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Anyone have experience taking antidepressants while studying for the MCAT?

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by Elizabethx89, 09.20.14.

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  1. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  3. bambam92

    bambam92 2+ Year Member

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    InB4Lock.
    But if you have mildish depression maybe talk to a doctor about an ADD drug. I am not kidding btw--I have known many people who have conquered mild/and even moderate depression by utilizing various amphetamines. I.e. Adderall/vyvance/dex etc. Antidepressants are NO JOKE, and have causes many people a terrible downfall---would go ADD drugs way before anti-depressants. Also anti-depressants can make some lethargic, and zombie mode. Definitely not what you want when studying for MCAT or school in general. Amps will get you feeling motivated, driven, and focused. Ask your psychiatrist about trying an ADD drug. If they are willing to throw you on anti's they shouldn't have a problem giving you some ADD meds.
     
  4. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  5. wlf87

    wlf87 2+ Year Member

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    Have you tried exercising? If a gym is too expensive, try going for brisk walks/running around the neighborhood; even skipping rope at home or situps/pushups will do. Anything to get the heart-rate up. Look at funny youtube videos; laugh out loud at yourself looking in the mirror. As they say, fake it till you make it. I would say avoid anti-depressants since you've tolerated well without it in the past. Now is not the time to experiment. Also prepping for the MCAT can be an isolating and depressing journey esp. if you don't have supportive people around, so that's normal. SDN also gets pretty inspiring/motivating when it wants to, many inspiring people here, just use the search function... dont give up, as they say, it's truly a marathon, not a sprint, and it gets better. Just keep at it.
     
    Last edited: 11.10.14
  6. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  7. ciestar

    ciestar 2+ Year Member

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    I am you. Seriously.
    This has been me, for months. I cannot find the will/energy to study. I'd much rather sleep or watch tv.
    But, here I am, my exam is in a MONTH. Content review is far from finished. I feel screwed which makes all these feelings worse.
    My best advice is don't even think about taking this exam until you're over this. A pill won't change it overnight, either. It's a very long process.

    But really, don't get yourself into my situation. I started studying (technically) in APRIL. I basically took the entire summer off from work and was virtually not productive. Now, the stress is worse, causing the depression to get worse, and it's a vicious cycle.

    Good luck, OP!
     
  8. Megalomis

    Megalomis To know, is to know that in which you don't know

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    I'm not sure about this. She is saying she has moderate depression (not ADHD), and that numerous docs have tried prescribing her anti depressants. I'm not sure how stimulants would be helpful for someone like her over the long haul. I'm no psychiatrist and maybe someone can help me out here--but yea this doesn't sound like the best course of action to me--especially if she has been on the stimulants in the past and they haven't exactly helped her with the depression?

    Some natural alternatives that you may want to try out in the meantime:
    1. Omega 3 fish oil. Find one that has a higher EPA to DHA content (I think the magic number is around 1,000 mg per day, total, for depression).
    2. St. John wort (do some research on this one..some studies have shown similar effectiveness to antidepressants for people w/low to moderate depression). I do not know much about it personally tho!
    3. Vitamin B complex

    I take Vitamin B complex and omega 3's every day. Could be placebo effect but it seems to do good things for me.

    Wishing you the best of luck..let us know how things go!! :)
     
    Last edited: 09.21.14
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  9. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  10. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  11. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  12. lazyindy

    lazyindy 5+ Year Member

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    be careful, fish oil has been linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/podcast/transcript090313.html
     
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  13. ciestar

    ciestar 2+ Year Member

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    Been there, lol. My grades were also great despite all of this crap. I just feel like there's so much more on the line here. If I blow it, no med school and it's that simple.

    Based on her username I'm pretty sure prostate cancer won't be a concern.
     
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  14. lazyindy

    lazyindy 5+ Year Member

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    wow brainfart moment, I apologize @Elizabethx89 :smack::smack: didn't see your username.

    Think I need a break from studying at this point.
     
