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Bill, LCSW, Consultant, Expert Witness
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3707
Experience:  35 years treating individuals, couples, families with mental health and substance abuse prob's
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I was on an SSRI and amphetamines as a kid and I stopped

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I was on an SSRI and amphetamines as a kid and I stopped taking the meds when I was 18 and im 21 now. I was on the SSRI for about 4-5 years and the amphetamine for about 1 year. I have recently learned that SSRI mess with dopamine and serotoin levels and their receptors. Im very worried about possible brain damage the drugs could have caused me and I have a few qeustions regarding it. Do SSRIs damage or downregulate serotonin and dopamine receptors? Is there a difference between downregulated and destroyed receptors? Do destroyed or damaged receptors grow back? If they do grow back how long does it take? Will the receptors fully regenerate? Do prescriped amphetamines destroy neurons or receptors? How can I test my receptor levels and how can I test my neural damage?
Hello- Thank you for asking the question. I have over 30 years of experience working with individuals, couples and families & am happy to reply.
I am happy to help with this.

SSRI'S and Amphetamines effect dopamine and serotonin levels differently so to provide you with the best answer for your unique situation, it would be helpful to know what medications you were taking.

SSRI's do downregulate dopamine receptors however, there is no scientific evidence to support the contention that damaged or destroyed receptors can not be reproduced. Time depends again on medication used and length of use.

I understand your concern but I would not be too worried about any permanent or long term damage from what you describe however, if you want reassurance talk to your Doctor about having a neuro imaging procedure insure receptor levels are not damaged. Or Neuro Psychological Evaluation to measure neuro cognitive function.

If you have additional symptoms that you have not shared, please do so that I can fully respond to your question in addition to letting me know what medications you were taking.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest regards, Bill
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Is downregulation and receptor destruction the same, or different? When downregulaton occurs are recrptors turned off/desensitized or are they destroyed? Also you said destroyed receptors will reproduce, will they regenerate on there own or do I need meds? I was on 5mg ritalin 1999-2000, tenex, adderall (starting dose), depakote 150mg then it was eventually increased to 250mg , (dates approximately 2001-2002),between the years 2003-2006 these meds were given but didn't work: dexedrine 10mg, luvox 50, increased to 100, then 150mg, geodon. 20mg increased a few times, prozac 20 then 30mg, zyprexa 2.5mg,. These mess obviously were not all being taken at the same time. Doctors were trying to find. The right mess.) 2006-early 2010 concerta. 72mg, 18mg, ritalin 5mg, zoloft 100mgapprox.,trileptal 150mg, 200mg, clonidine .5mg. All mess were weaned off early 2010.
Hello Brandon-
Your questions:
1)Is downregulation and receptor destruction the same, or different?

It is different- downregulation is the process or effect that occurs when using stimulants which effect the dopamine receptors such as loss of pleasure in life-poor attention span etc.

2)When downregulaton occurs are recrptors turned off/desensitized or are they destroyed?

Dopamine receptors are desensitized and can become defective but with time they self repair depending on length and amount of use. THey should regenerate on their own without medication.

You were taking a lot of medications over time and the most important thing for me to ask you is whether or not you feel that you are now experiencing some lasting or residual decline. If so, what is happening within you to make you feel this? Symptoms?

I look forward to helping you.

Kind regards, Bill

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sorry I'm a little confused. Do downregulated and destroyed receptors repair them selves fully, or do the downregulated receptors just regenerate. Also you said "with time they should self repair depending on the length and amount used". Did you mean the length and amount used effects whether or not they will fully repair or did you mean it just effects the length of time it will take to repair? Also you asked if I have symptoms I have poor attention but I was diagnosed with ADD, so I don't think that counts. I was on meds since I was little, so if something is Wrong I don't I would know, because wouldnt remember what normal was. I was on meds for so long that I dont remeber how I felt before I took them. This is why I'm concerned I have no idea if something is wrong or not. Also I was misdiagnosed with bi-polar. This also concerns me. would taking bipolar meds if you didn't need them cause unrepairable damage?

Downregulation is the process. Destroyed receptors can be a result and these receptors repair themselves in time.

They fully repair in time.

If you have ADD- it is likely that at some point you may need medication again.

Because you are worried about the possibility of lingering damage, to rule this out- I would see a NeuroPsychologist and through a battery of testing they can determine if there is an lasting effect of your use of these medication's.

They would also be able to provide a proper diagnosis if you have been previously mis-diagnosed with BiPolar.

You need to have peace of mind witht this and I suggest you seek consultation as soon as possible.

If you need a referral to someone that can test you. reply with your Zip Code and I will be happy to identify Experts in your area.

Kindest regards, Bill

I appreciate your Positive Rating so that I Receive Credit for my time.

Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok thanks, ***** ***** been a big help. Zip 46383

It is great to know that you have a very highly skilled Expert in NeuroPsychological Assessment right in your hometome.


Dr. Judith Harrington
908 Roosevelt Road
Suite K
Valparaiso, Indiana 46383
(###) ###-####

Here is a link to her website:

She will be able to get to the bottom of any concerns you have expressed.

I wish you the very best.

Kindest regards,
Bill and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you