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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the last few days my mind has been racing with thoughts. I find it difficult to stay focussed on one idea so please bare with me (as always) through this post. I'm discovering that talking about my ideas or how I feel without being shy can be very beneficial. Truly, I've never really done it until this week. I think DP has alot to do with the access you allow the world to have to you, to understand your individuality. I told my best friend everything and she has been really supportive. I'm constructing a new reality by saying what I really feel finally. Again, I can't say thanks enough for this board. I've read many threads here and learned so much from your experiences. I'm less scared about what I'm going through now.

Some people have raised difficult questions about DP, some even pretty thought provoking. Let me contribute to this board by offering you the latter. Now, keep in mind as you read this that I'm famous amongst my friends for my ability to construct conspiracy theories. I may just be lost in my own little world :wink: :wink: , but I like to believe I'm not so off track So view the following as pure entertainment if you like :lol:

There are many things that have puzzled me about what I "have". 10 years ago I was told I had "depression", then it became "looks like bipolar", now after reading the literature I'm leaning for "depersonalization". I talked to my therapist for the second time in two days and we both agreed there's definitely cause to think that I may indeed be experiencing this.

Interesting things I've discovered over the last few days:

I took 5 kinds of anti-depressants for my "depression" over the years. I discover that 4 our of 5 (the 5th I could find no information) have "depersonalization" as a side effect.

Hmmm.

Is it a coincidence that anti-depressants all have "suic***" or "suicidal thoughts" listed in their potential side effect list as well? I've wondered about this for a long time. Who make up that small group (I do for one) that reacts to anti-depressants perhaps both by having suicidal thoughts and "zone outs".... How come there hasn't been more research done into this I wonder...

Which brings me to: the class-actions suits against pharmaceuticals for the undisclosure of evidence that suicidal tendencies correlate more highly in young people as a side-effect. What do those suits and subsequent rulings say about the potential side-effects of anti-depressants on society at large. Who in the scientific community is asking "WHY do youth respond this way" and "WHAT is it about adulthood that lowers that incidence?"

A possibility: Because youth's brain is not fully developed yet to respond critically to events in their life. Because adults have more life experience to handle those shifts in emotions. :idea: :?:

I keep in mind there are few absolutes in life, including explanations. ..

Another thing I wonder about is: what is the real difference between psychotropic drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, etc, and psychotropic drugs like the prozacs and Co. How do either type of drug affect the brain differently?

Which brings me to: why does it say on the bottles of pick-your-antidepressant "It is thought that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance"? Why doesn't it say "depression is caused by a chemical imbalance" ? How come the people who advanced the theory that depression was caused by this never actually offered up any proof. Usually when you have a theory you need to prove or disprove it before pursuing the research further....

What is the most profitable drug man has ever invented? (ok, this last one is leaning toward the conspiracy theory. I'll leave it at that)

I know, I'm thinking too much about things that I'm probably not likely to find the full answers to. I can't help it. :?

I'm not saying that DP is caused by anti-depressants by the way. I'm suggesting that maybe that small percentage of people who have adverse psychological responses to the drugs may have something very much in common (maybe a human brain... maybe it's not good to put stuff in there that wasn't there to begin with just because "it works for most people"...). Even though I took many anti-depressants I've always been suspicious that they really cured anything. Psychoanalysis has helped me far more than the drugs. To me they seem like a band-aid... Evidence I'm finding seems to point to the possibility that they may actually be doing alot more harm then the pharmaceutical industry which has gotten rich off it would care to admit. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself.

I think the trigger for DP is in my childhood. I was molested by someone in my family and I know that event was very much an influence in my obsessive behaviour as an adult. I wonder if there isn't something about anti-depressants that can amplify the kind of primary DP caused by childhood trauma.

So many factors to understand a story.

I hope I have not bored you with my rambling.

One last question... how many of the DP people here have had suicidal thoughts, and how many of those took anti-depressants?

Good day,
Nancy
 

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I took 5 kinds of anti-depressants for my "depression" over the years. I discover that 4 our of 5 (the 5th I could find no information) have "depersonalization" as a side effect.
Almost certainly this isn't considered to be a lasting side-effect, but rather something that some people will experience while on the medication - probably in high doses.

