Would I ever take the antidepressant medication Prozac again? No.
With what I know now about these drugs I feel a bit bad I included my taking a low dose of the med for a short time in my book in the “Things That Helped Me That May Help You or a Loved One” chapter.
Why? Because I don’t want to be supporting anything that could:
1. Be misunderstood. I never have taken any psychotropic medication other than lithium (one year, large dose) long-term. And have been psych drug free for more than 23 years other than a few times of short-term use of low dose Prozac.
2. Cause someone harm. That my writing of my experience could encourage someone to try the med when they could be helped in other ways. And that they don’t understand how I took it and that I never would have taken it long-term. And that now – I’d never do the same thing again.
I Was Taken Off Prozac Immediately
I gave only a short mention in the book to the fact that I was at one time (mid-twenties) prescribed Prozac and it made me feel very strange. I took it for two days or so then stopped. It was doing something to my body-brain that felt very off.
And it made my depression I was having at the time worse… because I thought if I could not be helped with an antidepressant medication I was a hopeless case. And I wanted to respond to something, make me feel better, my family less worried and the doctor whom I was very fond of some gratification that he was helping me.Regular Dose Prozac Made Me feel Very Strange, Worsened Depression. Click To Tweet
That was very wrong thinking I now know… not responding to an antidepressant is normal. They are toxic substances that if anything only have a short-term positive effect, induce a change in the person that is perceived as ‘treating something wrong in the body’ but in effect is really just a placebo effect.
There is no identifiable chemical imbalance that these medications have been proven to treat. They just give the person a biochemical change, make them feel different and that coupled with the psychological expectation they are treating something that is wrong with the ill person’s brain contribute to a placebo effect.
Related post: Understanding the Placebo Effect of Antidepressants.
Why Did I Take Prozac Years After Having an Adverse Reaction to the Drug?
I took the medication a few times when living in Mexico simply because it was easily available. And I thought I needed to. I’d dipped into a suicidal-ideation state of a severe depression and knew I needed to somehow pull out of it. That I had to get my body out of the biochemical state and get my coping skills back in action.
So a doctor and I decided I could take a little of the drug and see if it would work. I have to be honest: it did.
I took the medication (very carefully) for a short time (under a month I believe it was) and it did calm some of the physical agitation that was going on. But I could get that effect in other ways – and I would try different things now if that happened again.
I have not been severely depressed for many years, I hope that continues but if for some reason I did start feeling a similar state of distress I’d deal with it differently. I’d still try to treat the physical part of the depression, but with other things such as St. John’s Wort, turmeric, more melatonin at night, etc.
Thinking of this now, many years later, I think at that time I probably would have done just as well (without the risks I was taking on by taking Prozac) with self-medicating with melatonin. But I wasn’t thinking that way at the time, and I did not understand fully the reality of antidepressant medications. I knew they were harmful, etc. but not to the extent that I understand the issue now.
Now that I know better, I would self-treat or work with a physician differently. And go to a doctor if I had that available, the money to pay for alternative care or decent medical insurance… but never to a psychiatrist or traditional physician who would just want to prescribe some type of psychotropic medication. I’m at least that smart.
I got off the psych medications many years ago (lithium) without any medical supervision… and in reality, very little support from any health care professional. They gave me a hard time over and over about taking Synthroid medication. I got that easily in Mexico too and it was nice not to have to go to doctor and deal with all the hassle of explaining why I took it, the effects it had, etc.
I Would Never Recommend Anyone Take an Antidepressant Medication
And I’d be the supportive voice in the background if someone was on an antidepressant medication and not feeling well. Letting them know they were not crazy, not a hopeless case and that adverse reactions are very common. And taking more medications will only make their physical state of suffering worse… with most likely more distressing side effects.
Related post: Root Causes of Depression.
I’d never take Prozac again. But before I knew better I did and with plenty of trepidation about possible mood cycling etc. but not a full understanding of thow those medications work. I shared that experience as the book is a memoir. Memoirs are supposed to tell the full story, even if parts of the story are unflattering or misguided.
Now that I know better, I’d choose other ways to deal with a depressive episode. And if I ever update the book, add that in.