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Old 02-19-2009, 12:15 AM   #1
Haj
 
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Okay so I'm a newly natural African American girl. I just went natural this past summer and cut off all of my permed hair in August. Okay so there I was natural for a good 2 months and I was loving it. In October I was put on Zoloft by a physician for my mild depression.

A month into use I actually started feeling a lot better emotionally and then noticed while putting twists in my hair a certain section that seemed especially brittle and it shed like crazy. After a couple of days I noticed a bald spot forming on the right side of my head. I immediately new that it was Zoloft that was making me lose my hair. But just to be sure I went online to do a search for hair loss related to Zoloft and low and behold I found it right on a pharmaceutical website.

Mind you the only side affects that I was notified about by my physician were mild sexual side affects and problems with digestion. Those were the only two side affects that he divulged every 20 times that I asked him about possible side affects.

Right now I'm completely off of the medication. I was left with a bald spot about the size of a silver dollar on the right side of the back of my head. I am using an Ayurveda shampoo that is formulated especially for growing hair back that has been lost due to depression medication. I have a light amount of hair that seems to be coming in after 2 months of use of this product.

In conclusion the pharmaceutical company sucks a lot and they really need to return to the values of helping people and not spending more money on advertising than they do to formulate their products. Zoloft has many, many other worse side effects than what has happened to me. It'd be nice if the makers of Zoloft would do testing of people who have an adverse reaction to their meds because I'm sure that we all have something in common and maybe it could be fixed. Moral of the story is ill persons beware.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:33 AM   #2
 
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That's really strange. I am on Zoloft as well and have been for about 3 years and haven't noticed any problems. I have a mild form of trichotillomania that I believe comes with my OCD which caused a few bald spots but that had nothing to do with the medicine. Did you read whether this was more common in a certain ethnicity rather than others? Because it could be part of the issue- I am caucasian and my hair has stayed intact.
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Old 02-19-2009, 03:34 PM   #3
 
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I'm sorry to hear that. SSRIs give WEIRD side effects sometimes. I haven't had issues with hair loss with either of the SSRIs I've been on, though I've had different, very irritating side effects aside from that. Thanks for the heads up, though...glad I didn't up trying out Zoloft.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:38 PM   #4
 
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This is an old thread but there are always people out there on SSRIs/SNRIs/NDRIs etc. Haj have you found something that works better for you? I've been on Paxil, Cipralex, Prozac, Wellbutrin, and Effexor XR...all gave some nasty side effects and I'm now much happier on amino acid therapy...I'd be happy to explain it to anyone who has any form of depression or anxiety.
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Old 08-31-2009, 12:16 PM   #5
 
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Haj,

Can you tell me about the Ayurveda shampoo that is formulated especially for growing hair back that has been lost due to depression medication? I have bad hair loss from those meds and going on/off birth control pills and really need help!

Tomorrow Never Knows,
I'm also interested in the Amino therapy for depression. I'll try anything!

Thanks!
A.
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:25 AM   #6
 
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Haj, what a horrible experience! At least the damage isn't permanent.

I experienced changes in my hair texture when I went on an antidepressant. It became much drier, more brittle, and straw-like. It took me almost a year to discover that my previously barely-wavy hair had tightened up to a 2c wave. Once I ditched the brush and went cg, things looked up, but I'm still searching for answers.
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Old 09-04-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
 
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i'm curious about amino acid therapy. please share what you know.
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Old 09-05-2009, 07:43 PM   #8
 
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I'm interested in amino acid therapy too. Sound cool.

To OP. So sorry about your hair loss but thankfully (hopefully) it will grow back.

I have had no issues with wellbutrin and lexapro.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:03 PM   #9
 
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I got mad twitches with Wellbutrin so got taken off it pretty quickly since it can cause seizures. I tolerated Cipralex (Lexapro) for a few months, but then the effects started wearing off (which happens for a reason with antidepressants!) so I went off it...which resulted in getting electric shocks. Effexor was definitely the worst though, I gained 20 pounds and it took me two months to get off of it, and I STILL went through crazy withdrawal. I had electric shocks every 5-10 seconds for about a week, and it slowly decreased. Even a month after I'd taken my last tiny dose I had shocks. It was so brutal.

