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Antidepressants-- At the point of breaking down

Discussion in 'Medications that can cause Hair Loss' started by kjdenver, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. kjdenver

    kjdenver Guest

    Hi there:
    I have posted before about being depressed (who isn't with this hair loss !!) and so many people were really nice to respond to my post.
    I think I have put off going on an antidepressant for the past nine months because I didn't want to lose more hair, thought I could "kick" the depression with more natural things like St.John's Wort or GABA and with some anti-anxiety meds. But I have gotten to the point that I can't function anymore. I lost my job about a month ago and now have no desire to get out of bed and have tried sending out resumes but can barely get through the interviews. The hair loss I have been suffering from for the past year and a half has taken it's toll. I have tried acupuncture and massage therapy and although I feel good for about 15 minutes after each session, I start to feel bad again within an hour. At this point, I just don't care anymore about my hair (well of course I do but I rather feel "good" again). Seriously, it makes the hair loss situation worse to just feel down, depressed and hopeless. It's taking every effort just to leave my house now too or even pick up the phone and call a friend.
    So I am going to take a stab at going on an anti-depressant. Does any side effect information show any AD that has a HIGHER incidence of hair loss? I know all can cause hair loss but wondered if any had a LOWER incidence of hair loss. My doctor wants me to go on either Lexapro or Wellbutrin. Again, I know hair loss has occurred in people with both. Maybe this is just trial and error but I was just hoping that someone had some knowledge of an antidepressant that has a lower occurence of hair loss.
    Thanks for reading this and for letting me ramble. Boy, two years ago I would have never, ever thought I could feel this lousy mentally and physically. I am trying hard to find something to look forward to and I think it just might help feeling good again (hair or no hair).
    Thank you!
  2. AmandaC

    AmandaC Guest

    (((Kirstie))). There isn't but maybe one or two women on here that I know of that haven't felt down right depressed and ready for the psych ward over this hairloss. I know I sure have, and I got on AD's for this very reason. To battle this takes determination, and at times sheer will-power and faith in the good Lord. And when you are depressed and can't concentrate or get out of bed (as I was), you have got to get some help. I am really walking a thin line taking doxepin, which is a tri-cyclic antidepressant and can cause hairloss. Tri-cyclic anything is not too good for your hair. But it has worked great for me so far. Wellbutrin is something to stay away from in my opinion. I have taken Lexapro and within 2 weeks was feeling lots better. I stopped taking it just because I didn't think I needed it anymore (this was years before my hairloss issues). I have also been on Paxil with no problems. I have felt much more confident that I can tackle this and enjoy my life with the help AD's have given. Let us know which one you choose. Your doctor may can give you a heads-up on which brands are more hair friendly. Make sure you stress to him/her that this is a concern (hairloss) and you just don't want to take a chance with anything that he/she has seen to cause hairloss in their patients. We are here for you regardless, and you can always talk to us when you need extra support. Lord knows I go on and on and on...But at least you know that you need help and are trying to get it, which is another show of bravery against our hairloss woes. There is still plenty of fight left in us!
  3. kjdenver

    kjdenver Guest

    Hi Amanda:
    You are so nice to respond and thank you for your wonderful words of encouragement and support. This is an awful, awful thing for any of us to have to go through and I always question what did I ever do to deserve this?? But I know that things could be worse for me and I try to look at the big picture and imagine things so much better a year from now. The frustrating thing for me is that I have been to every doctor imaginable and spent so much money doing so and no one has a clue why my hair is falling out. And the nerve of some of these doctors to say you really do have alot of hair when I KNOW it has significantly thinned out and I have lost over half of it ! But obviously, I am not functioning well at all now and I want to try and get my life back. I have tried antianxiety medications and they help for like 15 minutes or so and it is like they just wear off!! And every doctor I have seen when I ask about "hair friendly" antidepressants says they have never heard that AD's can cause hair loss. :)
    I have heard that tri-cylics are the biggest culprit among AD's for hair loss... so how great for you that they work for you AND don't cause more hair loss !! Can I ask, how long were you on the Lexapro? Although I have read that it can cause hair loss I have heard it is a good one for both Anxiety and Depression. I think I just have to bite the bullet and just start one. But the warnings make me nervous too, I have read that sometimes within your first two weeks of being on AD's that some people can feel even worse or suicidal! Can you tell I am a worrier? :) Maybe they just have to list this as a potential warning but I don't want to start taking something that is going to make me feel WORSE....
    Thanks so much for your response, Amanda. If I didn't have this website to go to I just don't know what I would do. No one else seems to understand how traumatic this is to go through....
    Best to you...
  4. stephanie867

