What’s the best medication for PTSD a... - Anxiety and Depre...

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What’s the best medication for PTSD and anxiety?

IsabelleW profile image

I have a big decision to make soon, what medication is right for me. I know everyone reacts differently. From 2007 till 2010 I took loads of different medications. Mood stabilisers, antidepressants, antipsychotics.

I finally got off them all after my weight was out of control and I was literally a walking zombie and just wanted to sleep and eat. That’s no existence.

I vowed never to go back on medication. I found out my radical behaviour was due to manic switch. I go really high or really low on medications. I suffer terrible side effects. I’m sensitive to them as well.

I’m trying to work with new psychiatrist, she has suggested both mood stabilisers and antipsychotics. She doesn’t want me to get the manic switch reaction. She’s looked into my history.

I’m just so depressed and anxious, I’m getting worse.

I know I need some medication. But I found allot of the meds enhanced my dream state, which is the worst for me as the PTSD dreams are what I’m trying to get rid of.

I’m trying minipress, they are a form of meds that lower my blood pressure at night for a deeper sleep and I can’t honestly tell if they are helping. As soon as something sets my anxiety off, I’ve still had the dreams. So I don’t think I need to keep taking them.

This is such a horrible state to be in. Knowing I need meds, but having to go through all the ups and downs and side effects again is so overwhelming. I’m so low thinking that’s going to be my new year. Medicated :(

17 Replies

I can’t tell you what is Best. There are so many all natural ways of combating and treating mental health issues. In my opinion medications are a bandaid at best while a therapist helps you get to the root of the problem, recognize triggers, develop coping skills and relaxation techniques. Psychiatrists push pills. When I first started my journey I got on meds. Then every time I went they changed the dose, changed the Med or added a Med. I’ve now got 6 meds. And a lot of hope.... I have gotten nothing but more anxiety out of the meds and trying to wean off can be a complete nightmare. I’m living it. You can have symptoms of detox for up to a year. The best medicine of all is exercise! Idle minds breed negativity and anxiety. So when you feel yourself getting anxious etc take a walk. Staying active is the best thing you can do! Not only will it help to occupy your mind but it will make you tired! The more tired you are the harder you will sleep and the less likely you are to dream. You most likely have weighed these options in making your decision. I ended up having to go inpatient to get my meds right. 3 of mine I take as needed and only take one of them in severe crisis. While inpatient they can monitor and treat your side effects while adjusting your doses and I highly recommend it. I personally feel that anyone struggling with mental health challenges would strongly benefit from going inpatient at least once. I was put on Effexor. I feel like it has helped some BUT Effexor is one of the hardest meds of all to get off. Trust me! It’s awful! I accidentally forgot to add it to my daily pill case for a week without realizing it. Now I’ve been through a lot! That was probably the worst I have ever felt in my life! Now I am weaning very very slowly starting by lowering my dose slightly. Im seriously considering going inpatient again just to get off these meds once and for all. As you said everyone is different. I hope you find the best combination of natural and or medicinal ways to find the peace you need. Bless you!

Thank you for the reply, you have given me a lot to think about.

I have had three years of therapy with psychologists, I thought I can beat these triggers.

Seems I’m not winning :( I am so desperate I have started a psychiatrist, also my psychologist recommended.

What I don’t understand is, my previous psychologist said that it’s impossible to treat someone who’s medicated, so if I go back on meds, how am I going to continue my therapy?

I went off meds in 2010, I was put in impatiently care becasue of overdoes. Overdoes I did on meds. Seroquel, Effexor, lithium, aropax, and the list goes on. I remember the horrendous withdrawals coming off it all.

So i chose therapy, I have learnt to recognise triggers. But I guess due to two operations and my health getting to me this time round, I’m struggling to get better mentally.

I can’t cope with mental and physical sickness. I’ve really lost a sense of who I am and never been this bad, for this long.

So it’s terrorfying to think I have to go back down the track of meds. I remember the days of missing a pill and not knowing why I was so severely anxious. Or when my body but it up a tolerance.

