What do we know about the success rate of psychotropic drug therapies?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by scent of cedar, Jan 25, 2013.

  1. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Hello, everyone :O)

    As I researched Cymbalta, I was shocked to learn that, among some other pretty horrific side effects, it can precipitate mania. I did some other internet searching, and found so many sites where people who need help are receiving medications that not only don't address the basic problem but, in addition to not doing what they are supposed to, make hair fall out, lead to weight gain, bring on bowel and kidney problems, etc. What I would like to know is whether the general opinion here is that psychotropic medications are of value or not?

    Do we know of anyone who has taken these medications and seen his/her problems entirely resolved?

    Do we know of anyone who has never started on these medications, or has stopped taking them altogether, who has seen his/her problems resolved?

    When I did my internet research, the question I found most often explored was whether anti-depressant therapies are causing mania. I don't have the figures in front of me now, but the increase in the diagnosis of manic/depressive disorders since the advent of the newer anti-depressants is shocking.

    Is the general feeling here on the site that psychotropic medications are of value?

    Thanks, guys.
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    psychiatric medications saved my family. I acknowledge that they are not beneficial for all and that they can cause harm. We have had to deal with some brutal side effects and I would love it if my kids did not need them. Without the medications, my boys would have missed their childhoods completely. medications are the only thing that quiets the voices in Kanga's head. And without Ritalin, Piglet tests as mentally retarded because her ADD is so severe, with the Ritalin she is low-average to average and in all regular ed without modifications.

    There are side effects to antibiotics, heart medications, cancer medications, etc. Yet, we still prefer to take the medications and play the odds that they will help more than hurt.
  3. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I took Cymbalta for a couple of years, and it saved me from a deep dark hole. I took Prozac for a couple years before that, but it stopped working for me. I didn't have any noticeable side effects from the Cymbalta except when I skipped doses... then I had some pretty horrible headaches, shakiness, and nightmares. When I finally went off it for good, I tapered off slowly. It certainly didn't give me mania, heck I may have welcomed that lol. I haven't needed it in several years now.

    Anti-depressants do sometimes cause mania when given to bipolar patients, in fact that's how Youngest was first diagnosed as bipolar (Zoloft had her doing incessant cartwheels around the house). I've been told that in bipolar patients they should never be given alone, always with a mood stabilizer. I'm also a believer that no psychiatric medication should be taken unless someone is also in therapy -- but that's just my own opinion. medications are to get you to a point where you can participate in therapy appropriately -- you still have to be able to address the underlying issues. medications shouldn't be looked at as a "cure."

    As with any medication, it's a matter of weighing the risks. I don't know where I would have ended up without anti-depressants. Or where my kids would have ended up. I know what Youngest is like with and without her mood stabilizers. I can tell you that it's night and day. I'm grateful she's finally taking them regularly, even if it was the epilepsy that first convinced her to do so (same medications help her seizures).
  4. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Psychiatric medications are not a cure because psychiatric illnesses are for the most part lifelong illnesses. I have been known to refer to bipolar as a terminal illness.

    Depression is different from bipolar and should be treated with different medications. Yes antidepressants can cause mania in some people and sometimes those people end up being bipolar.

    We all run the risk of side effects from the medications we take. For me, I will most likely be on them the rest of my life and that is sometimes a scary thought. But in order to function in this world, I have to take some type of medication. Its sort of a ****ed if you do and ****ed if you dont situation.
  5. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Antidepressants can cause mania in people with bipolar disorder (it's very rare to cause it in people who are not bipolar). Many people who have bipolar disorder either start with a depressive episode and the mania/hypomania hasn't presented yet, or they don't seek help when they are hypomanic because when one is hypomanic s/he feels pretty great.

    I wouldn't say that antidepressants saved my life, but they definitely increased my quality of life. I resisted for a very long time, but after I started and got the right medication for me I kicked myself hard for waiting so long. The change was hugely dramatic. Then that medication stopped working for me and I didn't want to play the medication merry-go-round again. So, I went several years without AD's and was miserable. I started again and again kicked myself for waiting so long.

    However, medications alone is not advised. While some - like me - will more than likely have to take an AD for the rest of their lives, the gold standard treatment for depression is medications AND therapy, preferably CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy).

    For the record, I have been on or tried several different AD's and I haven't suffered any hair loss, weight gain was negligible, no bowel or kidney problems beyond what I already had prior to AD's, or anything else. Any medication you take has a risk of side effects. You have to weigh the risk against the benefit. And you have to understand that there is no way of knowing which medication will work for what person - trial and error is the only way. (And that isn't just the case with psychiatric medications, by the way. There has been trial and error with my cholesterol medications, my heart medications, and my stomach medications.)
  6. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I don't have personal experience with psychiatric medications. And my son is new to them and little ambivalent about the matter. He isn't on any anti-depressant, at least not yet and I'm bit worried about them causing mania if he has to go that route. And with my dad drugs (both AD and illegal drugs) have cause bouts of mania even though he isn't really bipolar (but not that far from that.)

    However I do have ancestors and relatives who were suffering bipolar and schizophrenia before there were psychiatric drugs for those conditions. And knowing what kind of life they had (and many of them had lots of advantages that most people at that time didn't) and what kind of life people suffering those same conditions can lead now with the help of the psychiatric drugs, there is no question in my mind that modern medication has made a huge positive difference to the life of mentally ill.

