Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Xanax anyone????

Well, I may have a diagnosis for my tingling. My chiropractor who has been doing a muscle release technique on me suggested I see a naturopathic physician.

I saw her last night and after reviewing all of my symptoms and health history she believes I may have Depression. Apparently one of the symptoms of depression is to have a physical symptom like pain (or tingling) that does not respond to treatment. I also have several other classic signs such as sleep problems, fatigue (all the time), anxiety (yep-got that one too-loads of it), sadness (I thought all artists were melancholy), lack of motivation (really, I need to do that now?) and some others.

Depression runs in my family and I had always thought I had dodged this bullet, but apparently I've had this for quite awhile. Some of my symptoms I can pinpoint back to childhood and others to Adrienne's death. Some are more recent, like freakish tingling all over my body.

Right now I am being tested for the specific neurotransmitters that are out of balance and then she will treat me vitamin and amino acid therapies. (No drugs for me thank you, I appreciate being concious!)

I have mixed emotions right now. On one hand it makes me very sad, but on the other it is an answer to all my questions. It is also a treatable answer.

I am so glad that this person was able to help you identify what has been going on. what a wonderful thing to be able to begin to understand the crazy things that have been happening with you and your body.

I hope you aren't offended by this, but my degree and background are in counseling, and I just wanted to say that I really hope the amino acids and vitamins work. There are many different ways to "treat" depression (e.g., vitamins, regulating sleep schedules, regular exercise, diet, counseling, etc). If, however, the therapies your naturopath offers are not helpful, please don't completely eschew drugs that have been designed to target those pesky malfunctioning neurotransmitters. For some people, those are extremely helpful, and if the dosage can be adjusted to a good fit, it can be done without causing all the emotional numbness that most people understandably want to avoid.
I have no first hand knowledge or expertise. (thought I'd get that out there)

I have loved ones who are fighting depression, though. I think the drugs get a bad rap. When they're handed out like, "Here, this one will fix you," and that doesn't work or causes other problems, people are understandably disappointed.

It seems like you really have to work with a doc you trust to get maximum effect with minimum side effects. My friend Gordon went through this, with good effects. ...
The comments were particularly revealing on this subject.

But either way, blessings in your new beginning and in your relief. Naming the demon is step one.
Sarah-I read your friends post-wow-I can relate! I would love to know how he is doing now.
Kellsey-Thanks, you are very right that I shouldn't short change what drugs can do for me. Ultimately I will do whatever it takes to heal.
Oh, he's doing well. Here are his other posts on the topic.
First of all--love you and am thinking of you---need to talk soon. It had actually crossed my mind that your symptoms could be caused by anxiety etc.--it can do some strange things....

As you know, lizard--I've had these drugs for ADD and panic attacks. The one I took for ADD, Wellbutrin, caused the worst asthma season I had had in about 10 years, and I ended up in the ER one night...Reading the side effects myself, I discoved that one side effect of the drug is "exacerbating lung conditions." It was scary.

The other (for panic attacks) worked wonderfully well at the time, but may very well have exacerbated the fertility problems I'm having now, among several other significant side effects I've had. This bothers me---it bothers me a great deal, actually. Can you tell?? :) I know you can see my face getting red as I write this.

It also bothers me that my integrative MD had to get out magnifying glass and read all the fine print on the Lexapro ad out of magazine to finally find that "exacerbating mentrual disorders" was one of the less common, though not uncommon, side effects. All the bizarre symptoms I'd "developed" since taking Lexapro started falling into place.

Come to find out, the panic attacks were apparently caused by my thyroid being out of whack--since getting it fixed, I've had not anxiety issues at all. Zilch. Nada.

all that to say, my opinion is that they can have a place as a short-term fix, or as a last resort, but they are very serious drugs with serious side effects....just my two cents. I suspect that many times they do not address the root health issue, either. ie(WHY are my seretonin levels low??) I'm truly thankful I had it when I was truly desperate, but I will do everything in my power to never go there again.....

Also, has your naturopath checked your thyroid? They test more thoroughly than regular doctors, and read the tests differently....
Thyroid is good. You know its funny. My neurotransmitter levels are being checked and in a couple of weeks I will know which ones may be out of whack. But I've been walking around thinking, "In two weeks I will know if I have depression." People are diagnosed with depression without tests everyday! When you have most of the symptoms of something you tend to have it. : ) Oh silly Lizard.
Some people have an organic depression and others do not. If it is truly your neurotransmitters that are out of whack, and it is something you have been struggling with for years, then chances are that it has more of an organic source (read: biochemical...or malfunctioning neurotransmitters) than a purely cognitive one.

Depression is complicated. Even if it has a cognitive beginning, thinking and behaving along those lines for a long enough period of time can cause measurable changes in your brain, and so it can be difficult to truly pin down what originated it.