I totally agree exercise is the key, but I’m so sick after my surgeries. I suffer severe migraines, it’s so hard to keep up my exercise routine. It’s like two steps forward, five steps back.

Last time at least I had my physical health. Anyhow, my apologies to babble, I have allot on my mind and any advice is a huge help!

Thank you! Again! X

I just recently got prescribed Effexor for my depression, anxiety, and ptsd & Abilify for depression as well as my bipolar and ocd, supposedly is suppose to help me sleep but it doesn’t because I have terrible sleep anxiety. But anyways I was told that Effexor is very hard to come off of and you have terrible withdrawals which does not sound like a good time to me but this medication has worked wonderfully for me I feel so much better than I did with my depression but I’m scared for the day I ever come off of them.

Hello, I have suffered on and off all my life, finally a psychiatrist diagnosed me with Bipolar 11 put me on Lithium and my mood swings went away and the severe depression. Unfortunately I moved to s.c. the mental help here is lousy. I came off the lithium and the Zoloft I had built a tolerance to and ended up in trouble early this year, I am now suffering with depression and anxiety - it is awful. My Dr. ran a test on me gensense, inside of mouth is swabbed, sent to the lab, they send back a list of suitable meds for your body. I like the a.d. I am on - no side effects. Just taking a long time to build up in my system, I think my brain is scrambled. But I am looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. I hope you have a good psychiatrist, I am sorry I left mine in Calif. I know it is a battle, but keep at it, read all you can get books from the library and look on line. Join a support group if you can. i wish you well, you are a strong woman, love yourself, we love you and will help if we can. Love/Hugs, Peace Sprinkle 1

IsabelleW profile image
IsabelleW in reply to Sprinkle1

Thank you for the reply and thoughts. It sure is a constant battle.

That’s exactly what I fear, building up a tolerance again, I came off lithium and a myriad of others in 2010 and I suffered tremendous withdrawals, but vowed never to give back on meds.

I’ve had some really terrible events triggered me, and almost 3 years of therapy isn’t helping.

I’m so desperate I’m back with a psychiatrist.

Of course all they want is my end result to be loaded up on the meds again. That’s why I’m struggling to make up my mind.

I thought I can do this without meds, now I just don’t know.

Such a hard, scary decision.

Thanks again for your reply. X

I have to say I have never heard of a psychologist or therapist not being able to treat you if you are on meds. I would question that for sure! I am physically disabled. Over 30 surgeries. I know how mentally challenging that can be. Exercise can be simple. Trust me. It may be just staying busy to keep your mind occupied. My mom obsessed over dishes and laundry. She just tries to do busy work when anxious. I enjoy a country drive or walking my dog. Yesterday I turned on some music while cleaning and danced as I am able. It loosened me up just laughing at myself. If you are doing the best you can physically then there is not much more you can do it is virtually impossible to do more than the best you can. I can’t tell you to take medicine or not. When I started they kept adding more, increasing doses and I just kept accepting them and hoping.... I am now trying to wean off very very slowly (detox is no joke) and still hoping.... Always remember you are in control! You make the decisions. They make recommendations. Maybe just an as needed anxiety pill would help. Idk while you work on things. The way you feel right after surgery is temporary. Trust me! Are you taking meds for your migraines or surgeries? Never discount the possibility that those could be affecting you or interacting as well. I have many doctors and I was on two medicines for years and when I switched doctors I found out that those medications have a very negative reaction who knew? Best of luck and bless you!

PS I ramble too! Lol no worries.

Gosh that’s terrible, 30 surgeries, I feel bad complaining about 2..

Every since my surgeries, I’ve had neck problems and migraines. I can’t even wear certain clothing, as it’s to sensitive and painful around my chest and stomach.

My poor body just hasn’t recovered.

I do take Maxalt for my migraines. That stuff just wipes me out. But out of all of them I’ve tried. Only one that works.

I take baclovan for my neck spasms, that’s finally helping with the chronic pain I had in my neck. Took me two years to find a doctor that figured that out.

I’m still very stuck on going back on antidepressants meds. I need to see the doctor who can see the whole version of me. Not just physical or mental.

