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Prozac patient with Depression

By May 7, 2009 - 3:55am
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Hello everyone!

I'm Cindy and this is my first time here. I suffer from anxiety and depression which runs in my family, particularly my mother's side.
I am 29 with 2 beautiful little kids. A year ago I suddenly had a spur of panic attacks and then it eventually ended in a full blown depressive episode. My world was coming to an end and I didn't understand why.
My doctor recommended Prozac 20mg and therapy. I have been doing both since then and have been doing very well until last week. I suddenly had another panic attack and have been feeling down ever since. It's not as bad as it was the first time around but I am really scared that I will slip into it again. I am starting to feel this hopelessness again and that my mood swings from feeling great one minute and miserable the next.

I still take my prozac 20 mg on a daily basis but was hoping that after a year I could wean myself off of it. Now, feeling so down again I am saddened to think that I might not be able to cope without the med and I am wondering why my prozac is starting to not help anymore?
Does the body get used to it to where you have to increase the dosage? (which I am trying to avoid).
I feel like a weak person right now. My mom has dealt with depression her whole life but has been able to fight this without medication. If she can do it, why can't I? Is it just a phase right now? Will it pass?
I still go to work and do my daily chores because I am trying to be strong right now.
I am seeing my therapist today. Thank god.
What else can I do for my serotonin level to rise?

Thanks for taking your time reading this. I would appreciate any advice.


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Hi, Cindy. I'm so glad you found EmpowHer. Let's see if we can help you find some answers to your questions.

First, while I know you know this, I'm going to emphasize this anyway -- depression and anxiety are conditions that signal that the chemicals in our brains are different in some way. Sometimes it's situational and it can pass relatively quickly. Sometimes it is chronic and it takes a long time -- if ever -- to get all the way through it. Some people manage quite well without medication, and others don't at all. We are all different when it comes to this and while we can take clues from how our parents handled things, that's about it.

Remember, half of your genetic code comes from your mother's side of the family, and the other half comes from your father's side. You are a different person than she is; it's possible you also inherited some tendencies from your father's side that you don't know about. In other words, your tendency toward depression and anxiety might be greater than hers, or you might be biologically different enough from her that you need the medicine to help you.

Either way, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing. You did nothing to bring it on, and you cannot feel badly about needing therapy or medicine to see it through.

Was there something that happened to set off your recent panic attack? Can you relate it to any specific event?

In answer to your questions, yes, sometimes the body does acclimate to a certain medicine or a certain level of medicine. Often we need to change the dosage or the medicine itself. This may be a temporary setback for you, after which you can return to the 20 mg or wean off it completely. I know you said you had an appointment with your therapist; is she or he also your prescribing doctor, or do you have a psychiatrist that you can discuss this with at your next appointment?

One of the best things you can do to get your serotonin level to rise and be more consistent is exercise. Are you able to get any regular exercise? I know with two small children, you get some just chasing them around! But sustained cardiovascular exercise -- walking on a treadmill or around the neighborhood, using an elliptical trainer, or riding a bike or an exercise bike -- for at least 25 minutes 3 or 4 times a week will do miracles for your seratonin levels. Some people swear by it and do it every day just to help their depression/anxiety (instead of just for their fitness).

Do you take any vitamins or natural supplements? The B vitamins and Fish Oil help us a lot when we are depressed or anxious.

Good carbohydrates -- whole grains, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables -- help us with our chemical levels. Lean proteins -- chicken, fish, soy and beans -- will help as well. Going to sleep at the same time each night and trying to get up at the same time each morning will help.

How are these things in your life? Are you able to do some or any of them with your small children around? Are there ways to incorporate exercise in your life?

Here's an article on food and serotonin levels:


Good for you, being strong and doing your chores. With depression, that's exactly what you have to do. You have to put one foot in front of the other even when you don't feel like it. I know, because I also suffer from depression. Sometimes I am productive and everything seems to be working; other times it is exactly the opposite. But it's not because I'm a weak person. It's because that's the nature of my particular depression. I am glad that your mom has been able to work through her depression without medicine, but I for one would never want to. I have made much more progress with my meds and therapy than I would have with therapy alone. Diabetics need insulin; I have needed SSRIs. It's just a fact.

Are these suggestions any help to you? Is there a specific part of it all that I can research further for you?

May 7, 2009 - 10:01am
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