Why are so many people against taking medication to control anxiety and depression ? When ever I can feel these things getting out of control in myself and I say I need to see the doctor and get some pills - why do so many people say " Oh , you don´t want to start taking those things" ?
Whilst medication can be a last resort for someone suffering with anxiety and depression, there are other, more natural, but effective, remedies.
You may have tried some of these, and found that they didn't work for you. But if you haven't tried them, it's probably worth a go.
The main problem with medication is twofold:
a) side-effects; and
Side-effects are common with the type of medication involved, but to get it into perspective, not everyone gets side-effects. So if you don't that's not an issue.
Dependency affects everyone, and it can become more and more difficult to stop using medication, and remain symptom free. In fact, the more you use medication, the more you seem to get the symptoms when you stop them, and the more you need them, and it goes on and on and on ...
Natural alternatives are largely free of side-effects (dangerous ones anyway), and are not habit-forming, or addictive. You don't become dependant on them.
Which ones to try does depend on which is your main symptom - anxiety or depression.
For anxiety, try kava-kava, if you can. It's not available in the UK right now, but when it was available I used it for a number of patients with great results. Others include Passiflora or Scutellaria lateriflora or even Scutellaria baicalensis. There are others, but I won't list them all!
For depression, St.John's Wort has been shown to be as effective as conventional (medicinal) anti-depressants, but without the side-effects. It should be used with caution, however, it's not for everyone, and can interfere with other medication - such as the pill, and anti-depressant drugs (and it should be avoided with these medications). Again, there are others.
If you really want to try any alternatives, then I would suggest that you seek advice from a qualified and experienced herbalist, who would be able to listed to your individual symptoms and needs, and advise you accordingly as to which herbal combination would be the best for you.
Finally, remember that there are hundreds, if not thousands or even millions, like you, suffering with anxiety and depression to some degree or other. You are not alone, and many people find a great deal of help and support from various groups and organisations, or even churches. Don't under-estimate the difference that can make.
Good luck; I hope you find some help and some relief from your symptoms. Kindest Regards.
Many thanks for your reply onlineconsultant. Are you actually a qualified doctor or medic ? I note you recommended St Johns wort. I used to take this until I found it could be really bad for anyone suffering from high blood pressure. I have in the past tried all sorts of herbal remedies but nothing worked as well as drugs prescribed by a Doctor when my symptoms became unbearable.I have also had counselling. I have never had the slightest problem coming off anything prescribed by a doctor, and any side effects have been minor and short lasting. I know when I am on an even keel and it´s the right time to stop the medication, I always consult with my doctor first on this as coming off drugs you have been taking for a long time ( specially these types of drugs) does need to be done slowly. Also taking these kinds of drugs has never made me dependant, they are just a help long with self help and counselling when from time to time I really cannot cope. I may only need then once every 5 or 10 years. My concern and the reason I asked the question is because there seems to be such a stigma attached to mental health problems and the treatment associated with it, that many people must be suffering unnecessarily when a pill a day would sort them out. Many thanks for your reply and good wishes.
You're more than welcome. I qualified as a doctor back in 1987, but have worked purely in natural health - mainly herbs and nutrition, but also homoeopathy and alongside therapists providing other modalities - for the last 20 years or longer. I noticed the comment about St. John's Wort later on, and I can understand the concerns regarding this. However, if you consult with a qualified and experienced herbalist, you can be reassured as regards the quality and the appropriate use of the herbs they recommend for you. But you do have to be very careful when combining with other drugs.
Yes, there is still a stigma attached to mental health problems and the treatment associated with it, although it almost seems fashionable to seek counselling or psychotherapy in many circles these days!
The main thing is to focus on your own feelings, regardless of others. Nobody (apart from God, I suppose - and he won't anyway!) has the right to judge you, and it says more about them, than it does about the person they are stigmatising when they do.
It sounds as though you have things worked out with the medications, and I think your approach is very sensible - and if it works for you, then stick with it. Kindest Regards.
Hi onlineconsultant. Many thanks again for your comments. One of the problems with herbal medicine is that you can just go and buy it over the counter and many people including me have done this without considering it could conflict with other medications or health problems.
