What are the implications of long-term antidepressant use?
October 25, 2007 1:44 PM Subscribe
Can anyone share or point me towards anecdotal or scientific information regarding the implications of long-term antidepressant use?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I know this can be a sensitive subject in the green, but since crazymeds went down, I'm not sure where to look. I'll try to keep this short as possible, but it seems that such personal questions require personal information...
My basic question is: Is there any evidence to show that long-term use of antidepressants can cause any sort of future mental impairment?
The backstory is as follows: I'm 26 years old, and have been on antidepressants since I was 16 for Anxiety/Depersonalisation and OCD. It took a while to find something that worked, but a low dose of Effexor XR at 75mg/day seemed to do the trick after a few months of trying things out.
On medication, I am highly functional, perhaps even superfunctional. I started a new life on the other side of the world, am in a healthy relationship, and am highly regarded and awarded in my field, in which I successfully operate my own business and and a number of self-initiated projects on top of that.
I have tried to go off the Effexor about 4 times total. Each time was closely monitored and weaned myself over a number of months. Each time I reached the point where I was totally off the meds, I would be stable for a week, and then I would just lose it, and be basically crippled with uncontrollable anxiety. (That said though, those four times were probably not the best times to pick in terms of other things that were happening in my life, i.e, new job, new house, etc)
I have been in therapy this whole time, and working on alot of other areas of my life such as my overall health (which is basically garbage at the moment) as well as taking up a meditation practice in efforts to reduce my overall stress in addition to making alot of smaller changes across the board.
I have reached the point where I have accepted that I will probably have to be on medication for many years to come while I sort these other things out in therapy, because being able to leave the house is something that I greatly value. While the anxiety can still break through the veneer of medication some days, its manageable at least.
Anyone who has tried to come off meds, especially Effexor, knows the awful withdrawal symptoms as discussed on previous posts. The sheer power of the drug, combined with the overall ignorance of how these drugs 'actually' work and my overall distrust of big pharma, makes me a bit uncomfortable, and ironically, can increase my anxiety levels.
Has anyone here been on meds 10+ years and successfully come off? Are there any studies or other resources I could use to possibly gain some more perspective on the reality of long term use of mind-altering substances? Any input would be most dearly appreciated.