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Author Topic: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression  (Read 4007 times)

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Offline cjmchgo

  • Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Dx 1992
HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« on: February 06, 2012, 12:45:13 PM »
Hey, So I've been going through a serious bout of depression and anxiety for about 6 weeks. It all started when I took my Atripla (which I had been on for a little over 3 years with minor problems) one night and then had a bowl of fatty cereal and then decided to stay up awhile and play online. A couple hours later I got up and the room was spinning and I was a total mess. It sent me into a panic attack like I've never experienced before. I was up most of the night just feeling miserable and scared. The next night I took my meds and even before taken them I was having a bunch of anxiety worrying that it was going to happen again. I mean, I've been taking Atripla for 3 years and have eaten when I knew I shouldn't have and felt that Atripla rush and just went to bed and when I woke up in the morning it was gone, no biggie.
For the next week after that I was panicking every night and couldnít sleep so I would feel all the weirdness from Atripla during the middle of the night until finally I thought I couldnít take it anymore and asked my doctor to switch me to Isentress/Truvada because I had heard so many good things about this combo. So I started my new meds about 5 weeks ago and I am even more depressed/anxious than before. Iím convinced the new meds are making my depression and anxiety worse and not sure what to do. I have talked to my doctor and therapist who both think the new regimen has nothing to do with making my depression worse and that I would be depressed even if I werenít on medication. Maybe this is all psychosomatic and Iím just phobic of medications and their side-effects but I canít stop obsessing about them and feeling as though they are making things worse. Has anyone else had a battle with depression and anxiety attacks around their medications? How did you deal with it? I keep trying to tell myself that If it werenít for the meds, I would die from AIDS but sometimes I think dying is better than dealing with this.
April/May, 1992: Infected at age 21
Aug 31, 1992: Tested positive
Sep 8, 1992 T-cells 977, 43%
1993-1998: T-cells 675-800
1999-2001: T-cells 500-600
2000-2004: T-cells 425-525 23% VL 500-2000
2005-2008: T-cells 275-375, 20%, VL 950-2500
December 2008: Started Atripla
Dec 2009: T-cells 637, 33%, VL UD
Dec 2010: T-cells 544, 35%, VL UD
Dec 2011: T-cells 596, 41%, VL UD
January 2, 2012 stopped Atripla (CNS issues)
January 4, 2012 started Isentress/Truvada
March 25, 2014 Still on I/T t-cells 673, VL undetectable

Offline TexasPOZ

  • Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2012, 04:56:05 AM »
I was put on Atripla and got extremely depressed and anxious. When I called my doctor, he told me that was not a side effect of Atripla. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore and I quit taking the Atripla, and the depression and anxiety went away. I found a different doctor after that who knew what she was talking about and told me I never should have been put on Atripla to begin with considering my history of depression and anxiety. My point is, some doctors don't get how troublesome side effects can be. And it really sucks when the meds are affecting your mental health. I think just about all meds can cause some people anxiety and depression. As to whether or not your depression and anxiety are caused by your HIV meds, I don't know. If I were you, I would research them on the internet and learn what the possible side effects are and what percentage of people suffer from them. Knowledge is a great thing, and remember if 3% of people suffer from a certain side effect, that means 97% of people don't. I try to think of myself in that 97% and that puts my mind at ease. If you still think that it's your HIV meds causing you to feel this way, then tell your doctor you want him to change them. You certainly have every right to decide what medication you are and are not going to put in your body. Also, if I were you, I would go get evaluated by a psychiatrist and find out if you need treatment for the depression and anxiety. Six weeks of depression is too long to suffer, and you may be helped by an antidepressant. You don't have to suffer; depression and anxiety are treatable illnesses. Just be aware that the medication takes a number of weeks before it starts to work. Be persistent and you'll find the help you need.

Offline BT65

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 10,056
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2012, 07:53:29 AM »
You do understand that obsessing and worry causes depression/anxiety to be worse, and it really probably has naught to do with the Truvada/Isentress.  I know when I am in a bout of depression I only make it worse by being stuck in it.  Does that make sense?

You've put yourself in the cycle of the depression/anxiety by continuing to worry that the meds are causing your symptoms.  You somehow need to move past this.  It all stems from the one night you ate the cereal and had a "freak out."  And you correctly correlated eating the fatty cereal along with the Atripla, as causing your bad experience.  So, look at it realistically and stop looking at it full of feelings of losing it.  You know what caused it, you decided to avoid that again by switching combos, so move past the obsessing.  There may be something else going on you need to sort out with your therapist. 

Sometimes we keep ourselves trapped in the desperate cycle of feeling bad by continuing to believe outside factors are causing it, and we feel the longer we associate with the outside factors, the more "stuck" we will stay.   If you continue to be depressed try to figure out what else may be going on causing the depression.  If it's your obsession, the only thing you can do is stop it.  Ask your therapist for ways to discontinue this continual worrying.   And you are correct-if you stop the meds, you will die.  And that, my friend, is no party.  Thinking dying is better than taking the meds is not realistic, not really.  Have you known anyone that has died from Aids related causes?  If you have, you know how horrible that situation is.  Talk to your therapist, and be truthful.  And then work on ways to stop this needless worry.
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2012, 04:24:18 PM »
cjmchgo-  I really felt the need to respond to your post because I have been EXACTLY where you are. My story is long and detailed but the abbreviated version is this: I took the same regimen for 4 years until last January when I started having panic attacks for no apparent reason, and I went on benzos to control the panic. I have since realized that it was the wrong move, and I (just like you) was looking at every possible outside cause for the issue, including a regimen I had taken for 4+ years with little no major problems. I have to agree with BT65 here about something: this is probably psychological and your body's way of trying to work something out. Only you know what that something is.

