Will anti depressants interfere or aid recovery from CPTSD?

Matello

New Here
I have been having counselling for 13 months. I feel I'm making little progress and have just had a heartbreak caused by limerance.
Other things are going on too. Friend is dying of cancer, elderly parent early stages of dementia and a pressured work life.
I feel overwhelmed.
My question is if I go to the doctor for medical help will this gloss over my CPTSD issues and make recovery harder?
 

Sideways

Moderator
My question is if I go to the doctor for medical help will this gloss over my CPTSD issues and make recovery harder?
My personal experience with anti-depressants is they aren’t so powerful that they will snuff out ptsd symptoms completely.

For me, I’ve needed medication to help get my depression under control in order to make progress with my therapy. I wouldn’t have made much progress without also dealing with the major depressive episode I had.
 

Freddyt

MyPTSD Pro
My question is if I go to the doctor for medical help will this gloss over my CPTSD issues and make recovery harder?
Most likely, they will suggest medication. Outside the choice of taking meds - I would make myself aware of whether they are addictive or not and how difficult it is to quit taking them. I try to be as informed as I can before I start taking meds because taking something that does little and is difficult or spikes symptoms when you stop may cause further problems.

For me, I’ve needed medication to help get my depression under control in order to make progress with my therapy. I wouldn’t have made much progress without also dealing with the major depressive episode I had.
I tend to want to use drugs the same way.

To:
- Get things under control - while figuring out how to deal with my symptoms without them.
- Get through things I know will aggravate my symptoms which are large family gatherings, the dentist, some medical stuff.

In other words -try to use them as a tool, and try not to use them regularly if possible.
 

Friday

Moderator
Meds In General

Generally speaking… unless you have another disorder that requires lifelong medication… going on meds requires doing trauma therapy “twice”.

- First, with the support of medication.

- Second, without medication… but already having learned some coping mechanisms (new ones will be needed without med support), and already having processed some trauma (meds block out the full effects, which will also need processing off med).

In an ideal world, most therapists prefer to do trauma therapy off-meds, but are also the strongest advocates I know of for going onto meds if needed; because for many people they wouldn’t even be able to begin therapy without them, much less make any real or lasting progress.

It’s much like physical therapy… where first a person is learning to walk with the aids of braces/crutches/assists… and as the injury heals & body strengthens, the aids are peeled back, and the person continues relearning how to walk & strengthening their body. It’s not like as soon as they master crutches they’re done. There’s still more work to do.

Antidepressants specifically

No idea if they will help you, specifically, or not.

For some people antidepressants help.
For some they don’t do much of anything.
For some people antidepressants make things worse.

All depends on your own unique neurochem + what problems you’re most out of your depth with.
 

RachelBigby

Confident
I'd also encourage you not to see counseling as a one-shot thing. Life happens in the meantime. There are setbacks and obstacles. Very few people breeze through therapy without ever needing to consider medication. There's nothing wrong with at least asking for the info.
 

KathK

Learning
I have been having counselling for 13 months. I feel I'm making little progress and have just had a heartbreak caused by limerance.
Other things are going on too. Friend is dying of cancer, elderly parent early stages of dementia and a pressured work life.
I feel overwhelmed.
My question is if I go to the doctor for medical help will this gloss over my CPTSD issues and make recovery harder?
Plenty of great comments.
I can only speak from my experience. I’ve found it depends on the doctor, though in general doctors are better educated about complex trauma than a couple of decades ago. If possible ask for a doctor at somewhere like a local women’s health centre or through word of mouth as they are likely to be more receptive and knowledgeable, and make sure you ask for a long appointment for the first visit. My GP is very experienced with working with people with a trauma history and looks at the whole situation and person, and I found her through my best friend who is one of the few who knows my history well.
Regarding medication, it can definitely be helpful. Trauma and stress change the way the brain works so meditation can help to balance things and help other treatment like therapy to be more effective. For me antidepressants helped to an extent at times, though I tried a few before I found one that worked for me; personally I found other medications like propranolol, prasocin and clonidine (just starting on latter) to help more as they work with arousal levels on the physical level (these are newer for use in ptsd but there’s lots of research with positive outcomes on these you could ask the doctor to look at); I’m lucky I have a psychiatrist who’s very up on medication for trauma treatment, but he doesn’t advertise that on his website.
Also, during high stress it’s ok and even normal to need additional support and maybe a course of medication. Given what you’ve shared have you looked at carer supports? I’m primary carer for my mother and with her cancer (treatable) cancer council and Carers Gateway have been able to offer me a variety of different supports including respite, various support groups (I think I saw one for carers of people with dementia). Selfcare is always important, but more so when dealing with grief, being a carer, and having a loved one with a serious diagnosis like cancer and dementia.
I’ve said a lot and I hope something in here helps. Be gentle with yourself, and it’s definitely worth finding a doctor you can trust and work with 🌺
 

