At work/uni, I often get to the point of almost crying in front of people, and I have suicidal thoughts. I've refused antidepressants in the past, in case they affect my uni performance and/or I become dependent on them. I know my depression isn't purely biological, it's because of my inability to fit in in the world. I'm interested to hear the experiences of other autistic individuals with antidepressants. Did they help you, or did your low mood persist because of your autism? How difficult were the side effects, did they affect your ability to work/study? Did you become dependent on them?
Thanks for your responses :)
I was put on antidepressants because i was mis diagnosed as having depression and ocd.
Iam actually Autistic.
The tendencies i get are autism not depression. it is complicated.
They will not affect your performance but you may feel tired easier due to the way the medication works
If and when you do not need them anymore you will be slowly weaned off.
Hi, everyone reacts to different drugs differently. All have side effects. But if you find something that works for you then that can be great. I have taken antidepressants, more on than off since I was 21 - 20 years now. Just like a diabetic takes insulin and doesn't feel guilty about being dependent on a drug that fixes an in balance in their pancreas, I take ssris to fix an I balance in my brain. Antidepressants don't work for everyone and I had to try 3 before I found a good combination that suited me. But I have never been aware of cognative impairment from taking them and I can do a lot more when I am not depressed. Have a look at the mind website. Loads of good advice there.
Depression is a very common co-occurring disorder with AS/ASD. I was very against taking anti-depressants for various reasons, but I've been on Citalopram several times (and currently) and I've found it useful. I find it difficult to determine when I'm feeling depressed because it kind-of creeps up on me, but I usually spot it when I realise I'm feeling down for no obvious reason. Unfortunately, repeated experience has helped me get better tuned into what is going on. I know I don't get physically addicted to Citalopram because I can be quite bad at remembering to take it, and a few times I've gone a week or so with not realising I'd forgot to take it and then generally though, oh well, I might as well come off it then.
I'd suggest talking it through with your GP and seeing if you can find one that suits you. Your GP should keep a close eye on you for the first month or so because they can take a while to work, plus sometimes things can feel worse before they feel better. Also not all the drugs suit everybody, so it may take a bit of experimentation before they find one that works for you where the side effects are OK. I don't feel any particular side effects that I'm aware of from the Citalopram.
If you're feeling down and it's impacting your life I'd definitely suggest at least having a chat with your GP.
Hi James. Are you in the UK, if so, did your NHS doctor help to take you of them?
Hi, thanks for your response. You mentioned you tried 3 drugs before you found one that worked. How long did this process take (weeks, months, years)? Also how severe were the side effects that forced you to change to the next drug - e.g. did they prevent you from going to work or focusing?
Also thank you for the recommendation, the Mind website is indeed very useful :)
Hi Windscale, thanks for this response, it's really useful :) It's especially encouraging to hear about your lack of dependence.
Did you experience your feelings getting worse before they got better? If so, how much worse is worse? That's a difficult question to answer I know, haha. Sometimes just now I become suicidal, so if it got worse things might end badly before they have the chance to get better.
Yes they did. always get doctors advice.
That's great. Sometimes I've found it can be hard to get doctors to take you seriously.
My experience has been more that you're already travelling in a direction and it takes a while to turn the ship around. But I think it varies between people. I rarely get very suicidal though, I just tend to feel more like I'd like to go sleep forever because I've run out of "go-juice" and don't have the spoons to keep going.
Months. The first one made me feel more emotional, after 2 weeks I went back. The second one gave me very vivid dreams, such that I thought I had had a conversation with someone in real life. But other than that I was very well. So I went back and was prescribed something to counteract the dreams. So I take a combination of things that works for me. Lots of drugs give you a dry mouth. I just take it with a glass of water at night. Some drugs make you sleepy, again, take them just before bed and then you have 8 hours to get the sleepiness out of the system.