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

Scared to death of considering antidepressants

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I need some encouragement out there. I am taking Atripla and know the depressive side effects possible with it. However, I have always been somewhat depressive and have all my life been able to handle it with usual healthy living, meditation, etc. etc.. But in the past six months I am feeling more and more demoralized and the old ways are not working. I tried talk therapy for 16 weeks and have good insight into the life issues that can depress me, but haven't been able to get out of funk. I think it is time to try an antidepressant. I am reading that Paxil might work well with Susitiva. I also have Obsessive Compulsive traits and social anxiety which Paxil also can help. I am just scared to death to start adding a new medication to my life. The Atripla is doing its job for the HIV and I don't want to play around with that. I feel like I am at the beginning of a possibly long hassled road of drug experimentation and really am resisting it. Any advice or experience about my going for the Paxil as a first attempt to help wth the mood and depression issues. My doctor tends to give me choices rather than take control and prescribe. So I'd like to go to him with some preparation and thought.

When I first started meds, I thought I was going out of my mind..

I was first put on
sustiva, which made me have crazy nightmares..

I would wake up and say to myself, was that a dream or did that really happen.

Anyway..I went to my psych..and she gave me Lexapro..Its not very strong, but it helped at that time..

Now 3 yrs later, I decided to take myself off the lexapro, so I did..

I am OK with the meds now, and feeling a bit more secure about myself..

My Doctor said to me.." This will not cure your problems, but it will keep the floor from
falling out underneath you...and it did ...

If you need an antidepressant, by all means, go for it..Theres no shame in being
depressed, and we with our medical status have every right to be depressed..

It may seem like a living hell right now, but you learn to live with it, and move on in

Hope that helps you some... :)

Andy Velez:
Wiser, I definitely respect your hesitancy to throw yet another chemical into the mix. We are after just a chemical mix ourselves so each additional one matters. Having said that, trying something temporarily when you need it can be helpful.

Your personal chemistry may make one better for you than another. For instance, Celexa is in chemically very similar to Lexapro. But one might work better for you than the other. You mentioned that your doctor tends to be less proactive than some. I suggest you tell him what your concerns are as simply as you can and ask him to give you options, including side effects. Then if you go with one you will want it carefully monitored for side effects emotionally as well as physically.

For instance, I was speaking with someone this morning who began an anti-depressant a few days ago. Today he said he was so "tired" that he couldn't get up. I suggested he call his prescribing doctor and discuss it. He might be overmedicated because there was no basis for his being so tired this morning. So it's a matter of getting something helpful in the right balance for you.

Keep us posted on how it's going.



I have tried Paxil before  It is even prescribed sometimes for people who are not depressed but have premature ejaculation. It has been around for a while now.I switch to another med but never had any major problems with Paxil.

I think when you find an antidepressant that works you will be very happy you tried it. Taking them doesn't mean you have to be on them the rest of your life.  I think sometimes when we are very depressed or anxious there is a tendency to think we can do this if we just read more self-help books, go to more support groups, exercise etc. Sometimes this works, but sometimes for those of us that are prone to depression, compulsive disorder or severe anxiety we need more. Why suffer when there is medication that can help? If Paxil doesn't work there are other medications that probably will.

I would consult my doctor again ask him which antidepressant he/she prefers to start you on. If you don't feel   comfortable with the doctor change to another one. If you can't change Physicians do research like you are doing now.Then make a decision. Be careful though. I have done lots and lots of research on a medication only to scare myself to death before even trying it. I'm sure you will find an antidepressant that will work. If you have tried everything else , self help books etc, don't continue to suffer, try an antidepressant. I hope you feel better  :)


Hey Wiser,

One thing that I would advise you to do is to see a psychopharmacologist if you can.  These are psychiatrists specializing in psychotropic medications.  If you find a good one, he or she will have far, far more experience in prescribing antidepressants than your GP or ID doc.  Since your doctor seems reticent about recommending drugs anyway, it's worth a try. 

To offer a little personal perspective, I spent more than two years trying different antidepressants before I found one that worked and didn't have unacceptable side-effects.  I was on Effexor, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, nortriptyline, desipramine, imipramine, and finally trazodone.  I've also been on Lexapro and Celexa.  So I've sampled the SSRIs and the tricyclics, while trying Wellbutrin and trazodone for good measure.  I don't mean to make light of it, but finding the right drug is a process.  It can be a total pain the ass, and there were times when I thought I'd strangle the psychopharamacologist, but in the end, it was well, well worth the effort.  I'm much happier now.  It just took some time to find the right balance.  Long story short, don't give up.  You'll be glad you didn't.



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