Best antidepressant for you

Smiling man

Choosing the right antidepressant is tricky. You have many choices and may have heard that they all work the same. After all, the pills are targeting an inadequate amount of a chemical in the brain that transmits signals between neurons. It’s also known as serotonin.

A dozen antidepressants were tested in a new study: Celexa, Cymbalta, Efexor, Ixel, Luvox, Prozac, Seroxat, Remeron, Zyban, Cipralex, Zoloft and Edronax. The winners? Zoloft, developed by Pfizer Inc., and Cipralex, developed by Forest Laboratories in the U.S. and Danish drugmaker H. Lundbeck A/S in Europe, work best.

– By Charles Yoo

Which is your antidepressant? Does it work? How has it changed your life?

91 comments Add your comment

Charlie

February 2nd, 2009
2:56 pm

My wife used Paxil for 10 years and it has destroyed her adrenal gland and is wreaking havoc on her thyroid. She has lost 40 pounds, hair falling out, can’t sleep etc. And this is after being off it for 4 years. Breaking the addiction to this crap is worse than pain killers. To anyone even thinking of using these drugs, DON’T! Depression can be controlled through many natural holistic ways. Accupunture, herbs, tea, vitamins etc. And you don’t get the “side effect” of wanting to kill yourself like these SSR’s do. Go natural!!!!!! The FDA is lying to you. Antidepressents ARE NOT SAFE FOR ANYONE!

Brad

February 2nd, 2009
8:53 pm

Charlie, quit talking out of your rear end. Antidepressants work for millions of people with little to no side effects.

I used Remeron for a few weeks when first diagnosed with major depressive disorder. While it did help me gain back some of the weight I had lost (it does make you voraciously hungry at times), it didn’t do much for my depression. I was then switched to Prozac, and it worked wonders. Plus, Prozac gradually expels itself from your body, so it is easier to quit when therapy is no longer needed.

Rayna

February 2nd, 2009
9:09 pm

I’ve been on Lexapro for 6 months and started the process to wean myself off due to side effects. My doctor started me on it to help me sleep. Instead of helping, I’m actually sleeping less, I’ve gained 20 pounds in 6 months, my hair is falling out, and my mouth is always dry.

Mike D

February 2nd, 2009
9:18 pm

Vodka tonics until I don’t feel anything have always worked for me.

Tom

February 2nd, 2009
9:37 pm

Drugs have helped me in the past, but aerobic exercise, in particular long-distance bicycling, has always been the best way for me to deal with my depression. A 2-hour or longer ride will help me for 2-3 days, during the summer when I ride at least 1 hour a day, I’m doing great. Winter, I tend towards depression and weight gain.

Sally

February 2nd, 2009
9:58 pm

Charlie is right… Paxil is toxic!! I was on it for six months and I was going crazy! I laughed all the time for no reason, I was moody and I started drinking. When I stopped taking the pill the withdrawal was so bad that I have to be under a watchful eye because I wanted to kill myself. My head hurt a lot. It felt like I was going through shock therepy. It took me two months to get back to myself. I will never ever taking another pill for depression again. Now I just excercise,hang out with my friends and family and cry when needed. Pills don’t work for everyone so I won’t tell anyone not take them. I just won’t be taking them again…

CC

February 2nd, 2009
10:26 pm

to be effective you must decide if the drug is worth the side affects.

i believe that there are a lot of people who can benefit from the correct usage of the antidepressants; however, not everyone will respond the same way- so, thank goodness there are more than one option. i do not know what’s worse: knowing there is a drug out there that might help or living in the dark ages and being deprived of hope.

my suggestions… find a good doctor, who listens to you. this might prove to be more difficult than finding a pill but in the long run will serve you better.

best hopes to everyone looking for a solution or just for hope.

Keith

February 2nd, 2009
10:30 pm

No question. Regular sex, preferably with a partner.

Vince

February 2nd, 2009
10:39 pm

Just smoke some pot like Phelps. It’s all natural, and the pharmaceutical companies don’t get any money!

