Thursday, 12 April 2012

Anti-Depressants for Fibromyalgia...

First of all I would like to apologise for my lack of blogging lately, a lot has been going on especially with work. Saying I've not been well lately would be an understatement. 
I posted a link to my blog on my Facebook and the response still amazes me to see that you really aren't alone even though it does feel like that with such a complex and varying illness, no two people with the condition are the same.

So this post is to tell my experiences of taking anti-depressants as a treatment for my Fibromyalgia. Some doctors believe that anti-depressants can help make some FM symptoms more manageable because as FM sufferers know, nothing will get rid of them. They can be used to help ease pain as they affect the nerve endings or just to help you relax to get a better nights sleep. 

I have currently been on Venlaflaxine for just over a year now and it's a noradrenaline based anti-depressant. The most common type of anti-depressant used for treating FM is a serotonin based anti-depressant but I experienced a very uncommon reaction to them. The first anti-depressant I tried was Setraline which is a serotonin based one. I was taking one 75mg tablet a day but on the second night I suffered a very severe reaction which the doctors described as an overdose but as I'd only taken two tablets they said my body had an uncommon reaction to the serotonin called serotonin syndrome. 
Please do no let this put you off trying them though as like I said it is uncommon to have this reaction.
I first realised I wasn't right on them when I started to feel high as a kite, I was having fits of giggles and hallucinating that the words on my TV were jumping. I then went to feel sick and dizzy and when I got up in the night I collapsed and had to be taken to hospital. I was only in for one night while they just monitored me but luckily I was fine and just had a few days off work until it was completely out of my system. 

Being too scared to try any other serotonin based anti-depressants, that's when my doctor suggested going on a noradrenaline based one which are normally used for treating anxiety. I first started on 75mg a day but when my body started to get used to this dose I increased to 150mg a day. I had no reaction what so ever on these and at first didn't suffer from any side effects. They were great for relaxing me and helping me sleep better at night. And if you suffer with FM, you understand the importance of a good nights sleep. So if that is something you suffer from I definitely recommend to give these a go.

As I am only 19, I started taking antidepressants when I was 18 which was a scary decision to make as they affect the chemicals in the brain as they are first and foremost a tablet to treat mental illnesses. But I would only recommend trying them if you fully trust your doctor. As if you don't suffer with depression or anxiety they can be quite strange to start with. I started to feel no emotion at the beginning, my mum would describe me as being numb. Nothing would really bother me, I was never excited or stressed out by anything. Now that my body is getting used to them it's quite the opposite. I'm never just normal, I'm either extremely happy or extremely sad. Which can throw me off a bit because there doesn't seem to be any middle ground. 

Lately I have been starting to suffer with quite bad side effects from them. My doctor calls them 'zaps' as the only way to describe it is that it feels like your getting an electric shock through your body that literally makes you feel like your jolting or twitching but it can be quite painful. They are horrible and they come and go.

MAKE SURE you ask what type of anti-depressant your taking. Some are slow releasing and can stay in your system for a couple of days. Where as other are fast releasing and when it comes nearer the time to take another dose they can start to wear off. I am on the fast releasing and if I miss a dose then I start to get minor withdrawal symptoms. Stupidly I forgot to take them last night, so I thought I'd write this blog today to explain how it's made me feel. I am getting these 'zaps' every couple of seconds as well as feeling extremely nauseous.  The 'zaps' have given me a severe headache, backache and are even making my eyes ache. I have been suffering all day with numbness and tingling in my hands and slurring of my words. It scares me how much these tablets have an effect on my brain and body to cause me to feel like this when I miss one dose. 

This post was just to tell you my experiences with taking anti-depressants, I don't want to scare anyone out of trying them because they do help. I wouldn't still be on them if they didn't but I just wanted to tell you all what happens to me when I'm on them because my doctor didn't warn me I could have such bad reactions or any of these problems on them. So if nothing else will take the edge off (which it didn't for me), I recommend these as a last resort. But I recommend trying all other medication roots before trying these are they are very strong and scary medication. My doctor used them as a very last resort and waited until I was 18.

In other news, as per my last post about my employment situation. I have had to hand my notice in, even though I have no other job lined up. This is because of how ill the job has been making me, I'm so drained physically and emotionally after a day there it was becoming unbearable. Even though I'll have no constant money flow soon, my health and happiness is the most important thing. FM sufferers need to try and make themselves as happy as possible as if your happy it will naturally make symptoms more manageable. So as my dad explained it, if I was walking the plank I'm jumping before I'm being pushed. As it would look better on my CV to have left rather than be sacked due to absence and my illness.

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