Anyways, natural therapy for depression involving amino acids has worked well for me, and I've recommended it to a few other people and they've had excellent results. Julia Ross, a nutritional psychologist, has a lot of great info on it as she has treated thousands of people at her mood clinic in When you use pharmaceuticals for depression, they make you reliant on them...the mechanism of an antidepressant like Prozac (an SSRI), Effexor (an SNRI), or Wellbutrin (an NDRI) is to prevent certain "happy" brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) from being reuptaken into the neurons. Between all your neurons, after the dendrite and before the axon, there is a space called the synaptic cleft. As the electrical impulse in your brain runs from the dendrite to the axon, the first neuron releases neurotransmitters. When you have happy neurotransmitters like serotonin or dopamine floating around in the synaptic cleft, you feel better. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors, and Norepinephrine Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors (various classes of antidepressants) prevent the neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed by the neuron that released them. Unfortunately you are more likely to become reliant on antidepressants since they don't promote actual "healing" of the depression by increasing the happy neurotransmitters. Amino acids and related natural substances are building blocks for neurotrasmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, and thus increase your levels of these substances. Eventually, most people can stop taking their supplements, since they actually help heal the problem.

Based on your symptoms, you can determine what neurotransmitters you are deficient in. You can then supplement accordingly. Serotonin deficiency is the most common form of depression, although most people are lacking in catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, adrenalin) as well. SSRIs, which affect serotonin, are the most commonly prescribed ones and tend to be the first line of treatment for depression. They include Zoloft, Paxil, Cipralex/Lexapro, Prozac, and Celexa, among others. If you have taken any of these and benefited from them, you likely are lacking in serotonin. Serotonin acts as both a neurotransmitter and a hormone, meaning it acts both in the brain and in places far from where it is synthesized...pretty much throughout the body; thus a lack of serotonin can result in a lot of physical symptoms as well. Common emotional symptoms of serotonin deficiency include general gloominess, feeling pessimistic/negative, irritability, anxiety, feeling self-critical, difficulty falling/staying asleep, PMS, and Seasonal Affective Disorder. Common physical/other symptoms are cravings for sweet/starchy snacks and fibromyalgia or TMJ.

Like I mentioned, a lot of depressed people are lacking in catecholamines. The main symptoms of catecholamine deficiency are lethargic depression, inability to focus, apathy, low motivation, and cravings for "uppers" like caffeine or drug-type stimulants.

Another type of depression results from lack of endorphins. This type seems to be a bit less common. Symptoms tend to include increased sensitivity, a tendency to cry easily or get overly upset, avoidance of difficult emotional issues, and cravings for comfort/numbing type foods/activities like chocolate, alcohol, and marijuana.

Another treatable condition that tends to come with depression is anxiety and general "stress symptoms", like a tendency to feel overwhelmed and having difficulty relaxing.

All of these negative mood states are generally treatable if not curable by supplementing with amino acids or other natural supplements that stimulate production of your brain's own positive neurotransmitters. Serotonin deficiency can be corrected with a number of natural supplements, but the best one to try first is 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP is easy to get in a health food store and tends to work well for most people. Caution: if you are on another medication that increases serotonin, like an antidepressant or a natural antidepressant, do not use high doses of this. Like any medication that increases serotonin, when combined with another it can result in serotonin syndrome, which can be fatal. Do not take doses higher than 200 mg per day. However, it's appropriate to consult with your doctor about slowly tapering off your antidepressant medication and taking 5-HTP instead. 5-HTP is also used to treat headaches, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and obesity. I've read studies where doses in the realm of 500 mg 3x a day were used, so using the lower doses is quite appropriate. Get enteric coated 5-HTP as the regular form can cause stomach upset in some people. I suggest you get 50 mg capsules (it's often sold as 100 mg ones) so that you can fine-tune your dose. Also, since 5-HTP can cause drowsiness, the 50 mg capsules allow you to get a serotonin boost during the day without drowsiness. I take 50 mg of 5-HTP once or twice during the day, then 200-300 mg at night.