    stephanie867 Guest

    Try googling victims of anxiety. I've been posting there for about 6 months and they are a GREAT group of people! Lots of info on different meds and plenty of other topics too.

    I have anxiety (can't take meds...tried effexor and lexapro and couldn't tolerate either of them - I gave up after that). I have some natural stuff that I use and it seems to be working ok so far.

    As far as hairloss, I'll take that any day over anxiety. At least you can cover your hairloss (which I do with a topper - now I don't need to be anxious over my hair anymore).

    I went through a really bad period last Feb where I didn't get off the sofa, didn't go anywhere, and it got so bad at one point that I was afraid to be alone in the house with my kids - what if I had a panic attack and had to call 911 - who'd take care of them? Somehow I managed to pull through it, but it took a long time (probably 3-4 months) and a lot of doctor & therapy appts. I was able to work during that time, but just barely and took quite a bit of time off (all with doctor's notes, so my company couldn't complain). No one knew what was wrong. They still don't. Not my doctor, endo, naturopath. All my bloodwork is fine, so it must be "all in my head". I have been going for Reiki and it's helped a lot....more than anything else.

    Now that I'm better with the anxiety, I have the hairloss....it doesn't ever end!
  5. AmandaC

    AmandaC Guest

    I have taken Lexapro for 6 months with no problems. It worked the fastest of all the ones I've tried. It took about a month for all the others to kick in.
  6. losinit47

    losinit47 Guest

    KJdenver...Man, can i relate with you..I lost my job 2 months ago..I am going thru a huge shed the pst 5 mos or so..been going thru thinning for years..My doctor say I have more hair than I think too. But I have a 1/4 of what i used to have.Its horrible..just horrible..I got on this site just a short time ago and it has helped. I am trying to keep my head up but lately dont know if I can anymore.
    As far as anti-d's go..I have been on them , on and off for over 20 years..I can say that I have NEVER noticed a bigger shed being on them..I personally have never known anyone who has..Honestly..I have tried so many of them..The one that woked the best (everyone is different) is Paxil, I was on that for years (I have depression that runs in my family, I go on and off cuase I think I can manage but I cant so I go back on ) Paxil was great, least side effects, but I have found (again everyone is different ) that after a while, & I mean a long while, you may get used to one & have to go on another..long story short, I had to get one again..I am on the new one, Cymbalta. It is starting to help after only 3 wks and hardly any side effects.(a little sleepless at first) Again, I started this 'long' after my mega shed so I know it is not from the drug...
    ..I wish you luck and Peace my friend

    Attached Files:

  7. kjdenver

    kjdenver Guest

    It is so hard to know which one to choose !! My doctors keep throwing Lexapro, Effexor and Cymbalta at me and I really wish I knew which one won't cause any more hair loss. I am terrified, just terrified to start something. But to be honest, I am ready to move on with my life and can't live this way anymore!!

    Thanks for all your responses!!
  8. losinit47

    losinit47 Guest

    kjdenver..they are all ''basically the same..i mean as far as being serotonin boosters...anyway
    just start with one hon, then if you dont like it,(ie, side effects are icky, give it time tho, side efects go away fast)) you try another..I have done that enough times!!

    try it..dont suffer..it really helps and I'll say again, for me, I know that they did not cuase my shed...honest! and in the insert for Cymbalta, there was no indication of hair loss...

