Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

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Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by suems on Wed May 11, 2011 12:01 pm

My counsellor is currently considering putting me on one of the SSRI's, but is also considering alternatives such as St Johns Wort.

Does anyone here have any experience with St Johns Wort as an anti-anxiety / anti-depression medication? I'd be quite keen on alternatives to medication, but do they work as well?

Another question - my short term memory is completely shot, and she said that this is often a sign of depression. I have been wondering if medication will help with this, since I have read that a scrambled memory is one of the side effects of SSRI's, not cured by them.

Should I press on with the alternatives (St Johns Wort doesn't seem to be doing much - how long before it takes effect?) or flag the naturals and go straight for the medication?

Any opinions?

suems

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by suems on Sat May 14, 2011 7:23 pm

I don't suppose I should have expected any response, being invisible and all, but here's another question.

Does anyone here take 5-HTP? It's a herbal alternative to SSRI, available in Health Food shops. According to stuff on the net, it looks like a viable alternative to SSRI, without the side effects.

I've started taking it, but I'm not sure if it will do me any good. Any opinions, pro or anti?

suems

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by Maisie on Sat May 14, 2011 7:42 pm

Hi Suems,

I didnt respond because I dont know anything about what youre asking. It sounds like youre researching it really well though, so that will put you in a good position to make good decisions about it all. Perhaps you could let us know how it goes with you?

The "I dont suppose I should have expected any response, being invisible and all..." nearly put me off replying. I find self-pity hard to take sometimes.

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by nzmum on Sun May 15, 2011 4:50 am

how long have you been on st johns wart?

like any medication, prescribed or alternitives, people react diffrently to them. what might work well for one person may not work for another. ive tried st johns wart and didnt find it much good but i have a friend who swears by it. so its a pretty individual thing i think. just be aware that st johns wart interacts with ALOT of other drugs, even antibiotics n such, things you sometimes wouldnt think of so make sure u check with a dr or pharmacy if you start taking anything else for wotever reason. i think its important to be aware that herbal stuff can be harmful sometimes and because theyre not aprroved medically you dont know all the possible side effects.

good luck.

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by Madworld on Sun May 15, 2011 7:38 am

I often wonder if short term memory loss is a symptom or a side effect of the "numb drugs". Have had really clear thoughts and memories when going through sudden withdrawal from venlafaxine.

I have tried St Johns Wort in the past and didn't find it that great except from making my patchy pale skin even more susceptible to the sun. I believe it takes quite a while to have an effect.
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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by DocLazy on Wed May 18, 2011 11:43 am

Fluoxetine actually improved my memory. I haven't really noticed any difference with the other drugs I have tried. My short term memory has always been bad though.

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by theworldsfastestsloth on Mon May 30, 2011 6:21 am

Hi Suems,

I have been off SSRI's for a while now, but do rely on St Johns Wort as an alternative for when I'm feeling down.

Recently going back into a rut, I have gone and discussed my options with my GP about going back onto meds. We have opted for a more balanced diet, vitamins and St Johns Wort, but may reconsider when I visit in a months time.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by suems on Mon May 30, 2011 6:41 am

Thanks for that. I am now on a combination of St Johns Wort and 5-HTP, which is working miracles. My counsellor recommended 5-HTP as an alternative to Prozac, it seems to be working well. I feel a lot more stable (and working on not being invisible) now, and I think my short term memory seems to be improving.

I don't know whether it's the St Johns Wort or the 5-HTP that's making the difference, and I'm not willing to drop one to find out! I am also taking Vitamin B, and Magnesium, so they could be helping too.

suems

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by Paddy on Mon May 30, 2011 9:41 am

suems

dang, itís a shame you feel invisible here, Ďcos I donít think its necessarily so. But anyhow.

I didnít have any answers to your questions, so like some others I didnít say anything.

This time, I still donít have any answers, so Iíll make this up as we go, ok? Here goes.

I have no personal experience of using St. Johns Wart. I hear and read that some folk find it helpful, others not so. And thatís pretty well how things go with many of the prescribed meds too. No one pill will suit us all any or part of the time. If you do stumble onto the right mix for you first time, donít let it go, be it St. Johns Wart or a prescription med.

Medsafe.govt.nz has a Consumer Information Notice about St. Johns Wart and some prescription meds Ė the link is http://www.medsafe.govt.nz/Consumers/leaflets/sjw.asp

Is your counsellor one who is able to prescribe? Wow, handy. Mine never were, so everything had to be repeated ad infinitum to doctors, whom I hoped were putting a lot of other factors about me and my particular circumstances, into consideration before pouncing on a pill pad. Sometimes, some did.

