How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Selah R, M.S. LPC Your Own Question
Selah R, M.S. LPC
Selah R, M.S. LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 582
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor; over 13+ yrs exp working with adults, teens, & families/couples.
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Selah R, M.S. LPC is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

What happens if you take Antidepressants but you are not

Customer Question

What happens if you take Antidepressants but you are not depressed? Can it damage the balance in your brain? I am 22, When I was 19 I was on prozac for predominantly anxiety, which was caused by depression (which I think the depression caused depersonalisation, which is the sole reason for my anxiety). I had no side effects, it cleared it right up and I have been fine ever since. I have been feeling depressed the past year - no where near as bad as in the past.. not experiencing any panic attacks or anxiety or anything, but.. that undesirable cloud would poke its head occasionally, occasionally start the depersonalisation.. I was having bad mind fog and extreme tiredness nd lethargy for no real reason..I thought maybe I should go back on pills just to kinda nip it in the bud, and since I am taking a family trip in 5 weeks, I didnt want it to get worse and me have a miserable time. Anyway I went to the doc, and was prescribed Lexipro. I was reluctant and suprised to touch anything but prozac but I went with it. I have only had two doses. The first, within hours I was horribly nauseous. My mind fog increased 50 fold, in a daze, dizzy and for the first time in years, anxiety. Random bursts. If felt like random bursts of being high, to random bursts of a really bad comedown off something. I went to bed last night and was bordering on a panic attack - I havent had anxiety in years. I was warned it would get worse before better but I kinda swore last night Im not taking another one. This morning, I still feel drunk like in the head but do feel a little better. I am not sure what to do now. If I discontinue after only two doses, it wouldnt cause any sort of withdrawal would it? If you take these pills, and you are not really depressed, can it encourage depression? Its just after these cripling side effects, I kind of wonder if I really was depressed - as this is so much worse. Would it hurt me to stay on them til the review with my doctor in 2 weeks? I dont want to risk my mental health over it. But I am happy to give it a decent go as long as if it doesnt work for me, I can go off them later and not have lasting negative effects.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for trusting JustAnswer with your important question.

Lexapro and Prozac are both antidepressants that work as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. These medications work on serotonin, which plays a role in both depression and anxiety. Lexapro is usually a well tolerated medication with few side effects. However some people just have bad side-effects (like nausea, increased anxiety, sexual side-effects, etc.). If a person with Bipolar disorder takes SSRIs they can have a manic episode followed by depression. If a person had no mental disorder and took SSRIs they would probably feel no effect, unless they were taking a high enough dose to overwhelm the body which could cause serotonin syndrome.

Was there a reason why the doctor wanted to try something different, when you'd had success with Prozac in the past? Usually if a medication did it's job and was well tolerated, doctors recommend using the same one again. If, however, there were bad side effects, doctors would want to try something new to try to avoid that.

If there was no reason to leave Prozac, you might want to tell your doctor that because of these side effects you'd like to try it again. If there was a reason to try something else, then you might need a lower dose. I have seen people who were very sensitive to Lexapro and needed a smaller than expected dose (as low as 5mg/day instead of the 20/mg that is usually seen as normal for adults). If the negative side effects are still too strong on a lower dose of Lexapro, then it's time to try a different antidepressant.

Best wishes,
Selah R, M.S. LPC and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I am taking 10mg.

Is the fact I have side effects then, an indication that I do have some form of depression?

That would be comforting (in a way) to know that at least I am taking a step in the right direction. and that I am not medicating for no reason.

There was no reason She put me on lexapro over prozac - I told her I had no side effects and it worked really well. Maybe she didn't hear or listen when I mentioned which one I actually took.

Expert:  Selah R, M.S. LPC replied 7 years ago.
No you would be having a reaction to the specific ingredients of the medication, not a reaction to the increased serotonin that the medication tries to create. I would recommend calling your doctor to let her know the side effects and that you'd rather truths previously tolerated and successful medication again. If they gave you samples that could be how you ended up on a newer medication rather than Prozac which is now available in generic. Selah

Related Mental Health Questions