    Good luck to you
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    First off, here is a really good place to learn about these kinds of medications, they also have a forum. The URL is http://www.crazymeds.org

    I am like a pharmacy, I have tried so many anti-depressants, atypical anti-psychotics and anti-anxiety medications, it's actually quite embarrassing :(

    I have been diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety disorder and I also had some PTSD a while back. I used to get very bad anxiety attacks (sometimes I still do), and even my general anxiety is so bad that I get nauseated, look miserable and sweat like crazy and it can last a whole day.

    I have been on Zoloft, Ativan, Klonopin, Risperdal, Seroquel, Abilify and Trazodone. I have found that none of them have bothered my hair, but I tend to have other side effects that certainly feel worse than hair loss.

    Here are my experiences:

    Zoloft -- insomnia, very miserable nausea, takes a long time to kick in for me, I had to build up to it for a long time
    Abilify -- somnolence (pretty much the opposide of insomnia), at higher doses I get blurry vision, very dangerous at nighttime when driving a car!
    *but my psych doctor recommended Zoloft + Abilify = very good combination for me because the Abilify helps with my mood stability (I need anti-psychotics for mood stabilization) and the Zoloft helps with my depression and anxiety, so together, they gave me the extra oomph that just wasn't doing it with an anti-depressant alone

    Ativan -- for my anxiety attacks and general anxiety, it worked for a little bit but I quickly built a tolerance
    Xanax -- also for anxiety, it worked better than Ativan but it made me kind of dizzy and woozy
    Klonopin -- works the best for my anxiety attacks and general anxiety, but it makes me want to take a nap about 2 hours later.
    Risperdal and Seroquel -- for mood stabilization and PTSD but they were tooooo sedating. This is heavy duty stuff.
    Trazodone is more for my infrequent insomnia but it makes me feel like my eyelids are made out of lead and I cannot get them open in the morning. I have literally slept the day away by taking one whole pill. It is also a very, very old anti-depressant and it isn't really prescribed anymore.
  10. Artista

    Artista Guest

    As difficult as hair loss is, depression is worse. I have chronic depression. I've been on zoloft and effexor. With each I really don't think they caused or made my hair loss worse. But they have kept me from really hitting rock bottom with life stressors. I suggest trying one for 3 months, and changing if it doesn't work. There is no "one" anyone can tell you that will work for you because we are all different. Along with meds try yoga or meditation. Stress is a biggy in depression and hair loss. I had 3 big stressful events over the past 1 1/2 year. My shed went way up, and that's about the time I really took note that I have a hair loss problem. Now I've removed the stressful thoughts and am hoping that by being calm minded that hairs lost due to that will come back. Who knows, but gotta try it!

  11. Danielle

    Danielle Guest

    As dark as this past two years has been for me, I am fortunate not to have chronic depression. I feel sad often, but my mood brightens when I am with friends although my writing and phone conversations can be extremely negative. Not a good thing.

    I have some odd symptoms as well...like my nose runs and I sweat in ordinary situations. I believe I have social anxiety as well as general anxiety. Sometimes it is just whacko. Last weekend, I spent nearly all my time procrastinating, pacing, and debating with myself about going to the grocery store. I had to keep telling myself I'll be ok. It gets really frustating.

    Meds...I have taken Trazodone, but more than half the weakest pill gave me a headache. I have tried zoloft and another that I cannot remember for short periods, but always stop. I am too afraid of the hair thing.
  12. 77nation

    77nation Guest

    Hi KJDenver:

    I'm pretty new to the forum and was happy to see your post. I'm wondering if you've taken the leap and started a med. Like many of the other women who responded, I've had a looong history of both depression and meds. As a matter of fact, I'm one of those who is wondering if an anti-dep exacerbated my hair loss (wellbutrin). I've been on a lot of the ones you mentioned, or at least their 'cousins". While I've come off for a variety of reasons none of them caused any noticeable hair loss with me. Hope you're doing well.
  13. MoonGoddess

