Up, Up and Away: Lifting Depression By Tweaking Your Antidepressants

In my last post, I wrote about a recent downward turn in my mood. While not severe, it still sucked: low energy and motivation,  sadder more often than I’d like, and lack of joy in things that formerly made me happy.

If felt like I had one foot in gooey, hot asphalt. I keep trying to yank it out to no avail. Finally, I called my trusty psychiatrist. His name’s Chris.

We hadn’t seen each other for six months. Over the past ten years or so since he’s been my shrink, that was about normal because not much had changed in the past decade: we’d found a combination of two pills seven years ago that was effective in managing my depression.  Sure, there had been some ups and downs over that period of time. But nothing like the psychic hurricane that blew through my brain when I first experienced major depression years ago.

He suggested I stay with my two old friends: Cymbalta and Lamictal. But, he said that we could “tweak” my treatment by adding a low dose of Wellbutrin.  This drug, he said, worked differently than the other two by increasing the levels of dopamine in my brain (the stuff that is released when you feel pleasure).  While hesitant to take another pill, I went along for the ride.

In a few days, my sour mood began to lift. I felt more “up”.  had more energy and felt clear-headed. Awww, relief.

The takeaway is that antidepressants can work for a time and then go kaput. Or, they still work (as they did for me), but things could be better. Depression, my doc said, is often chronic.  It’s a lifelong gig.  We must be vigilant and manage it.  Part of this task is keeping an eye on the efficacy of our medications.  If you’ve had a long stretch of a downward spiral in mood think about visiting your psychiatrist to have him assess the situation. Maybe you need an adjustment in your meds, maybe you don’t.  But get the answers you need from an expert to make a good decision.

By Daniel T. Lukasik, Esq.

Further Reading:

Is an Add-On Medication Right for Your Depression

Do I Need an Add-On Drug to Enhance My Antidepressant?

Help! My Antidepressants Aren’t Working

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