“I feel that many women get drugs [because doctors] cannot spend time over a period of several years with a patient to discover what is really wrong.”
Several years ago I got divorced and was of course very upset during this period. I went to several “talk” therapists who I did not feel comfortable with. Like buying any other service you have to shop around for someone who can help you that you also feel comfortable with, whether it is drug and/or talk therapy. After running through several therapists, I ended up with a drug-oriented therapist who prescribed Prozac and monthly monitoring sessions. I then took the Prozac for “depression” (due to on-going life problems and some poor life skills of course I was depressed) for six months and decided not to take it any more for the following reasons:
a. during the six months I took the Prozac, I got six ear and/or sinus infections. I usually get one to two bad colds a year, maybe the flu or a strep throat.
b. my joints ached clicked, especially in my jaws. My dentist of long standing took x-rays and discovered “previously undiagnosed” TMJ and I had to go through expensive dental therapy for this during the time I was on the Prozac. The dentist asked me if I was taking any prescription drugs, which I told him about the Prozac. He said he had done part of his internship in a mental hospital, as well as working there on a part time basis to earn money for school, and Prozac and Zoloft were often given to the patients to chill them out and be more controllable for the staff, and not to really help them with any illnesses or anything going on in their lives.
c. various other “miscellaneous” symptoms including weight gain, a lot of weight, even though this medicine was also supposed to make me both lose weight and not want to eat as in Meridia (affects serotonin levels). I did not want to eat for about the first two weeks I was on this drug (about the standard life-cycle of over-the-counter diet medicine available at your local drug store, and then as it began to “work” (“it takes a month to work,” said the doctor), my appetite returned plus some. In my experience it is supposed to make you “happy” but it makes you “overeat happily”, or keep on with your behavior that needed change before the drugs or in other words happily not address whatever your issues were before you started taking the Prozac.
d. my blood prolactin levels went way up. At my next gynecological exam I told the doctor (the gynecologist, not the psychiatrist) about the weight gain and the prolactin levels. Before I even had a chance to say I was on Prozac, he said “are you taking anti-depressants” and that in his experience these were common side effects of taking anti-depressants. This was a very good doctor who I had seen for years, and he knew I was in the middle of a divorce. His opinion was that the anti-depressants were not going settle a bad life experience and I should get someone to talk to rather than prescribe drugs and that if I really wanted something to “take the edge off so I could cope,” there were many older, way milder, and more effective drugs to take, just for a short time, until things calmed down in my life.
e. I never had anyone suggest that maybe a complete physical would also help. I am still very overweight and they want to give me Meridia for it. My insurance will not pay for this or Xenical because they say there are too many side effects they said it causes enough side effects for them to begin to see it as “uneconomic” because they would have to pay to cure the (preventable and avoidable) side effects and that they won’t pay for it and that it would be foolish for me as well to pay out of pocket good money that I don’t have for something with many serious side effects and minimal/marginal good effects. I have also been on birth control pills for medical reasons not to do with avoiding pregnancy (another story) with similar effects to the Prozac.
f. I stopped taking the Prozac, fortunately no side effects, and found a therapist that I liked, in this case a “feminist.” Unfortunately by this time my insurance was close to running out so I had to space out visits, and then I had to pay out of pocket because I had to change to a health plan she did not use.
g. Unfortunately the health insurers do not like to pay for talk therapy, it seems to me because it easier to pay for one 15-minute visit monthly than for one or two weekly sessions that might go on for a year or two, in addition to visits for medication if the person needs that as well. It also seems that there is no way to “shop around” for a person who can help you without using up your allowed visits. So people who could use the help end up with not enough help or the wrong help or no help or end up in a clinic.
h. I feel that many women get drugs (because they are women, a social issue) and that doctors either do not understand what the drugs really do or cannot spend time over a period of several years with a patient to discover what is really wrong that may take a while to discover, such as endometriosis, PCOD, women’s physiology, life problems, and we just get pills thrown at us to make us happy with the status quo instead of just listening. We know the doctors have many patients and not much time and we don’t need them to kiss the ground we walk on but we would like to feel that we are listened to.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Years 2000 and Prior
This is Survivor Story number 70.
Total number of stories in current database is 96
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