Catecholamine defiency depression (often improved with drugs like Effexor, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Ritalin, Dexedrine, and caffeine) can be corrected by supplementing with an amino acid called l-tyrosine. Also, a note on caffeine...caffeine stimulates your brain to release more catecholamines, but think of it like a loan-shark for energy. You aren't getting making more energy, you are using up your future energy and making yourself more tired. ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Dexedrine can have similar effects. Most people find l-tyrosine works better anyway. Since tyrosine is stimulating, like with caffeine it's best to avoid it after 4 pm or so. I take 1000-2000 mg in the morning and in the afternoon. It's appropriate to start with just 250 mg or 500 mg, and slowly work your way up. Take a small dose and see if you feel any more awake in half an hour or forty-five minutes. If not, take another capsule, and repeat up to 1000 mg. Like most stimulants, l-tyrosine can increase your blood pressure, so it's best to only take low doses and monitor your BP if you have hypertension. Also, since it's stimulating, you should avoid it if you have Graves disease (hyperthyroidism).

Low endorphin type depression is generally improved with taking phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is one of the few amino acids that can be used in its d- form. D-phenylalanine is good for depression and pain, whereas l-phenylalanine has more of an affect on catecholamines and can be stimulating. Generally you can find it in a health food store as DLPA, meaning it has a combination of both forms. This tends to be the best unless you find it too stimulating. In that case, get DPA. Since it affects endorphin production, it can be an effective pain killer. It has been studied and proved to help with chronic pain, and the majority of the participants in a study on it were able to stop taking their strong prescription pain killers. Doses of 250-500 mg, once or twice per day tend to be best. You can take a bit more, but be careful to not take a lot, even if you find that it helps you, since too much phenylalanine will over excite your neurons and kill them. You should be able to benefit from low doses, though. Phenylketonurics should avoid taking phenylalanine.

Anxiety and stress-related symptoms can be improved by taking gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Drugs for anxiety and pain like benzodiazepines (Valium, Serax) and GABA analogues (Lyrica, Neurontin) work by affecting GABA. It's much safer and non-addictive to just take GABA. I have a friend who recently had panic attacks every night and when she started taking GABA they went away. I find that it helps my social anxiety. You can take it day or night, in doses between 500-1000 mg. It can lower blood pressure, so if you have low blood pressure be careful and stick to the lower doses until you see what you can tolerate.

Some other supplements worth mentioning are omega-3 and b-vitamins. It is important to take high doses of these if you have depression or anxiety. Omega-3s are especially important if you have any sort of inflammatory or autoimmune condition like arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or lupus. Vitamin D is also important. If you live in the Northern hemisphere, and/or if you wear sunscreen, take at least 2000 IU per day. I live on Vancouver Island, which is around the same longitude as Seattle, and I take 4000 - 5000 IU per day.

I hope that was coherent, let me know if you have any questions!
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Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

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Last edited by Tomorrow Never Knows; 09-07-2009 at 10:10 PM.
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Old 10-16-2009, 03:27 PM   #10
 
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How is everyone feeling?
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Type 2b/2c, med/coarse, low porosity, medium density

Co-wash: Suave Naturals Tangerine, Live Clean Moisturizing, CJ Daily Fix, GTTT, Tigi MM

Conditioner: Tigi MM, Jessicurl WDT, CJ Curl Rehab, CJ Daily Smoothing, CJ H&B Deep Fix

Deep Treatment: same as rinse out

Leave-in: KCKT or my rinseout

Styling Aids: Alberto/V05 Gel, HETT/HESMU, KCCC
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