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What are the function of SSRI meds?


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So I've been through hell and back on Prozac, finally got off the shit and I feel a lot better. Only problem is, I still have depression. My pdoc told me if I ever wanted to try a new antidepressant I could, since we both agreed Prozac clearly isn't the drug for me. But I'm having difficulty choosing which one. Are SSRIs really the best choice? I'm 14 so I don't know what's allowed to be prescribed to me and what's not. When I was on Prozac I felt a terrible amount of emotional numbing and that distressed me to no end. Now that I'm off it I feel like I can be creative again and feel things. Do all SSRIs do the emotional numbing thing? I still want to feel, I still want to have my mood swings, I just don't want to want to kill myself.

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So I've been through hell and back on Prozac, finally got off the shit and I feel a lot better. Only problem is, I still have depression. My pdoc told me if I ever wanted to try a new antidepressant I could, since we both agreed Prozac clearly isn't the drug for me. But I'm having difficulty choosing which one. Are SSRIs really the best choice? I'm 14 so I don't know what's allowed to be prescribed to me and what's not. When I was on Prozac I felt a terrible amount of emotional numbing and that distressed me to no end. Now that I'm off it I feel like I can be creative again and feel things. Do all SSRIs do the emotional numbing thing? I still want to feel, I still want to have my mood swings, I just don't want to want to kill myself.

Hi there.  Mental illness is definitely the topic of the moment for teens.

The problems from a dr's perespective are :

- many medications arent suitable for minors

- it is difficult to accurately diagnose minors

- there is a certain degree of "behaviour" which can be put down to just growing up in today's world as a teenager

Now, in most countries prozac is the only SSRI approved for minors.  The reason for this is that it is long acting and it doesnt matter too much if you miss a dose here and there (and teens have a bad rep of missing doses - not like we adults ha ha!). 

The best thing you can do is go to see your dr or another dr and talk about your options.  Therapy may be more effective for you than medication.  Im 30 now, but at 15 I had all kinds of crazy stuff going on in my head and my life and I never thought once to talk with someone about it.  Maybe I should have, maybe not.  Know that life gets better in many ways, especially when you finish school.  Sometimes things seem really hard at the moment, but they often will get better.  One thing for sure is that the world will seem a VERY different place for you between now and when you are 18, and again when you are 21, and again 25, again 30 and so on.  Some things get easier, others dont, but for certain things will change.

There are other medications out there that can treat practically any type of mental illness.  If mood swings are your big thing, a dr may wish to assess you for both depression and bipolar disorder.  Both can seem similar from a distance but are distinctively different close up, and require very different treatments.  Sometimes the questions they ask you can be a little personal so be prepared for that.  Also, being so young, you might want to have an adult that you can trust present - if not a parent, maybe an uncle or aunt or older sibling?

Post back here, we are here to help.

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Well if Prozac had no beneficial effect whatsoever, I doubt another SSRI would be helpful as they all share the same mechanism of action.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

That is absolutely WRONG!

I tried Prozac for about 1 month and have never been so whacked out of my mind.  I was hearing voices, seeing things that weren't there, and I was emotionally numb... all things I have paid good money for in the past, but this was INSANE!

I tried Effexor... even more emotionally dead

Wellbutrin... I was aggressive

Lexipro... pretty much no effect

Celexa... works good for me

So YES, there are other options.

Your desire for "creativity" and mood swings is VERY understandable.  I feel like I am not me if I can't dive deep into certain moods, emotions, feelings, etc and bring back small treasures of understanding unique to that experience... I think it is a very useful and neglected part of being human (read "Owning Your Own Shadow" by Robert Johnson).  But some of us have a really hard time pulling ourselves back out of it!  With your apparent awareness of these benefits, and problems, I encourage you to talk to your doctor and explore the options.  For me it ends up being small doses, taking a quarter of a pill sometimes, that allows me to still experience who I am and not be numb yet not get sucked into weeks of gloom.

Good luck on unfolding and enfolding your creativity while you are here!

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xdiamond,

There are lots of options open to you. Therapy or group therapy with a young group would probably be beneficial no matter what choice you make regarding medication.

