• Don't know if I'm depressed or it anxiety?

    Asked by Keith59 on Friday, August 29, 2014

    Don't know if I'm depressed or it anxiety?

    Three weeks ago my oncologist out of no where wrote a script for antidepressants and handed it to me. I never ask for it or even hinted about depression. I haven't got it filled yet. The last three days I'm on the verge of tears for no reason. Maybe he seen something? Should I get it filled?

    25 Answers from the Community

    25 answers
    • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch's Avatar

      cam32505 is correct. Antidepressants will not work if taken only periodically. In order to be effective at increasing cells in your hippocampus, providing you with more available serotonin, and thereby decreasing depression, they must be taken as prescribed for a number of weeks. As the weeks go by, you will begin to feel better. If not, you may need either a dose adjustment or a med change. If you are depressed, your appetite will be even worse than it already is; you won't want to move as much as you should; your demeanor will be more difficult for family and friends to deal with. This all negatively effects healing. Cancer and chemotherapy effect the brain ("chemo brain") as it is. Don't let depression batter it even farther.

      Anxiety is a different animal. The meds mentioned above that are specifically meant for it CAN be taken periodically, as needed, when one's level of anxiety climbs. If you feel any anxiety, perhaps the doctor can prescribe an anti-anxiety med as well. For example, I have a HUGE pass-out-on-the-floor needle phobia, so I take Xanax prior to lab work or medi-port accessing. [Other anti-anxiety meds mentioned above are: Ativan and Valium (there are others). When used and taken appropriately in the doses meant to treat anxiety when needed, they are not "addictive" or, more accurately, do not cause dependency.]

      Someone mentioned panic attacks, an extreme anxiety condition marked by a sudden onset of intense fear. One feels like they are literally going to die when in a panic attack, like their heart will burst, and frequently end up in the ER with chest pain and difficulty breathing. Panic attacks can lead to agoraphobia in an attempt to avoid the situations that bring on the panic. Benzodiazepines are used to treat this disorder.

      Addiction, the compulsion to take a drug in spite of obviously dangerous consequences to the point of risking death or committing crimes to continue, is the wrong term to associate with these very helpful medications. People do not become addicted to them. Anti-depressants can cause a physical dependence, though. After on them for a while, abruptly stopping can cause serotonin levels to drop too quickly. Gradually stopping the med is very important and much more comfortable; periodically lowering the dose or increasing the time between doses provides a smooth transmission. People worried about "addiction" probably don't take appropriate pain medications, either. This is too bad as pain, like depression, is a huge stressor that negatively effects one's immune system and healing.

      [If your depression becomes long-term, or has already been long-term even before your diagnosis, you should add therapy to your regimen. It truly helps.]

      All the best!

      almost 6 years ago
    • Ouch_Ouch_Ouch's Avatar

      "periodically lowering the dose or increasing the time between doses provides a smooth transmission. "

      Ooops! Make that "a smooth TRANSITION". Sorry!

      almost 6 years ago
    • kage's Avatar

      That was one of the discussions we had before I even started my treatments. It was an option on my part of course, but my doctor often gave anti-depressants to his patients on treatment. I was already on them though.

      over 5 years ago

    Help the community by answering this question:

    Create an account to post your answer Already have an account? Sign in!

    By using WhatNext, you agree to our User Agreement, and Privacy Policy

    Read and answer more skin cancer - melanoma questions.  Also, don't forget to check out our Skin Cancer - Melanoma page.