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Antidepressants and IQ?

by lewdawgdude
Tags: antidepressants
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genericusrnme
#19
Mar27-12, 08:44 AM
P: 615
I was on SSRIs for a few months, I noticed no difference at all.
I still feel as bipolar as I did before, after and during the treatment.
The knowledge that even the medication doesn't do anything sure doesn't help with the feelings of hopelessness -.-

To the OP, I'd say that if it's just anxiety you'd be better of with a benzodiazepine. As far as I know those deal with anxiety better than SSRIs (assuming it's not constant anxiety).
That being said, if you feel like me when I'm having a depressive episode you won't be able to study at all. So I guess you should consider it then.

Edit;
What I'm trying to say is that I don't really know since they did nothing for me
painterperson
#20
Mar27-12, 09:02 AM
P: 5
To be specific - the two antidepressants I have used are Prozac (which is an SSRI) and Effexor / Venlafaxine (which is an SNRI)

I stopped using Prozac mostly because it did not allow enough critical thinking. I was working at a design job at the time and I needed to be sharper.

I think that Effexor is better than Prozac for thinking critically - but if there are ways to reduce your anxiety without medication - that is all the better. Yoga, meditation, exercise, vitamin B12, etc. But sometimes people NEED medication and so that is that.

It is important to understand the tradeoffs - especially for people where high levels of critical thinking is an important part of their jobs. On the other hand - with antidepressants - there may be other job opportunities you would not have considered. Teaching and/or working more closely with other people, for instance.
Hobin
#21
Mar27-12, 09:09 AM
P: 194
Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
I was on SSRIs for a few months, I noticed no difference at all.
I still feel as bipolar as I did before, after and during the treatment.
The knowledge that even the medication doesn't do anything sure doesn't help with the feelings of hopelessness -.-
Do not yet despair! There are other SSRIs and even other classes of antidepressants, too, and you should probably talk to your doctor about them. I've done some research, and bipolar is well-known for being a rather hard-to-treat condition. It can often take some 'experimentation' (supervised by an experienced psychiatrist is obviously preferable) with medication to find a good match that works for you.

Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
To the OP, I'd say that if it's just anxiety you'd be better of with a benzodiazepine. As far as I know those deal with anxiety better than SSRIs (assuming it's not constant anxiety).
That being said, if you feel like me when I'm having a depressive episode you won't be able to study at all. So I guess you should consider it then.
SSRIs work reasonably well against anxiety for most people, and its advisable to use those first. Benzodiazepines are most effective, but they're best used only for short periods of time, because they're much more physically addictive. Benzos also have much more significant long-term side effects.

My advice: using benzodiazepines for only a short period of time is fine, but they should preferably only be used consistently if you've tried every other method (excluding a few of the more dangerous meds, of course).
painterperson
#22
Mar27-12, 09:17 AM
P: 5
And another thing - I know many people who are super-critical (such as certain family members) who would be Soooooo much better off with some kind of anti-depressant - but they will not consider taking them.

Some people who could benefit from them are able to function without them - but live rather miserable lives. They think it is more noble or something to suffer.

On the other hand, I have a daughter who really cannot function without them - I decided to try Effexor when I saw how much better she was with taking it. Plus I had gotten rather seriously depressed - so it made sense for me. I've been taking it for five years.
genericusrnme
#23
Mar27-12, 09:24 AM
P: 615
Quote Quote by Hobin View Post
Do not yet despair! There are other SSRIs and even other classes of antidepressants, too, and you should probably talk to your doctor about them. I've done some research, and bipolar is well-known for being a rather hard-to-treat condition. It can often take some 'experimentation' (supervised by an experienced psychiatrist is obviously preferable) with medication to find a good match that works for you.
I might have to do that then. Thing is, I only recently tried to see a doctor to get some help, I felt like I needed the help urgently - I still do - so I got an appointment with whoever I could, asap. I ended up getting a locum who told me, in more words, to 'buck myself up' or to start running (which I already do). So I don't know how it'd look if I tried to get an appoinement with my normal GP, which could probably take ~2 weeks this soon after..
I guess I'll wait a week or two.