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  15. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  16. jazzcatastrophe

    jazzcatastrophe 2+ Year Member

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    I would be wary of starting an anti-depressant regimen now because a) they take a while to kick in and it requires quite a bit of calibration to get the right dosage and b) sometimes the side effects can be pretty gnarly, and may further interfere with your studying If you do decide to take them, be prepared for a few weeks of fuzzy brain/feeling off kilter while you get used to them
     
  17. magictouch

    magictouch 2+ Year Member

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    I wouldn't start an antidepressant now. They make you sleepy and mess with critical thinking, and like others mentioned, take a couple months to start fully working. I would tough it out if the add medicines don't work. In terms of energy, look to tea over coffee, because it has L-theanine which calms the jitters and anxiety caffeine sometimes instigates.
     
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  18. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    Off label use of ADHD medication for depression is actually pretty common when other methods don't seem to work. So I would definitely agree.
     
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  19. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    Exhibit A right here. I graduated with a 3.93 in the upper 10% of my class with multiple honors. Still bombed my first MCAT attempt :/ haha
     
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  20. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    You should ask your Doctor about Strattera. It is a non-stimulant ADHD drug that works by similar mechanisms of a common class of anti-depressant drugs (MAOI's to be specific). So as someone that is afraid of psychiatric medication, this may be a better alternative. There is evidence of its usefulness in the treatment of both depression and ADHD. So although you are not experiencing ADHD as your main problem, it is very unlikely that using this drug for depression will have an adverse effect on your ability to focus. I have a degree in neuroscience with a concentration in psychopharmacology and this is what I have learned, but I am still no psychiatrist. Worth talking to your doctor about though :)

    Personally, I have pretty bad anxiety issues, and while I am prescribed to Xanax to take as needed, I was afraid taking it would interfere with my studying. However, I found that taking a very small dose actually helped my performance by alleviating my severe anxiety but not making me sleepy.
     
  21. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    Not all patients taking antidepressants experience drowsiness as a side effect. It just depends on the individual. While SSRI's may make you sleepy (because of increased Serotonin), other classes may not do so. And they can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 4 months to start working, so there is still some time!
     
  22. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    I had the same experience with Vyvanse! My doctor tried switching my from Adderall to Vyvanse when it first came out and it made me go nuts. My friend also suffered from amphetamine psychosis because of Vyvanse. Not a fan.
     
  23. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  24. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    Ah. It was my psychiatrist who gave me the idea. I first tested his idea out by taking half of the lowest dose of Xanax prior to a practice test, and I ended up getting my highest practice score yet. To be sure it was not just chance, I did the same thing for subsequent practice exams and found it really did help.
     
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  25. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    I would ask him to refer you to a psychiatrist. And that's interesting. I tried Strattera and it didn't do jack **** for me haha
     
  26. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  27. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    Actually I have been on Adderall a good majority of my life and have had no major issues. I don't know what it is about Vyvanse, but wayyyy too intense for me. I have never done well with extended release.
     
  28. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  29. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  30. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    I have never experienced a worse crash and burn come-down than with Vyvanse. But ya it is definitely very interesting, which is why I loved my field of study:)
     
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  31. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    I know the feeling, I had a psychiatrist like that in the past. Fortunately my current psychiatrist is a therapist as well and has never tried to push any medication on me.
     
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  32. bambam92

    bambam92 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, it seems like you have tried everything with extended release ADD drugs. I think you should ask your psych about trusty good old adderall IR. I still feel it is the gold standard for ADD drugs, especially for those who have to study. And it allows you to actually get to sleep at night due to not having the ridiculous extended release mechanism. I think its terrible your psych would try you on everything else under the sun without letting you try adderall. Demand the instant release version. I say this because say you go to classes all day, and your ADD drug wears off and you have to study that night--get to library at 5---if you have extended release drug you are SCREWED. You can't even take it. If you do, no sleep that night. But with adderall IR you can take it and be asleep by midnight. Also no caffeine on amps--crazy anxiety. Just to be sure.
     
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  33. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  34. bambam92

    bambam92 2+ Year Member

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    Lol, no talk to your psychiatrist. If it doesn't work then give up on them. But on a side note; I suffer from anxiety and exercise is key. In particular cardio, after lifting weights running a few miles helps so much with anxiety and depression. Try that if you're not. How is your studying going now? Are you getting stuff done?
     
  35. Elizabethx89

    Elizabethx89 Banned Banned

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  36. j306c954

    j306c954 2+ Year Member

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    I tried XR and it didn't work out, but Ya IR worked a lot better :)
     

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