terrified of medication for anxiety - Anxiety Support

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terrified of medication for anxiety


I've been struggling for years now with OCD, GAD and severe anxiety, which has caused lots of other problems, such as low self-esteem, comfort eating, and physical problems such as bladder problems and IBS. Things have been getting worse, and I have sought help (counselling and CBT) and medication, a number of times. But I'm absolutely petrified of trying the medication (SSRI and tricyclics) etc. I tried an SSRI last year and had a terrible reaction. The trouble is the anxiety and fear I have make many of the symptoms I fear most, racing heart, deep fears, nausea etc. I know the medication may help, and ironically I have a science background, but am absolutely irrationally scared about the side effects! I'm now under the care of our local mental health team, which described my case as complex, but I worry if I don't engage with this the medical professionals will just give up. They say I need the medication to be able to engage with CBT etc, as my anxiety (emtional and physical symptoms) just make this impossible. The irony is not lost on me that I've spent the last few days worrying about anti-anxiety medication, which is meant to make me feel less anxious! Any advice for this stupid and massively distressing situation I find myself in.

39 Replies

Hi Cn82, I agree with your medical team in that you do need to be on medication while engaging in CBT or any other kind of therapy. They go hand in hand in proceeding forward. CBT requires work on your part which is impossible to do if you are so preoccupied with the anxiety symptoms. Being afraid in taking meds is very common with all of us. Ironically as you said, the thing that may help (antianxiety med) is something we fear. And so we stay stuck. Stuck in an uncomfortable situation both physically and mentally. The fear of the unknown possible reaction to a medication is so powerful that we close our mind to making any advances forward.

This is where trust in your medical team and trust in your better judgment will come into play. The time is now for you to gather up all your inner strength and take that step forward and take the medication offered. If you don't you will always wonder what if I passed up the chance to feel more in control. What if, this were the start of my healing. This is one time that "what if" is not a negative thought.

Medication doesn't have to be forever but short term just to get you over this hump. I truly hope you will reconsider medication. Use the forum for additional support knowing we all understand and know what it's like to be that afraid of something. I wish you well. Keep us updated.

Hello cn82, your situation is identical to mine. I am petrified of meds and not bring in control, which I'm not anyway. I agree with the other reply and wonder what if this would end the nitmare and make me feel better? I go to doc, fill script but never follow through and take. This is a vicious cycle that needs to be broken to move forward. I was hesitant of metoprolol subscribed to me and after multiple visits to ER decided to take which ended these hospita visits. Perhaps the anxiety meds will be successful also

Nervousgirl0714, I was beside myself when I was first put on Metoprolol. Ironically it was the best think ever to happen. It takes care of my b/p, my heart palps and anxiety. What if I had never given it a try? Sometimes we need to go beyond our comfort zone to see what it holds. I'm happy you moved forward. x

Was u put on this for anxiety or heart and b/p issues? I can't really say it helps with my anxiety but helps heart rate.

I was put on it for b/p issues but the psychiatrist said it's a good drug

for anxiety as well. At hearing that, I take my dose in the morning before getting up. It has cut down tremendously on morning anxiety.

So u take once daily? What dosage? I take 25mg twice daily for rapid heart but I split the pill and take 12.5mg every 6 hrs, which equals 50mg daily. I am just so afraid meds and in my own hell be cuz of it. Do u take the metoprolol tartrate or the other metoprolol?

Metoporolol Tartrate 25mg. once a day in the morning BUT...I am also on a heart medication for my Atrial Fib so that's why it's just once a day.

Agora1, you are on here for anxiety right? When mine started as soon as I woke up I would start crying, pacing and ringing my hands. I actually had sores on my back where I would sit and pick my skin. I have never experienced anything like this before. I have ativan to take which helps but afraid of becoming dependent. I also have zoloft 25mg and want to take but can't due to the what ifs.

Yes Nervousgirl, I had big time anxiety issues...The crying, pacing and morning anxiety seemed never ending. I also became agoraphobic for 6 years, never going out. I too was afraid of everything, afraid of life itself. After years of therapy (by phone) I decided I had enough of this insanity. I had read everything on anxiety.

