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 short-term use of low dose Prozac a couple of times.
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 longer than a few months.
And most importantly 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.
I wanted to respond to something. I wanted a medication to help me feel better, my family less worried and the doctor whom I was very fond of some gratification that he was helping me.
[bctt tweet=”Regular Dose Prozac Made Me feel Very Strange, Worsened Depression.”]
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 is really just a placebo effect.
Related post: Understanding the Placebo Effect of Antidepressants.
There is no identifiable chemical imbalance that these medications have been proven to treat.
They just give the person a biochemical change, chemicals in the body-brain are altered, make them feel different.
That coupled with the psychological expectation they are treating something that is wrong – a “chemical imbalance” – contribute to a placebo effect.
Why Did I Take Prozac Years After Having an Adverse Reaction to the Drug?
I took the medication a couple of times years later when living in Mexico simply because it was easily available. And I thought I needed to. I’d dipped into the suicidal ideation typical of severe depression and knew I needed to somehow pull out of it.
I had to get my body out of the abnormal biochemical state I was experiencing and get my coping skills back in action.
A competent and kind doctor – who knew I had been diagnosed Manic Depressive – and I decided I could take a low dose 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 now know I could have gotten that effect in other ways. Hindsight is always 20/20.
I have not been severely depressed for decades since, and 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.
Related post: How Much Melatonin to Take for Bipolar Disorder?
Thinking of this now, many years later, I think I probably would have done just as well – without the risks I was taking on by taking Prozac – by 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 but not to the extent that I understand the issue now.
Related post: Treatment Resistance is Your Body Saying No.
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 who would just want to prescribe some type of psychotropic medication.
I’m at least that smart.
I Would Never Recommend Anyone Take an Antidepressant Medication
I would 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 that 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
Because I didn’t know better at the time, I took the drug, with plenty of trepidation about possible mood cycling but not a full understanding of how these medications work.
I shared my experience in the book because it 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. I’ve updated the book, added that info in and linked to this blog post.