This is the new anti depressant that is supposed to help me in the morning. I tried lots of psychotropic drugs, and I can tell from experience that patients need lots of patience and often have to try several meds until they find the one that works best for them. My experience is no exception in this regard. It’s all about try and error, and if you ask five people about a psychiatric drug all five take, you will probably hear five different stories.
My first contact with an anti depressant took place at my primary care physician’s office, when he very casually handed me a blister pack of Zoloft (Sertraline). I refused to take it. My advice to everybody else would be to take this kind of medication only under supervision of a qualified physician with lots of experience. Psychotropic drugs are no cough drops, they really change something in the brain. While taking them, blood levels and heart (ECG) have to be checked on a regular basis. So it is important to think about possible benefits and risks before you start taking them.
My next try was Opipramol. I didn’t like how it made me feel – like I was in a bubble, and I couldn’t reach out to the world around me. The anxiety attacks remained, so I stopped taking it.
During my first inpatient stay on the psychiatric ward in 2009, I started taking Sertraline. The first days were hard, I felt very uneasy and couldn’t sit still. But then, things improved: My anxiety attacks almost disappeared, and I enjoyed life again.
In winter 2012 it suddenly felt like the Sertraline stopped working. At the same time, the pain in my back increased. At my next inpatient stay on on the psychiatric ward I was put on Duloxetine for a short time, and then on Venlafaxine. Everything got better again.
After about one and a half year later, my liver enzymes were so elevated that our family doctor transferred me to the oncology unit. A liver biopsy showed that I had to discontinue the Venlafaxine. Since then, I never found a medication that helps so much with my mood again (Tianeptine, Escitralopram, Bupoprion…). I often had the feeling the medication stopped working after a short time, even when I upped the dose.
This shows psychotropic drugs are no panaceas. It is wrong to condemn them, I am very grateful for the many happy years they gave me, and I know many peole who feel the same. But they are no miracle cure, either.