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Old 03-08-2010, 12:41 AM
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Default Can baclofen help depression?

Has anyone experienced any sustained sense of emotional stability and wellbeing, or relief of depression/dysphoria, due to regular high-dose baclofen? Of course the relief of alcohol cravings is itself a very welcome experience for those who have achieved it. However I'm asking if baclofen has long-lasting psychological effects beyond this, especially in people who have already experienced 'the switch' and who are now settling into taking baclofen as a maintenance drug. I do realise that changes in lifestyle and therapy are required to treat emotional issues and depression, so I'm not expecting baclofen to be a magic solution to everything.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:14 AM
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I haven't experienced relief from depression (I don't think... I take other meds for depression)... but marked decrease in anxiety for sure!
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Old 03-08-2010, 11:42 AM
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I was hoping that Baclofen would help with my depressions. That is why I started to get off Bupropion. Now for the first time in many years trying to get off, I noticed I am addicted to it, and can not go down without the help of a psychiatrist!
Once I am off Bupropion I can tell you if Baclofen helps me or not.

In general I feel a lot better, and part is to attribute to Baclofen, the other point is to not drink anymore.
Alcohol is one of the biggest depressant around - if you remove that from your system you will need less anti depressives ....
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Old 03-08-2010, 04:10 PM
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Hey, Greg

Baclofen helped me with anxiety, but not depression (which pre-existed before alcoholism).

I realised after about 30 days AF that my depression hadn't shifted. I've been on a variety of ADs and other meds for the past 5 months, with varying degrees of success, having been diagnosed with major depression and ADD.

My latest experience (on Wellbutrin / bupropion) was terrible, though. Once I went up to 300mg, I experienced mood swings, anxiety, aggression, acute insomnia etc. etc. Plus I smoked as much as before... Go figure...

I've now been off all ADs for just over a week.

I'm going to rely purely on psychotherapy & CBT and see how that goes. I've just had enough of meds for now... So far, so good. I'm not closing the door on ADs. My psychiatrist has prescribed Zoloft & Trepiline, which he wanted me to go on after stopping the Wellbutrin. I just feel he's grasping at straws, plus I'm reluctant to go on an SSRI.

If I could, I would have continued on Molipaxin, which is what I started out with. But unfortunately that is not an option...
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:55 AM
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Tip -- for a lot of people with anxiety problems, even if they are also depressed, the SSRIs are completely wrong for them.

I was prescribed multiple SSRIs (and other antidepressants), which made me absolutely manic. My latest psych was shocked that I had been urged by various doctors to continue with these medications -- to "ride out" the side effects. I was hallucinating and couldn't stop moving for one second. Ride it out? As in, ride it until suicide? Anyway, she indicated that people with both anxiety and depression should not go the SSRI route.

Also, I think it is not unusual that depression persists beyond 30 days AF. In fact, I believe it is unusual that depression would lift so early.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:24 AM
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Yes, Greg, I have felt a "sustained sense of emotional stability and wellbeing, or relief of depression" since taking baclofen. Although I still feel anxiety, it has a different quality. And there has been a profound shift in my ability to engage in life that never came when I was sober for 3 years without the baclofen.

Also, I took an anti-depressant for those 3 years, but after a couple of weeks taking L-glutamine I titrated down and off of that medication. Hadn't had a plan to do that, just happened. So I'm a big advocate for L-glute, too.

Don't know where this is going, but so far it's been, well, freakin' miraculous for me. Once again, my ever-loving gratitude to MWO for pointing me toward baclofen and amino acids!
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Old 03-09-2010, 05:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tiptronic_ct View Post
My psychiatrist has prescribed Zoloft & Trepiline, which he wanted me to go on after stopping the Wellbutrin. I just feel he's grasping at straws...
You're on the right track about the grasping at straws. In support of that feeling, there is no better comments than those of the eminent psychopharmacologist, Stephen M. Stahl (who, by the way, is not an addiction specialist):
Given the disappointing number of patients who attain remission from a major depressive episode even after four consecutive treatments and who can maintain that remission over the long run, the paradigm of monotherapy for major depression is rapidly changing to one of multiple simultaneous pharmacological mechanisms, often with two or more therapeutic agents. In this respect, the pattern is following that of the treatment of bipolar disorder, which usually requires administration of more than one agent on mood stabilizers. Rather than have a simple regimen of one antidepressant and a patient who is not in remission, it now seems highly preferable to have a patient in remission without symptoms no matter how many agents this takes.
Ask for what Stahl has named "California Rocket Fuel," which is Effexor and Remeron, or one of his other "heroic combos."