Antonio

February 2nd, 2009
10:41 pm

CC…good points, all drugs react differently to all types of people. not to mention, you’re depressed. addiction is when you start doing something that normally you would never do while not on drugs; if you’re depressed and can handle it, then find safe means to relieve stress and depression ( talking to friends or loved ones, exercise, hobbies,etc)

if you feel that you’re at the end of the road, then medication can be suitable if you know what you’re getting yourself into ( drug addiction, adverse moods and effects, sleeping all the time, etc)

i would change my perception, environment, or lifestyle before i would get involved in the corporate, and government legal drug trade.

Kat

February 3rd, 2009
12:06 am

I get the feeling that a lot of responders to this article have the last name of Cruise.

chief

February 3rd, 2009
12:31 am

Weed is the all-natural painkiller. There are so many reasons why it should be legal.

Karen Lei Provo

February 3rd, 2009
2:21 am

I have been suffering with major depression for 49 years. I have been on and off many of the medications over the years. For me, I have found only a couple of them that really work for me. Well actually three. I have experienced weight gain with the medications however they have helped me very much with my illness. I personally cannot get by without the medications, believe me I have tried. But that is me and I think everyone is different. I think it is hard, at least it was for me to find the right medication to do the trick. I have had a long struggle with the illness. I believe like others have mentioned, it is important to have a positive enviornment, interests, support of friends, good relationships, pets help me and lots of light (sun) helps tremendously I have found. Avoid stress, get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat a healthy diet and stay hydrated. Most of all, stay in close touch with our Higher Power!

Peachy

February 3rd, 2009
5:57 am

Zoloft saved my life and I have no side effects. Sometimes I quit taking it for a couple of months and have no withdrawal symptoms at all. I could not work without my Zoloft.

On the other hand, my daughter took Paxil, slept nearly 24/7, lost the HOPE grant because of it. I was 400 miles away and had no idea this was going on. She is off everything now and doing fine, thank goodness.

Someone mentioned Tom Cruise? What an idiot–genuine, 100% idiot.

Tom

February 3rd, 2009
7:02 am

you didn’t mention Wellbutrin or Zyban (generically known as bupropion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wellbutrin) which are norepinephrine and dopamine agents as opposed to serotonin. they work well for some people (myself among them) and don’t have the sexual side effects that SSRIs do (most of what the detractors above have said about them is BS/clueless idiocy but unfortunately this one is fairly common though not universal either).

Better

February 3rd, 2009
7:07 am

I suffer mild depression. I use St. Johns Wort twice per day. It keeps me off of that slippery slope that would make me crash before.

jm

February 3rd, 2009
7:30 am

I am on Cymbalata. Which has helped me tremendously! I had a major depressive event – also known as a nervous breakdown – about a yr ago. The side effects for me getting on this was nausea and drowsiness. So I take this at night so I can sleep and the nausea went away after a few days. The only thing is that when I haven’t taken it in a few days – I know bad patient – I get this “aura” around me. Kind of like a little dizzy spell. I would love to get off of this stuff but I won’t do it w/out a Dr. I suffer from S.A.D. and am just waiting for Spring to come around so that I can try that and get out in the sun and exercise. I personally think that Tom Cruise is an idiot. But…to each it’s own.

brolaw

February 3rd, 2009
7:36 am

All of these drugs are garbage. Have never taken any of them. Exercise is key, a good hobby helps too, like golf.

Michelle

February 3rd, 2009
7:50 am

All these people saying drugs are garbage have obviously never suffered enough to take medication. I exercise every day and nothing can compare to what medication has done for me. My doctor actually put me on Prozac for major PMS symptoms and it has been a miracle drug for me. I feel fantastic and I am always smiling – something that I have never experienced. It has made the world of difference in not only how I feel inside, but my marriage and my relationship with my children has just gotten better and better every day. I LOVE Prozac. It has literally saved my life!

