Nurses on Antidepressants?

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    I am not trying to seek any medical advice, just wanting to know if any nurses have subjective or objective knowledge on whether a nurse could function on the job while taking antidepressants. I know this may be a touchy subject but I am not embarrassed to share my situation.

    I have been on and off SSRI antidepressants over the years (more off than on!) for anxiety/depression/low self-esteem issues. Actually I do not like the SSRIs because of the side effects. I currently do not take anything. The last medicine I took was Lamictal (not an SSRI) which actually worked pretty well. It was only given to me for depression since I generally have not tolerated the SSRIs, but I am scared to take this again because Lamictal is prescribed for bipolar disorder mainly (and seizures of course). I am not bipolar but I would hate for this to interfere with taking the board exams, etc.

    My main concern is mental sharpness on the job. Does anyone know from experience if it is possible to maintain your mental acuity on the job while taking meds like this? Even though off medication I am very Type-A, anxious, a bit insecure, I do like the fact that I am mentally sharp. I don't want meds to dull my brain! If a thread of this sort is not allowed, just let me know and I will remove. Thanks!
    apocatastasis and Angel@MyTable like this.
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  3. 29 Comments so far...

  4. 6
    I have trouble maintaining my mental acuity without my SSRIs! The last thing I need on top of the stress of the job is the stress of fighting my depression without meds!
  5. 0
    Honey it doesn't matter if a person is a nurse, teacher, secretary, or whatever, if you need SSRI's to function normally then you take them. It's pretty simple really.

    You need to see a physician (psychiatrist) qualified to diagnose your mental health issues and prescribe the correct medication. Skip the PCP.
    Last edit by jkeys100 on Jun 18, '08
  6. 0
    I have never heard that SSRIs interfered with cognition. I'd estimate that at least 75% of my nursing school class was on them by graduation and many of the nurses I work with have talked about taking them also. I'm a firm believer in taking meds if you need them. Unfortunately some people have to try many before they find the right one for them.
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    Honey, nine tenths of the nurses I know are on anti depressants, anti anxiety, even some anti psychotics. Yes, you can work on these meds, and nobody in hiring asks a thing about it. We talk among ourselves and that's how I know this of course. But its not a big deal. I would not be able to work WITHOUT them!!!!! :O)
    Last edit by KaroSnowQueen on Jun 18, '08 : Reason: add info
    SuesquatchRN likes this.
  8. 0
    i agree with the others, being personally on an antidepressant does not in anyway affect my on the job skills, other than making me a far more patient nurse! The stigma that goes along with these medications is far over due for being thrown out the window. If it is something you need, take it.
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    I realize that a lot of people take antidepressants and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Since I am not a nurse yet, I just did not know how they affect cognitive function dealing with all of those things you have to remember from being pulled in all different directions all day, medication giving, etc. I was mainly worried about memory and being able to remember everything while on the meds. I do have a physician already who likes the Lamictal for me, but I am not too sure anymore. It takes off the edge, but does not take away my OCD neuroses! I may try getting back on an SSRI again. The doc always leaves it up to me. Its just that all of them make me yawn CONSTANTLY, and sometimes it takes me awhile to get moving. Its like my brain says "move" but my body won't!! Off meds, my mind is constantly ticking, ticking... making sure no mistakes are made... checking and double checking everything, making sure I remember everything and that nothing slips through the cracks. I know, that is not healthy to be that way either. There has to be a happy medium. Thanks for all of your replies.
  10. 0
    Hmm ... I'm not offering medical advice here ... but you might want to see an actual psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. They'll have a working knowledge of the meds your primary care doc might not.
  11. 0
    Quote from namaste_71
    Hmm ... I'm not offering medical advice here ... but you might want to see an actual psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner. They'll have a working knowledge of the meds your primary care doc might not.
    I do have an actual psychiatrist. The reason he had put me on Lamictal is because all of the SSRIs make me yawn all of the time and either make me too tired or too sleepy. He usually leaves it up to me on what I want to take since I basically have tried them all! I think I got off on a tangent about the different meds, but my post was really just asking if nurses who are on SSRIs feel like they can function just as well (especially with memory). Thanks.
  12. 0
    Quote from jillpaige
    I do have an actual psychiatrist. The reason he had put me on Lamictal is because all of the SSRIs make me yawn all of the time and either make me too tired or too sleepy. He usually leaves it up to me on what I want to take since I basically have tried them all! I think I got off on a tangent about the different meds, but my post was really just asking if nurses who are on SSRIs feel like they can function just as well (especially with memory). Thanks.

    Have you tried Effexor or Wellbutrin? And with these meds that made you sleepy, did you switch and take them at night, and did that help? I would find it impossible to function as a nurse w/out my meds. It's funny that there is still a stigma attached to depression. No one would think about not taking their BP meds d/t some mild side effects, but depression meds are considered to be something that one can do w/out. I hope you can find something that works for you.


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