I think that’s allot of my prime issue, finding a good doctor.

I love that you dance and tidy up. I used to do that, there’s so many things I miss about the ‘well me’.

I’m so lost in this horrible depressing state. Anxiety on top.

I’m just so tired and exhausted, feeling like I’m on this huge mission to find help.

In the mean time I’m fretting about the social get togethers coming up for the holiday period.

Thank you for your reply fellow rambler :)

I used to take Baclofen. I now take tizinidine, meloxicam, tramadol etc. I was on MS Contin. I just said enough. It was making me immune to pain medicine. I had my appendix out and felt like I was going to die it hurt so bad. They had to give me 5 times the normal anesthesia. I now take tramadol as needed. It doesn’t help much but allows me the function. The spasms are the worst! Mine go all the way up my spine. I have damage in every single vertebrae. I was 16 when I had my accident that took me from breaking records in basketball and softball to a wheelchair not knowing if I would ever walk. I had to fight to overcome but I had age and athleticism on my side. Now a simple appendectomy almost kills me. I get trigger point injections in my back and I had had the nerves burned in L3 through L5 in my back. I think all surgeries take a lot out of you. Physically and emotionally. You have to fight to get back as much as you can! It doesn’t have to be this way!! When I say dance I say that in the loosest of terms. My grandson and I have dance contests. I lose of course. Mine is more like silly wiggling. My legs don’t cooperate well. Illness is never a competition. I’m positive that your problems are as serious to you as mine are to me. Now you are not alone. If medicines will help you then that’s something to consider. It’s your body. You are in control. I think you need both. You can have therapy without meds but not meds without therapy. Meds hold it still while therapy helps heal it. Maybe you could consider going inpatient. It’s the best thing I have done. They truly evaluate you and check the meds, side effects, symptoms etc. along with therapy. It’s amazing. I learned so much. It’s hard just once a month for 10 minutes for the dr. to get to know you and your needs. I’m here if you need to talk. I hope you find what’s best for you!

Hello. Have PTSD. Anxiety and depression are part of it. Have the horrible, bloody violent nightmares. Also, have some chronic physical pain and a bit of rain injury. All of it relates to being hit by a very large truck 17 years ago. Totaled my car and nearly me.

About the meds. All I can tell you is often I feel the depression as soon as I am aware I am awake. I know by noon it will ease, so I just don't plan mornings.

Take a Xanax and muscle relaxer around 10 p.m. At 10:30 p.m. I take temazepam and prazosin (like your blood pressure med.) Husband falls asleep at 11 when his head hits the pillow. But not me. But I try to please him. lol.

Have had the prazosin only about a month, and it has helped with the number or intensity of the nightmares. It is the med the VA has been using for the PTSD vets for nightmares. I had a service dog that would wake me early in the nightmares.

Six months ago I made the very heart breaking decision of having him pass without pain or more attacks from his congestive heart failure. So my husband was waking me up to 4 times a night from the nightmares. He never realized how often and how well my dog buddy took care of me during the nights. So my neuropsychiatrist suggested I try the prazosin. There is also a similar med, doxazosin.

At least I don't just stay up all night for two nights at a time, just so I won't have those nightmares. Some are about the truck coming at me with it's large lights and I can't move; other dreams are a variety of violence and blood.

The prazosin wears off quicker than doxazosin, before the night is over, so I may still wake from an early morning nightmare. I see my neuropsychiatrist next week about what he wants to RX.

Some mornings I don't remember the nightmares storylines, but I know I had them. Sometimes I get up "feeling" like I had nightmares, but have no recollection of them. Just this disconcerting feeling that I know I must have had them.

Some mornings I neither remember nor feel like I had nightmares. And some nights I just know I will not go to bed because I can feel I am going to have nightmares.

Hope this info gives you something to consider as I am doing rather well. Had an epidural to ease the chronic pain, which also decreased my anxiety.

My psychiatrist conducts my therapy now almost for 17 years; I see him once a month. I know due to some physical injuries to my body and brain, I may always need some medications.