Regarding your comment on counselling and psychotherapy being fashionable in some circles..hmmm, don´t quite know what to make of that one. I do not wish to sound rude or offensive but I do see things like this being bandied about by the cast of shows like " sex and the city" Surely though no one would really elect to go for these kind of therapy´s without good reason !!
I work in the NHS in the UK and there is no such thing as qualified herbalist here. Plants in itself like St John's wort is frowned upon by doctors as they interact with medications.
It's ok to say to be careful but there was no randomised control trial study at all on how this medicine interact with other medicine. To be careful with what is the main question.
I personally do not suggest to anyone to jump for Phamacuetical drugs..other than as a LAST resort..there are many other natural means of treatment that people should look into before resorting to chemical drugs....mainly due to all the side effects that accompany the drugs..besides they are only a temporary band-aid to the situation...people need to get to the root of the problem why they are anxious/depressed first..the damage that some of these Pharm. drugs create are usually worse than the " problems " and many times the organs of the body stop working..which could lead to death..
Because anti anxiety meds can be extremely addictive. And antidepressants can have some really nasty side effects, even after you quit taking them.
Thanks janesix. All I can say is I have never had a problem with anything I have been prescribed, with the exception of one drug that didn´t suit me at all and was quickly changed for something else.. Maybe I just had great care from my GP and was lucky.
Herbs and artificial chemicals are generally equally risky when equally potent. One should not assume a plant is safer than a powder (which is probably derived from a plant). Any potent psychoactive substance should be taken only with medical guidance.
And if the risk of side effects are worse than the risk of staying unmediated, sure--it's a good choice avid the drugs. Vice versa=not such a good choice. For example staying suicidal or delusional when the side effect of your treatment is relative mild and fully reversible (as is often the case, not every drug has the same risk profile).
very well said. I couldn´t agree more. millions of people opt for what they consider to be "safe herbal remedies" which they can just buy over the counter with no information what so ever about possible contra indications or any warning about taking them with other drugs or pre existing medical conditions.
How about just plain denial that a person is suffering from anxiety or depression? People who suffer from many problems would rather self-medicate than approach a medical professional. No one usually wants to admit that something is wrong with them--physically or mentally.
Also, I know of no medical professional who would suggest that a person suffering from anxiety or depression take herbal remedies like St. John's Wort. Knowing the horror stories linked to this particular herbal remedy, I would NOT (through my own research) recommend St. John's Wort to anyone. Herbal remedies are not required to be made the same way, nor that they have the same effect on each individual. Therefore, you don't know what you are getting. When you take St. John's Wort or any herbal remedy, you are basically dealing with fire. Especially when you are consuming a mix of drugs.
Exactly. Before I went to see the doctor about feeling anxious, not sleeping well etc etc, I bought some St Johns wort to see if that would help. I didn´t feel at that point bad enough to trouble a doctor and hoped it would pass..I had been taking this stuff for quite some time before I learned it was really risky to do so if you suffer from high blood pressure, which I do..My advice to anyone would be never to self medicate and never feel too ashamed, or that you are making a fuss, or wasting your medics time if you are sufffering with anything. Having mental health problems is nothing to feel embarrased about. Would you self medicate if you had broken your leg...would you heck !!
I am always up. I do not allow anxiety or depression.
I have different levels of caring to keep it interesting. But ultimately I don't care and five cigarettes a day.
I control my body by my bodily feelings and almost never by my mind, and especially never by the minds of others intake-wise, unless scientific tests might indicate otherwise, as in two cases - getting old now, and then by how it does make me feel. I am seventy and never been ill, knock on wood.
I think that some people still have a deep seated fear of mental illness and respond with the ostrich approach to depression, i.e. your not really ill, you don't need medication and you should try everything else before approaching the medical profession.
People who think you should pull yourself together or pop a few herbal remedies have never experienced depression or anxiety. Professional help is the way to go, in my opinion, and it doesn't always mean medication either. Depression is a serious illness which is affecting whole communities and it isn't always caused by hectic modern lifestyles. Mile stones in your life can make you more vulnerable to clinical depression, (like coping with loss, be it a death or unwelcome changes in the work place or family,) and it isn't a sign of weakness if you become ill. Nobody says your weak if you get cancer. Depression can be just as deadly.
