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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been on Wellbutrin for over 4 years straight (a few months ago, it switched to the generic version since my drug coverage changed). It was prescribed to me in a hospital for major depression when nothing else was working. After like 2 months of not being able to even get out of bed, I started to show improvement, and I eventually came out of it.

Wellburin was the drug I happened to be on at the time, but to be honest I'm not sure it actually has done anything or is doing anything now. I try to look back on the last 4 years, but I just see complete emptiness. It's like my life was so vacuous that it added up to exactly nothing. It scares me to think that it's 2009, because I just don't know where the time went or what I even did (I'll give you a hint, that's because I did nothing).

I constantly feel dead inside and I don't really feel emotions. I'm terribly apathetic and don't have the drive to do anything. I've lost interest in a lot of things, yet my mind is still sharp and I am still able to accomplish things if I force myself (this is a change from past episodes of depression in my life where it would become difficult to think and I couldn't make the simplest of decisions). I've heard this state called dysthymia (a constant low-level depression). I don't know what it is, but it doesn't feel like I'm really living.

Part of me thinks that the meds are sucking the life out of me, killing my emotions, and making me apathetic. It is something I have heard before from others, that they feel "flat" emotionally while on antidepressants. I feel like that too, to put it mildly, and have for a long time.

I've made the decision that I want to come off the meds, just for my own knowledge. I want to see what I feel like without them, and if it is any different. I've scheduled an appointment with my phsyciatrist (who is truly good for nothing aside from dispensing meds). I've mentioned my feelings on this subject to him in the past, and he's like, "No, Wellbutrin doesn't make your emotions flat... if anything, it's a stimulant that gets you neurotransmitters firing correctly."

That's a nice little theory, but since he's never been on the meds himself, I'm not sure how he can say this. The whole business of psychopharmacology is mostly guesswork and experimentation... Yes, they know that certain chemicals in the brain are increased (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, etc.), but science does not 100% understands what these chemicals do and what the effect of raising their levels has on the overall functioning of the brain.

I look at it this way. If the meds are doing nothing for me and I stop taking them, then I don't need to be on them. If they are in fact killing my emotions and drive then coming off them would be the best thing I could do. Finally, if they are actually helping me (which I still consider a possibility) and my mental state starts devolving when I come off them, I have no qualms about going back on them. So what is the harm in trying to come off them?

I obviously want to taper off as gradually as possible, and hope to get the help of my doctor to do this. I would hope he would cooperate and perscribe the lower dosage that I need to do this (I can't simply cut the pills I have in half or quarters because they are time release and it would kill their effect and likely cause bad withdrawal).

What do you all think about my idea of coming off the meds?
 

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Lazy guy on the couch
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I say go for it man... I'm not quite at the point with medication yet, but I feel your frustration, and why not see how you feel while not on the medication.... If all else fails, just go back on em....
 

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Well, your doctor is right in what he said about Wellbutrin. It's supposed to elevate mood, not flatten it.

That flattened mood could just be a symptom of your depression though.

What's for sure is that you're obviously not content with the status quo. Change definitely needs to be made. In my own opinion, I think trying to augment the wellbutrin would be best, but that's for you and your doctor to discuss.

Just keep in mind that it take a while to taper from a medication you've be taking for 4 years. You'll potentially be wasting even more time, and I am very familiar with looking back at time that's passed and despairing at the realization that I've accomplished nothing.

However, you obviously are much more familiar with your particular case than you could possibly communicate in a forum post. You know yourself best, so just go with what you feel comfortable doing.
 

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I've been on Wellbutrin for over 4 years straight (a few months ago, it switched to the generic version since my drug coverage changed). It was prescribed to me in a hospital for major depression when nothing else was working. After like 2 months of not being able to even get out of bed, I started to show improvement, and I eventually came out of it.

