Living with Depression when medications do not work

Ask the Expert Patient Health Guide
  • Question:


    Dawn wrote...


    I was diagnosed with depression but even with my medication I still don't feel myself. I realized when my grandmother passed away that she, my mother, and my aunt and been on medication for years, this is when I decided to be tested. They have placed me on first Zoloft and now Paxil but I still have to take clonazepam for my anxiety attacks, and then I have to take Ambien to help me sleep, because NOTHING helps with the insomnia. I still feel tired all the time and I'm not sure why I get so weak, when I try to go out to play with my kids, I just can't seem to ever feel good. I would rather just keep myself locked up in my house, but with two kids , that makes life with me pretty difficult. I would love some suggestions. Thank You, Dawn

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:




    Dear Dawn,


    Something that makes it difficult to live with depression is that treating it is as much an art as a science. Some of us need counseling / therapy only; some of us do well with just medication; while yet others do best with a combination of therapy and medications. Into that, add the fact that there's really no tried and true way to know which of these protocols or which medications will work well for an individual until you try them.


    Zoloft is used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), and a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). Paxil and Paxil CR are used to treat depression, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and (premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Clonazepam (Klonopin) is used to treat seizure disorders and panic attacks. So, all three of these medications would seem reasonable for your depression and anxiety, but in practice, they may not be the right ones for you. There are many other medications that could do better for you, so discussing these with your doctor and working with him or her to decide what other medication you should try would be a good step.


    Who is treating you for depression? Your family doctor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist? If you're treating with your family doctor, you might want to think about asking for a referral to a psychologist or psychiatrist who has more experience in treating depression and anxiety and could provide you will therapy as well as prescribing medications. In some states, licensed psychologists can prescribe medications; in other states they can't, so you would probably want to choose a psychiatrist for this reason.


    Regarding the weakness -- this could be a symptom of depression and / or anxiety, but it could also be physical in nature. When was your last check-up? Have you mentioned this weakness to your doctor to be find out? If not, that's another good step.


    How are you set for support, Dawn? Do you have a family member or friend who is aware of how you feel and can offer you some support and encouragement? Maybe someone who has children who could play with yours? Maybe making a play date so you'd have another parent to interact with while your children play would be helpful.


    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:

    The biggest thing is to not give up. OK? Journal and post here where others in your situation can comment and share experiences with you. Talk with your doctor about how you're feeling and what your treatment options are. Be gentle with yourself, but stay determined to find what will best help you.


    Good luck,


    About Ask the Expert Patient:


    If you would like to ask a question about depression or living with depression, please write a SharePost and be sure to select “a question” in the drop-down menu next to “I want to create a SharePost that is a,” which is Step 2 on the SharePost creation screen. I will post my responses to your questions each week.


    Please keep in mind that I am not a physician. I cannot diagnose or give medical advice. This section is for sharing information and offering support as a nonphysician “Expert Patient.”


    I hope you find this general medical and health information useful, but this Q & A is meant to support not replace the professional medical advice you receive from your doctor. For all personal medical and health matters, including decisions about diagnoses, medications and other treatment options, you should always consult your doctor. See full disclaimer.

Published On: November 12, 2007