If the depression is something brought about by underlying patterns of belief and thought and behavior, then drugs can help to "turn down the volume a little bit" on the symptoms so that you can hear yourself think. That way, you can better identify those underlying patterns and do something about them. Then, you can transition off the medication. It is always best to take psychotropic medication while also seeing a counselor/psychologist/psychiatrist (someone who can help you identify possible underlying patterns of thinking and believing that may be contributing to the problem). Drugs alone can be dangerous, but that's another post. If it is truly an organically derived depression that is caused mainly by a chemical imbalance, then there is the chance that drugs may be needed on a longer term basis. Think of it as insulin to someone with diabetes. It does not cure the problem, it merely helps to keep things that are out of whack in a more stable and healthy balance--a kind of maintenance of sorts.

It is true that you definitely need to read the small print carefully as you know your own body best and will pay attention to things your doctor may miss (like Sweetpea may have certain things happening with your body that would make you more susceptible to some of the possible complications.)

Also, there are some people who have an anxiety induced depression and who need something that will address the anxiety directly (and therefore the depression indirectly). It can be a difficult process to identify what is really going on. I know a very good friend who had panic attacks on a regular basis who thought (as did her doctors) that they need to primarily address the anxiety. For a year they tried different meds for that. Eventually they decided to target the depression (seemingly a side issue), and it was at that point that both her depression and anxiety improved. Unfortunately, it can take a few tries with different medications to find the one that is a good match, and even then it can take some time to find correct dosage.

I fear that I may come across as discouraging here, and I certainly do not mean to be. My hope was that I might be able to give you some more information that may help you to know what to expect. I personally always do better having some idea what lies ahead of me and can deal with things better as long as I have some idea what's going on.

If this was not helpful, feel free to completely ignore it. I definitely hope for you that drugs are not necessary and that other means of help will be effective. For many people, drugs are never something that they have to deal with. However, if they are something you end up needing to do, then I hope that this info has been helpful.
So since I have had my symptoms a long time and I know there are some genetic dispositions I am going to be crazy... longer? : )

I have been thinking about counseling. I know there are things that need to be addressed. Ok, alot of things.

I am taking Gabapentin for the tingling/ anxiety and I have seen results. My naturopathic physician said the vitamin therapies would complement the gabapentin.

Thank you guys for the discussion. I really do need the input.
I think that's good advice, Kellsey. :) I've got friends who found those drugs extremely helpful for a time to "help them think." I hope I didn't come across as overly anti-drug....I know they can really help--they helped me--I just question if for me they did more harm than good in the long run. And I have several other friends with similar experiences.

I guess it's the pass-it-out-like-candy-and reassurances that really get to me. Which obviously nobody here is advocating....:)
wow. you leave your computer for one afternoon and BAM there's a seriously intense conversation going on...

lizard, i love you. praying for you. i have no intelligent input or insight into depression or meds, but this is a great conversation and i just wanted to say that i care...
also, like sweetpea...will call soon. i'd love to chat and catch up...
Sweetpea, Thanks for your comment. I completely agree with you that these drugs are all too often handed out like candy by doctors who really have not researched them and who do not really have the background to be dispensing them. In general, I have issues with general practitioners handing out psychotropic drugs. Mainly because the training they have received in psychiatry is minimal and most of them don't really take the time to read all the fine print, but instead settle for the summaries which drug reps give them. I wish that handing out psychotropic drugs could be limited to psychiatrists, but even then I have to admit that about 15% of them are truly exceptional, 15% are truly horrible, and everyone else falls into the mediocre category. It can be very difficult to find a good psychiatrist, especially if you want them to respect your beliefs as a Christian.

I definitely know some horror stories regarding these drugs, but (as would be expected of someone who trained in this field) I know far more examples of people for whom the drugs were very helpful without any serious side-effects.

I really hate it that you have had such a bad experience (and TWICE!!!) That is horrible, and I am so sad about it, especially as the Lexapro is giving you such long-term problems. I would be livid if I were you.

Also, just to clarify, I am definitely not a psychiatrist. I am not even a licensed counselor. I got my master's degree and completed almost 2000 hours of internship hours, but decided after having Aidan to stay home with him instead of going on to get my license. So, I am only a baby in the psych world. The reason I have been exposed so much to the drugs issue is because my last internship which lasted around 9 months was under the supervision of a Christian psychiatrist. Truly fascinating man, too. He was in his 70's, and had only been a believer for the last 15 years. He said that prior to knowing Jesus he always hit a wall with his clients where he could help them no further, not with counseling or drugs. But, once he was able to bring Jesus into the picture that that wall was shattered and people were brought to far greater wholeness. He is also blind. I have never met a more gifted counselor (a rare find in the world of psychiatry). He had some people that he met with from time to time for free in order to oversee their meds and to adjust their dosages (and he would see them for free as long as they were committed to seeing me on a weekly basis to work on underlying issues)...I digress.

Anyways, Lizard, I am praying for you, and, Sweetpea, I did not feel like you were completely anti-drug, and I agree that it is definitely right to question whether or not it is always best or even necessary to use these drugs.
Can we not use the word 'psychotropic'? I prefer 'mind-altering'. : )

One of the fundamental advantages of xanax is that it has been proved to be effective for treating depression as well as panic attacks. However, there are other xanax benefits also like xanax provides short term relief from the grip of nervous tension as well as moderate anxiety disorders and xanax has been proved to be useful in treating anxiety due to neurosis and irritable bowel syndrome.
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