Wellburin was the drug I happened to be on at the time, but to be honest I'm not sure it actually has done anything or is doing anything now. I try to look back on the last 4 years, but I just see complete emptiness. It's like my life was so vacuous that it added up to exactly nothing. It scares me to think that it's 2009, because I just don't know where the time went or what I even did (I'll give you a hint, that's because I did nothing).

I constantly feel dead inside and I don't really feel emotions. I'm terribly apathetic and don't have the drive to do anything. I've lost interest in a lot of things, yet my mind is still sharp and I am still able to accomplish things if I force myself (this is a change from past episodes of depression in my life where it would become difficult to think and I couldn't make the simplest of decisions). I've heard this state called dysthymia (a constant low-level depression). I don't know what it is, but it doesn't feel like I'm really living.

Part of me thinks that the meds are sucking the life out of me, killing my emotions, and making me apathetic. It is something I have heard before from others, that they feel "flat" emotionally while on antidepressants. I feel like that too, to put it mildly, and have for a long time.

I've made the decision that I want to come off the meds, just for my own knowledge. I want to see what I feel like without them, and if it is any different. I've scheduled an appointment with my phsyciatrist (who is truly good for nothing aside from dispensing meds). I've mentioned my feelings on this subject to him in the past, and he's like, "No, Wellbutrin doesn't make your emotions flat... if anything, it's a stimulant that gets you neurotransmitters firing correctly."

That's a nice little theory, but since he's never been on the meds himself, I'm not sure how he can say this. The whole business of psychopharmacology is mostly guesswork and experimentation... Yes, they know that certain chemicals in the brain are increased (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, etc.), but science does not 100% understands what these chemicals do and what the effect of raising their levels has on the overall functioning of the brain.

I look at it this way. If the meds are doing nothing for me and I stop taking them, then I don't need to be on them. If they are in fact killing my emotions and drive then coming off them would be the best thing I could do. Finally, if they are actually helping me (which I still consider a possibility) and my mental state starts devolving when I come off them, I have no qualms about going back on them. So what is the harm in trying to come off them?

I obviously want to taper off as gradually as possible, and hope to get the help of my doctor to do this. I would hope he would cooperate and perscribe the lower dosage that I need to do this (I can't simply cut the pills I have in half or quarters because they are time release and it would kill their effect and likely cause bad withdrawal).

What do you all think about my idea of coming off the meds?
Well, you're obviously unhappy at this point enough to write a long post like that. So I'd try to come off them, if it makes it worse, you could either fight through it, or go back on.
At this point though, you have so many options with regards to medications, that you should ask your doctor. Wellbutrin is surely not the end all be all.
 

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So you have been on a drug for 4 YEARS and it still is not elevating your mood? What the hell is wrong with this psychiatrist? Is he getting commissions from the drug company for prescribing this medication? You have the right to fire him and stop taking the medication (but do so in a safe way)!

It sounds like it maybe elevated your mood from absolutely doing nothing to one of feeling flat, which is an improvement, but hardly what you, or anyone else for that matter, would want to feel on a regular basis.

I am very much a medication skeptic, because as you have noted, theory about medication and how it works is imprecise at best. We have many years to go before medications can precisely target a condition and "fix" it, and I do believe it is possible to create a drug that "cures" a condition, but that it is beyond our current technology to do so. I tend to adopt natural methods, as not only is medication imprecise, but it is also highly corrupted and manipulated by companies that are making billions from the drug sales. If they are making billions, obviously they want to keep people on their drug and make money, not get them better so that they no longer have to be on it!

I tend to employ natural methods for creating a good mood. Exercise helps to increase serotonin levels, which improves your mood. Eating a healthy diet that increase your energy makes you happier and more energetic (instead of eating pizza every night of the week, eat foods rich with complex carbs and vitamin B, which produce good energy for you). Make sure that everything you do in life is something that you like. If you hate your job, quit and find one you like; go back to school if you can. If you hate your hobbies or don't have any, find ones that give you joy and drop the ones that you hate. When it comes to personal happiness, be rigid and ucompromising, and you'll find that you won't regret your choices one bit.
 

