I am 23 and have been taking SSRIs on and off for more than seven years. I have heard much about 5-HTP and wanted to known your view on this.
SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) are the most commonly used antidepressants. They enhance the effect of the feelgood-chemical serotonin in the brain. The chemical 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be converted into serotonin in the body, offering an alternative to SSRIs. Studies on 5-HTP have been of poor quality, but some evidence suggests that it is safe and can be effective in treating depression. If you would like to use 5-HTP, then I suggest you do this with the support of your doctor. Wean yourself off the SSRI over several weeks or months. Once your SSRI dose is halved, add in 5-HTP at 100-150mg a day. You may be able to wean yourself completely off the SSRI, though you may need more 5-HTP, at least in the short-medium term. In my experience, 250-300mg of 5-HTP a day is required for an antidepressant effect equivalent to that of an SSRI. 5-HTP is available in most health-food stores.