CM

February 3rd, 2009
8:08 am

Just an FYI for you folks out there who think “exercise” or a good book is the answer to severe depression as a solution have obviously been blessed by NOT experiencing depression. It has been scientifically proven that depression is in fact a chemical imbalance in the brain. Sever depression is a chronic disorder and is no different then diabetes. If you do not take insulin as a diabetic you will get sick and eventually end up in the hospital if you do not take depression medication you end up in the hospital if you are fortunate enough to make it to the hospital. To many people end up dying too young because of have a “label” attached to them and they do not seek help! You would think living in the year 2009 that label would have gone away but due to the ignorance of society it has not. Before you pass judgment on someone who is in fact suffering from depression DO YOUR HOMEWORK you might just save a life instead of pushing that person closer to the edge! AS an FYI I have suffered from depression for many years and there are many safe drugs available. It is in fact trial and error however it does make your quality of life so much better.

Cindy

February 3rd, 2009
8:29 am

A good long walk with the dogs does it for me. Watching those tails wag, and seeing how excited they are just to get outside. Exercise is the best cure for depression.

I don’t buy the depression crap. You choose how you feel each and every day.

I work with people who choose to be depressed. They choose to be nasty and hateful to those around them. I don’t know how anyone can live like that. There is so much to be thankful and grateful for. Just walk outside. Look at what you HAVE, not what you don’t have. Don’t worry about what others have that you don’t, just be thankful you wake up every day and have a chance to start fresh……..

Steve

February 3rd, 2009
8:33 am

I like all the comments from people that don’t have depression and have absolutely no idea what their talking about, but are more than willing to act like Tom Cruise and some wacked out scientologist who declare nobody needs anti-depressants. The great suggestions are to drink yourself to sleep or “just smoke pot”. How pathetic. While exercise helps and a good diet, it’s imperative I take an anti-depressant and it can sometimes take years to find the right “coctail” that works for you and that’s not even getting into the milligram of the particular drug or the frequency. Every body is different and every drug may effect each individual differently. There are horror stories for every drug and wonderful sucess stories for the same drug. Most people want to have this miracle drug that will take away all of their problems. It’s the same as going on a diet. You may need to take a “pill” to help lose the weight but that in and of itself is the not all you will need to do. You’ll need to exercise, sleep right, figure out the frequency of your meals and how much of it depending on your physical condition, etc. Nothing is ever as simple as it may appear to be. If your taking an anti-depressant and you don’t feel it’s working, then tell your doctor. That part of it is not that difficult. I guess I’ll just go down a bottle of Jim Beam and smoke a bunch of weed and I’ll be alright. Stay classy all you drinkers and pot heads.

Mary

February 3rd, 2009
8:46 am

I agree with others about staying away from Paxil – the major problems with it are well-documented. My doctor put me on in back in ‘04 for anxiety and mild depression. While the drug worked ok while I was on it, getting off of it was a NIGHTMARE – constant nausea, head “zings”… I was sick for months. I’m not on anything and would be hesitant to try any anti-depressants after that. Right now yoga helps.

sd

February 3rd, 2009
8:49 am

I know that many people have genuine chemical imbalances in their minds and that drugs do help.

However, I think that many, perhaps even the majority, of people suffering depression are depressed simply because they are trying to fit where they don’t belong. They are trying to live in cubicle farms and little apartments and row houses, spending hours in traffic, worrying over Christmas gifts, popularity, and climbing a corporate ladder. These people were not born to do this. They should be working manual labor, outside. They should not be trying to be something they aren’t. Its a hard pill to swallow when you first realize that your ideas are no more profound than anyone elses. You have been told by your parents and teachers that you were special from an early age, and when you find out that you are just another person trying to find happiness in life, it can be devestating. But eventually you can accept that you are free to do whatever you want for a living, you don’t need the things that you’ve been told you need.