    And if you only think of modern anti-depressants, mainly SSRI, the statistics of suicides are very telling. And at least in Northern Europe the trend is same in every country. Suicides have come crashing down after 1990. And one of the biggest difference is SSRIs. For example in my country, they are down over 30 % from 1990. Our stats are still high (I think almost double to USA for example), they have always been, partly because what is considered suicide (we don't think suicide is shameful or sinful and because of that things that in many places would be booked as accidents to protect the family (like many suicides made through car accidents) are booked suicides here) and partly because it just is more culturally accepted thing to do than in many other countries. Curiously during that time it has been male suicides that have been crashing down, female suicides have been the same through last hundred years at least.
  7. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    Zoloft was a life-saver for me in my teens. In a literal sense. I was in a bad way with depression and it really helped. Yes, I put on weight, but it saved my life.
    The same medication was absolutely the WRONG medication for my sister, who is bi-polar (I'm uni-polar). I've known many helped by Effexor, but it is certainly a wrong medication for ME. Give and take, trial and error, everyone is different. Cost vs benefit ratio. When considering new medications I always ask about the side effects that matter to ME: is it weight neutral (because extra weight hurts my joints and will cause more depression as well), will it affect my libido (don't need that going up or down, I'm quite happy where it is!), will it make me stupid (because face it, some medications do that, and I handle money at work, can't afford to screw that up because it comes out of my pocket if the drawer is short).

    Some side effects I don't ask about because I don't worry about them. GI upset? That usually passes after a few weeks, until then I'll deal with it by watching better what I eat and when I eat it. Sensitivity to sunlight? I can live with that, I don't buy daytime moisturizer without sunscreen anyway. Makes food tastes funny? Never know, maybe veggies might stop tasting so terrible to me and open a whole world of new foods to me! Makes me klutzy? Heck, I'm already a klutz, so I'll have to be a little more careful than usual until I get used to it. Memory issues? I have those already, so I already have methods and people in place to remind me of important stuff. Decreases my alcohol tolerance? Might save me some money at the bar. :)
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Haozi...how do you like Saphris? I tried it for about two months then we decided I simply didnt need an AP anymore after all. Thats the one they switched me to immediately when we found out that seroquel had sent my cholesterol skyrocketing.
  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi CD Hall of Fame

    With my current stress level I'm not sure how steady it's holding me, but it sure cures my insomnia!
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would not be alive except for my medications. When I went to my doctor, I was in such bad shape I asked for ECT. I was near suicidal.
    But no medications are good for all and you have to watch each person's reaction carefully. I've had terrible experiences too.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    psychiatric medications can be extremely helpful when scripted correctly. They aren't a cure for any diagnosis, however they can dramatically improve quality of life.

    When Nichole took her medications she needed them. There was no doubt. Once she weaned off of them.....she was watched closely by both me and her psychiatrist......and she did well. She's not been on them for several years now nor has she needed them. Nichole is not "cured" per se as to be honest other than the borderline we're not certain her diagnosis was accurate. She was severely depressed when she needed medications, but that doesn't necessarily mean she was bipolar. (she was never manic) And a person can suffer a period of severe depression without being chronically depressed. Know what I mean??

    That said, I often worry about psychiatric medications as they're not developed to treat psychiatric conditions......usually how they affect someone psychiatric wise is stumbled upon and then docs start saying oh well it has this affect let's try it to help this. I don't necessarily think that is such a good idea short term or long term. I'd much rather see drug companies develop medications specifically for psychiatric use instead....hopefully with fewer side effects.

    All medications, regardless of what you take them for, have the potential for side effects. Some so bad you wonder why on earth the medication would ever be scripted to someone. The why is easy, benefit outweighs the risk. Or at least that is the way it is supposed to be. I swear some docs never give the risks a thought. I also worry about dosages I see. High doses for adults, but also for children. Some much too high......some like BFF who was on an outrageously high dose of paxil (od level) simply because 1. doctor didn't know what he was doing and 2. she refused to take anything else.

    It actually infuriates me that BFF won a lawsuit against the company that makes Paxil because her son Seth has special needs. BFF knew the danger to the fetus when she opted to stay on her outrageously high dose. She also knew the danger to the fetus when she drank during the entire pregnancy and several other things. But here is the kicker......they proved Seth has CP and autism because of dr error during/after delivery years before her lawsuit against paxil. And she still won. (and we wonder why our medical/medication costs are so high)

    And yes, paxil obviously was doing nothing for bff therapeutic wise. When she had to switch psychiatrists she was forced to go back down to the starter dose of paxil while other medications were added......they were never able to wean her off the medication completely as her body had become to used to it.

    It can be difficult when modern medicine seems so advanced to remember that as far as mental health goes we're still in the infancy stage and there is so much they just don't know, regardless if they admit it or not.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thats very true Lisa. I have heard research that in the not too distant future we should be able to get blood work done and they will be able to analyze it and then we will be given medications for exact conditions. Sort of like the way they culture urine to see which antibiotics will work best on which infection. Im over simplifying things but you get my drift.

    That would be so awesome if we could take a blood test and it could spit out something that says missing X amount of serotonin and Y amount of dopamine and such.
  13. scent of cedar

    scent of cedar New Member

    Hi :O)

    I just wanted those who posted to me to know that I had read, and do appreciate, your posts. Thank you for sharing such sensitive information with me.

    I'm feeling a little more confident. It's really a scary thing, isn't it.