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Depression

Question
Posted by: Diana | 2018/08/08

Q.

Struggling with depression

I have been treated for Migraine by a neurosurgeon who after many years could not find the actual cause.  I've been using a combination of Venlor and Epilim for over ten years.  I had to stop using itDue to the side effects of excessive hair loss (amongst others like weight gain and very bad memory) I had to stop using the medication. I have now been completely off the medication for 12 weeks. It has been a very long/hard and terrifying thing to do. I am now starting to experience depression which I never had before and find that I cannot function properly, my mind is totally messed up. I am very happy to be of the medication which I realized was so bad for me physically. I do not ever want to use such meds again. The problem is that I cannot cope with everyday life and do not know where to go from here. I cry all the time and most days have no control over my emotions. I also do not sleep at night. I can't function in my workplace and even the smallest task like filing sends me into a complete panic. My mind does not function properly and I feel completely brain dead.

Expert's Reply

A.

Depression expert
- 2018/08/10

Hello Diana,
What a distressing experience. I've had migraine since childhood, though luckily I've never seen a neurosurgeon about it ! There are some odd variations of it, but classical Migraine is not usually hard to diagnose.  Earlier on there weren't many effective treatments, but for some years now there have been a range of specific drugs called Triptans, which are really helpful
Antidepressants can be of some use in migraine, and in other chronic pain problems, even if one isn't clinically depressed. Some doctors like Venlafaxine ( Venlor ) others are less enthusiastic about it : and it can cause headache in its own right.
Whatever has happened, it does sound as though you may have a significant Depression right now, and this ought to respond to proper treatment.  But you do need to be seen by a real, specialist Psychiatrist for a thorough re-assessment and a discussion of treatment options.  Anything like a complicated depression should be assessed by a psychiatrist rather than a GP or any other specialist other than a clinical psychologist. I understand that after these experience you may not be keen to try a different antidepressant,  but discuss this with the psychiatrist as there are many alternatives which may suit you better. 
But do also ask the shrink to refer you to a good local psychologist who can provide CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy ) a type of talking therapy which good research has shown to be at least as effective as antidepressant meds, and probably more so in situations where there are clear psychological issues involved.
Maybe, if you feel really strongly about your experience with some of these drugs, you might work the other way round, and start by seeing a good psychologist for the first assessment and discussion.

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