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Do I need to keep taking drugs for depression?

Q: I am suffering from depression since two years. After seeing a psychiatrist I was on Venlafaxine, which gradually improved my condition. After sometime he tapered off the dose and I was advised to stop taking any medication. After this I was perfectly okay but only for a few months. Last month, I had a relapse. I went back to my psychiatrist who put me again on Venlafaxine (150 mg) and Lomotrogine 25 mg. I think I have become too susceptible to stress and life’s sudden changes and I am able to cope it with. I have read that walking as an exercise improves serotonin levels in the brain, is this true? I live in a small city where good psychiatric treatment and counselling are not available. The nearest city is Kolkata. So I have become drug dependant. I do not know if I will ever come out of this.

A:Many people need to take antidepressants for between six months to two years after recovering from depression. Maybe you are one of those. Secondly it is important to check whether you are suffering only from stress and anxiety (a common condition in these days) or anxiety along with significant depression. Your psychiatrist will be best able to answer this question. If you have significant depression antidepressants will be necessary, and Venlafaxine is excellent. If the major proportion of your problem is due to anxiety and stress then walking, yoga, meditation etc will all help. You also need to seek help and discuss you problem with near and dear ones so that they support you.

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