    MoonGoddess Guest

    Hi Kjdenver,
    I also suffer from depression. It's been a really bad year for me. I've been unable to work this whole year due to my illness - never thought that would happen to me. I've always been a hard worker. Anyway, I'm a pretty sensitive person so I don't do well with alot of prescription meds. I did try Celexa (generic brand is Citalopram) a few months ago and I felt worse than how I felt before I went on it! I was severely depressed, woke up crying every morning and a whole bunch of other side effects - however it did not affect my hair loss. It seemed to have exaggerated my symptoms from my illness. My dr had me on such a small doseage and she said it was a pretty mild medication but I still didn't do well on it. As soon as I got off of it the symptoms went away. I currently take Ativan for anxiety and sleep disorder. I take a small dose before bedtime and it usually puts me to sleep and helps my anxiety. I am also trying to look within to help my situation. I am doing yoga and stretching every day. I am also starting to meditate more. I also try to practice visualization - I try to envision myself as a happy, whole, healthy person with a full head of hair again!! :wink: I try to do this before I fall asleep. I also see a therapist once a week - she is a life saver to me!
    Each person and their path is different. I hope you can find some peace within very soon. I know and understand how it can feel like things are hopeless - but if you keep trying/praying/meditating or whatever you do to get you thru the day, things can start to look up and you can maybe start to see the light.
    I wish you lots of love and light my sister. Please keep us posted about what you decide to do.
  14. kjdenver

    kjdenver Guest

    MoonGoddess and 77 Nation, thanks for your posts! If it wasn't for this website, I don't know what I would do. I think back to a year and a half ago and I had an absolutely great life... great job which I worked very hard at, beautiful home, wonderful friends, etc. Now it is so hard for me to appreciate the smallest things and I too have stopped working and just recently restarted again but have days where I don't know how I will make it through the day. I don't feel depressed, but EVERY doctor tells me that anxiety (which I definitely do suffer from) stems from depression.
    I haven't gone on an antidepressant yet but will do so I am sure after the first of the year. I need to get through Thanksgiving and Christmas and a 10 day cruise over the New Year's holiday and then I figure I will start on an antidepressant. I just don't know what to do anymore. I have started hypnotherapy and really like the person I see and do accupuncture once a week but need to start getting into meditation and yoga as well. I would give everything I own to get my hair back (isn't that so silly??). I know I could have it so much worse. But I feel now like I have isolated myself and crawled into this dark, deep hole and feel like I can't get out of it unless I have my hair back. Very silly, I know.
    I will be thinking good thoughts for everyone on this site and will keep you posted as to what I decide to do next regarding any meds.
    Very best wishes...
  15. alicat

    alicat Guest

    Is anyone able to help me understand why antidepressants would cause hair loss? I don't get it. They don't work on hormones...I'm stumped.
  16. Julie1977

    Julie1977 Guest

    most meds have hair loss as a rare side effect.
  17. alicat

    alicat Guest

    I guess rare is the key word!
  18. marie31

    marie31 Guest

    Hi, I've been struggling with hair loss for over 3 years, and the anxiety I normally have combined with that finally forced me to talk to my doctor about an antidepressant. I've been on Effexor XR for about 8 months now, and it's like I got my life back. I don't obsess anymore, I just use my Rogaine foam twice a day, eat as healthy as I can, sleep well, etc. I've been on Celexa in the past and it didn't work as well at quelling anxiety, but I've heard it's easier to wean off of. As far as I'm concerned, I could stay on Effexor forever if it helps me live my life without anxiety & depression...but it's a very personal choice. Good luck!
  19. angieangie

    angieangie Guest

    I was so scared when I started Prozac that it would increase my hair loss problems, but nothing has happened. I think it's never a high percentage of AD users that will have the side effect of hair loss, maybe like 0.5%-2%
  20. alicat

    alicat Guest

    I take Effexor XR and have no probs!

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