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I've been on Wellbutrin for 3 years (started at 75mg a day, now at 150). I also think the side effects may be outweighing the so-called benefits. When I asked the pdoc to raise it from 75 to 150mg he said (are you sure, WB can be very "activating" for anxiety sufferers) which turned out to be true. But when I told him I wanted to reduce the dose back to 75 he was like "are you nuts, what do you want to do that for? He left the dose the same but I've just been taking one of the 75mg pills a day with no ill effects, in anticipation of stopping altogether possibly.

This pdoc used to respect me, now he treats me like this- "I'm the boss, I'm the expert, you're the child/patient/loser, etc. Take your medicine - Take your medicine - Take your medicine!
 

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I've been on Wellbutrin for 3 years (started at 75mg a day, now at 150). I also think the side effects may be outweighing the so-called benefits. When I asked the pdoc to raise it from 75 to 150mg he said (are you sure, WB can be very "activating" for anxiety sufferers) which turned out to be true. But when I told him I wanted to reduce the dose back to 75 he was like "are you nuts, what do you want to do that for? He left the dose the same but I've just been taking one of the 75mg pills a day with no ill effects, in anticipation of stopping altogether possibly.

This pdoc used to respect me, now he treats me like this- "I'm the boss, I'm the expert, you're the child/patient/loser, etc. Take your medicine - Take your medicine - Take your medicine!
If he won't work with you, can him. Hit him in the wallet, which is where it hurts. If he can't respect the patient, then he is failing as a doctor. Good ones who listen to patients exist; keep going to docs until you find one.
 

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I would definitely talk to your doctor about this. I had this same problem with being on 20mg of Paxil. Your medication sounds like it is working, but almost too much. I would take a small step down in the dosage and see what happens. In my case, I am between doctors and was forced to halve my medication to 10mg. It was fine until this past week where things beyond my control started to get to me (I let them) and the anxiety came back a bit. I got emergency meds to make it through my first appointment with my doctor and stepped back up to 15mg. So far, it is working a bit. It is removing a lot of the anxiety noise, but I am able to feel.
 

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Coming off Wellbutrin might worsen feelings of emptiness and apathy, because Wellbutrin opposes these states of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, you're obviously unhappy at this point enough to write a long post like that. So I'd try to come off them, if it makes it worse, you could either fight through it, or go back on.
At this point though, you have so many options with regards to medications, that you should ask your doctor. Wellbutrin is surely not the end all be all.
I'm well aware about options regarding medications... I've kind of been through the ringer with meds. I have a long history with SSRIs and anti-anxiety meds. I first started on Paxil when I was 14 years old in 1993. I was struggling very badly with depression and anxiety, and I didn't take the decision lightly to try meds.

Paxil was the first in a long line of meds that I've tried over the years. I'll try to remember everything I've been on... let's see. Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Seroquel, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Ativan, Lithium (briefly), and for the "psychotic features" part that reared itself when the depression was at its worse there was the great zombifying antipsychotics like Haldol and Zyprexa.

Looking back, I can say that none of the meds I have ever been on have truly helped. On the contrary, I feel like they made me completely apathetic throughout the formative years of my life and made me not give a **** about my future. On top of that, they caused weight gain, which combined with no activity culminated in me reaching 300 pounds in 2003 at 5'7" (I have since lost 130 pounds and kept it off for 4 years, I did this while not on any meds). Then there were the withdrawal symptoms when coming off the SSRIs which at times were quite hellish.

Off the meds I haven't done so well either. I would be good for several months but then it would all come crashing down. My last hospitalization was in 2005 and Wellbutrin was the last med they tried at the hospital (given my history, they wanted to try a different class than SSRIs).