Another thing I wonder about is: what is the real difference between psychotropic drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, etc, and psychotropic drugs like the prozacs and Co. How do either type of drug affect the brain differently?
The chemicals in them have completely different functions.

The modern antidepressants SSRIs, which you're probably referring to here, alter the "balance" of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain by changing the function of how it is "taken back up" after dispersal through the brain, or something like that - I don't pretend to know what I'm on about.

Ecstasy could be seen as similar in some respects, in that it does cause the brain to "dump" a massive load of serotonin in one go - though dopamine is also involved apparently.

Stuff like Cannais is very much different, though I'm not sure exactly why.

Which brings me to: why does it say on the bottles of pick-your-antidepressant "It is thought that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance"? Why doesn't it say "depression is caused by a chemical imbalance" ? How come the people who advanced the theory that depression was caused by this never actually offered up any proof. Usually when you have a theory you need to prove or disprove it before pursuing the research further....
It's not the case that they have no proof. They certainly have evidence, even it's not considered by all to be entirely conclusive.

The reason they say "is thought to be" is because they are being scientifically concise. Scientists admit that their attempts to understand the world could well be - and according to some probably are - quite wrong. Thus their theories are only "useful" insofar as the "work" and "make sense" to us. They're not conisdered the be-all-and-end-all of truth.

So no, your criticism isn't fair.

Psychoanalysis has helped me far more than the drugs. To me they seem like a band-aid...
Oh I definitely agree.

But band-aids help, at least some of the time...
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for answering Monkeydust! I hope other people answer too...

Monkeydust said:
Almost certainly this isn't considered to be a lasting side-effect, but rather something that some people will experience while on the medication - probably in high doses.
I understand that only 'some' people are going to get this effect, but I don't think it has anything to do with taking high doses. Aren't side-effects calculated on the reaction of patients to regular prescribed doses? The percentage of people who get this (according to the company of course) is very very small. Just like suicidal tendencies as a SE happens to a very very small percentage. The only reason I brought it up is that I wonder why some people react to anti-depressants this way, and if there isn't a commonality between people who experience this. If a cough syrup caused acute bronchitis in some people I'd think that was odd too....

The chemicals in them have completely different functions.

The modern antidepressants SSRIs, which you're probably referring to here, alter the "balance" of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain by changing the function of how it is "taken back up" after dispersal through the brain, or something like that - I don't pretend to know what I'm on about.

Ecstasy could be seen as similar in some respects, in that it does cause the brain to "dump" a massive load of serotonin in one go - though dopamine is also involved apparently.

Stuff like Cannais is very much different, though I'm not sure exactly why.
Actually, you've just made my point. Everybody says it's a malfunction of neurotransmitter flow (depressed people according to this theory would have less) but no one has ever proven it. We've internalized this idea so much that we believe it. I'm not the first one to say it. Do a google search for the proof of that sentence in bold, you'll see what I mean. Better yet, read the pharmaceutical disclaimer. How many medicines would you give your child that said on it "we think this works". Don't you want to be more sure?

They had trials, they tested levels in patients, they wrote down the stats, the "empirical" evidence. These numbers make it appear as though we are dealing with a demonstrated scientific theory when truth is any ethical researcher would see a problem with the methods used. Many ethical researchers have already pointed to this fact, this isn't my original thought.

The only thing we know for sure is that drugs increase levels of neurotransmitters.... That doesn't say anything about the cause. The way it usually goes in science is you come up with a theory (eg. chemicals imbalance causes depression), you test it, you write your observations. You do this a few times. If after doing it a few times you've still not been able to prove your theory, how can you go on to manufacture the product? To put it plainly, I find it ironic that the most profitable drug ever made rests on an idea, not fact. I'm a little worried about repercussions of this long term. Things like more and more kids taking Ritalin or anti-depressants for example. This culture of psychological-problem-but-biological-cause. I think we take wayyy too much meds today, but it's normal, we're bombarded with ads about meds all the time.

