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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Anti depressants and natural medicine has not helped my anxiety/depression... help?

    I am a 45 year old female who over the past 6 months has been feeling as if I have lost my mind. I am suffering from anxiety and have tried all things the natural way, herbal medicine, kinesiology - but nothing has worked.

    It is ruining my life and I can no longer function properly, I cannot sleep, I have body jolts all the time, I cry everyday, I have no interest in anything, I've lost my appetite, and I've lost 2 stone in weight. I went from 11 stone to 9 stone being 5ft 10 in. I am on anti depressants that are not doing anything for me.

    I just want to feel ‘normal’ again. Is there any hope for me?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    Neil Chapman

    Exercise Physiologist

    Empire Health and Rehabiliation is owned and operated by Neil Chapman. Neil graduated from the University of Canberra with B.AppSc (Exercise Physiology) and is an … View Profile

    I would strongly suggest that you get in contact with your GP to discuss your current symptoms and the fact that you feel your antidepressant medication is not working. Maybe your medication needs to be reassessed or maybe you need to revisit Psychological treatment. In addition to this I would suggest joining an activity group. Ensure that the group is participating in something that you are intereseted in. Exercise groups are a great way of increasing your activity levels and this may assist in regaining some of the weight that you have lost in addition to this being in a group setting will assist you with being involved into the community. There has been research to suggest that exercise is a very effective tool in conjunction with appropriate medication and psychological treatment to manage depression and anxiety. An Accredited Exercise Physiologist can help support you with these exercise groups and help you back on the road to recovery. 

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    Yes there is hope :-).

    Some suggestions;

    As Neil has suggested, I think that it would be a good idea if you talked with your GP. Often matching the “right” AD to the “right” person can take a bit of “trial and error” so maybe a different AD might help you more.

    Also, your GP will be able to draw up a “Mental Health Care Plan” for you. That will entitle you to a minimum of six Medicare-subsidised sessions with a clinical psychologist (it could be more with the clinical psychologist and your GP think that is in your best interests).

    There is fairly good evidence that a combination of ADs (from a GP or psychiatrist) and *and* talk-therapy (from a clinical psychologist) is more effective than either is in isolation.

    As far as your eating is concerned, you might find it helpful to see a professionally qualified dietician. S/he should be able to help you.

    All the best.

  • Lisa Harris


    Lisa is an experienced psychologist who holds a Masters/PhD in clinical psychology. She is registered with the Psychology Board of Australia and is a member … View Profile

    Sorry to hear you are not travelling well… I agree with the above that you need to consider combining psychotherapy with medication. Relying on medication as the sole treatment option is not recommended. The loss of interest in activities and food, and weight loss are all symptoms of depression (although 2 stone is an awful lot so it might be worth ruling out other medical causes). Depression and anxiety are often comorbid.

    I am curious about the onset of your symptoms (was it sudden/gradual?). Are there other stressors that are contributing to the problem? Again, this is something that you can speak with a psychologist about. In any event, a good place to start would be your GP
    Good luck.

  • Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    I agree with the above.

    Exercise alone has been shown to help people with mild-moderate depression halve scores on depression questionaires (this is good). This involves 3x30 minutes per week where you have laboured breathing for that time. So a walk around the block doesn't ordinarily do this. If combined with “green” exercise - ie outside rather than in the gym, then there is some evidence that this improves ones mood even further.

    Basically what one needs to do when you are depressed is to increase your levels of serotonin. The only way to do this is to have a good diet filled with foods high in Tryptophan (dairy, soy, poultry, sesame, bananas) with wholegrains (more tryptophan comes across). You need Trypytophan to create Serotonin and Melatonin (for your sleep wake cycle). Meds do not create these drugs, they just make sure that if any serotonin exists it hangs about for longer. To convert tyrptophan to serotonin you need to have activity during the day (exercise is an example), being social (reaching out to those friends, family members, neighbours) and a decent sleep.

    Therefore, If one is taking even the best medication in the world, if they are not engaging in these types of activities, they do not produce enough serotonin to actually improve their mood. Just taking meds does not help. One also has to do those things listed above. Then your medication enhances any serotonin you create, making it more likely your recovery will be hastened.

    The problem with depression is you don't want to do that, aren't motivated to do that, or may not have those options due to past experiences. This is where a psychologist is very helpful. They can help you to break down and understand the barriers you personally have that currently stop you from improving. See here for a searchable list of psychologists

    I wish you well

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