Why do antidepressants make you have suicidal thoughts?

Discussion in 'Non Sci-fi Debates' started by Lordarshyn, May 2, 2012.

  1. Lordarshyn

    Lordarshyn Peace among worlds.

    Well, long story short, we don't have medical marijuana in my state and it is literally the best thing i have used for my anxiety depression... i mean, honestly, the marijuan helps my anxiety, my chronic back pain and my depression...but I have to have clean urine for some of my jobs, so I have decided to take the legal medical route...

    My biggest issue was sleeping, so my Dr. had me on seroquil and i told him i refuse to ever take it again, so he put me on trazadone to help with the depression/anxiety and to help me sleep...anyways, i am definitely one of the people who got the "suicidal thoughts" side effect off of it...

    i was just wondering...why is is that people like me get the suicidal thoughts off of something that is supposed to HELP your depression?

    I know, i could google this, but my reasons for posting instead:
    Currently, I stopped taking the prescriptions, so I am 100% drug/prescription/alcohol free. Straight as an arrow..and as a result I am in pain and am also a stressed out anxious fucking wreck...so I also want to ask, has anyone else here had this experience? And what did you do to deal with it?

    This is a thread instead of a google search so others can also share their experiences.

    The frustrating part? If Ohio would just legalize medical marijuana, I'd be fucking fine. It's incredibly effective as medication! So one more question: anyone here prescribed to medical marijuana? And do you mind sharing what for, and how well it works for you?
  2. LoofahBoy

    LoofahBoy Maximum roadkill

    Speaking from personal experience here (as of, say, right now as I post this), I have found that at sufficiently high doses, my SSRI (Lexapro, 20mg daily) tends to cause episodes of sheer soul-crushing apathy at times.

    It's an excellent choice of an SSRI and has kept me stable and functioning well; no regrets. But as I increased the dosage over the years, the moments where I would normally have a panic/anxiety attack slowly became brief episodes of depression and then moments of utter apathy. Like nothing matters and it's all for naught. Hell, just today I noticed I was going through a rather nasty one. That being said, I find it's much easier to rationalize and handle apathy than the living hell that is a panic attack.

    I've never been genuinely suicidal, but I know what SSRIs have the potential to do so and I will not own a gun in my home to be on the safe side.
  3. DanTheVanMan

    DanTheVanMan Using Google-fu to bring sources to debates! Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    I suffered an unusual brain malfunction Fall 2010 to Summer 2011, I still don't know what happened and I don't have a diagnosis, never felt that way before or since.

    Wellabutrin XL sent me to hospital w/ active suicidal thoughts suddenly after 3 weeks. Citralopram for 6 months left me with a possible blood circulation problem (my feet turn deep purple when I sit/stand normally, VERY quickly).

    That said, given that something went life-threatening wrong with my brain, and thats what I fought with my doctors to try to diagnose and fix, I'd rather have tried SSRIs in a regulated dose than medical MJ trials given the difference between 2 decades of clinical use versus multiple decades of anecdotal use.

    Simple answer is that we are barely in our infancy when it comes to understanding the pharmacology in effecting the brain's neuro-transmitter levels, complicated by the fact that the are significant biological differences in how each person metabolizes the compounds.

    Star Trek or better we are not (yet), so Google up alternatives and talk to your doctor. I was lucky enough to be able to go off those meds and recover on my own, but I'm still glad they were there when I needed them.

    As to OP, I support legalization and clinical testing of all current street drugs for healing purposes, (Except compounds like Meth/industrial cleaning agents) - MDMA could potentially be to depression treatment what Asprin is to heart conditions.
  4. Lord Squishy

    Lord Squishy Shadow Cabal Member

    If I had to take a wild guess- and it is a wild guess- most depression comes with an inability to act or form the thoughts predicate to action along with unhappiness. Anti-depressants more quickly lift the inability to act and form thoughts; they don't so much 'make you happy'.

    The result is you end up unhappy and able to do something about it.
  5. Basically that as you rise out of depression the first thing that happens is you get a little bit of motivation back.Medication works its just finding the
    right combination.
  6. Fell

    Fell The Fattest Santa Temp Banned

    I have no real authority to say this: But I imagine it is nothing so complicated as people think. It's just that what we view as very specific, complicated actions are often determined purely by brain and blood chemistry. Anti depressants alter these, and can create very specific impulses, specifically toward suicide.

