Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

Anti-Depression drug questions

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DanielMark:
Rick,

I've been in therapy with a psychiatrist for eons (by choice) and the type is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. What I deal with is anxiety and depression.  Two often related problems. I have tried many kinds of anti depressants and SSRIs but none worked for me at all. Maybe they would for you. I take instead a low dose sedative during the day as if and when I need it, and a higher dose at bedtime to help me sleep. It's one that won't interfere with my HIV meds of course.

Cognitive Therapy for Depression

"Psychological treatment of depression (psychotherapy) can assist the depressed individual in several ways. First, supportive counseling helps ease the pain of depression, and addresses the feelings of hopelessness that accompany depression.  Second, cognitive therapy changes the pessimistic ideas, unrealistic expectations, and overly critical self-evaluations that create depression and sustain it. Cognitive therapy helps the depressed person recognize which life problems are critical, and which are minor. It also helps him/her to develop positive life goals, and a more positive self-assessment. Third, problem solving therapy changes the areas of the person's life that are creating significant stress, and contributing to the depression. This may require behavioral therapy to develop better coping skills, or Interpersonal therapy, to assist in solving relationship problems."

On the more practical side, I have always found volunteering for a cause that interests me a good way to get out of my own skin (and out of isolation) for a few hours and out into the world again.

Daniel

redhotmuslbear:

--- Quote from: DanielMark on May 25, 2007, 06:18:00 AM ---
Cognitive Therapy for Depression

"Psychological treatment of depression (psychotherapy) can assist the depressed individual in several ways. First, supportive counseling helps ease the pain of depression, and addresses the feelings of hopelessness that accompany depression.  Second, cognitive therapy changes the pessimistic ideas, unrealistic expectations, and overly critical self-evaluations that create depression and sustain it. Cognitive therapy helps the depressed person recognize which life problems are critical, and which are minor. It also helps him/her to develop positive life goals, and a more positive self-assessment. Third, problem solving therapy changes the areas of the person's life that are creating significant stress, and contributing to the depression. This may require behavioral therapy to develop better coping skills, or Interpersonal therapy, to assist in solving relationship problems."
--- End quote ---


I am glad that Daniel posted the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy link and blurb, saving me the work!

I agree that CBT, in conjuction with as-needed medications, will help the majority of people co-diagnosed with HIV and depression.  CBT helps us to unlearn the irrational and erratic thinking which we have picked up from family, friends, and society regarding our illness, our sexuality, and our very being.  Instead of immediately jumping down a rabbit hole of despair when faced with a medical or emotional setback, one learns to take apart the issue and deal with chunks of it as big as one can bear--and to do so as proactively as possible.

Another therapy which I suggest to go along with CBT and to sustain one between clinical visits is developing a practice of mindfulness in the Buddhist tradition.  Before anyone lurches into an anti-religion rant, I'm not talking about a belief system at all, simply focusing on the here-and-now and how one inhabits one's body in the present.

Peace,
David

pozattitude:
Rick,

I've been fighting depression and anxiety since I tested +.  I didn't really associate my mood to depression for a long time.  I didn't cry a single tear when I found out my results and I haven't cried a single day since. 
I always looked at depression as being sad and I didn't "feel" sad; however, I didn't feel anything at all since that day.
I lost all my energy, I lost all my dreams.  I forgot what makes me tick.  For the last 10 years my life was home and work. 
I tried different drugs ( Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and others) but all they did was keep me numb.
I started Cymbalta about 12 weeks ago now and this seems to help.  No just my anxiety and depression but also helps with my neuropathy.
Recently I started to go out again, I joined different groups in my area and on the web.  I am getting involved in politics again, writing my senators, congressmen.  I am working with he community to bring awareness about HIV/AIDS.  I am feeling somewhat like myself again.
I stop taking Marinol and other pharmaceutical drugs that I took to fight the side effects of my HAART therapy and began treating myself naturally with cannabis. ( i am lucky to live in California).  I have energy again, I can control my nausea and appetite 100% and no more pain on my fingers and foot from the neuropathy.
I also found very helpful to talk to other people who can relate to my situation.  Knowing I am not alone made a big difference.
Hope you find what works for you.   I wish it hadn't taken me so long to finally deal with my depression, I wasted so much time!

Iamrick:
Hey Ya'll,
   Well the dr's office called this morning and said the building was flooded last night and there was no electricity, so they will call me next week to reschedule.
OK, another week will pass!! :( Honestly that's OK, I will make it another week.
You've all given me some good information. It has been very helpful. I've talked with a couple of friends as well and they offered to help get me out of the house more often. Most of my friends live at least an hour away and its just hard to see them with gas prices like they are. Hell, I have not even got to see or hold my first grandchild yet. I am going with my mom and lil' sister to see him and my daughter in a couple of weeks. I'm excited about that!! I just met my daughter a couple of years ago for the first time. Her mother and I had an arrangement to (don't laugh here people ;) ) teach me HOW TO HAVE SEX. I was 22 and basically a virgin. Well, the teacher was great she taught me how to please another very well or so I'm told anyways!!!  ;) Well she got pregnant and I couldn't deal with that(i had very strict parents i never told them) so i gave up my rights to her. Her mom only kept her for a couple of years when she allowed a member of her family to adopt her. I knew i was gay and so in the closet, into drugs, totally living a lie to my family and friends. As it turned out her mom decided she was lesbian as well and had just as many issues as i did. So I didn't hear much more about her for the next 15 years. Well one day I meet her mom again and got updated on her and found out my daughter knew about me and wanted to start communicating so she wrote me a letter telling all about herself, it was so cool. Well I lost track of her mother again so no more letters. August two years ago, I was about to give my company cellphone back to my boss, I was quitting the job and ten minutes before I got to the office the phone rang and it was my daughter. I could not believe it, come to find out her mom had died and she had been trying to find me ever since. Fortunately, I had talked to some old friends earlier in the year and they had my work #. The really cool thing was that I had just had a Tarot reading days before that and was told she was coming back into my life very soon!! There's so much more to this universe than any of us know. I went way off another direction there, sorry! I guess what I'm trying to say is I don't want this depression to enter fear with my life anymore, I've got so much more to live for. I do have good days, which by the way today's one of them !! ;) I just have to stay strong and be patient with myself. Thanks Everybody!!

SirPrize:
One alternative to the SSRI-type antidepressants is a medication named Remeron (mirtazapine is the generic).  I had taken the SSRI's for years and found that they had simply stopped working or the side effects were unbearable.

Many people diagnosed with HIV deal with depression and anxiety but it can be manageable with therapy, support, and medications.  Remeron begins with the lowest dose of 15mgs which is taken at night before bedtime.  I found that amount to be too strong because of the somnolent effects of the drug during the next day.  To solve this problem, I cut the dosage in half and it was much more tolerable.  It helps me to sleep through the night as well as "lifts the spirit" so to speak.  One of the negative side effects (unless you are dealing with weight loss issues) is that it can make you ravenous so you really have to monitor the calorie intake.  I hope things will turn around for you soon.

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