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Worried about drugs I used

Hi I got drugs from my doctor but I've had mental health problems that have gotten worse since and I was extremely afraid of the drugs and got into a bad mindset and I hardly ever stopped thinking about them. I only took them once or a few times but they act on the brain and I feel like I've damaged my brain and done something bad. I took amitriptyline once, diazepam twice, pregabalin once, and zolpidem five times. This was over the course of the last 8 months but my mental health became extremely bad. That's why I got prescribed the other drugs after amitriptyline (this was prescribed for pain) because I couldn't sleep or calm down but after I took those drugs my anxiety went away and never came back, just negative feelings inside and the way I think and feel has changed hugely (now foggy and negative). Usually I am okay with drugs like antibiotics or pain relievers but the drugs I took affect the brain and I'm worried they changed something, damaged something, or triggered some mental illness.

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    jess63jess63 Posts: 287 The Mix Regular
    Hi @stressball

    Firstly welcome to the mix, it's great to have you here and well done for reaching out to the community, that's really brave of you.

    I'm hearing that you are afraid of the drugs and are worried that you've done something bad by taking them. That sounds really difficult. Doctors prescribe medication to help us and they only prescribe medication that is safe to take. Although sometimes medications work better for some people than they do for others. There is a whole range of medication that helps in a similar way. So if one medication isn't working for you or isn't making you feel better there are other options. How would you feel about speaking to you doctor and telling them how you feel about the drugs?

    Please keep us updated with how you're feeling, we're all here for you :)
    The steps you take don't have to be big, they just need to take you in the right direction.
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    AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 1,666 Extreme Poster
    Hey, it's really wonderful to have you here @stressball <3 I can't even begin to imagine how stressed out you are right now, so thank you for coming to us with your concerns. Given how scary it can be to use medication for mental health problems, it's no wonder that you're left feeling confused and uncertain about what kinds of effects they might have in the short- and long-term. You are certainly right to ask, rather than being left worrying about it in private!

    I think this article gives us some better insight as to how medications like antidepressants and antianxieties can impact the brain and its chemistry:

    https://www.greenbrooktms.com/how-do-antidepressants-affect-the-brain

    It seems to me, from doing reading, that the low amount of medication you have taken should not have any particular long-term impact on your brain or your body. If you chose to keep taking a particular medication for a prolonged period of time, that may affect you, but hopefully for the better (e.g., people with OCD who use sertraline for a few months can see their symptoms alleviating at least a tad).

    It sounds like you are really worried about the effects of these drugs and I was wondering what makes you feel so concerned? I would be grateful to talk to you some more about this if you wanted to, no pressure of course <3
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    stressballstressball Posts: 2 Newbie
    Hi Aisling, thanks so much. I am really, really stressed and have been for too long. I worry because these drugs went into my brain and I don't know if they affected it or changed anything permanently, or whether the side effects changed my mental state permanently because I was so stressed. My brain wasn't/isn't fully developed yet and this year was really important but all I've done is stressed over the drugs I took.

    I don't worry about things like antibiotics because they don't affect the mood or brain/mind but these were drugs that do that and I'll never know what could've been if I didn't take the drugs or stress over them. I'm scared to lose my mind as I already have, before the drugs I would still go out and do things and think but afterwards everything got really bad mentally and I'm afraid of this mind I have now is nothing like the mind I had, and I'm older. I had worked really hard on improving my mental health before the drugs even though it was in a really bad place. But now it's so bad that I feel like a completely different person and someone who will never do anything useful or connect with others again.

    I don't know anyone who takes these drugs so it feels like they are harmful and I don't want to have mental problems like this. I didn't want to change my brain like this for the worse, I needed it to be developed this year and it was to start with. I can't stop thinking about it all. If I ate cheese I know that's harmless and it goes into my stomach and my body processes that. I guess it's similar with drugs as they are processed by the liver I think but then even alcohol can damage the brain, and I don't know after I took those drugs it felt like something has gone more incredibly wrong in my brain. I don't know if this amount of stress for so many months causes damage or mental issues either.