    The logical end of this is that we can eventually come up with drugs to make people do all sorts of interesting things. Personally I'm hoping for a diet pill that gives you a foot fetish.
  7. DanTheVanMan

    DanTheVanMan Using Google-fu to bring sources to debates! Super Awesome Happy Fun Time

    I'm sorry to say that you are incorrect, at least in my experience, anti-depressants act more to "zombiefy" you by boosting your neurotransmitter levels and allowing you to feel like the iron fist is crushing you less, but at the same time inducing an apathy to choosing a course of action. This is an overall beneficial action because you find it harder to do actions which are self-harmful in deed or conversations with others, which makes it easier to talk with health care professionals about setting up a support network to remove any negative triggers in your life as your body becomes more used to the higher transmitter levels.

    Note: Suicidal depression is like being a duct-tapped mummy in a car being driven by a drunk person headed towards a cliff - you don't know how to stop or escape the car and you are screaming with no one to hear you.

    If you have not personally dealt with depression - even if you had a close friend or family member who suffered from it - you lack the language to describe the horror that those of us who have traveled thorough that Canyon of Death that sufferers would not wish upon our worst enemy.

    I know of multiple people on this forum that have said they have dealt with depression in the past, so there is no lack of resources if anyone has specific questions. Just be aware that certain questions are the equivalent of asking a soldier how many people he's killed or what a guy's penis size is right after you've met him.
  8. Based on my understanding, as granted by Zoloft commercials, a lot of depression is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. If the drug you take doesn't fix the imbalance correctly, it makes your depression (or at least aspects of it) worse. I'm reasonably sure this is at least true for people without depression who take anti-depression medication.
  9. Fell

    Fell The Fattest Santa Temp Banned

    I've been on anti-depressants before. I didn't notice that they caused any changes myself, although my mom apparently didn't like what they did do to me. But, then, I don't think I was ever really depressed.

    I was miserable, but that's not the same as "Depressed." I think distinguishing between the two needs to be given more attention...
  10. back during my divorce my doc put me on some meds for a short time , he checked on me a lot because he said that when your depressed you have no will to hurt your self but when the meds 1st kick in you will feel drive again but still be depressed.
    He was right those 3 weeks were the closest I ever came to trying to off myself.
    after that was a lot better . stayed on meds about 6 months been good ever sense.

    yeah and miserable is not the same as depressed as fell said
  11. I'm on them (Lexapro and Wellbutrin) and I find them great. I do get a bit apathetic sometimes but I prefer that over depressed. So instead of feeling sad I just think, "Meh, fuck them." I'm not sure the side effect of being apathetic is from the drug itself. I think it's what I really feel about certain things.

    I've been on them for years now and I really find that they help.

    As for the suicide thing, the dosages for people are never the same, that's why you should always be under doctor supervision and remain in contact with the doctor on the side effects. They say it takes a couple weeks to a month to feel the effects but I felt them within a few days. If you don't have enough an often side effect is that you get angry or irritated very easily. I remember when my Mom started Prozac she had to leave work and go to the doctor because she said, "All I wanted to do was find a gun, blow their heads off, and see the blood spurting!" She took a bit more and was fine.

    And what Squishy said was KIND of correct. It gives you enough motivation and energy (not the right word but close) to do things. Problem is if the dosage is wrong those things might also include offing yourself.
  12. Grimn

    Grimn Yaddayaddaland

    I've been on two different anti-depressant, and at least one had "suicidal thoughts" or something like it listed as a possible side effect. It was weirdly amusing.
  13. This is the answer I have always heard. You get the will to act back faster than the depression goes away.
  14. Preda

    Preda The Great Chained Wonder

    This is precisely what they told us in the Pharmacology courses at school. The patient needs to be carefully monitored in the first weeks of treatment, lest they kill themselves.
  15. Squishy actually nailed part of it (And yes, I am on Lexapro myself for depression). But it's also noted by Fell. You're messing with brain chemistry. One possibly side effect of messing with brain chemistry is suicidal thoughts.
  16. Preda

    Preda The Great Chained Wonder

    It reeealy doesn't work like that. Take it from someone who knows, pharmacology is not fumbling in the dark (and this was actually rather surprising to learn in and of itself). Antidepressants regulate ejection of, receptor sensibility to and reabsorbtion of neurotransmitters in certain types of synapses in the brain. They don't re-wire anything, and don't give rise to new impulses that were not there before.
  17. They don't truly increase suicidal thoughts, they sort of increase how much you are likely to think about actually doing active things at all. And that parts kicks in significantly sooner than the depression noticeably going away.

