Anxiety/Panic Disorder Agoraphobia

I am 51 years old and have been treated with Klonopin Celexa and Hydroxyzine for 23 years for anxiety/panic disorder agoraphobia .I recently moved to colorado and am having a hard time finding a primary care doctor and am coming close to my klonopin running out .I've started lowering the dose just a bit to make it last longer but I'm unsure what to do as I have been very ill and cannot take the bus to doctors atm overly anxious as I have history of seizure disorders wish theyd never started me on this though in truth it has allowed me to live a somewhat functional life seems like I'm caught between a rock and a hard place.

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  • Your drugs are a typical SSRI antidepressant (Celexa) and 2 drugs for anxiety: a benzodiazepine (clonazepam/Klonopin) with an antihistamine (hydroxyzine) that is often used to ease anxiety. These are all typical meds prescribed for your problems. In the long term the clonazepam can affect both your short term and long term memories. It started affecting mine at about the 12 year mark and made working nearly impossible. It won't necessarily do this to you, but I thought you might like to know of the possibility in case it does happen to you. My Dad has taken lorazepam for many decades and it hasn't affected his memory, so it isn't a sure thing.

    I am glad I take similar drugs because they've made my life "normal"---whatever that truly is--and definitely peaceful and happy. I won't be going off of them because they're so successful. You do need to get a new prescription for the klonopin and need to find a Dr. that will prescribe this. I highly recommend a psychiatrist because you have enough problems and complications that you should have the expert in this---which is a psych Dr. Psych Drs. go to school specifically for medication management and correct diagnoses. I wouldn't fool around with a GP if I were you. Just use a GP to get through now and then schedule yourself for a psych Dr. with good reviews or a good recommendation.

    The other thing you need IMHO is a counselor. You'll find that this is an important person to have to help you with your fears and general well-being. Agoraphobia is anxiety that's not under control and counseling will help you out on this plus give you someone who's on your side and looking out for you for the best possible outcome living with your various diagnoses. On some websites for good mental health you'll find that both a psychiatrist and a counselor are always advised. Plenty of former agoraphobics are now going anywhere they want to and even are in public speaking. I wish you all the best of outcomes.

    Blessings...

  • I think you will find the adaa website (www.adaa.org) helpful in finding mental health professionals who are experienced in working with anxiety and who practice in Colorado. Once you are at the site look for "Find a Therapist".

  • Hello Gypsy, Go to the ER. They will have to treat you and you will be seen by a Dr. before they send you home. They will also give you referrals to Dr.s you need to see. I had a Doctor tell me I would get treatment much faster if I did this and it worked.... Are you alone, isn't there someone who can go with you? You can go to the ER any time. Make sure you mention the seizures as they will take that very seriously. You'll get through this in time. Let me know how you're getting. on...Pam from Mich.

  • Dear Gypsy,

    Since it has been 5 days since your post .. I am hoping that you have gone to the ER and/or found a GP who can get you in. Depending on your insurance (whether you must have a referral before going to a specialist ) I honestly believe that you should see a psychiatrist. It's great that GPS and ERs are filling a gap by starting medication treatment while you are waiting to see a psychiatrist but as a therapist and fellow sufferer the psychiatrist will ensure you get the right medications at the right dose. In many cases the psychiatrists will evaluate you, adjust your medications to a therapeutic level for you and then only require visits every quarter or if you need a medication adjustment unless you want to be seen more often.

    I'm glad you started tapering the Clonopin just in case but it is not a medication you want to just stop.. if you want to stop taking it a physician would most likely do it over a period of 3-12 months depending on dosage and his long you've taken it. One positive is that Clonopin is longer acting than most benzodiapenes so withdrawal isn't immediate. However with your history of seizures please get to the ER or GP ASAP because seizures are very likely once you are in withdrawal. I was given Clonopin & Xanax after my sons death and took it fir over 3 years and just stopped .. It was awful, seizures, numbness in face, mouth threat etc.. and I wouldn't want to see anyone go through that.

    When I stopped cold turkey I thought I was done with the medication but learned in within a few months that they truly gave me a part of my life back and have been back in the Clonopin for 5 years &a I believe it will be a lifelong medication for me.. without it I am literally frozen. I had a wonderful psychiatrist in Western Colorado who took the time to know me & while I'm not anxiety/ panic free I can leave my house.

    The advice of getting a counselor is a good one .. Many people don't go because they can't find someone who "fits". Just like every human relationship, you have to find someone that you are comfortable with and that you trust enough to show your inner strengths and weaknesses and who will help you challenge yourself. I don't think therapists/counselors admit they can't help everyone.. we are people with opinions, judgments and flaws the same as anyone else. If you feel it's not working don't be afraid to address it. Maybe it's the technique that isn't working but a lot of times it is because personalities don't work together.

    I am hoping your medication has been resolved .. please post back and let us know how you are doing

  • Hi I was just reading your post from months ago. My son has severe anxiety and has to take medication (benzos) to genuinely be able to function and live a normal life. He hates taking it to feel like he can function a human being but that is unfortunately is his life. We have just moved him out to Colorado for school and don't have a doctor there. His doctor here retired and shut his practice down so we are needing a physician that understands this level of anxiety. Can you please recommend someone for us? He lives in Fort Collins and we live in Atlanta but we will fly out and help him find the right person. Thank you for any helpful information! We are so appreciative!

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