I read somewhere recently, what if the cause of depression is not low levels of neurotransmitters in itself, but rather, that a person's psychological response to the world (happiness, sadness, anxiety) is out of sync with the way the majority of society responds (i.e. most people do not become depressed). Is this hypothesis any more far-fetched idea than the other explanation of causation?

Sometimes I think depression is a mass construction. We've been sold the idea, when we feel sad we go to our doctor, we get the RX. We no longer see the possibility that most of it probably has to do with the way we deal with the world. Suggesting that depression is really a purely the result of something physical like a chemical-imbalance is scary. It means there's an epidemic of this illness occurring when we look at the drug sales. Only in industrialised parts of the world.... It's well known that suicide rates in developing countries are much much lower than in the West. Maybe it's not just because they are too busy surviving, maybe it's because they have less acess to mass marketed ideas of psychological "illness" and cure.

I aslo acknowledge the possibility that depression may exist as a chronic condition too. I suspect cases like this don't make up the majority of people who take the drug.

read this very interesting article on Vioxx that raises some of these points here: http://www.newstarget.com/001969.html

It's not the case that they have no proof. They certainly have evidence, even it's not considered by all to be entirely conclusive.
They have partial evidence... the response of the patients to the trials.

The reason they say "is thought to be" is because they are being scientifically concise. Scientists admit that their attempts to understand the world could well be - and according to some probably are - quite wrong. Thus their theories are only "useful" insofar as the "work" and "make sense" to us. They're not conisdered the be-all-and-end-all of truth.

So no, your criticism isn't fair.
I disagree here too ;).

Psychoanalysis has helped me far more than the drugs. To me they seem like a band-aid...
Oh I definitely agree.

But band-aids help, at least some of the time...
Another question: can psychotherapy raise levels of neurotransmitters? How come some people are able to get symptoms of depression to subside through therapy?

So many questions...

Nancy 8)
 

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I understand that only 'some' people are going to get this effect, but I don't think it has anything to do with taking high doses. Aren't side-effects calculated on the reaction of patients to regular prescribed doses? The percentage of people who get this (according to the company of course) is very very small. Just like suicidal tendencies as a SE happens to a very very small percentage. The only reason I brought it up is that I wonder why some people react to anti-depressants this way, and if there isn't a commonality between people who experience this.
Certainly, that's a strong possibility.

If these drugs affect certain people in a certain way, for instance, in your example of giving some people DP, it makes sense that there's something in common between those affected in such a way.

What's not so certain, and almost impossible to ascertain, is whether or not this commonality between those with unusual reactions is physiological - in the sense that their brains have a certain physical "make up" slightly different to most others - or whether it's simply psychological.

I expect it's the former, but the reality is that we know so little about the brain that anything we argue regarding it is almost entirely conjecutre.

The only thing we know for sure is that drugs increase levels of neurotransmitters.... That doesn't say anything about the cause. The way it usually goes in science is you come up with a theory (eg. chemicals imbalance causes depression), you test it, you write your observations. You do this a few times. If after doing it a few times you've still not been able to prove your theory, how can you go on to manufacture the product?
Granted, no one's certain that the cause of depression is some "chemical imbalance" - I myself don't perceive this to be the case, least not for all.

But it doesn't follow from this point that you shouldn't be able to manufacture the product.

The reason for this is that, irrespective of what the underlying causes of depression are, for some people, antidepressant medication works. Not for all, no. But for quite a few. On this basis, it "makes sense" to manufacture it, because these drugs do benefit a large number of people.

I'm a little worried about repercussions of this long term. Things like more and more kids taking Ritalin or anti-depressants for example. This culture of psychological-problem-but-biological-cause. I think we take wayyy too much meds today, but it's normal, we're bombarded with ads about meds all the time.
Oh I agree with this point entirely.

But likewise, I think that the "anti-medication" arguments that some people put forward go too far.

The fact remains that, for some, medication works. We don't need to ascertain whether the cause is biological or psychological to know that this is the case.

I read somewhere recently, what if the cause of depression is not low levels of neurotransmitters in itself, but rather, that a person's psychological response to the world (happiness, sadness, anxiety) is out of sync with the way the majority of society responds (i.e. most people do not become depressed). Is this hypothesis any more far-fetched idea than the other explanation of causation?
No, it's not at all.