    Like imagine that you have one of those brittle bone diseases, then imagine they have a drug that significantly helps with strengthening you bones but it takes weeks to actually start increasing bone density. But the drug has an immediate side effect of making you hyperactive and want to run around everywhere, obviously there are going to broken bones as a side effect.
  18. You are asking a question to which medical science has no answer to right now AFAIK.

    EDIT: Here is one theory on how anti-depressants may increase suicides (rather than increase suicidal thoughts): if person is depressed and has suicidal thoughts already, he/she may not have the "energy"/be to apathetic from depression to act on them (one of the symptoms of clinical depression - the depression is so deep it effects your daily activity and you may be lethargic & not feel like doing ANYTHING, including ending your life). The anti-depressants than may give that person a "boost" of energy they need to act on their thoughts.

    Have you tried a different type of anti-depressant or painkiller?
  19. Sacrebleu! Fell says something that I can actually agree with and support :eek:!
  20. Dude, I'm on anti-depressants and I majored in psychology. A LOT of psycho-pharmacology IS fumbling in the dark. Largely because meds affect individuals differently. I'm not making this up, I'm speaking from years of experience both personal, and scholastic. I never said they reqire things. But one of the possible side effects of messing with certain chemicals in the brain CAN cause an increase in self-harming behaviors/thoughts because they can increase feelings of hopelessness.
  21. Preda

    Preda The Great Chained Wonder

    Trying really hard not to go there... please appreciate it.

    Which "chemicals", exactly? Dopamine? Serotonin? GABA? Acetylcholine? Substance P? Glutamate?

    And precisely what constitutes "messing"? Lowering receptor reaction? Blocking said receptors entirely? Reducing receptors in their number? Altering the rate at which these neurotransmitters are re-absorbed back into the pre-synaptic neuroplasm after the job is done (re-uptake inhibition in other words)?

    For instance, the mechanism for good ol'-fashioned tricyclic antidepressants is based on the inhibition of re-uptake of catecholamines. It works wonders for most cases of actual, organic depression. Serotonin simply accumulates in the synaptic space.
  22. ACOG

    ACOG Soon to be Science Hero

    Don't medicate, well other than allergies now, but I found religion helps, so do friends, and adopting a present attitude- that is elevating don't sweat the small stuff to if I can't effect don't worry.
    It does notably help.
    And really friends, even if they are online, and something to be responsible forward-requires being empathic.
    As for the pain- no idea the only pain med I had that did not fail during surgery was general for impacted wisdom(upside downside left side right side none of those were in the right place and my jaw has deep holes in the side) though perhaps stretching?? (What the no shoulder shrug! I thought this was going to happen!)
    It would help to know what the exact problem is, chronic back pain is somewhat vague (I was used as a landing pad by a jumper and one specific position causes excruciating pain. It is very close to the same as bending over to touch toes.)
  23. Rye

    Rye Todos Somos Humanos

    From what I recall regarding SSRIs (I'm on citalopram); the exact causal link between serotonin and depression (and in this case, specifically, suicidal thoughts) is not precisely understood, but it is understood well enough to have a general set of treatments to try out on individual patients with trends that broadly work. The side effects of too much or too little SSRIs can cause suicidal thoughts, and dosage can vary massively between patients, so what Mobi says is true.
  24. Why would you ask for the "precise" meaning of a generalized statements. Do you normally get that pedantic?

    And it's really used anymore because of side-effects. SNRI's have a really high incidence of unpleasant side effects that newer SSRI's don't.

    I'm still wondering what you're actually disagreeing with since all I said was:

    Would you be happier if I said:

    Due to the individual nature of neuro-chemistry it's not often known what the side effects of altering the chemistry is, and as a result sometimes the alteration of seratonin or dopamine in the brain can lead to increased thoughts of self-harm and/or suicidal ideations in individuals who've experienced moderate to severe clinical depression and/or prior thoughts of self-harm/suicide.

    ie. Messing with brain chemistry can cause suicidal thoughts.​