That being said, these meds are powerful drugs and do certainly have side effects that may be adding to your discomfort, but I strongly doubt it's the Truvada/Isentress by itself. Keep in mind that anytime you start taking new meds, there is a period of adjustment, and your body may just be in a heightened state of sensitivity because of how panic and anxiety can do a number on the Central Nervous System, so you may be experiencing stronger than normal reactions because of the chemical effects of stress and anxiety.

Therapy has helped me tremendously and will allow you to gain some inner peace when the physical symptoms are overwhelming and taking things one day at a time is crucial. Please just know you're not alone and I have thought the same things before about how the meds do more harm than good, but that's just not rational or true. HIV related illness and death is a much worse fate, my friend. Please hang in there and come here when you need support. Talk to a therapist and ask your doctor about going back to your old regimen if you're concerned.
Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2012, 07:26:32 AM »
cmjchgo- I wanted to touch base and provide you an update.

I started Complera on 4/22, and I was fine for the first 4 days, but the last 2 days I went into a state of panic and anxiety unlike anything I have felt in months. So believe me when I say I truly understand your dilemma with taking new HIV drugs.

I am now on the fence about whether I should continue forward or not with these drugs or go back to my old regimen. Obviously my nervous system is not liking the effects of these new ones, but just as I stated before, eventually the body does adjust to these effects and they usually dissipate over time.

But, I had such a bad panic attack yesterday that I honestly fear even taking this drug again. And round and round we go....

Just wanted you to know you're not alone, and I believe those of us who are more prone to anxiety and panic are really screwed when it comes to the HAART drugs because they all cause CNS issues. Not a single one that doesn't...it's just a matter of trying different drugs until you find the right one for you I guess. My old regimen wasn't a dream come true, but at least I have 4 years of history with it to know that my body adjusted to it and it didn't kill me.

Back to the drawing board....
Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

Offline joemutt

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,042
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2012, 08:51:55 AM »
wrong thread, sorry.
« Last Edit: April 28, 2012, 09:26:37 AM by joemutt »

Offline cjmchgo

  • Member
  • Posts: 38
  • Dx 1992
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2012, 11:02:35 PM »
Hey, Sorry It took me so long to respond... I haven't checked my account in forever. Sorry to hear about your anxiety Wylidas. I know it's been some time now but how are you doing?
WOW, we sound a lot alike with the anxiety issues. Over the past 6 weeks or so I've gotten much better. For me, I just had to keep myself busy all the time to get my mind off it and over time I just got better. I lost a lot of weight when I went through that bout and at certain points I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. BUT, Iím still here and the Isentress/Truvada treatment is working fine. I think time was the ultimate healer for me. I know Iím better because I have totally ditched the ativan and don't even think about them anymore.
If you need someone to chat with please let me know.
Craig
April/May, 1992: Infected at age 21
Aug 31, 1992: Tested positive
Sep 8, 1992 T-cells 977, 43%
1993-1998: T-cells 675-800
1999-2001: T-cells 500-600
2000-2004: T-cells 425-525 23% VL 500-2000
2005-2008: T-cells 275-375, 20%, VL 950-2500
December 2008: Started Atripla
Dec 2009: T-cells 637, 33%, VL UD
Dec 2010: T-cells 544, 35%, VL UD
Dec 2011: T-cells 596, 41%, VL UD
January 2, 2012 stopped Atripla (CNS issues)
January 4, 2012 started Isentress/Truvada
March 25, 2014 Still on I/T t-cells 673, VL undetectable

Offline wylidas

  • Member
  • Posts: 85
  • Trying to love this life, since it's all we got.
Re: HIV/Meds anxiety/depression
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2012, 06:32:57 PM »
CJM- I started Truvada/Isentress last night after being on a drug holiday for the last few months.

I am experiencing some discomfort today, and I feel that old familiar feeling of wanting to not stay with it, but I refuse to give up this time. I am gonna keep taking it, and if it means I am bed-ridden for a while til I can get through the worst then so be it.

I'd love to talk to you more about when and how the I+T combo started getting better for you. PS- I ditched Ativan 10 months ago too and had to go through the horror of benzo withdrawal and recovery. So I think we do indeed have a lot in common. PM me on here and let's talk more. :)

Diagnosed + in 2006.
Atripla in 2006 (Bad dreams, nervous system reaction after a few weeks. Discontinued.)
Epzicom/Reyataz/Norvir October 2007 - February 2012 (anxiety and elevated BP primary s/x)
UD VL <30
CD4 - fluctuates between 250 - 500 with 25%+
Discontinued meds in February 2012 (due to adherence issues after detoxing from Ativan)
March 2012 - CD4 296, VL 120
4/22/2012 - Started Complera
5/1/2012 - Discontinued Complera, began monitored drug holiday
7/3/2012 - VL 55,000; CD4 211 - started Bactrim
8/5/2012 - Began Truvada + Isentress

 


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