Take care of yourself. I am not a friend of medication, but could not have practiced law without it.

Unless someone has had those intense nightmares attached to PTSD, that person would have no idea what you're going through. I wish you the best no dream nights as humanly possible. xx

IsabelleW profile image
IsabelleW in reply to HearYou

First off thank you so much for the reply, second, I apologise for taking so long to get back to you. I be been having the dreams again becasue of a very nasty verbal attack on me from a support person. I’ve been given 2 months to take time out, becasue I was already on edge. In that 2 months I’ve been fighting this complaint I made. So no break.

Basically my support person I have to see to get my social security cheque, had a quota to fill, which meant doing what ever it takes to pressure me into doing something. She knew I was on a wait list to see a psychiatrist.

When I saw the new clinical psychiatrist, I was instantly given 2 months off, with the new meds that lower my blood pressure. Also to think about taking on new medication for my PTSD and she also diagnosed me with generalised anxiety disorder.

So that’s why I wanted to reach out and ask what works for people with the PSTD dreams.

I wake up and it’s instantly anxiety from dreaming, or panic, or a range of horrible emotions that can take all day to get out of those feelings.

Now on top of those, I have dreams relating to this horrible woman from the support office attacking me becasue she was so mad I have a medical certificate. She claimed it wasn’t accepted, which was a lie, my sister rang up to confirm why a clinical psychiatrist medical certificate wasn’t accepted and this woman flee off the handle and started divulging private information about me over the phone while also telling my sister that I’m constantly bad mouthing my whole family and I don’t like my sister either.

I was so shocked and so was my sister that a simple question turned into a slandering match.

Our next thing to do was go to the complaints department, basically 3 weeks later, I just received and email to say the cas sis closed and the support woman was completely protected by her manger. Said she had done more than enough to help me.

I’m so mad and upset. These type of things really trigger me. I was sexually abused and stalked years ago. Where my PTSD started.

So when I feel attacked like this, My dreams instantly turn back into people after me again and I’m in these horrible re occurring nightmares with all the people who make me uncomfortable and and anxious.

I have yet to meet any therapist who will take my dreams seriously. They just see the anxiety and the fact that I can’t work or leave the house with out Valium or oxiazapam. And want me to be loaded up on antidepressants and antipsychotics, which didn’t work for me in the past.

So with all that said, my anxiety is through the roof. My chest is tight, I am waking up again (when I’d almost had it under control) in instant panic.

I have just started giving in and taking my oxiazapam when I wake up, it helps me immensely. I only used to take it at night.

Why I put myself through panic all day for so long I’ll never know..

I think the stigma about being a pill head and addicted to pills has been drumbed into me.

Although now I’m finding the oxiazapam wears off quickly, so I’m going to have to ask my doctor about increasing.

I completely understand why you don’t plan mornings, Infact I was relived to hear, someone else in this world is like me.

For years people have fought me to get up early and start my day, my mom throwing the curtains back and blinding me. Or throwing cold water Over my head, people making me feel worse becasue I’ve missed the best part of the day.

Well what they didn’t know is I’m suffering immensely on the inside, either I didn’t sleep a wink becasue I didn’t want to dream, or I had such horrendous dreams that are so long and vivid, they are like describing a full length movie!

It’s taken me sooo long to realise I was suffering all this time.

I also found allot of the antidepressants I was on only enhanced my dreams. So I’m going to be adamant when I go back to this new psychiatrist that I don’t want the dream enhancers, and she start taking my dream state more seriously.

I explained to her that it’s so real and so raw when I wake up. It’s as if for example her and I had a huge fight in this room, and as soon as she stepped outside the door she is expected to just brush her emotions instantly. That was what it’s like for me waking up.

I don’t know if that analogy was good enough for her. But that’s where I’ll be starting off in early January which is not far. It’s very overwhelming when I know I’ve got all these new changes coming and all I wanted was to be left alone. Just wanted a break from all these people pressuring me :(

Thank you so much again for sharing your story and daily routine. I really think a similar routine would help me allot.