Live simple, be happy.

sd

February 3rd, 2009
9:03 am

Steve,

I don’t understand why taking one drug, A pill, is any better than another drug. I am not saying that pills are bad, but it seems odd to think that if one takes a drug to deal with depression, than he is better than someone else who takes a drug to deal with depression, simply because one is legal and one is not.

hildymac

February 3rd, 2009
9:31 am

To all of you armchair psychiatrists out there… depression is a clinical state. Don’t believe me? Fine. Believe the psychology textbook I teach out of – read the mood disorder section:

http://bcs.worthpublishers.com/myers8e/content/cat_570/PDFs/Chapter%2016.pdf

And yes, while exercise, sunlight, and a positive outlook can snap you out of being down in the dumps, nothing like that can snap you out of being in a major depressive state. That is an issue with the seratonin in your brain being re-uptaken faster than it can be absorbed by it’s receptors, causing depression.

If it weren’t a clinical psychological disorder, it wouldn’t be in the DSM-IV. It’s a shame stupidity isn’t in there too.

inBallGround

February 3rd, 2009
9:32 am

Best anti-depressant ? — prayer and reading scripture.
Doest it work ? yes it does, very well might I add.
Has it changed my life ? — yes and for the better, thanks to the grace of God.

Pamela

February 3rd, 2009
9:33 am

Government legal drug trade…..NO THANKS!!!!….My body, my decision….LOVE MY DEALER!!!!!….Side effects-NONE!!!!!..

Reg

February 3rd, 2009
9:34 am

Prayer and exercise. I tell Jesus my problems and get moving. It has worked for almost 50 years.

sharon

February 3rd, 2009
9:38 am

Cindy an sd, one does not choose to be depressed. It’s not all in the mind. It does not occur because “you’re hateful and mean” or “trying to live in cubicle farms”. I do not suffer from depression but I know of people who do. Trust me, there is no reaching these people when they feel dispair. It is a very real illness. No one wakes up in the morning and say “I’m going to be sad today”. There are chemical imbalances going on. When a person loses their job and decides to kill the whole family nine times out of ten it is linked to some MAJOR FORM OF DEPRESSION. Please do some research and until then please have some compassion and thank God that you are mentally fit.

Kristy

February 3rd, 2009
9:49 am

***CINDY*** You sound like a major b*^%h. Have you not ever heard of Bipolar II Disorder? Believe it or not it is a legitimate disorder that contains long bouts of severe depression. You should not make fun of other peoples illness’. I work in the psychology field and your nasty comments say LOADS about you. I would love to clue you in them but you probably could not afford my hourly rate..

Cindy

February 3rd, 2009
9:49 am

I’m sorry, I have NO compassion for someone who “chooses” to be depressed. I work with such a person and he just can’t find happiness at all, because he CHOOSES to wallow in self pity. I don’t buy that mental illness crap at all.

You decide each and every morning if its going to be a good day or a bad day. Power of positive thinking.

Rhonda

February 3rd, 2009
9:52 am

I use Wellbutrin and it works pretty well. There are side effects such as dry mouth and weight gain. I attempted to come off of it and each time I gained about 6 lbs; normally lose about 3 lbs once I get back on the drug. This drug has helped me tremendously with my mood swings and paranoid behavior. It helps me to calm down and put things in perspective. The only thing I do not like about the drug is trying to gaining the weight. I exercise everyday; normally running for a total of 5 miles per day and I go to the gym for weight training. The exercise does not alleviate the anxiety, but Wellbutrin helps a lot. For those who criticize others about depression, you are totally clueless. Try being a female, and working in a man’s world. I have friends that take some type of drug and they need the help as well. I have other friends that do not take any type of antidepressant because they are just too good for them or they have tried the wrong type and the side effects are bad for them. These friends are throwing objects, distrusting everyone, and talking about how they are not loved. They definitely need to visit a doctor soon. Life for them could be so much better.

hildymac

February 3rd, 2009
9:55 am

Cindy, I guess you didn’t bother to read the post where I cited professional studies that state that depression is a clinical psychological disorder. The power of positive thought can’t control neurotransmitters. Go read Lewinsohn’s studies on depression and go look at PET scans of people with depression and then tell me it’s all about the power of positive thought. Yes, the Social‐Cognitive Perspective impacts depression, but depression is caused by NEUROTRANSMITTERS.

