View Full Version : When Anti-Depressants don't work

05-02-13, 12:33 PM
I have add without much of the hyper. (I do think quickly, and I do speak quickly, but otherwise I'm pretty much the opposite of hyperactive).

I was diagnosed at 21, but the symptoms were there since at least 1st grade when they realized I was paying attention to everything else BUT what I was supposed to be paying attention to.

Anyway, for a long time the adhd meds helped out not just with my adhd but with my depression and anxiety. I actually think part of my depression is an anxiety response. I run into a road-block, experience anxiety, then say eff it and give up, feel bad about myself, become more useless, etc. Patterns dating all the way back.

Over the last 5 years, I've come to wonder if adderall was increasing my anxiety - I became more and more paranoid - worried that I was "crazy" or that I was ill. I would get into my anxiety hamster-wheel and just tear myself up with worry. I switched back to ritalin, and find that I'm less able to deal with people on it (more irritated, less able to be social). So now I'm on clonopin and I have xanax for emergencies, ritalin during the day and an adderall for the evenings.

But I'm still depressed.

Prozac makes me angry and kills my s-- drive.
Zoloft makes me incapable of performing simple math and kills my s-- drive.
I think I tried paxil, but don't remember much about it.
I was on cymbalta briefly, but my insurance wouldn't cover it. I never figured out if that would help.
I was on Effexor, and realized after about 6 months that I had amnesia - I forgot whole conversations. At first, I thought a person was lying to me, until I started getting reports from others about this. Also, I was even clumsier than usual - dropping and bumping into things inside stores.
The first time I took Wellbutrin, it was the basic non-extended kind. I would have these sort of crying fits out of the blue and act very irrationally.
The second time was recent - Welbutrin XL - and it changed my ability to spell, punctuate and use correct grammar.

So here's a question I was pondering: If my depression is not effectively treated with these antidepressants, does that mean I'm not the same kind of depressed? Is there something in the ADHD brain that creates a different kind of depression? Is there something else at play besides seratonin, norepinephrine and dopamine? Do the re-uptake inhibitors work differently on us?

I've considered maybe I'm bipolar 2 - I've even heard it stated that adhd commonly "becomes" bipolar 2. My psychiatrist suspects dysthymia - and it seems to fit. Whatever it is, I hardly ever feel alright. I spend most of my days going through the motions, carrying around a sort of emotional pain that sits between my throat and my stomach. This feeling has been there for 15 years for the most part. I am very very rarely anything close to happy - and really even when I am, the pain doesn't go away. I do have moods though - angry, irritated, "nothing matters," sad, tired. And I have tendencies to compulsively over-eat, over-internet and hoard/spend.

Maybe that's not depression? I'm really tired of feeling this way every day. Are there any other meds out there that have helped any of you? I wish there were a drug that took away emotional pain. I've even tried tylenol after recent reports showed it takes the edge off existential angst and feelings of social rejection. I can't say it doesn't help possibly a little, but I don't think it's a good long-term solution for my liver.

I'm wary of meds that are likely to change my blood sugar or cause me to gain weight. I'm already overweight and tend to have high triglycerides and I don't want to push myself over into diabetes land.

05-02-13, 12:50 PM
ADHD does not become BPII they are separate disorders. The class of antidepressants make a huge difference. There are SSRI's, SNRI's tricyclics. etc. Some people need both a mood stabilzer and an antidepressant. I take medication for bipolar but getting to where I am now was no easy thing.

Blanched Dubois
05-02-13, 12:58 PM
push thru to get a good dr to discuss ur concerns and search the forum if u can read

good luck

05-02-13, 01:03 PM
Well "(much!) easier said than done" would definitely apply to this post, but if it's the only thing that works (well it might not be, but maybe it is - maybe)...

Read the stuff in this post ( under the heading halfway down titled "2 - various unmet needs:". This stuff needs some work, right? Yeah I know, way, way, way, way, way more easily said than done, probably. Sorry.

2 - various unmet needs:

For the generic list of needs that humans have, go here (, and click on the categories of needs in the column on the left to get the list of needs within each category.