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
If you’re so symptomatic (depressed, anxious, etc) that coping skills don’t help enough and you can’t make progress in therapy, then I believe it is time to give medication a try.

My personal experience is that medication helps me so much that I’m able to make a lot more progress with healing. I hate meds and I hate taking them, but the flip side is that I’m so much more functional that I probably won’t be med free at any point in my life.

Most recently my obsessive thinking started getting really bad. Coping skills weren’t helping enough. I decided to go back on a certain med that’s helped me in the past and I feel so much better, it’s like night and day.
 

Matello

New Here
If you’re so symptomatic (depressed, anxious, etc) that coping skills don’t help enough and you can’t make progress in therapy, then I believe it is time to give medication a try.

My personal experience is that medication helps me so much that I’m able to make a lot more progress with healing. I hate meds and I hate taking them, but the flip side is that I’m so much more functional that I probably won’t be med free at any point in my life.

Most recently my obsessive thinking started getting really bad. Coping skills weren’t helping enough. I decided to go back on a certain med that’s helped me in the past and I feel so much better, it’s like night and day.
Thanks. Does it take long before the meds start to take effect?
I had some 11 years ago and they said it would be about 4 weeks before I'd see a difference.
 

KathK

Learning
Thanks. Does it take long before the meds start to take effect?
I had some 11 years ago and they said it would be about 4 weeks before I'd see a difference.
Depends on the medication. With antidepressants there’s a couple that start to help in about a fortnight (private script only), but most take 4-6wks to start noticing a difference. Other medications like the ones for anxiety/hyperarousal (eg propranolol/prasocin) can start helping within days depending what dose you need. Antidepressants are typically frontline from memory so yeah, 4-6wks depending on the med, dose and how you respond.
 

Matello

New Here
Depends on the medication. With antidepressants there’s a couple that start to help in about a fortnight (private script only), but most take 4-6wks to start noticing a difference. Other medications like the ones for anxiety/hyperarousal (eg propranolol/prasocin) can start helping within days depending what dose you need. Antidepressants are typically frontline from memory so yeah, 4-6wks depending on the med, dose and how you respond.
Thanks. My main issue is anxiety.
 

caroline_13

MyPTSD Pro
Meds In General

Generally speaking… unless you have another disorder that requires lifelong medication… going on meds requires doing trauma therapy “twice”.

- First, with the support of medication.

- Second, without medication… but already having learned some coping mechanisms (new ones will be needed without med support), and already having processed some trauma (meds block out the full effects, which will also need processing off med).

In an ideal world, most therapists prefer to do trauma therapy off-meds, but are also the strongest advocates I know of for going onto meds if needed; because for many people they wouldn’t even be able to begin therapy without them, much less make any real or lasting progress.

It’s much like physical therapy… where first a person is learning to walk with the aids of braces/crutches/assists… and as the injury heals & body strengthens, the aids are peeled back, and the person continues relearning how to walk & strengthening their body. It’s not like as soon as they master crutches they’re done. There’s still more work to do.

Antidepressants specifically

No idea if they will help you, specifically, or not.

For some people antidepressants help.
For some they don’t do much of anything.
For some people antidepressants make things worse.

All depends on your own unique neurochem + what problems you’re most out of your depth with.
This was super helpful how you explained this :)
 
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