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Prozac Not Working - Help!

 Q: I keep taking Prozac but remain depressed. Can you help me? A: Thank you for your question, which I’m sure is relevant to many others. But let’s first sort a few things out. The first step is to make sure that your diagnosis is correct. Some people incorrectly think that a few days of sadness means they should take an antidepressant, but that is incorrect. You can take a Tylenol and the headache goes away. But you can’t pop a Prozac with the expectation that your sadness will quickly disappear. We humans are wonderfully complex and there are no quick fixes. To be diagnosed with Major Depression requires TWO straight weeks of symptoms like dysphoria, anhedonia (loss of pleasure), sleep and appetite disturbance, diminished concentration, easy agitation, low motivation, and in the more severe cases (what we see in the psychiatric hospital) death wish thoughts and suicidality. It is important to know that there can be a number of factors that can add to depression and render Prozac less effective. Things like inflammation (which is the body’s response to an infection or wound), thyroid disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, obesity, childhood abuse or neglect, and trauma, to name a few. Also, there are some medications that can have side effects of depression. I don’t mean to overwhelm you with all this, but any responsible psychiatrist should investigate these other possibilities before jumping too quickly to prescribing. You should also realize that Prozac (and other antidepressants) is certainly not the only approach for treating depression. In fact, in the more mild forms of a depressive illness, I would say that medication should not be recommended. We live in a world with lots of pill popping but sometimes that can be a way of avoiding the wonderfully challenging roads of life. Other treatments include good effective psychotherapy; this may take a while, but can be extremely powerful and long lasting. Exercise, healthy diet , and sleep are certainly crucial. Various forms of energy work, like Emotion Code, can help one release those trapped emotions that debilitate us. A life with meaning and purpose is essential for well-being. We have a soul that must be nourished. Be sure to take time each day to reach for transcendence. Without this, you can take all the Prozac you want but there will always remain a void inside.

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