shaggy

February 3rd, 2009
10:12 am

Cindy,

You hit the nail squarely on the head. To you depressed, heavily addicted/medicated individuals: Quit whining and look around you. If you can’t find any beauty in life, maybe you should check out. Life is not pretty all of the time, and those times take a little courage and toughness. Exercise just for the sake of moving something is not the answer. Challenging your mind and body together will set you free, make you feel truly alive. Go and do something. Get off of the couch, out of the house, and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
No, I am not a scientologist and think them to be weak minded as well. Anyone that believes in Zenu, like they do, are just idiots, who might as well believe Lord of the Rings is true.

Wanda

February 3rd, 2009
10:15 am

I was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 and again in 2007. I have been on antidepressant since 2000. I do exercise and I also have a strong faith in God. Until you walk in my shoes or someone else that has a chemical inbalance you don’t even need to be commenting.

G Natural

February 3rd, 2009
10:17 am

Cannibis + music = instant “state” change! Natural, and one of the oldest known anti-depressants!

cyoo

February 3rd, 2009
10:18 am

Folks, I know this is an open forum, and we’re discussing an interesting topic here. But, please be mindful and a bit courteous. Comments like “Maybe you should check out” is not helping. Thanks.

Denise

February 3rd, 2009
10:20 am

Some of these responses really make me angry. The reason is that some folks assume that people who are depressed choose it (why would anyone choose depression?) and that positive thoughts, exercise, and diet can cure it all. Sure, maybe some people will be “healed” with these 3 and other suggestions, but a lot of us won’t. I am currently taking Wellbutrin and Lamictal (mood stabilizer – I have bipolar disorder) and I have a very, very good, successful and full life. I probably wouldn’t if I had refused medication. Regardless of how you personally feel about depression, be careful of giving the “get over it” kind of advice to people who want nothing more than an excuse not to get treatment. Also, ask yourself: would I tell a diabetic not to take insulin but just exercise? Would I tell a cancer patient not to take chemo because all he/she needs to do is exercise? If you wouldn’t say that to folks with physical illnesses, then don’t say that to people who have mental illnesses.

Lynnette

February 3rd, 2009
10:28 am

I was always a happy, positive person…still am, for the most part. However, after a major life storm (divorce after 30+ years of marriage, loss of friends, and upheaval from life as I knew it), I was an emotional, crying, sad wreck and couldn’t find my way back to the person I was before. I tried Cymbalta for a while but it wasn’t for me, and coming off of it was a nightmare. My head felt as if fireworks were going off all the time. At the urging of concerned friends and family, I finally tried a low dose of Zoloft and it has helped me feel more positive about my life. I don’t plan to be on it forever. For those of you who have the attitude that “anyone who needs a pill to be happy is a weak person”, I just hope that if are faced with a life-altering tragedy that you just can’t get past, that there is someone willing to help you, even with a little pill for a little while.

KB

February 3rd, 2009
10:28 am

Cindy that was a horrible remark to make to someone who is suffering from depression, and there is a difference between self pity and depression. Shame on you. You have the compassion of an ant.

Ken

February 3rd, 2009
10:29 am

The ignorance expressed here is amazing. People still confuse depression with being in a bad mood. This is why thousands of Americans commit suicide each year and and others suffer and never seek help.

A little exercise, playing with the dogs, taking up a hobby and “talking to Jesus about it” are all great ideas. These things are not cures for depression.

sonny

February 3rd, 2009
10:30 am

Shaggy and Cindy almost make me laugh with their ignorant comments, until I realize how sad it is that they really have no clue what they’re talking about. Good luck practicing medicine without a license.

dkjones3

February 3rd, 2009
10:40 am

Shaggy, If you suffer from depression getting out of bed each morning is a task. Excerise is not possible. As for you comment about killing yourself, you must have not had a family member that has killed his self. The ones that actuall do it without any warning are the ones that are depressed and you do not know about it.

