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RE: Listening to Prozac, where does the author stand as far as antidepressants being good or bad? I'm currently grappling with the question of whether or not they are the right path. I know that some people believe antidepressants actually worsen brain chemistry, while others believe that the longer one stays depressed, the harder it is to turn around. Being depressed myself, I am trying out various drugs and with each drug failure, I hope that I am not doing myself harm. I waited a long time--maybe too long--before choosing drug therapy, but I often wonder if I should even be doing it. Would therapy, vitamins, meditation, "getting out there", exercise, and all of the other things I'm doing work fine on their own, if I just gave them more time? (It certainly doesn't feel like it.) Or is it okay to put my faith in modern medicine?


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Don't know if my opinion counts, Kelly, but in med school, we're learning that depression episodes beget more episodes -- in other words, depression probably damages your brain in such a way as to smooth the way for future periods of depression, so treatment with meds and psychotherapy help protect your brain by not getting it used to that pathway. At least that's my rudimentary understanding of it. Obviously I'm on the side of modern medicine, but from what I've seen, antidepressants really do save lives, for thousands of people. I'd discuss my concerns with my doctor if I were you.


Kelly, I thought I would get a clearer "good" or "bad" consensus from the book than I have. It doesn't really do that, though.

I suggest you read it for a lot of information about what was known in 1993 about the patterns and biology of depression. As I understand it, there is a connection between episodes of depression and increased susceptibility to deeper depression down the road. So medication and treatment of episodes prevents potentially deeper and longer/worse episodes later.

My sense from the book is that medication combined with therapy is fundamentally different than the kind of "buck up, camper" bootstraps methods you're describing (e.g. vitamins, exercise, getting out there) etc. And that medication/therapy can make it easier to start doing that, and getting positive social reinforcement that can let you change behavior patterns and adopt ones that might work better.

But read the book, and talk to the doc, because it's not crystal clear at all.



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