Having said that, most people with help get back to their old selves eventually. It's just another illness, the rest of the world will just have to get over itself.
Very well said kathryn. I agree with every word you just said 100%. If you haven´t ever been there you can´t even imagine how scary it can be. Those people who told me to stop worrying or I would make myself ill the last time I did battle with the demons obviously had not the faintest clue what I was going through..if I could have stopped worrying I would have like a shot.
I personally suffered with anxiety and depression for some years (and still do to a degree). I tried various antidepressants including Fluoxetine (Prozac) with no success, (and loads of very unpleasant side effects). In the end I stopped taking all that stuff, and actually felt better, although far from perfect. Counseling also failed to work, so nowadays I am resigned to making the best of a bad situation, but all in all I am glad I am no longer taking pills that really failed to help, and caused more problems than they solved.
Thanks Misty. I hope you are doing Ok now. I have a couple of books which I refer to as my bibles.They were written maybe during the 50´s by Doctor Claire Weekes and are called , Peace from nervous suffering, isbn 0-7225-3201-6. And , Essential help for your nerves, isbn 0-7225-4013-2. When I feel myself getting a little shaky, or am in full blown anxiety state reading these books along with doing relaxation excercises ( where you listen to a cd and tense and relax the whole body) really helps me. Of course there are still times when I do need med´s, but I find doing the self help stuff in conjunction helps me get on an even keel much faster. Keep well misty.
I was put on meds for depression back in the day. I was od'ed over and over again on any med that didn't have bad side effects. Nothing like being told you have toxic levels of such and such medicine in your blood. I had been put on one med that a few years later was part of a huge lawsuit for causing schizophrenia in all its long time takers (thankfully that one was such a powerful narcotic that I refused to take it daily and thought its only use could ever be as an occasional recreational drug and as such they stopped giving it to me).
The only thing that worked was for me to learn to monitor my thinking process and take control of my thoughts when they are illogical and lead to feelings of despair or depression. Events lead to thoughts about the event, thoughts about the event lead to emotions about the event. Event = Thought = Emotion. The thought can be instant and go unnoticed if you are not mindful of your own thinking. If you can notice the thoughts you can change them. Change the thought and you change the emotion that results.
I call it my Spock mind, if I think 'oh my god, she hates me' when someone criticises me, its normal to feel depressed but is it logical to think 'oh my god she hates me' in the first place? Possibly not. In the case of being criticised, some people might do it to be mean but just as often people who do are trying to help in their own way. If I stop and think that maybe they are just trying to help me to improve, well the emotion changes.
Unfortunately, I can't offer any good advice. All I know is that my friend has been taking meds for anxiety and depression on a daily bases since she was in her 20s. Now she is in her 50s and the problems never went away, only the symptoms. She's tried virtually every drug, as after a while they stop working. I'm just trying to say that these meds don't get to the root of the problem and you will take them for the rest of your life.
Hi Haunty. I am so sorry for your friend. mThere are many different types of mental illness, my main problem is anxiety and that is soley brought on when I have been working far too hard, had more problems than anyone should have to deal with on their own, and just get to the point where I am physically and mentally worn out. A short course of anti anxiety meds and some self help always sorts me out. Not everyone goes through what your friend has suffered and not everyone needs to get to the bottom of the problem. Sometimes the problems are just overwork and struggling to cope on your own. I send your friend a big hug.
Somewhat related is the fact someone I know was really depressed and called the suicide hotline and they gave him a local support org to call. He called them, the guy answered and said, I'll get my supervisor to call you back. He never got a return call. Imagine that.
Every person has to find their own way to their best treatment for their situation. In my case it was a pharmaceutical treatment. It was effective within weeks with no noticeable side effects.
I was recently prescribed anxiety medication due to post traumatic stress from a life-threatening blood clot. I had a stroke and I am only 18 years old. Personally, they help me get through panic attacks because I feel like I am going to die. Some people need them and some people don't and there is nothing wrong with needing a little help.
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