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Author Topic: Memory loss and anti-depressants?
orca
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I was diagnosed with a depressive episode, generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks, and OCD when I was 15, though I'd had it for longer than that. I went to therapy and took anti-depressants. I don't know what the first one was that I took, but I hated it, probably because I was over-medicated. I just felt...nothing. I didn't feel like me, I felt like some zombie, like I had no control. Then I went on Zoloft, but was again over-medicated and felt horrible. I'm honestly not sure how long I was on it because that part of my life is a bit of a blur. I know at one point I was put on some really heavy medication for my panic attacks, stronger than SSRIs. I don't remember how those made me feel either. I think I may have been on Lexapro at one time, but I'm really not sure. Maybe it was Lexapro and not Zoloft. I just can't remember.

Why can't I remember so much from then? I was trying to write a response to the topic about therapy and anti-depressants but realized that I can't remember much at all from that time. I was 15 at the time, almost 16. I'm now 18, almost 19. That's not that long ago. I've never been able to remember much from that time. Why? Did I just block it out? Or could the medication I was taking at the time have altered my memory somehow? Does anybody have any similar experience with this? Does anybody know why this might have happened?

Sorry if this is in the wrong thread by the way. I just wasn't sure where it would go.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
acs79
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I actually have a friend who has had a similar experience with memory loss from a particularly traumatic time in his life. He was only on Lexapro for a little while during that time, because it made him so sick; however, it was a little unnerving because I would try to talk to him about things that we had done together nine months previously and he couldn't remember a thing. A bit unnerving, actually.
My personal opinion--and I'm not even close to a doctor--is that the SSRIs didn't cause the memory loss, but that because that period of time was so difficult and traumatic, you've blocked a lot of it out. However, if you had such a terrible reaction to the meds and you were fuzzy most of the time while you were on them, that could contribute to your inability to remember those years, particularly if you were put on any kind of sedative. So it might be a combination of the meds and your unconscious.
I think that forgetting particular times of life or years or events is an unconscious defense/survival mechanism engineered by our brains (I've noticed it in myself).
But that's just what I think...

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orca
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The thing is, the bad things that happened to me happened prior to me taking the anti-depressants and I remember those perfectly. It's really just that I can't remember stuff from when I was on the SSRIs and especially when I was on the really heavy anxiety medication (it wasn't an SSRI but something else, I'm not sure what though). My memory is usually pretty good, but for some reason that time in my life is really hazy and when I try to think back to it it feels like I'm looking through a dense fog and I can barely make anything out.

I definitely agree though that the mind does forget things as a defense mechanism. But in my case, I'm not sure that that is the reason for my memory loss.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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acs79
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It sounds to me that the meds did mess up your memory. They change so many things in your brain that I think it's impossible to predict the extent of their effects.
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claraclaraclara
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I had very similar questions a while ago. When I was twelve/thirteen I was put on Zoloft, and quite honestly I have absolutely no memory of the time that I was on it. For a long time I thought it was only for a couple months, but I discovered last year that it was over a year in duration. My childhood memories before that are also almost gone, so I had a lot of questions.

I was told that it was possible the Zoloft contributed to my memory loss - it probably shouldn't have been used because of my age - but it was also very likely to be the result of my major depressive episode and trauma in my childhood. I had doctors look into it, but they didn't find anything really substantial that would implicate the drug. In any case, I believe now that even if I wasn't medicated I would probably still be experiencing the same or a similar degree of memory loss.

I still think it was inappropriate to use a drug that's effects hadn't been studied in children, but I made it through that, didn't I? Also, as time goes on, I remember more snippets of childhood life - not from the period where I was medicated - so it's really anyone's guess. There are just too many factors involved when you're trying to weigh the effects of mental illness, trauma, and medication together.

(I know this question is rather resolved, but I wanted to add this 'me too' for posterity in case someone else comes searching for the same answers.)

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orca
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Thanks clara. It's comforting to know someone else has gone through the same thing. It makes me feel a little less crazy. [Smile] Though I'm sorry you had to go through it at all. [Frown]

I just wonder if there is a way to find out for sure. I don't know if a CAT scan would show it. I'd ask my psychology professor (she's involved in neuroscience specifically), but I won't see her until September. Does anyone know? I guess I'm also worried something really bad will come up, like that I'm schitzophrenic or something. Not that there's anything wrong with it, I just don't want to be on meds for that the rest of my life.

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Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail

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