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Dr. L. William Lauro, M.D.
Monday, April 27 2009

Letters to Dr. Lauro on Paxil and Antidepressants

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Letters to Dr. Lauro Regarding Paxil and Antidepressants

Letters regarding the use of Paxil and other antidepressants continue to pour in..  Our readers share their personal experiences and passioned feelings about depressions, drugs and societal pressure.

A Positive Difference

I have been taking an antidepressant for the past twenty years--I only regret it was not available much earlier.  I intend to continue to take it since I can now have a normal life.  So often I hear someone decry using medication for such disorders.  From my perspective it has made such a positive difference in my life that it has been the best thing to happen to me.  I don't take Paxil.  I took Imipramine earlier and now am on Effexor.  Just wanted to share my experience.



Drastic Improvement

Thank you so much for attempting to enlighten people regarding depression and the use of anti-depression medication.  I'm 44 years old, and I have suffered from depression since I was a teenager.  Back then meds such as Paxil were not available.  I did receive counseling, which really did not help me in any substantial way.  In 1996 after the birth of my first child, I suffered from SEVERE post partum depression and thought I was losing my mind.  Thankfully, with the help of my doctor, I "discovered" Zoloft, and starting taking it.  After 2 weeks on the medication, my life changed forever.  I still remember the exact day the medication "kicked in".  It was as though a giant black cloud that had been following me around my whole life had been lifted from above my head.

I've often told people that even if I knew that taking anti-depression meds would for some reason shorten my life here on this earth, I would still continue to take them because the quality of my life has improved so DRASTICALLY!  I thank God for helping me find this medication!

Diane Jaquay


The Deep Black Hole

Thank you! Thank you!  I am SO THANKFUL for your outstanding explanation of major/chronic depression to the members of Meridian, and fortunately, it reaches a vast audience.  People who have never suffered (and it IS suffering) from chronic depression (and may they or their children never have to do so - I would never wish that on anyone) have no comprehension of the pain of "being in the deep black hole and hanging on to a rope and slipping to the end and hands feeling they can not hold on much longer. I

am weeping as I recall the anguish I felt.  I have been on antidepressants for 15 years, and they have been a life saver truly for me.

Linda Campbell


An Obvious Chemical Imbalance

I commend you for an excellent pair of articles on Paxil.   As one who has suffered by unrealistic anxieties for most of my life, I can attest to the value of the drug.  I have undergone counseling from many counselors and been prescribed a large varieties dating back as far as the bromates.  None were effective until I took Paxil.  I was told by one very well qualified counselor that I was the hardest working person with whom she had worked in her career and yet it accomplished little.  I am well educated with a PhD in Physical Chemistry, taught at a state university for 33 years, been active in the Church serving as both a Bishop and in a Stake Presidency.  Obviously, I suffered from a chemical imbalance throughout my life which Paxil corrected.  I have absolutely no tendency toward suicide and as stated in your second article, Paxil literally was miraculous in enabling me to live a happy life from the instant that I started taking it.

I certainly suffered from the view that our society has about such problems and felt, at many times, that I was either a very weak or sinful person. Thanks for sticking to your guns and standing up for a drug that can make a world of change in a person's life.

M. Lynn James


Silent Suffering

First of all let me say you couldn't be more right.  I am a few months away from my 49th birthday and started taking Paxil about two years ago, and it has been a Godsend.  I was diagnosed with OCD about 27 years ago, while I was still on active duty in the Navy.  I was pretty much told that I was stressed out and that it would pass with time and counseling.  Besides back then they didn't have SSRI's, and I certainly did not want to take xanax or valium for very long nor would the Navy have let me if I wanted to stay on active duty.  So for about 25 years I suffered daily episodes of anxiety usually followed by depression, mostly in silence.  I toughed it out and threw myself into my work, usually working my shift and half of the other (I generally couldn't sleep).  Because of this I was highly thought of by my superiors who thought I was just a hard worker with a lot of initiative.  I went from E1 (bottom of enlisted ranks) to CWO4 (top of the commissioned Warrant Officer's rank) in less than twenty years, all of the time suffering in silence.  The only strength I had to make it through each day was my faith in GOD, and the power of Priesthood blessings.  As I got older it got tougher to manage, and finally two years ago, after a extremely tough week of panic attacks followed by major depression, I was led (after much prayer) to talk to my sister about how I felt, and she told me she suffered from the same thing as did our mother (which I never new) and told me to see my doctor.  Today after taking the Paxil for two years life is wonderful, the only anxiety I feel is mild and only when I'm trying to meet a deadline at work, and once the deadline is met the anxiety is gone.  I defy anyone to tell me that all of those years I was a baby or weak minded.  I would tell them that if they have not lived with what my mother, sister, and I lived with for most of our lives they have no experience, and certainly no right to criticize.  My sister and I are both college educated, and got our educations while working full time and raising our families.  Does that sound like we are weak people?  Anyway, I have no intention of stopping my use of Paxil, and I would say to those who are still suffering in silence don't worry what an ignorant world thinks go to your doctor and get the relief you need and deserve.



It Can Be a Crutch

I agree with your article regarding the low suicide risk of Paxil used with depression.  But I also think there are other things that contribute to whether a patient should be "afraid" of Paxil.  I am under the impression that Paxil, and other serotonin-type antidepressants, have been tested only for temporary usage, and are to be used along with other treatments, such as counseling.

It seems that these meds are prescribed for long-term usage without a need to get a patient to work toward getting off of them.  I understand the importance of treating depression, but I know these meds are also used long-term by patients for anxiety.  I know there are extreme cases where patients must use these meds their whole life, but it seems to me that if one is not careful, they can become a kind of crutch.



A Forum for the Truth

Thank you so much for your articles, which provide a forum for the truth to be told about depression.

I have clinical depression and "gutted it out" ("I can do it myself" mentality) until I was 39 1/2 years old, when I hit rock bottom and had to seek help.


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