If you don't mind my asking, what dose of Prozac were you on? It does have a long half life, so for some people it's more helpful at a very low dose (like 5 mgs). Even if you've had one SSRI failure, it's pretty standard to try at least one more before you try some of the other antidepressants available. Celexa might be a good choice. It's highly selective for serotonin, has very low side effects for most people, and is now generic.

Take care of yourself and let us know how you're doing.

(And by the way, being 14 sucks for a lot of people. If anyone tries to tell you that these are the best years of your life, don't listen. Life gets way better than it is at 14.)

Greeny

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My advice is stay off the psychiatric drugs, kid. At 14 your frontal cortex is barely developed (for real) -- you don't want to throw drugs into the mix as you're going through so many changes and becoming the adult you're going to be. There're better ways to deal with being a teenager. The main thing is to just survive being a teenager. It really does get better.

If you need an anti-depressant though, theman is right -- different SSRIs are different. If someone put a gun to my head and made me take SSRIs again, I'd go with Celexa, whose only side effect with me was that I couldn't have an orgasm very easily, which as side effects go was not so bad. I had pretty much the same reactions to all the drugs that theman listed. I was on Zoloft when I had my one severe psychotic break.

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So I've been through hell and back on Prozac, finally got off the shit and I feel a lot better. Only problem is, I still have depression. My pdoc told me if I ever wanted to try a new antidepressant I could, since we both agreed Prozac clearly isn't the drug for me. But I'm having difficulty choosing which one. Are SSRIs really the best choice? I'm 14 so I don't know what's allowed to be prescribed to me and what's not. When I was on Prozac I felt a terrible amount of emotional numbing and that distressed me to no end. Now that I'm off it I feel like I can be creative again and feel things. Do all SSRIs do the emotional numbing thing? I still want to feel, I still want to have my mood swings, I just don't want to want to kill myself.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

SSRIs are the most prescribed antidepressants and they are generally a good option.  Some are much more powerful and stimulating than others though.  Only Luvox is approved for minors, the others are supposed to be for adults only.  Given your young age, you should be cautious and always start with the minimal dose of any antidepressant.

Yes, most SSRIs will emotionally numb you.  And antipsychotics like risperdal and zyprexa will too.  They supress anxiety and alleviate depression, but at the cost of some of your mental sharpness.  You are lucky to be treated at age 14.  I was sick for 9 years before I got treated. 

PBF

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theman: How am I "absolutely WRONG!"?  Of the SSRIs only Prozac is approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression in adolescents. If Prozac doesn't work it makes sense to try another type of medicine. I guess you guys know better than the FDA  ;)

SSRIs are powerful and dangerous drugs to give to young people, for obvious reasons - discontinuation syndrome, suicide risk, emotional numbing. They have also been found to cause "amotivational syndrome" in adolescents. Why risk it when there are safer alternatives such as NARIs you could try first? 

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OK, FIRST I think we all need to read a little more into this gal's posts and look at her diagnosis before we swear off medication until she's older......

xdiamond, as I read your posts, I see that you may lean towards schizophrenic but as you are so young, you are diagnosed with psychotic disorder NOS.  As a result, I would assume that you DO infact need meds, in combonation of course with regular therapy.  I wish I had more insight on the anti-depressant issue, but I can say that maybe you could ask about a non-ssri which works on more than one neurotransmitter.  I do great on Effexor which is an ssri, but like everyone else said...try your best to be patient.  I would concentrate, for now, on therapy to help you get through school and then maybe during the summer you could go for a med overhaul.  I understand you've gone in-patient in a hospital before???

hugs, xoxoxoxoxoxo,

                                    Marisa

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theman: How am I "absolutely WRONG!"? 

Well if Prozac had no beneficial effect whatsoever, I doubt another SSRI would be helpful as they all share the same mechanism of action.

this statement is just plain WRONG, regardless of what the FDA approves for whoever... it is just wrong... simple fact.  To think that another SSRI would not help simply because Prozac didn't help is wrong.  Thinking they all act the same is just wrong.

The issue of young people (or any people for that matter) taking psychoactive drugs is an open ended debate.  Personally I don't think young people should take any if they can avoid it!  I agree with Greeny and Jemini that adolescents is hard... it sucked for me and most everyone I knew, it was a hard time... but I don't think drugs are the answer (jesus, I never thought I would catch myself saying that).  I think they are an option, for sure, but not the answer.

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