CBT & E&R Prevention
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Advice for Friends/Partners


1. Depression and BDD
2. What is Depression anyhow, and what class of medications can help?
3. How does one develop a chemical imbalance?

4. Pros and Cons of Medications
5. Other Drug-free Serotonin Boosters
6. Final thoughts and information
7. Most often prescribed drugs for BDD
8. Personal Experiences with Medications
Depression and BDD
Many people turn to medications as a solution to BDD. One of the most difficult aspects of BDD to overcome is the severe depression that is often associated with it. The problem with this depression is that it is often not the type that lasts for several weeks to months, but instead, the kind that lasts for years or decades.
What is Depression anyhow, and what class of medications can help?
Depression is not completely understood at this time, but researchers are fairly certain that depression involves an imbalance of neurotransmitters in your brain, with the neurotransmitter Serotonin playing the key role. The medications prescribed to BDD patients are called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRI's. As you might guess, these antidepressants selectively affect Serotonin, and cause fewer side effects than medications that would affect several different types of neurotransmitters.
How does one develop a chemical imbalance?
You may wonder how you developed a chemical imbalance in the first place. Well, there are several theories on this. Some researchers say that a chemical imbalance can be inherited. Others say that it can be caused by severe psychological stress, physical illnesses or conditions, or medications. I once read a book that stated that living in an abusive or controlling environment as a child could actually create a chemical imbalance of serotonin levels in the brain as well.
Pros and Cons of Medications
There are several pros and cons that must be considered when deciding whether you should start taking medication or not. First, I'd like to point out, antidepressants are usually prescribed for 6 months to a year, helping people get over normal bouts of depression. Many people who are depressed have experienced a concrete situation that has caused their depression, and over time, they will eventually get over it. Medication allows them to control the symptoms of their depression while they are recovering.

People afflicted with BDD tend to have depression for years. It is usually not a viable option to take medication for the time length that BDDers need it, as it's both expensive and can even cause damage down the road. To top things off, most people with BDD taking SSRI's have found that medication helped for several months, at most, and then they had to increase dosage or change medications just to continue feeling good!

Several people also become plagued with horrible side effects. And there is no sure way to find which medications will work for you. It's a long, tedious process of trial and error, finding which medication will have rewarding effects, and which will bring more problems than it's worth. Many times, you'll have to take a medication just to battle the horrible side effects of another! To top everything off, medications can never cure depression or BDD. They can help to control or mask the symptoms. Additionally, most people with BDD who take medication, and then stop taking it, end up regaining all their symptoms of BDD again! You have to questions yourself whether it is healthier to listen to your body, and make a change for the better and deal with your problems. I believe that medication is a great option if you need help now and see no other way out. But eventually, if you ever want to truly get over your depression and BDD, and not just hide it, you'll need to do it the right way-through plain hard work.
Other Drug-free Serotonin Boosters
I might also mention, it seems that medications are not the only way to influence the brain's Serotonin levels. Playing with animals and doing other uplifting things seems to do the trick as well!
Final Thoughts and Information
Finally, it's always recommended, if you decide to take medications, to use them as an addition to therapy instead of a replacement for it. If you do decide to use medications, please discuss this with a doctor or psychiatrist. They should be able to help you make decisions about which medication is right for you.
Most often prescribed drugs for BDD (please click on the links for more information on useage and side effects associated with the medications):
 Brand Name Generic Name
 Prozac Fluoxetine
 Luvox Fluvoxamine
 Paxil Paroxetine
 Zoloft Sertraline
 Celexa Citalopram
 Anafranil Clomipramine
Personal Experience with Medications
I took Prozac for several months. It takes some time for it to start working, but once it does, you will feel quite good. I remember being more talkative and more excited about things-it was as if I was on a heavy dose of caffeine! As for my BDD, I continued to feel ugly, but I really didn't care about the fact that I felt unattractive! After a few months, the effects of Prozac wore off completely, so my doctor increased the dosage. The increase didn't help my BDD or depression at all, but instead, brought about annoying side effects, most notably, insomnia. To battle these side effects, Desyrel was added to the mix, which I didn't handle well at all. This caused me to slur my speech, become forgetful, and have horrible hand eye coordination. I started developing strange tics, too. We lowered the dose of Desyrel and put me on Sonata and Restoril sleeping pills instead. The Sonata made me develop a bout of hypersomnia, and the latter would allow me to sleep, but for exactly three hours. After those three hours were up, I'd be wide awake again! I also tried Paxil and Zoloft, but the side effects continued, so I went off medications altogether. After about 13 weeks or so, most of the side effects subsided, and I've been doing better off medications than on them. The biggest change in my depression came from lifestyle changes rather than taking medications.
Coming Soon:
We hope to make this page interactive, allowing people to rate medications, and write posts with personal experiences with the different drugs. We'll notify you on the updates page once this feature is implemented!