Thanks for the heads up though, I just thought that all the SSRIs were pretty much the same and that they were the only normally prescribed medications, you've given me hope buddy!
Hobin
#24
Mar27-12, 09:28 AM
P: 194
Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
I might have to do that then. Thing is, I only recently tried to see a doctor to get some help, I felt like I needed the help urgently - I still do - so I got an appointment with whoever I could, asap. I ended up getting a locum who told me, in more words, to 'buck myself up' or to start running (which I already do). So I don't know how it'd look if I tried to get an appoinement with my normal GP, which could probably take ~2 weeks this soon after..
I guess I'll wait a week or two.
It sounds like your locum was an idiot, or at least a 'very uninformed person'. Go see your GP. He can probably tell you more, or point you to a psychiatrist. If that fails, you can always start looking for a good psychiatrist yourself. Also, to give you some advice I've been given as well: feel free to look around and see if you can find a psychiatrist you genuinely feel like talking to. You'll probably need to see him/her for changes to your medication now and then, and this works best if it's someone you can genuinely have a good conversation with.

Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
Thanks for the heads up though, I just thought that all the SSRIs were pretty much the same and that they were the only normally prescribed medications, you've given me hope buddy!
You're welcome.

EDIT: Ah, found it! This may also be useful. You don't need to read it all, but it's a good reference.
genericusrnme
#25
Mar27-12, 09:38 AM
P: 615
Quote Quote by Hobin View Post
It sounds like your locum was an idiot, or at least a 'very uninformed person'. Go see your GP. He can probably tell you more, or point you to a psychiatrist. If that fails, you can always start looking for a good psychiatrist yourself. Also, to give you some advice I've been given as well: feel free to look around and see if you can find a psychiatrist you genuinely feel like talking to. You'll probably need to see him/her for changes to your medication now and then, and this works best if it's someone you can genuinely have a good conversation with.
I at one point asked to be refered to someone and got refered to a 'psychiatric nurse' which really didn't go too well, they were the kind of person that, upon finding out you study physics, feels the need to tell you about how they could never do maths. Not to sound trumped up or anything but I really can't respect someone's advice if they genuinely struggled with highschool maths. So that didn't go too well and I called it off. Before that I was seeing someone else, I can't remember if it was another psychiatric nurse or a psychiatrist or what not but that also didn't go too well. I could talk to them but I can also talk to my wall which is what it felt like. Every reply from them was along the lines of 'and how does that make you feel'. Again, that didn't go to well either and I had to get the bus to see this person which really made me feel like I was wasting what little money I had.
I'm enthused by your responce, I'll make an appointment with my GP once I get back in from the shops.
Thank you very much Hobin
Hobin
#26
Mar27-12, 09:47 AM
P: 194
Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
I at one point asked to be refered to someone and got refered to a 'psychiatric nurse' which really didn't go too well, they were the kind of person that, upon finding out you study physics, feels the need to tell you about how they could never do maths. Not to sound trumped up or anything but I really can't respect someone's advice if they genuinely struggled with highschool maths. So that didn't go too well and I called it off.
Heh. You might want to try to work on that. Although I understand the feeling, it's not the rational thing to do (and I suspect you know this). You don't need to be good at math to become a good and capable doctor.

Quote Quote by genericusrnme View Post
Before that I was seeing someone else, I can't remember if it was another psychiatric nurse or a psychiatrist or what not but that also didn't go too well. I could talk to them but I can also talk to my wall which is what it felt like. Every reply from them was along the lines of 'and how does that make you feel'. Again, that didn't go to well either and I had to get the bus to see this person which really made me feel like I was wasting what little money I had.
This reminds me a bit of my own experiences with a psychologist. I, too, have seen my fair share of them. I suspect it might be a bipolar thing because of the constant changes in mood, which cause periods where I think I have it all under control and don't need help.

What I found helps a lot is simply saying that you don't like it when they're not offering any input; that you're actually there to get help, not to talk to a wall so you can go home after an hour feeling like you haven't actually accomplished anything. If such a person still reacts with questions such as "and how does that make you feel" or can't give you a proper explanation for why they're doing that, you know you should probably see someone else. You will most likely find that in most cases we're simply making foolish assumptions about people's ability to sense our frustration (I suspect almost anyone does or has done this to some degree).
DaveC426913
#27
Mar27-12, 01:03 PM
DaveC426913's Avatar
P: 15,319
Quote Quote by painterperson View Post
I think that Effexor is better than Prozac for thinking critically
You meant "for me" but I thought I'd be explicit. Efficacy is extremely individualized. What works perfectly for person A might have no effect - or actually worsen the effects - for person B.
Hobin
#28
Mar27-12, 01:48 PM
P: 194
Quote Quote by DaveC426913 View Post
You meant "for me" but I thought I'd be explicit. Efficacy is extremely individualized. What works perfectly for person A might have no effect - or actually worsen the effects - for person B.
I second that statement. Antidepressants are not like aspirin.
painterperson
#29
Mar27-12, 08:17 PM
P: 5
Oh sure - I didn't mean to suggest that they are (like aspirin). I have heard that there is a thing, however where often what works for one member of a family will work for another - who has similar symptoms. Assuming that there is some genetic basis, etc.