    Thanks Jess also. There are millions of people who take these, right?

    Many thanks, sorry if this sounds like crazy rambling but there is something really wrong with my brain after all of this and it's really hard, I don't want to be like this.
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    MaisyMaisy Moderator Posts: 627 Incredible Poster
    Hey there,

    It sounds like your main concern is due to the fact that the medications you were given are ones that alter chemical balances in your brain (unlike other medications e.g. antibiotics).

    If you only took the medications a few times then it may not have a lasting impact. For example, the NHS article https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/amitriptyline-for-depression/ on amitriptyline states that you may feel better after 1-2 weeks of taking the medication, but it may take 4-6 weeks for it to fully take effect.

    You mention that you were prescribed the amitriptyline for pain, and that your mental health got worse because you couldn't calm down and couldn't sleep either. Being in pain and not being able to sleep can make us feel worse, even to the point of feeling foggy and detached. How is your sleeping these days? You may find that once you start sleeping better, you also feel less foggy too. Also, when we spend a lot of time worry about how we feel foggy or not right, we may be making the foggy feeling hang around longer. It might help to take your find off from these feelings by doing things that you are interested and engaged in- you may realise that when you do something that you are engaged in, the foggy feeling goes away.

    It is said that the brain doesn't fully develop until the age of 25, but doctors and those who manufacture medications are aware of this. This is partly why the dosage of medications can be altered- so that they suit the person who is being prescribed them. Chances are the medications/dosage you have taken have been deemed safe for someone your own age so it's unlikely that they would affect the development of your brain.

    Stress can be a difficult cycle to break. Stress can be part of why we may develop mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, but equally, we may feel stressed because we are already dealing with anxiety to begin with. But many people who have mental health issues do go on to recover or manage their mental health well.

    It sounds like you've been working hard to improve your mental health for a while, before you took medication. Would you like to talk more about why you wanted to improve your mental health to begin with? You also mention that you don't feel you can do anything useful or connect with others and I'm wondering whether you would like to talk a bit more about that?

    Medication is there to help and as it's been said above, many people take the medication you have listed on a regular basis. If you would like to go back onto medication or are concerned about any side effects, you might want to talk to your doctor. Of course, medication isn't for everyone. Some people find it helpful to have therapy or counselling, others might find it helpful to engage in self-help or make lifestyle changes, others might prefer medication and others still might find the right diagnosis helpful. Sometimes people feel that one of these things works for them, while others might feel that a mixture of things e.g. medication and therapy work best for them. What matters is that you get the help you need <3

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    AislingDMAislingDM Moderator Posts: 1,666 Extreme Poster
    Couldn't agree more with what Maisy has said, @stressball <3 It sounds like an extremely worrying situation for you, and it's understandable that you're feeling overwhelmed by this panic. To think that your brain has been permanently changed forever is very daunting, and of course this intense stress is not helped by people claiming different things about the effects of taking medication. You have people who argue that meds can have long-term effects, and those who say things are a bit more transient than that. Of course, this is deeply frustrating, because you're left in this middle-of-the-road position of not knowing what the truth actually is. :(

    Plus, you're then reckoning with the overwhelming feeling that your mind is not the same as it was prior to taking the meds, and I can't even begin to imagine how disconnected that must make you feel from yourself and your wellbeing, it's no wonder you're searching for answers right now. I was wondering if there was anything in particular that makes your mind feel different to before?

    The key takeaway from a lot of the information out there, is that medication like amitriptyline is considered safe to use long-term. If this is the case, then that would only reinforce the fact that taking this medication on few occasions would not have any strong permanent negative effect. <3

    I understand that this does not completely absolve your distress, especially as you mentioned other drugs and alcohol in impacting the brain long-term. It sounds like the idea of your brain being affected by meds really troubles you, is this right? I was wondering if you wanted to talk about that at all? (of course, no pressure!) <3 xxx
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