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Hello all, swim is a 50 yo male who has battled low level, persistant depression all his adult life (dyesthemia). All traditional modalities as well as nontraditional therapies failed to make a significant difference. This disease has caused me no end of misery. In my eternal search for relief swim found and tried Thai kratom caps and to my astonishment found that low doses (1 gm) completely allieviated my symptoms! Swim takes one cap 2 times a day. No side effects have manifested and energy levels and mood have been normal for 3 months. The active ingredient mitragynin has alpha adrenergic and, at high doses, mild opiod activity. Cannot tell you how astonished swim is. Swim is a medical professional and educated in pharmacology but did not see this coming! Hope this helps others suffering from this terrible condition...
Swim has used Kratom for several years and initially he thought it was the solution to his ongoing battle with depression, however tolerance rose and addiction followed. Swim no longer got any beneficial effects from Kratom and it started to bring him down where it once brought him up.
Just be careful using drugs as a crutch, initial benefits often don't last and in Swims case it made his situation fa worse than it had been before. Kratom withdrawals were particularly nasty and drawn out, it takes Swim over a month before the leg pains and RLS become bearable.
My monkey used kratom for a couple of years to successfully (to some degree) treat his depression from type 1 bipolar disorder. Now he has kicked kratom and taken up mindfulness, self control, and personal ethics for maintaining a calm mind and satisfied sense of being.
It's difficult at first of course due to the near impossibility of doing ANYTHING when depressed. But, as the saying goes, practice makes perfect. After a while of watching the state of your mind rather than identifying with it, you gain an extra dimension from which to live, to chose your actions according to ever deeper and more genuine understanding and expression of your self; minimizing cognitive dissonance, shortening the time being caught in the velvet flypaper of depressive obsession and slowly but surely turning around the ratio to more frequent and longer sustained times of clarity, calmness, and satisfaction regardless of particular conditions.
The element of mindfulness allows this extra space to work in. The element of self-control, or "doing what you think is right" (referred to as personal ethics above), builds resolve and a more solid sense of ability as well as identity apart from habitual mind-states.
In the end much time and effort and stress plays into keeping up on the doses for pharmaceutical interventions--especially addictive substances. Remember the old saying that keeping up with a habit is a full time job. This applies not just to what we in the drug community consider the "super hard" drugs. It occurs whenever we scramble for something outside to fulfill something that only character can fulfill. If we put the time and effort we would afford to maintaining pharmacological interventions as simple practices of paying attention to our mind and extracting ourselves from our familiar haunts of conditioned thinking, a more profound and enduring alleviation and high come our way.
Kratom certainly was the best pharmaceutical intervention monkey stumbled across and he was glad to have it during some very difficult times. But he's much more impressed with mindfulness and self-control. He's still crazy, sometimes horribly depressed, but it passes more quickly through mindfulness: like watching storm clouds passing through a vast sky. Although you may still feel some rain, lol. But after a while you find it becoming possible sometimes to CHOOSE your state of mind. Long term depression bring hopelessness, which is crippling. The constant application of awareness and choice cracks that nut of hopelessness and opens a world of possibility.
I think my thoughts on kratom for depression have turned into a sort of meditation proselytizing more than anything, so I'll shut up now.
SWIM came upon this thread and found the topic to be very interesting. She notices that when she is depressed, she oftentimes falls deeper into the depression because of a lack of motivation.
SWIM found that a low dose of oxycodone or hydrocodone allowed her to ease her way back into the mundane tasks of daily life that seem almost impossible after mild depression kicks in. Since kratom is believed to have opioid-like effects (SWIM has not researched this very much, please be kind and patient with her lack of specific terminology...she's trying to get a general idea here) she thinks it might work similarly.
Now.. SWIM thinks that taking ANY highly-addictive substance to prevent prolonged periods of depressed moods that occur frequently throughout life is asking for big-time trouble. SWIM is NOT recommending this. She is merely trying to understand the roles of neurotransmitters OTHER than serotonin, norepinephrine & dopamine in depression that is resistant to most conventional first-line treatments (for instance, SSRIs).
Now of course this leads SWIM to think that individuals suffering from depression who did not respond well to SSRI treatment, but feel themselves wake up and be able to integrate themselves into daily life once again upon dosing with an opiate, are definitely more prone to addiction problems than those whose depression responded well to SSRIs (or TCAs, or tetracyclics, or Wellbutrin..etc) so if SWIY sees themselves falling into this category PLEASE be careful.
SWIM thinks that kratom might be a very effective tool when used to initiate what is called "activation therapy". Basically depression can be alleviated if someone were to just START doing things they enjoy (or are obligated to perform) again. But we all know that this is the hardest part and oftentimes the biggest obstacle.
Since SWIWe are all smart and resourceful individuals, SWIWe might have a very powerful tool available for use when depressive symptoms are first felt. SWIM wonders if using kratom for this purpose hurts more than it helps? Once SWIY realize that pulling oneself out of early depression using "kratom-aided activation therapy" (something theoretical that SWIM is pondering) can prevent longer and more persistent depressive episodes, it might be possible to do this without kratom?
Swim has tried cognitive therapy and other related modalities such as meditation, etc. Swim finds these to be like treading water when one can't swim. One can hold ones head above water for a while, but sinking is inevitable. These methods also require energy and motivation which are simply not available.
Swim is very familiar with opiates and finds very little opiate activity in low doses of kratom. The effect seems to stem from adrenergic stimulation and resembles large doses of desipramine or possibly wellbutrin but without the nasty side effects. It is swims opinion that modern medicine is barking up the wrong tree in targeting of seratonin and, to a lesser degree norepinephrin, in the treatment of dysthemia. In swims case it seems to be a defect in an unknown adrenergic and or opiod pathway. This is just swims feeling and may not apply to all cases.
It is unfortunate that we must take drugs but short of genetic engineering swim sees no other option. All that can be done is to strive to find effective substances and use restraint and common sense
It is possible swiy had unrealistic expectations of meditative practice. You will certainly sink again and again. But given some time you may be surprised to find you can breathe underwater.
A potential middle ground, which arguably is more in line with psychology's idea of pharma interventions in depression, would be to use the temporary chemical crutch to establish habits that cultivate more self-sustained and enduring relief.
SWIM has been using Kratom for a year, at first to sleep but now SWIM uses it all day(down to 1 1/2 tbs a day) and its turned into a physical addiction, SWIM gets restless body and all kinds of horrible symptoms if SWIM doesn't take it. SWIM thinks it may be causing depression now. SWIM says it still works for relaxation and anxiety though.
SWIM suffers from refractory depression and notices only two things help him: amphetamine-like compounds and mu-opioid agonists. Luckily, he is legitimately prescribed the former, which is a god-send. But, there is a beginning of a trend in the psychiatric community to try other antidepressant agents other than monoamine enhancers. Kratom sounds like a legitimate thing to use, especially if SWIY receives relief at low doses. Don't feel ashamed. It is just the current paradigm in psychiatry that says you should feel relief from monoamine enhancers.
Off topic- but SWIM finds monoamine enhancers (in his case the SNRI Effexor) to be quite effective for anxiety, but they are useless, in his case, for depression.
And, yes. SWIM knows amphetamine acts on the monoamine system. But, it does so much differently than the S**RI's.