I take Wellbutrin use to take Lexapro but the side effects were bad. With Wellbutrin I dont have as many side effects. Also, I can excerise now and enjoy life.
My husband did not know I was taking any thing until I had been on it for over a year. When he did find out if I said anything to him about something he did not like it was “Have you taken you med. today”.
Being a mother of four and caring for a parent, plus having a full time job is hard.
My husband thinks I have been off my meds for six months now. What he does not know wont hurt him.

cyoo

February 3rd, 2009
10:46 am

Shaggy, thank you for your response. I’d like to clarify that this is our forum, everyone’s, actually. All I’m hoping is that we share our opinions with passion, but also with a bit of respect. Yes, Kristy’s name-calling is not considered an ideal example, to say the least. Thanks, everyone.

Lynn

February 3rd, 2009
10:58 am

Enter your comments here
Cindy and Shaggy – it is obvious you have no idea what you are talking about. in fact, Cindy, your co-worker is probably further depressed just having to work with you. Depression is a chemical imbalance that can be further affected by issues of spousal addiction, issues with elderly parents, issues raising teenage grandchildren, and issues from your past that add to all of the above – all coming at you all at once when your neurotransmitters are already out of sync. You are not feeling sorry for yourself! Trust me, you are just trying to deal with your everyday circumstances and not take that first drink after 17 years! I have been on depression medication for many years and have tried many of them – most without any success. I currently take 80mg of prozac and 300mg of welbutrin a day and lately that hasn’t been doing enough. There are side effects but so far they’ve outweighed suicide or homocide.
So, Cindy and Shaggy and all you other non-believers, until you’ve walked in depressed shoes, you don’t have a CLUE. Consider yourselves damn lucky.

sd

February 3rd, 2009
11:21 am

You can call me names if you’d like, but I do believe that SOME people choose to be depressed. Obviously, some people are actually mentally ill, but others choose it. Not on a conscious level like, “Ok, I am really going to be sad now”, but rather in their lifestyle choices.

Maybe someone is generally depressed because they have chosen to live a lifestyle that is not conducive to the actual person they are.

I know a guy who chose to be depressed and one day chose not to be. He had gone to an Ivy League School, and got a big time job on Wall Street. He was making millions of dollars within a few years in his career. Up late all the time working. The depression got so bad that he decided to take a month off of work for his health. He went to Montana and he never came back. He now takes tourists fly fishing and he makes a fraction of what he once made. But he is happy. Truly happy.

Thats not for everyone, and some people are truly unbalanced chemically. But many of you just need to quit your job, sell your house and car, move out of the city, and live a minimalist life away from all of this race.

I’ve been to tiny villages in Kenya where people struggle to get enough to eat and drink, but the people are happy. No one is depressed.

CM

February 3rd, 2009
11:38 am

Yes some people do choose the “WOO IS ME SYNDROME” However before you judge someone PLEASE remember there are three others judging you!!!!!!!!!!! I hope you never have to deal with depression OR ever have to deal with a loved one with depression!

rl

February 3rd, 2009
12:16 pm

I think we’ve all gotten a little off track, here. Isn’t this forum about which drugs work best for you, not is depression real? So, let’s assume depression is real and start discussing the drugs used to treat it. For those of you who don’t believe depression is real, start your own blog somewhere else.

shaggy

February 3rd, 2009
12:56 pm

sd,

Kudos to you. I am glad some people actually get it.

Life is tough, with no guarantees, Life is also short, too short to wander around in a paxil, prozac, etc… daze, a daze that addicts your mind just the same or more than heroin.
I can’t imagine an existence where I can’t feel, because a drug won’t let me. If I had to live like that, I would rather not exist.
I just pulled out my summer climbing pictures and kissed them, thanking my parents for giving me this life and the ability to experience beauty practically everywhere. I believe most everyone else can do the same if they will just open their eyes.