Tuesday, February 26, 2008

"The Drugs Don't Work"

Hey there. Well, this is pretty big news for me.... this Prozac not working thing..... Funny that I'm learning about it mostly from European news sources, not so much the American ones.... why would that be??

Anyways, here's the back story: A few years ago, after my friend James died, I went into a pretty major funk. I thought I was just having trouble coping at my job, so I went to a therapist to "learn some coping mechanisms for dealing with stress at work."

Well, she diagnosed me with Major Depression. I started taking some meds (NOT Prozac back then), and did talk therapy. I realized that I was depressed, but that there was medicine that could make me better, and through talk therapy, I could learn how to "exercise my emotional muscles". It worked. I went off the meds before trying to get pregnant, and things have been way better since.

Except that starting after the birth of La Segunda, in the days leading up to my period, my moods were terrible. I felt like the world was going to end. I wanted to stay in bed all the time, and felt hopeless and sad and panicked and generally awful emotionally. So, I talked to my primary doctor and asked her about Midol. She's like, "I haven't heard about Midol since, like, 1983." And I said, "Yeah, well, me neither. It's just that that's when I got my period, so that's what stuck in my head. Is there any medicine out there that works for the mood swings that come at my period?" So, she recommended a low dose of Fluoxetine.

I started taking the Fluoxetine over the summer, and am still on it. HOWEVER, I have been noticing some very strong side effects when I drink alcohol. Now, there IS a warning label on Fluoxetine that DOES say to reduce alcohol consumption, and that if a person drinks while taking the drug, they could experience dizziness. There is the standard legaleze "talk to your doctor" non-advice advice out there. I did a search about alcohol and Prozac a few weeks ago after I had a blackout after about 4 glasses of wine over a 4 hour dinner party. I came up with only an ancient comment from someone on a message board who basically said, "yeah, until you know how your body reacts to it, you might have a few blackouts 'til you get the balance right."

But then, last weekend, I had another blackout. I didn't realize that I was drinking a lot, but apparently I was. I just did another search and came up with this comment. And apparently, I'm not alone in the feeling that, at first, you feel like everything is fine, and then WHAM. Things go south.

Look, I enjoy a glass of red wine now and then. I have checked out the AA scene, and I don't think it's for me. But these side-effects are CRAZY SCARY. I don't want to go down this path again. And if it turns out that "the drugs don't work"after all, I'm gonna call my doctor and see about getting off of it. It's weird. This is all coming to light for me at the same time.

Thank God I got through my major depression when I did, and was on some efficacious drugs. I worry that this will make people who are depressed re-think the medication option ALL OVER AGAIN. Which is a shame. Because I do believe the drugs work. With therapy. But they work. Who wants to live life depressed?! It sucks!

1 comment:

Sally Big Woods said...

By the way, all, I only found this Prozac on international news outlets. Not in my local newspaper (the Philadelphia Inquirer). Seems like these research findings have been hushed up in the States.