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15 May 2011 @ 02:46 pm
cocktail part two: H-A-P-P-P-I  

Effexor is from a class of drugs called SNRIs: selective serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. They work by stopping the “reuptake” of the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine; basically they make it so that, instead of being put away neatly, these chemicals slosh around in your brain, getting used over and over again.

A still from 'The Ghost and the Darkness'
A still from 'The Ghost and the Darkness'
John Henry Patterson is Irish, so his mood elevator of choice is not Effexor, but—oh, you get the joke.

SNRI’s are antidepressants; their job is to elevate mood. Doctors will always start bipolar patients on a mood stabilizer before putting them on an antidepressant, even if they are suicidal, because an antidepressant can raise the mood too much, causing mania. Ironically, antidepressants can also cause increased depression; there has been trouble, especially with younger people, about increased suicidal ideation following the start of an Effexor or other antidepressant regimen.

A still from 'At First Sight'
This shit is stressful.

Because serotonin and norepinephrine work in a lot of different body systems, drugs like Effexor have a lot of side effects. The most common are things like nausea and somnolence (feeling sleepy all the time), but there are also instances of things like muscle pain or weakness, blurred vision, anorexia, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), and tremor.

A still from 'Blind Horizon'
The lines on my face getting clearer.

Antidepressants as a whole have two major side effects that cause patients to buck treatment. The first is weight gain. Use of antidepressants usually causes weight gain between 10 and 50 pounds, but can sometimes cause gains of more than 100 pounds. Antidepressants cause increased cravings and low energy levels; additionally, serotonin is involved in telling the body when it has had enough to eat, and the manipulation of the neurotransmitter by antidepressants can cause it to fail in this job.

A still from 'Willow'
“I don’t love her! She kicked me in the face!”

The second major side effect of antidepressants is low sex drive and sexual dysfunction. This side effect can manifest in a number of ways, from complete deadening of the libido to inability to orgasm to inability to feel emotions of romantic attachment; antidepressants can keep you from falling in love.

current mood: sleepydrugged
a2zmoma2zmom on May 15th, 2011 10:58 pm (UTC)
An excellent reminder that the brain is still the least understood organ. Which makes sense, as it's by far the most complicated.
the kilmer cure: better put a leash on your boythekilmercure on May 16th, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)

It's really scary stuff. A lot of these psych meds, they don't understand the mechanism by which it works, it just happened to alleviate these symptoms when they were testing it for something else. We should know how our medications work before we prescribe them. We should know.

a2zmoma2zmom on May 16th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
I greebut a lot of drug interactions are poorly unsersttod. They still don't know why asprin works (unless that's finally changed.)
Jessicacherrynorth on May 15th, 2011 11:12 pm (UTC)
I keep seeing that Abilify commercial with Buffy's mom and, having read your other post, all I can think is how much they're not saying. All that stuff that's in the very fast voice, it's messed up shit. It makes me wonder how many people truly understand what they're getting into when they start taking these kinds of medications.

What's really dangerous is that vague impression I think a lot of people (including me, prior to my abnormal psychology class a few years ago) have that taking medication will "fix" mental illness and solve all problems, the same way it "fixes" all our other problems.
the kilmer cure: there is no soundness in my fleshthekilmercure on May 16th, 2011 01:47 am (UTC)

Abilify in particular scares me, because it's an antipsychotic, but they're prescribing it for depression? One of Abilify's main side effects is depression; it's a freaking sedative. It seems like just another case of doing what's right for the stockholders before doing what's right for patients.

Hidden Willow: Glee // Santana & Brittanyhiddenw on May 17th, 2011 05:01 pm (UTC)
So that's why I've never been in love! I like that theory. Beats being dead inside =P

I've sometimes wondered just how being on anti-depressants on and off since I was like 15 has affected me esp. in regard to sexual dysfunction. Although, now that I'm off the drugs I'm thinking I was probably always messed up in that department.
the kilmer cure: forgive me father for i have sinnedthekilmercure on May 18th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)

I wonder how all these chemicals have affected me, too. I do know that they've found -- though I believe the study in question had to do with oral contraceptives, not antidepressants -- that some changes in sexual function continue even after the medication is continued. So there is that.

the kilmer cure: not worth chewing through the strapsthekilmercure on May 18th, 2011 02:09 am (UTC)

Even after the medication is discontinued, I meant. Sorry.