ĎCos I feel that the decision as to take or not and what to take or not, is a Ďwhole of lifeí decision not in the sense that one will definitely have to keep that choice for life, but that it impacts on each and every one of the 24 hours in our days in the immediately foreseeable future. And maybe on the lives of others around us as well.

All I know for sure is that I feel I Ďdo better overallí when Iím taking the anti-mad meds Iím prescribed and at around about the same time Iím supposed to, every day (nah, it doesnít quite work that well in practice yet, but I have hopes). Speaking of hope, I hope me calling my psych meds my anti-mad meds doesnít offend Ė it simply reduces them to being like the anti-inflammatory and the anti-pain and the anti-muscle spasms and then thereís the ooops, I need an anti-havenít had a crap for nine days and isnít the headache that gives, getting bad, pill, and whatever the others are. It kinda helps me normalize them, whatever Ďthemí may be. And I keep forgetting the name of the bloody stuff.

Does short term memory really exist or is an urban myth like multi-tasking is?

There, thatíll learn ya not to consider yourself invisible here, suems. Though I doubt I probably added much of quality to the debate after all that.

Take gentle care eh and I look forward to progress updates from you. So there! Very Happy

Paddy.
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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by suems on Mon May 30, 2011 10:12 am

Thanks for the comments, Paddy. No, my counsellor doesn't prescribe, but the referral she got from my GP said he was considering SSRI's and asked her opinion, so she suggested trying 5-HTP before accepting going onto meds. I buy it from the local Health Shop.
By short term memory, I mean I can't look at a phone number then dial it without looking between the paper and the phone 3 times. I can't hold a 7 digit number in my head long enough to dial it - and I used to be an accountant!
As for being invisible, I have been feeling ignored, un-noticed and taken for granted for a long time now. Last year I got to the "Nobody notices I'm here so I might as well not exist" stage - not a nice place to be. I am working with my new counsellor in trying to become solid, and making myself heard. I'm going away this weekend out of town all by myself - the first time I have done anything just for me in many years.
I'm not sure if the counselling is helping, or if it's the pills I'm taking, or just in my imagination, but it seems to be working so I'm not willing to stop!

suems

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by Maisie on Tue May 31, 2011 2:57 am

Its really great to read your post Suems. Im glad things are looking up for you, and Im glad youre working on making yourself heard too. Its fun going away on your own for a bit, especially if you havent had that for a while! I hope you find it grounding and refreshing.

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by tobycat on Sun Jun 05, 2011 11:42 am

Hi Suems. I'm looking at alternatives at the moment but will consider meds in the future if needed. My short term memory is just like yours (I don't think I'll ever remember my cell phone # lol). Hope all is going well for you.

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by littlestar8 on Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:02 am

hi suems i was just wondering do you take both st jons worts an 5-htp at the same time or one in morning one at night i asked at the shop i got my shtp about take st jhon worths as well and she had never herd of anyone doing this? at the meoment im just takeing one 5-htp pill at night only strted last night so not sure if its helping yet.
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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by suems on Wed Jun 08, 2011 6:27 pm

At the moment I'm taking St Johns Wort and vitamin B in the morning, and 5-HTP and magnesium at bedtime. I also drink "Be Happy" tea which contains St Johns Wort.
This combination, along with counselling sessions, has made a world of difference, but I'm not willing to find out which one is "doing the trick", so I'm keeping going with the whole lot for a while yet.
I had a lousy long weekend, which would have thrown me into a tailspin, but I was surprised how calm I felt through the whole thing, so I am convinced something is making a big difference.

suems

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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by littlestar8 on Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:14 am

okay thanks i tried a st johns wort's the morning and fish oil and will have the 5-htp tonight i haven't got vitamins or magnesium yet my conessler just suggested fish oil and st johns wort and 5htp so i will see how that goes for a while. hopefully will help cause ive got a bout 6 weeks and if things arnt improveing my consluer is going to recomend i go on med and im all ready oer eeryone wanting me to go on meds
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Re: Natural alternatives to SSRI's?

Post by tobycat on Fri Jun 17, 2011 10:25 am

I have been having vitamin b injections and they have made quite a difference (more energy and more level moodwise). The nurse at my Dr's administers them so not exactly natural but for me (so far) a good alternative to a full on medical regime. Just thought I'd mention it Smile

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