I also think that it is likely that the newer ones are better than the older ones (at least for a lot of people).
lewdawgdude
#30
Mar28-12, 12:08 AM
P: 8
So what does everyone think about the lose of 'critical' thinking? Is it one person's bad reaction? I would think its kind of hard to tell with paintings, they can be subjective. Painter, did you previously have problems critiquing, or worry that you would?


Another good point was brought up: SSRIs fight off obsessive, OCD like thinking. I would have just thought because your mood is enhanced you are less likely to constantly worry over and over. But, does it somehow affect all obsessive thoughts, like the ability to obsess over problem until you can solve it?
Hobin
#31
Mar28-12, 06:48 AM
P: 194
Quote Quote by lewdawgdude View Post
So what does everyone think about the lose of 'critical' thinking? Is it one person's bad reaction? I would think its kind of hard to tell with paintings, they can be subjective. Painter, did you previously have problems critiquing, or worry that you would?
I think it's a misguided idea that you really lose your ability to think critically. Let's say you're obsessing over little things about yourself before taking an SSRI. Now, when you're using an SSRI that works for you, it's quite possible that you'll stop doing that, because quite simply, you feel better. This does not mean you have lost any skills in critical thinking, but that you are no longer as emotionally involved with the thoughts you previously obsessed about. You can still think about these issues, if you want, it just won't bother you as much. In fact, I think it's likely that when you think about what you previously obsessed about, you see things in a much more rational light.

What I think is that it's possible that some (doses of) SSRIs are too effective for some people, so to speak, so they stop being emotionally involved in things they want to be involved in, and this can give the impression of losing your critical thinking skills. In reality, it might be more of a concentration problem. It sucks to concentrate on things you don't care about as much as before.

Quote Quote by lewdawgdude View Post
Another good point was brought up: SSRIs fight off obsessive, OCD like thinking. I would have just thought because your mood is enhanced you are less likely to constantly worry over and over. But, does it somehow affect all obsessive thoughts, like the ability to obsess over problem until you can solve it?
It depends. Some obsessive thoughts are caused by a lack of self-esteem which, in turn, can be caused by a brain disorder such as depression or bipolar. Medication has helped me deal with such obsessions: it made me feel better about myself, so I no longer needed to obsess about such things; I no longer cared as much. However, unless you have a similar emotional connection to your homework, it shouldn't make much of a difference in that regard.

On the other hand, it can become a problem if you overdose on an SSRI or if an SSRI is particularly effective for you. Like I mentioned earlier, this may affect how much you care about things like your homework, which in turn will affect your ability to do it. With practice, you may be able to 'override' such emotions with your intellect so you can still do it, but a. it's still harder if you don't feel like doing it, and b. if you haven't tried different doses or a differrent antidepressant yet, do so now.

Another possibility is that you're experiencing apathy, which can be a serious side-effect of SSRIs. If that is the case, I repeat my advice of trying a different antidepressant. Apathy is not something you should take for granted when using an antidepressant.
painterperson
#32
Mar28-12, 07:33 AM
P: 5
I didn't lose my ability to think critically - but I do feel to some extent that I have to work harder at it - like there is a something there softening the edges of criticality.

I rather feel like my creative side (right brain if you like to think of it that way) is more free - so I can tap into that. Some think that when people discuss right/brain left/brain that painters think that they are ONLY thinking with the right side of the brain. I don't think that at all. But I do think that there are left brain types of thinking - the ones more likely to get all OCD about things - and esp. negative things which is the type of thing that (many) meds control.

I can still obsess about things when I want to :)

Also - different meds have different effects on motivation and all sorts of other things. The ideal is to be calm enough to work on what you want/need to do - but not so calm that you don't care.

There is a wide variety of meds out there. Some work on some things more than others and it is perfectly possible that some work more on anxiety and don't do anything at all that affect critical type of thinking.

I hope that my comments might help you when you discuss with your doctor who will hopefully be aware of these things and can guide you to the best one for you. :)


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