Hi, I would suggest staying on the lithium, coming of of it is part of what has caused me this struggle. Genesense is a test you can do to find out anti.d. suitable for your body. I did it in Oct. It came back with only 2, Dr. put me on one Pristiq and I have no side affects. Just a suggestion, I think it is awful how we suffer. I hear in your letter, you are strong and determined, so stay with it. Read any good material you can find at the library or on line. I send you strength, love, peace and Hugs. Sprinkle 1

IsabelleW profile image
IsabelleW in reply to Sprinkle1

Thank you Sprinkle, I’m really interested in this Gensense. Never heard of it. This is exactly what I’ve been wondering, if there is an actual test to see what I’m allergic to.

I will definitely be looking into it. :)

Have you tried EMDR for PTSD? No meds! I’m on Effexor for anxiety. Works well for me with no side effects. I do think an inpatient stay might really help you. Good luck!

Look up borderline personality disorder. I have that and it includes a lot of what you have. I take Effexor. It worked well. It is very hard to get off. I’m trying to wean off mine right now because it’s been years and now I’m worse than before. Meds are different for everyone. Talk to your doctor about everything. There are natural things you can try but sometimes we need a bandaid (meds) so we can work on things. Best of luck.

Everyone is different. I tried meditation, mindfulness, Neuro feedback, biofeedback, all to avoid meds. No measurable help. Went on SSRI’s plus as needed Ativan. Helped me for many years but Ativan loses its effectiveness with time - you build up a tolerance to benzodiazepines. I weened off it and anxiety stormed back into my life.

I now take a low dose Remeron ( greatly helps me relax for sleep ) which is not habit forming plus Gabapentin. GABA was made for nerve pain ( fibromyalgia etc.) but they found it was halting anxiety in many, many patients. So, now Doctors are prescribing it for anxiety. I have PTSD / GAD. Gabapentin has been damn close to a miracle for me. No side effects at all - just no anxiety. Research yourself. Google Gabapentin for anxiety. It is not without controversy but read patient reviews and you will see the world miracle used quite often.

What works for me may not work for you. We know that. I am just sharing what is currently helping me live a normal life.


You have had many replies and suggestions; try to keep it simple. Chemically we are so very different, Go to the source of the nightmares and fear. That was a real occurrence. If you have a choice of psychiatrist find one who has worked with women who have had a severe trauma. All that the rest seems just too hard on until you learn to deal with that trauma. I am still taking a sister med of prazosin along with a low dose muscle relaxer at night. My mornings are better than 5 months ago when I first wrote. Occasionally an anxiety med (low dose) is suggested for the morning and night whenIamgoinginto "valley".

I am tremendously better. "Interview" the next doctor well.

I send my all my love and hope and happiness I can to you.xxx

I've been in the same boat, I took a lot of psych meds, hoping to heal. I stopped after my weight balooned to over 300lbs. I use to weigh 160. I've tried everything. I truly believe the psychiatrist, excuse the expression, don't give a s**t, honestly. They keep throwing medicines in my face that cause me to have bowel and bladder problems. Then eventually my intelligence drops, when that happens I know something is wrong. I get dumb as hell. I tooked them as I was told and prescribed, they didn't work. It took me many weeks before I even came close to feeling better. But because I was still under the influence I was manipulated into continuing to take them. This time I won't. This is why I'm here. I'm looking for the answer. The pills I took, I wanted to tell the psychiatrist is for patients in a mental institution. They are not for every day, outside of the hospital, mentally ill people. I felt like a guinea pig. I wish I had the answer, I don't. I've chosen to stop taking them. I saw a program on pbs.org named "Th Definition of Insanity" its a good program to watch, it might help some or offer some advice. Don't go off the deep end no further than you are already at. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best of luck in your search. I'm convinced that the majority of mine were placebos. They all did the same thing, something is wrong with that, the same side effects. They didn't make me sleepy, no matter what psych med I took, I never understood that. I was diagnosed, I started freaking out in the early 70s after my great-grand mother's death. That was it, everything else has been more than a total nightmare. I don't know what to do.

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