FAQ:  Antidepressants


One of the hardest things to do as a psychiatrist is to get patients to tell the truth. The absolute hardest thing to do is to get patients to ask the questions that they really find on their mind but are scared of asking.

Me, I do everything I can to break down the communication barriers that exist between me and my patients.

For one thing, I do not even own a doctor’s white coat.

One of the main principles of human relationships is something called “transference.”  If I ever stooped to wearing a white coat, I would remind my longsuffering patients of all the people wearing white coats who have given them surgical operations, injections, and other things they didn’t like, so they would not only be not too excited about seeing me, but also not in a hurry to tell me their problems.

As far as I can figure (from friends, the internet, and other unofficial sources) these are the questions that most people are thinking about but not asking.

First, let it be known that far and away the most often prescribed drugs in psychiatry are antidepressants, so I am answering these questions just for them.

1.  Is this stuff going to work for me?

Maybe yes, maybe no.  All it has to do to be available by prescription is do better than a “placebo” (“sugar pill”).  There is a “dose range” and “side effects” so it always takes at least a couple of visits, maybe even 5 or 6 weeks.
Of course, a thorough doctor (like me) checks your blood tests first to make sure there is not another illness causing the symptoms (like diabetes or thyroid problems).  Then, little or nothing happens.

Of course, if we are in the wonderful world of natural substances, we accept the existence of multiple causes for a single condition.  We can fine-tune the natural stuff, as well as finding other ways to fix the problem.  Does the patient need a new job, a different lifestyle, or a solution-focused therapy that might actually work???  We dive in.

2.  Is this going to change my personality and make me into a “zombie?”

Nope.  Your personality is the way you deal with the things that life hits you with.  Believe me, nobody knows how to change this with a pill.  As for “zombieness,” if you feel that it probably means you are taking too much of the offending antidepressant.

Of course, if a person chooses to work with me using natural substances, this is not a question because I have never seen it happen.

3. Will I be addicted to this medicine for the rest of my life?

Heck no.

There is nothing inherently addictive about the class of medications known as antidepressants.

When I first started training in psychiatry, they taught me the average depression lasts 8 or 10 months.

Then someone got some statistics that said once you have been depressed, as you get older, you may get depressed again.

Somehow this helped people have an excuse to leave people on antidepressants forever.  Lots of people get off antidepressants and I often help them.

Of course, on natural treatments, some people feel so wonderful taking them that they really do want to take them forever.

I have a feeling there are lots more questions people are afraid to ask.

Ask me.

I speak the truth.

That is why they call me the Renegade Doctor.

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