Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blame It on the Prozac

"So, you've been gaining weight?" my psychiatrist asks. "Do you also have unbelievably strong cravings for carbohydrates and sometimes just can't control yourself?"

"I can't believe you're asking me this. Yes!" I respond in disbelief. Just yesterday I was wondering why I have to fight the desire to eat almost constantly, bread and the like causing paroxysms of hunger.

"And you say your muscle pain is worse and you have what feels like Restless Leg Syndrome, and you don't necessarily sleep well? And the night sweats---totally unnecessary!" He writes in my chart. "Overmedication with SSRIs can do that, you know. It's not your fault. It can also cause you to feel quite tired and apathetic. Looks like it's time for a dose change." He smiles. His Irish brogue is liltingly comforting, like a therapeutic leprachaun.

"You mean all of these symptoms can be blamed on too high a dose?" (Why didn't I think of that? I ask myself.)

"Sure. I can't make any promises, but some of these symptoms should diminish or disappear as we taper you down."

"Wow. So I'm not really falling apart at the seams?"

"I think not. Nothing we can't assuage with a little tinkering."

I leave the office feeling validated, vindicated, somewhat dense for not thinking of it sooner myself, and ready to make some changes. I spend so much time being a caregiver and nurse that my own self-care might seem somewhat neglectful. Still, I manage to stay on top of most of my chronic and acute issues, and I'm generally a good patient. Nurses are notorious for not taking care of themselves, but I think I do a decent most of the time. Two months late for the psychiatrist and three months late for the dental hygienist? Not bad, considering the vicissitudes of life.

So, all of these symptoms are caused, or exacerbated by, too high a dose of that most ubiquitous of post-modern medicines? It seems too easy, but for now I'll blame it on the Prozac.
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