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Teenage years on drugs?

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Chemistry

Hey everyone, Just thought i'd post this topic on this board....

 

I've heard talk from various people assuming that adverse reactions from SSRIs whilst still a teenager, or being put on SSRIs as a teen (or even child) puts them in a worse position than if their brain was fully developed. This was my first instinct when i joined these forums last year, however everyone everywhere kept talking about how young people always heal better, faster, etc that being young is an advantage.

 

People always say "don't do drugs kids" because "your brain is still developing"... Well what does that even mean? What are the potential consequences of doing said drugs when your brain is "still developing" ? Are these consequences more persistent or brain-altering? 

 

I was always lead to believe that you can't permanently change your brain, especially when you're a kid because its so plastic and malleable. So what's the deal? if one has been prescribed an SSRI under the age of 18, and they had an adverse reaction from going on or had protracted withdrawal after coming off (all before turning 18) - do they have the same chances of recovering than someone who went on at an older age.

 

I've heard that teens have a higher chance of adverse reaction - and we all hear about the school shootings/suicides, etc - but if these kids were to get off the drugs - would they all recover back to normal? 

 

This is kind of bothering me since i went on celexa at 14 and a half... Although i haven't been the same since (just turned 18 now, 3 and a half years later) i initially didn't notice much of a difference until like 2 years later when i got off zoloft (thats when everything came crashing down - at 16). I'm wondering will i ever "feel" the way i used too... emotionally, physically, etc... I'm so sick of this PSSD and anhedonia and all the other symptoms. I'm 19 months out still waiting to see some significant improvements.. I dont care how long it takes ... I just really need to know i will recover at least 50%

 

I know no one will have the perfect answer since nobody knows for sure... But if anyone can share positive stories or experiences or even positive information in general that would be great.

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Addax

Chemistry- I began taking Prozac at 18, while my brain was still developing. The difference between you and I is I took it well beyond the developmental point, so whatever development was going on between 18 and say 26 happened with the drug in my system. You on the other hand have stopped with maybe as many as 8 years left till your brain reaches full maturity (you may know your brain continues to develop well into your early 20s. Some have estimated all the way to 26). So your brain may barely recognize that the drug was ever there. Sort of like a bad haircut when your hair grows back. Your brain is still quit mailable, and there are still a lot of changes going on in your body. When I was your age I would have rolled my eyes at this, but celexa aside, the teenage years are rocky ones. You may not see that now (I definitely didn't at your age! He'll no!) but let me tell you, now that my friends have kids your age (16, 17, 18, 19...) I hear about how difficult and emotional teenagers are all the time. Why do you think teenagers get such a bad rap?

 

I'm not a doctor nor a psychic, but I for one have no doubt you'll recover, and that you'll do so well beyond that 50%, and likely completely. You've got this!

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Finn

I can relate to this. I've been wondering if I will ever feel like I used to as well. I first went on antidepressants at age 22, and I doubt my brain was fully formed then. Now I worry my brain will never go back to the way it was before the drugs.

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Chemistry

Really encouraging post Addax thank you. :) I really hope you're right and good analogy on the bad haircut thing ;)

 

I dont know, i guess everytime i see or hear of "permanent" anhedonia (or emotional anesthesia) cases it seems to be from either older folk who have been on the drug for years and years, or from young teens who took these drugs sometimes for a period of time... Some people's symptoms persisted into adulthood. Its a very scary thing to think about since not many stories come from people like me (teens with long term anhedonia) and there aren't that many success stories either (if any at all). However the fact that there are horror stories well, that's not very encouraging lol. I hope to see more teens overcoming these problems in the future, myself included lol. Although i totally agree what you're saying and i think it makes perfect sense.. i just can't understand how someone can continue to have no pleasure/emotions for years and years when they started at 15 or something... Anyway, i try not to think about those cases anyway since its easy to assume the worst. Maybe those cases are really rare or something. I just hope things do get better in the future thats really all i ask lol.

 

Finn, i would say 22 is a lot better than 14 lol... the development stage at that point is quite a lot different i would say. 

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Jemima

I haven't gotten around to reading this yet, but it seems the human brain is capable of change as long as we live: The Brain That Changes Itself  by Norman Doidge. I don't know if it's at all reassuring, but I'm 68 and 99% recovered from withdrawal.  I expect I'll get all the way there within a few months.

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Chemistry

Still pretty worried about this. Im Past the 2 year mark and im not feeling any better. Reading other stories of people still suffering this anhedonia or pssd etc many many years out and many of them being drugged at a young age (i was only 14) is just so scary. I wish everyone got better 100%, 100% of the time. I wish i knew for sure. Will i ever feel normal/alive again?