But, as I have said, it's one thing to dispute a cause; it's quite another to dispute what "works" for solving the problem.

Another question: can psychotherapy raise levels of neurotransmitters? How come some people are able to get symptoms of depression to subside through therapy?
Before I say anything, I'm not the expert on this stuff - hopefully some of the more psychologically educated on this board will help me answer these questions.

That said, I can offer my "two cents".

First off, I'll say that I think in the majority of cases, depression is primarily psychologically based, as opposed to physiologically based (though there are certainly cases where depression is demonstrably entirely physiological. To give one example, many heavy long-term users of ecstasy in the 90s are now dependent on SSRIs to feel "normal" because their neurotransmitters are entirely "out of whack".)

I don't think we can know if psychotherapy raises the levels of neurotrasmitters or not. If it does, that would imply that somehow the levels of neurotransmitters that the brain "puts out" is dependent on our thoughts and feelings, which seems a little odd to me.

Nevertheless psychotherapy can work. The reason people are able to get results with it is because, as I've said, for many - probably most -the cause of the problem is psychological not physiological.

It nevertheless seems true that boosting serotonin makes people feel better, even if it doesn't solve the underying issues in the first place.
 

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n_boucha said:
Another thing I wonder about is: what is the real difference between psychotropic drugs like ecstasy, cocaine, etc, and psychotropic drugs like the prozacs and Co. How do either type of drug affect the brain differently?
Like the other poster said, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) inhibit the action of enzymes that take up Seratonin out of the synaptic cleft between neurons. The net effect of this is more Serotonin available to bind to Serotonin receptors.

Cocaine and other opiates work similarly on mainly the dopamine and adrenaline (norepinephrine to Americans) receptors to illicit similar results (also some effects on Seratonin). Simply put, more dopamine increases pleasure and more adrenaline increases CNS stimulation.

The psychedelics are analogues of one of the neurotransmitters in the brain (e.g. Serotonin for LSD) and so act by effectively increasing the levels of neurotransmitters.

So basically they have very similar mechanisms of action but the effects produced by psychedelics and other illegal drugs are far more potent and mind bending than the prescription ones (though I suppose you could argue that inducing hallucinations/psychosis is as potent as removing them from an individual).

However, both are altering your state of consciousness artificially and so you could argue that they are basically doing the same thing (yet the ones that can be taxed are legal...). I suppose one set is supposed to bend your mind to "normal" functioning while the other are supposed to obliterate "normality". Which does which? You decide :p

Which brings me to: why does it say on the bottles of pick-your-antidepressant "It is thought that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance"? Why doesn't it say "depression is caused by a chemical imbalance" ? How come the people who advanced the theory that depression was caused by this never actually offered up any proof. Usually when you have a theory you need to prove or disprove it before pursuing the research further....
There's three broad reasons that I can think of. The first is scientific method. Essentially you can never prove anything in science, because you have to base your model of how something works on the idea that at some stage in the future it could be proven wrong. So you can't prove something, only prove it incorrect. Therefore science works by approximations and models which become increasingly accurate to reality but can never reach it. Basically if they were to say "This is what causes depression" they could be proven wrong the next year (especially with how fast science moves).

The second reason is to avoid law suits. As above, if they are selling drugs to cure depression and suddenly they are proven wrong, they could be help responsible.

Thirdly you are dealing with the human mind, which is as far as we know the most complex 'entity' in existance. Therefore, like with number 1, you can never be 100% sure of anything, especially given the subjective nature of what you are trying to do.

What is the most profitable drug man has ever invented? (ok, this last one is leaning toward the conspiracy theory. I'll leave it at that)
Alcohol and Tobacco. Case closed. Was this where your conspiracy theory was heading?

To me they seem like a band-aid...
With this, I agree, but it'll probably upset a lot of people here. So to each their own. Basically though you are altering your consciousness artificially with something that you need to keep taking in order to maintain. Isn't the idea to permanently change your consciousness for the better? Well, that's where the argument of using meds as a stepping stone comes in, and gradually lowering the dose etc.
 