I don't attribute my getting better to the Wellbutrin (more like the brain's chemistry correcting itself over time), but I will admit that I have been reasonably stable for the past 4 years with no major crashes. However, I am also completely unhappy. I'm unable to feel emotions or really enjoy life and I am highly apathetic. I have to find out for myself if coming off it changes this at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So you have been on a drug for 4 YEARS and it still is not elevating your mood? What the hell is wrong with this psychiatrist? Is he getting commissions from the drug company for prescribing this medication? You have the right to fire him and stop taking the medication (but do so in a safe way)!
Well, to be fair he has wanted me to try other meds (namely SSRIs), but as I've noted in my last post I am through being a guinea pig with those meds. I refuse to take another SSRI for as long as I live, period. Been there, done that.

It sounds like it maybe elevated your mood from absolutely doing nothing to one of feeling flat, which is an improvement, but hardly what you, or anyone else for that matter, would want to feel on a regular basis.
I don't even know if I give it that much credit. I'm not convinced that meds have done a single positive thing for me, or if instead the brain has a way of correcting itself over time (in the same way that a physical wound will heal). I have more faith in the human body's ability to heal itself than a synthetic creation designed to change chemicals that we don't fully understand in the most complex organic computer system that is our brain.

I am very much a medication skeptic, because as you have noted, theory about medication and how it works is imprecise at best. We have many years to go before medications can precisely target a condition and "fix" it, and I do believe it is possible to create a drug that "cures" a condition, but that it is beyond our current technology to do so. I tend to adopt natural methods, as not only is medication imprecise, but it is also highly corrupted and manipulated by companies that are making billions from the drug sales. If they are making billions, obviously they want to keep people on their drug and make money, not get them better so that they no longer have to be on it!
I completely agree about the drug companies. I do not feel comfortable placing my life in the hands of those who have ulterior motives. I do not think that drugs can truly solve all of our problems in any case. I'm beginning to believe more than ever that the solutions have to come from within yourself, and not without. The way that you think, the activities you take part in, the people you surround yourself with, and the course you choose for your life have more of an impact on your state of mind than any medication could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been on Wellbutrin for 3 years (started at 75mg a day, now at 150). I also think the side effects may be outweighing the so-called benefits. When I asked the pdoc to raise it from 75 to 150mg he said (are you sure, WB can be very "activating" for anxiety sufferers) which turned out to be true. But when I told him I wanted to reduce the dose back to 75 he was like "are you nuts, what do you want to do that for? He left the dose the same but I've just been taking one of the 75mg pills a day with no ill effects, in anticipation of stopping altogether possibly.

This pdoc used to respect me, now he treats me like this- "I'm the boss, I'm the expert, you're the child/patient/loser, etc. Take your medicine - Take your medicine - Take your medicine!
I was on 300mg of Wellbutrin for 2 years. That is the maximum therapeutic dosage. I didn't think I needed to be on that high a dosage so I asked to come down, and my pdoc dropped it to 150. I've been on this dosage for several months and don't really notice a difference. My theory is that if I am completely off them I still won't notice a difference.
Aside from positive things like a reduction in OCD, insomnia, and anxiety. This stuff is a stimulant which people with anxiety don't really need.

Your pdoc sounds like a douchebag. I would look elsewhere (I am on the verge of doing this myself).
 

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Your experience reads very much like mine. I've been on anti-depressants for past 4 years I think. Been on various different SSRI/SNRIs, one only really helped which was Paxil but in the end it stopped working. Also nearly all of them in the end pretty much like you describe made me feel apathetic and little to no motivation at all. There is just no drive, creativity or desire to do anything and there is no satifaction. It completely destroys the essence of what living life is all about.

I'm now medication free, and it's amazing how different the perspective of things changes when you are off the medication. Everything feels more intimate with people and experiences, I just seem to connect more on an emotional level. However there is a downside, which you may already have gathered, and that is the old problematic symptoms coming back - which I went on the medication for in the first place!

I'm a bit divided at the moment on what to do next because of the old symptoms controlling my life. So the decision I have to make is, do I want a life where I can experience emotions again, but at the same time have symptoms that control my life such as anxiety and depression? Or do I go back on a medication that helps my symptoms of anxiety and depression and get in control my life again but deal with emotional blunting?

Tough call to make.
 
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