been absolutely key to my success so far.)