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nick1990

Hey guys - i know i have asked this sort of question on my own thread recently but I'm really worried that because i was on citalopram from 15 years old (25 now) does that significantly suggest i will struggle to become drug free? Ive heard from people that because I'm still young that my brain would be more effective at dealing with change and growth and recovery? There aren't many people on here who were put on drugs in their teenage years? (which could be a good indication i s'pose) Are there any successful slow tapers from young people available on here?  I'm a REAl over thinker by nature by the way ... 

I should add , one of my brothers was put on citalopram too at age 17 - 40mg and is now 23 . He has reduced to 10mg before fine, and stayed there for a good while. He then went back to 40 or maybe 45mg a year later and is in the process of reducing - now down to 35mg i think - He has had NO troubles at all reducing. 

Thanks for your responses

Nick

Edited by KarenB
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Vigor

Hey Nick,

 

I think everyone reacts differently. I had no problem reducing my paxil dose from 20mg to 10mg before. I stayed on that for months, but when I got off altogether it was a nightmare. That is why I think so many people are OK at reinstating at 5mg doses. These drugs are very potent at any strength, so I think your brother would have a real wake up call off his antidepressant entirely. 

 

Just my opinion.

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Gumboot

I think it's very much down to the individual, but from age 17 to 21 I was taking Serenid-D (which I think is oxazepam, a benzodiazepine), at first three doses a day then two. Then I decided to stop. As I recall I saw the GP about it but I'm pretty sure the idea of tapering was never mentioned. Anyway, for a day or two I felt its absence, I remember the light being unpleasantly bright. But I never took it again, or wanted to. Over the following weeks and months my mind was so much clearer.

 

I'm now 56 and have recently reinstated citalopram, which I stopped for a couple of months after being on it for nine years. The withdrawal was too much. Different drug, much longer use of course...

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brassmonkey

I have a personal friend (not a member of SA) who went on 40mg Paxil at the ripe old age of 6.  He maintained that dose until he was 17 at which time he did a moderately slow taper.  He's in his mid 20s now and you'd never even know it happened.

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KarenB

Six!! 

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nick1990

that is nuts ! 6 ! good to hear that he recovered fine though. O man i wish i had taken my initial tapering slower . i think i could have avoided a lot of pain.

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brassmonkey

He's the youngest I know of, but back at Prior Place we had over half a dozen who started in the 7-8 year range and were trying to get off in their midteens.  It's painful to even think about.  In fact we have a new member here (can't recall her name) who is the mother of a boy who is around 8 and going through WD.  I believe from Paxil.  There was a real trend a few years ago to start treating subteens with these drugs for pretty much normal childhood acting out. I can't site sources but I recall reading recommendations of treating infant level (2-4 years) temper tantrums with ADs.

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DLB

That is absolutely disgusting to happen to any child and should be illegal as hell.....

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Darwin

hi nick i took a various amount of pharmaceuticals over the span of two years(mostly ssri's/snri's). i started when i was 15 and it has pretty much ruined my highschool experience & making me re evaluate my dreams because of the damage i had inflicted on myself while i was on the drugs. I'm 18 now & i came off all drugs cold turkey in May 2015. doing much better now. still more symptoms than i would like ,but I'm positive i will heal all the way. You will too. 

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Mjau

Hi Nick, I was around 17 when I went on Sertraline. Now almost twenty years later I am tapering.... I have experienced a lot of side effects from the ADs. With decreasing dose my symptoms have improved though I still have a lot of symptoms left. And I feel optimistic that the remaining symptoms will improve as well. It takes time! I would so much like to be free of the pills right away because one of my side effects is cognitive problems.... but I have tried too quick tapers before with really bad symptoms as a result. Going slow is the best for the nervous system!

 

As others have mentioned people react differently to withdrawal. Reading your signature it seems you get a lot of symptoms from withdrawal and therefore it's wise to go very slowly as you now do with 5% cuts. 

 

There are a lot of success stories here on this forum and on other places on the internet too - people who have been through horrible withdrawal and who then recover!

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Rhiannon

From what I've seen, people who started on psych drugs as teenagers and then stay on them for a long time seem to have more trouble getting off than people who started a little later--BUT (and a very important "but") AGE is a big help. If you're young, and you do a slow enough taper, you have a very good chance of doing just fine.

 

Your youth is a huge advantage, from what I've seen over the years of people tapering and trying to get off these drugs.

 

Just take it slow and listen to your body, especially once you get down to the lower doses, which is where people tend to run into problems.

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Altostrata

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