SSRIs and SNRIs will directly help with almost all of these things, since you'll worry less about them. But with a lot of them, like Do you feel like you have choices about what work you do, where you work and what you do? (, Are you struggling to meet unrealistic deadlines? (, Is your job or livelihood at risk? (, Can you pay your mortgage? (, will probably be made worse by SSRIs and SNRIs, since you'll worry less about them, and thus be more careless and complacent and put forth less effort.

For info about how Serotonin-increasing antidepressants work, this might interest you. A lot (if not the vast majority) of the times, they might make the depressing situation worse in the long run:

Sounds like your "don't give a ****ness" is turned up too high. SSRIs and SNRIs will do that. Read up on how SSRIs and SNRIs blunt emotions ( Note the first sentence in the video.

For examples of "don't give a ****ness" turned up too much, go here ( and go halfway down and read the case reports where people went on SSRIs and did things that were very out of character for them. Things that likely would not have happened had they not started the drugs, things like not caring about bouncing checks and getting speeding tickets, not cleaning up the the dog's poop in the basement, being indifferent to her son's diagnosis of testicular cancer, buying a Mercedes (which he'd always wanted, but resisted due to it being too expensive and a foolish thing to do), and a guy quitting his 9-5 and using his inheritance to "go for it" as a singer and then deciding to use the money to build a solar car, etc.

05-02-13, 01:47 PM
Good luck, Natalie. ;)

05-02-13, 01:59 PM
I went through a pretty long period of depression a few years ago, and subsequently discovered that I am basically allergic to all of the main ones. All of the ones that you listed, anyway. I managed to take them for a couple of years anyway, but when I realized that I still felt depressed, and I had gained a lot of weight, I just stopped.
In my opinion, and it just that, my opinion, anti-depressants are evil, and not just because I am allergic to them.

I am no doctor, but due to my own problems and that of my daughters, I have done a lot of research over the years on all sorts of psychological issues and medications, and from what you stated, I think you should probably find another doctor and get a second opinion. From what you describe, it doesn't sound like simple depression to me, and if it isn't, you should be aware that anti-depressants can, and probably will only make it worse.

I do wish you the very best of luck. Everyone deserves a chance to be happy. :)

05-02-13, 02:11 PM
Why don't you talk to your doc and get their opinion of your thoughts of bipolar 2? If they agree...a mood stabilizer like lamotrigine could be helpful. If you don't have bipolar, your doc might consider using it off-label for your depression anyways. The studies for it show efficacy in conjuction with other AD meds...but it is occasionally prescribed alone (your doc will have a very careful titration schedule as well). For 'most' -it is weight neutral. If all else fails and you have severe can ask your doc about ECT. Also Modafinil has been shown to improve mood in some patients -and is used 3rd or 4th line for ADHD. Just another consideration.
Hope you find your answer soon.

05-02-13, 03:03 PM
Good luck, Natalie. ;)

Ugg, sorry. Just realized that the winking smilie makes it looks like I may have been saying this in a really mean way (especially with what's in my post before it). Definitely wasn't what I was doing.

05-02-13, 03:27 PM
I didn't take it in a mean way, avjgirsijdhtjhs. :)

thanks y'all

05-03-13, 03:49 AM
For me anti-depressants work for a few weeks and then poop out. I've been on zoloft, effexor and am now taking cymbalta. I was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder II and have started taking lamotrigine. Phew, what a difference. I think, I might have found the ONE.

ADHD doesn't become BP II but the two have a lot of symptoms in common. Do you have any symptoms of BP II? You need to have had at least one hypomanic episode to be diagnosed with BP II.

Lamotrigine is also sometimes prescribed for treatment resistant depression.

For my mom, no anti depressant worked except for imipramine, which is a tricyclic. It makes her manic but it's the only anti depressant that has worked. But then I'm pretty sure that my mom is bipolar too.

I'd discuss this with your pdoc. There are still other options. Also, have you considered therapy? Exercise can work wonders as well though it's difficult to exercise when you are in the pits of depression (at least for me). Good luck. Hope you find something that works.