Posted by: Melanie | 2006/07/17


Hi Doc! Hope you are well. I wonder if you can help me with something please. I have been on and off anti-depressants since I was 17 years old. I am now 29. I have been on Prozac (which I had to stop as I kept falling asleep), Nuzak, Cilift and recently, Zoloft. I recently weaned myself off the Zoloft as I was unable to afford the cash price for it at the time(as my medical aid savings have run out) over a period of two months, following the instructions as per my G.P. I have been off the Zoloft for 1 1/5 months now. However, the last two weeks have been terrible. I am constantly weeping and depressed. My husband told me I have become difficult to live with because of my mood swings. I would like to go back onto the anti-depressants as I wasn't like this when I was on them. Is that a good idea? Lastly, I was diagnosed as having Major Depression when I was 17 (after a suicide attempt) as a result of a chemical imbalance (the diagnosis), but I have never been tested for this. Is there a test one can take to clarify once and for all if it is chemical or my environment? Thanks so much for your time in responding to this :-)

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Our expert says:
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Hi Melanie,
Well, getting along, anyway. Nuzak is identical toprozac ( same chemical ).Check with your pharmacist for the latest news on generic ( chemically identical but cheaper ) versions of the major antidepressants. Like Cilift is the cheaper version of Cipramil. There may be a generic of Zoloft available by now. There is no test specifically for the "chemical imbalance" underlying Depression --- the chemical imbalance can be inferred from the symotoms and the response to treatment. The chemical issue involved such minute quantities of the relevant chemicals within the brain ( which we can't sample directly, without brain surgery !). And Depressions respond well to treatment, by antidepressant and CBT counselling, whether they arise spontaneously, of in relation to factors in the environment

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