Anti-depressants are useless


Aside from Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft, which I tried decades ago as a teenager, I have now tried five more. Here they are, with the worst of their accompanying side-effects (which made most of them unbearable).

  • 1990s: Prozac

No observed effect of any kind whatsoever. May as well have been placebo.

  • 1990s: Paxil

Did not improve anxiety, made sleep and emotions impossibly problematic (took six months to taper off of due to withdrawal symptoms)

  • 1990s: Zoloft

This was the worst I tried as a teen. I couldn't sleep, couldn't invest in anything emotionally, and was basically a mental zombie for a month or so until I simply stopped taking it. (The very first dose I took made me feel wonderful. Euphoric, excited, energetic... Too bad that didn't last more than half an hour, and too bad it was otherwise a complete disaster.)

  • 2016: Buspirone hydrochloride (Buspar), 5 mg x3, 3 times per day (yep, nine tablets per day)

A non-standard anxiety medication. It did not have any appreciable affect on my anxiety, though it did turn out to be unbearable to take. I started out taking barely any, and at the height of my trial, which lasted for half a year, I was taking the maximum allowable dose.

Side effects:

  1. Disorienting dizziness (mostly caused by eye or head movement. Driving was an exercise in futility, as it caused so much disorientation I may as well have been just under the legal limit of blood alcohol. Very bad news.)
  2. Issues with memory and memory retention
  3. Focus issues, and general inattention to detail

  • April 2017: Escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), 10 mg per day

My first experience with how dangerous these blasted things can be. I only took this for four days on my first try. It almost killed me.

This one doubled my heart rate and blood pressure (200/100, pulse 90+), caused extreme emotional outbursts and irritability, and generally made me act entirely bipolar type 1. (Complete with severe mania and depressive episodes! I did try it again later at a half dose, and while it improved my depression mildly, it was not at all effective at improving my anxiety, so was abandoned as unsuitable.)

Side effects:

  1. Mania followed by major depression and the worst panic attacks I have ever had
  2. Severe diarrhea
  3. Hypertension & arrhythmia
  4. Chills/tremors (uncontrollable shivering/shaking/jerking)
  5. Talking too much, or at length about minutia (mania)
  6. Lowered temperature and chills
  7. Restlessness
  8. Anxiety and debilitating panic attacks
  9. Muscle spasms
  10. Bouts of uncontrolled sobbing or hysteria (only when depressive, not manic)

  • May 2017: Bupropion (Wellbutrin) 200 mg per day (2× 100 mg), which wasn't even a full dose...

This one was almost as frightening as the Lexapro. Maybe worse, in some ways. I couldn't take it longer than two days without discontinuing due to the mental distress it caused. (Also, I believe it frightened my parents just how violent and impulsive it made me. I was dangerously out of character, threw things, and yelled quite a lot.)

Side effects:

  1. Violent irritability
  2. Violent, suicidal, or harmful ideation
  3. Pronounced dry mouth
  4. Major depression (depression more pronounced than before taking)
  5. Variable headache (sometimes so distracting as to be unbearable)
  6. Insomnia
  7. Recurring disturbing nightmares (some violent)
  8. Drowsiness, even after rest
  9. Poor or no impulse control (throwing things, yelling outbursts, slamming doors, etc)
  10. Bouts of uncontrollable sobbing or hysteria
  11. Attention deficit, carelessness, inattention
  12. Memory loss, inability to remember every day events in any detail
  13. Chills
  14. Tremor
  15. Restlessness
  16. Joint pain
  17. Arrhythmia
  18. Disinterest in eating or drinking

  • November 2017: Citalopram hydrobromide (Celexa) 10 mg per day

Took this one for longer than I should have. Never again. What a nightmare. (I still to this day have muscle contractions/jerks that come on randomly due to this horrific excuse for a drug. It is pure, unadulterated rubbish.)

Side effects:

  1. Diarrhea (severe and persistent)
  2. Chills
  3. Insomnia
  4. Anorgasmia
  5. Unusual tiredness
  6. Sore throat
  7. Agitation/restlessness (akathisia)
  8. Poor concentration
  9. Increased hunger
  10. Increased thirst
  11. Lack of energy
  12. Poor coordination
  13. Tender/burning skin (hand washing in particular causes very bad inflammation with moderate discomfort and redness)
  14. Trembling or jerking of muscles/limbs
  15. Drowsiness
  16. Quickened respiration (unable to catch my breath at times)
  17. Breast tenderness/soreness
  18. Muscle tightness or pain (mostly in upper body/neck)
  19. Tightness in the chest (feels like precursor to panic attack)
  20. Frequent urination, and feeling of being unable to fully void bladder

  • January 2018: Venlafexine (Effexor) 25 mg per day (with one trial day at 50 mg, which was... a mistake)

I only stuck this one out for a week. I swear, getting 0-4 hours of sleep per night is a good way to make me think I'm going insane. And at times I'm pretty sure I did... and that thinking I'm back to normal now is just a figment of my imagination, or something... (Seriously, I am still somewhat concerned I never stopped taking this and I'm only dreaming that I did.)

This is definitely the drug I took where I decided this whole endeavour was a waste of time, and that I was done even trying any more. I only have so much energy, and unfortunately it's now depleted. I don't know when or if I'll get it back again, but I am still waiting for this to be entirely out of my system, so I can't even say I'm "completely done" with it yet...

Though I certainly wish I was...

Side effects:

  1. Extremely high blood pressure and pulse (mostly in the morning -- ranged from normal, 100/60 P60, to highly dangerous, 180/80 P130)
  2. Elevated anxiety
  3. Hypertonia (ranging from slightly discomfiting to incredibly painful)
  4. Pronounced insomnia (I am so sleep deprived at the moment I keep finding more typos in this text that need fixing...)
  5. Restlessness
  6. Anorgasmia
  7. Tiredness/weariness (above and beyond the sleep deprivation)
  8. Increased thirst
  9. Diminished interest in food
  10. Frequent urination, and feeling of being unable to fully void bladder

  • Other stuff that was equally worthless

Just some other random nothingness that I was recommended to try. None of them helped, and some made things worse (though thankfully nothing like the scale of the lunacy contained above).

  1. St. John's Wort
  2. GABA (no effect whatsoever)
  3. 5-HTP (nada)
  4. Valerian root
  5. Various probiotics
  6. N-Acetyl L-Cystine (dreadful headaches)
  7. L-Theanine (frustratingly, increased anxiety dramatically at high enough doses to have any effect at all)
  8. Probably five to ten others I can't even remember that were nothing but a blip on the radar (until I dropped them)

If you ever wonder why some people despair of the medical community being of any help to anyone, I have been trying to figure out what will help me since I was in my teens. I'm now 40 years old, and while I know myself a little better, I still don't even have a damn diagnosis of a possible issue that could explain my anxiety, depression, or malaise.

Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to give up and stop trying. Because that's what it feels like everyone else has done: given up on me ever being a real person.

And that seriously hurts.

Categories anxiety, depression