Theoretically, baclofen has no direct effect on depression because is entirely selective to the GABA-B receptor. The antidepressants primarily affect the monoamines--serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.

A decent psychiatrist should at least be familiar with Stahl's teachings, if not be an outright Stahlinist.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:10 PM
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Thank you for your replies. I'm still AF but slogging it out with serious depression every day, especially towards evenings, and I often have a smoke or two (MJ) to keep going. I know this is a seriously bad habit that can lead to another serious addiction. I first experienced major depression over 20 years ago, before I began drinking heavily, and the drinking became a disastrous self-medication method after failure to respond to treatment. Not drinking anymore does reduce some of the depression but it seems to unmask other aspects.

For those interested, here is my experience so far with antidepressants. I was first tried on several tricyclic ADs and was able to handle their side effects, but had no response (apart from transient sedation) despite a long trial of each drug (dothiepin, doxepin, amitryptiline, desipramine, imipramine). I was never prescribed MAOIs. One older drug that did help significantly, and quickly, was mianserin (Tolvon). This old tetracyclic drug worked well with only transient sedation but my doctor at the time moved and I stupidly stopped treatment. When I sought help again it was the start of the SSRI era and I was tried on all of those...in each case the SEs of agitation, anxiety, and insomnia made it impossible for me to keep taking these drugs. I have tried them again more recently with the same side effects. Likewise for Effexor, and a "reversible MAOI" called Aurorix (moclobemide). Serzone proved tolerable but ineffective. When I see another doctor in a couple of weeks I hope to try Remeron, known here as Avanza, as it is almost identical to mianserin/Tolvon. Hopefully therapy may also help this time. Some doctors around here may prescribe two (or more) ADs together and know of Stahl's work but I'd rather stick to one AD until I've exhausted all options. Bupropion is one I still wanted to try but am not so sure now! It amazes me that most of the "new" ADs are recommended and approved for anxiety disorders. I suppose they help anxiety for some people and the doctors have little else to use apart from the benzos. I was once given the neuroleptic drug trifluoperazine/Stelazine but I will never take any drug like that again after some hideous side effects and no benefit.

In the meantime I'm restarting baclofen in the hope that it may at least give some relief, and resistance to my urges to drink again in the evening. I stopped it for several weeks after a bad reaction but increasing it more slowly may help. L-Glutamine has also helped previously. I'm lucky that I don't get strong cravings from seeing others drink or being near drinking places. Urges to drink just come from the old desire to self-medicate.

Thanks again and best wishes to everyone with your battles.
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Old 03-10-2010, 12:19 AM
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Greg,

be sure to tell your doctor that you take Baclofen. I read that it can have interactions with tricyclic ADs and benzos.
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since 08. Jan 2010 : Naltrexone + Baclofen combination therapy
reborn since 16. Jan 2010 : Alcohol Free (AF) - only taking Baclofen
since 22. May 2010 : Baclofen against anxiety/fear
since 14. Mar 2011 : off Baclofen - taking 25mg Topamax/day

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Old 03-13-2010, 03:53 PM
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Greg,

I took Bac previously and I recall after the very first time that I took it, I felt a "mood lift" which was an amazing feeling. My mood seemed to be enhanced a level or two. However, it is short-lived as is the Bac in your system. I believe Bernard is correct in how Bac affects the receptors. It is almost the same feeling I get after I drink my first glass of wine. Then of course, in the long run the AL is a serious depressant.
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