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Monkeydust said:
I don't think we can know if psychotherapy raises the levels of neurotrasmitters or not. If it does, that would imply that somehow the levels of neurotransmitters that the brain "puts out" is dependent on our thoughts and feelings, which seems a little odd to me.
Biological systems work on feedback. Even the most basic cellular functions are regulated by complex interactions of DNA, proteins, enzymes etc.

Is it that far fetched to think that in a system as complex as the brain, which generates consciousness (how we've barely begun to fathom), that similar regulation occurs in response to emotional changes and stimuli?
 

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Dear Nancy,
I'm considered the "biological reductionist" on the Board I guess. But many here have made some excellent points already.

There is a huge body of research that is out there indicating that mental illnesses are biological in origin. The symptoms express themselves in our feelings and our behavior. Just as you might have a clogged up heart, it will express its malfunction in a heart attack, or a pancreas that isn't working will express its malfunction in diabetes, so the brain expresses its malfunction in the normal everyday processes it regulates -- emotion, perception, cognition.

If you look at my website, I have done extensive research -- but I am FAR from an expert on this -- and have noted many articles and books that discuss mental illness at length. Some of these articles are very difficult to read, but one needs to be a researcher, a scientist, at least an M.D. to REALLY have some solid concept of the brain, and it is still so complex, who knows when we will fully understand it?

One thing before I forget. There is a growing consensus that mental illness comes on in the teen and adult years, most likely due to the following fact: in those years, the brain makes as many incredible changes as does the infant and toddler. There is a restructuring of synaptic pathways, etc. -- pruning of "redundant" pathways, and growth of others. It is a precarious time, as is the development of early childhood. Schizophrenia can even be recognized now in subtle signs in childhod.

Stress at that time can set off preexisting conditions, or actually be the result of "too much pruning" and a damage of critical pathways -- there is some indication that this is what happens in schizophrenia.

There is also a surge of hormones at this age. The human being's brain really isn't "finished growing" until about age 25. And the brain changes throughout life as well.

I HIGHLY suggest the following link to my hero (everyone sighs, :roll: ), V.S. Ramachandran, M.D., Ph.D. who has several great books out and has done extensive research on human perception. He is the modern day Oliver Sacks.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2003/

If you go to this link, you will have fascinating reading which supports
"Neuroscience - The New Philosophy" -- have a look at that particular lecture as it talks about depresonalization and derealization.


I also recommend HIGHLY reading the recent Scientific American Mind on shelves right now. It talks about consciousness, perceptual distortions (for instance deja-vu), etc., etc. And it is far more layperson friendly in terms of explaining things.

I'm an old lady 8) , and have lived through essentially most of my life -- 46 years, with anxiety, depression, and chronic 24/7 DP/DR. It has prompted me to do a lot of research, and to become involved with volunteering for NAMI -- see links. I have also been in much therapy over the years, and have tried many meds. My current combo is the most successful, and DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) in group recently has been very helpful. A variation of CBT.

This does not take away from the psychological factors that affect brain disorders -- they work together. Talk therapy, CBT, etc. are important and can help tremendously. Medication isn't the only answer.

Also, if you consider the failures of medication, think of people with severe arthritis who still want their Celebrex, Vioxx, etc. even though it is considered a dangerous drug. Psychotropic medications aren't the only ones with serious side effects. I HATE BEING ON MEDS but it is what as helped ME the most. I don't recommend them for everyone.

My website, with my story -- it's very detailed
http://www.dreamchild.net If you look at various links you'll find books and articles listed.

Nature/Nurture is almost impossible to separate in psychiatric illness. The brain is infinitely complex. Medicine does NOT understand the brain fully, and I don't know when it will.

And you need to understand the concept of homeostasis and the Stress-Diathesis model of all pathology, or allostasis or lack of homeostasis.

But there is much research. See the links on this site to the IoP in London, and Mt. Sinai in New York where there are units dedicated to studying DP/DR. And this can come with most if not all mental illness (not a guarantee.)

Ah, also have a look at the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill site.
Advocacy by parents, siblings, friends of the mentally ill, and the mentally ill themselves. I am a member and volunteer.

http://www.nami.org

End of lecture,
In Peace and in the Spirit of Healthy Debate
D 8)
EDITED: I always mess up my URLs these days
 
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