I was doing all the right things except for Accepting that these symptoms would not harm me. The fear wasn't real, it was all in my mind. I got off my benzos slowly and safely and the rest is history as to where I am now.

I would not be in this recovered state of mind, had I continued to be afraid. It is the most wonderful feeling to feel so alive, so clear headed. Oh yes, the anxiety tries to trick me from time to time, but I now know how to ignore it and go on with my day. I try to help others to move forward and not stay stuck in that circle of panic and fear. One day, you too, can pass it forward to someone. Stay strong..x

But what do u recommend for me? How can I take or try meds and not immediately panic? I really hate this even tho its let up a bit. I had lost so much weight or 35 lbs in 2 montHS. Couldn't eat or sleep and that is some better. How did u over come gear of meds or did u have that? U feel so silly having this phobia. Sorry for all the questions but want this to end. Do u think the zoloft would level me out?

Nervousgirl, your questions are never silly. Anxiety can be a very scary so the more we know about the disorder, the more we can help ourselves. Since we are all different in how we react to meds and therapy, it's hard to recommend what may work for another. I will say this, that working with my psychiatrist and therapist gave me the guidance I needed. I didn't have an eating or sleeping problem with anxiety. Because of your weight lost, you really need to be under your doctor's care.

I am just on Lexapro which does help with anxiety. Your Zoloft should do the same. I needed Ativan for a while but after 5 years on heavy doses, I weaned off them with the help of my doctor.

Im now eating and thankfully have gained 10 lbs back. I am under Dr care but not always compliant due to my issues. I am very spiritual and know that God is always with me and I rely on him so much. Not sure why I can't get ovet fear when I believe in the Lord's protection? Psych says i.also have PTSD. I just don't know what happened and why it cant get better on its own? This all started with multiple visits to ER with fast heart and sometimes nobody to.go.with me. Had huge sense of abandonment and felt I was a burden

I always feel there is a reason that anxiety goes on and on for some. I always felt alone in dealing with my anxiety. I heard and saw the snickering and snide remarks made when they thought I couldn't hear. Saw family and friends turn away and not believe me. When I didn't get better, PTSD was thrown at me. PTSD for what I asked? I didn't have any trauma in my life. In addition to believing in God's protection, you need to believe in your own strength as well. I'm glad you gained back 10lbs. That's great. Substituting a Protein Shake between meals can help as well.

Anxiety won't leave by itself, it needs your help, your hard work in going forward. It will happen as soon as you let go of the fear and accept it. It will lose it's strength, I promise.. Believe x

Agora1, I appreciate u so much talking with me. You are more helpful.then u kno. Please stay in touch

Thanks for your advice, and nice to know I'm not alone in this. Still not taken script to pharmacy yet.

in reply to Agora1

Many thanks for your reply, but have poor experience of medical profession with some issues, and having worked in the area, I know their dogmatic views and unwillingness to question medication. Trust is a two way process, and after only one appointment. I'm not ready to take that leap of faith yet. But appreciate your thoughts, as all sensible and helpful.

I can vouch too, ask about propranolol as well. I had a attack yesterday, heart rate 168ish, took pill, only 10 mg, 40 mins later heart rate 78 and i was relaxed. Its non addictive, and lowers BP as well. That was a god sent for me too, and i was horribly afraid of SSRIs. Matter of fact i got propranolol because i wouldnt try a ssri. Its a god sent.

in reply to Armyguy

Hi my doctor prescribe me for propanolol 40mg twice a day but i only take 5 mg in the morning and 5 mg in the evening. I increase the dose if im too anxious. She gave me propanolol for my migraine and anxiety. Im low in blood so i hesitate to take more than 10mg..is it alright?

in reply to Greyen

Hi Greyen, do you mean that your blood pressure is low? If so, then you want to watch how many mg you do take since it will lower it.

in reply to Agora1

My blood pressure is a bit low. Thats why i only take 10mg a day i only increase if im too anxious and im always anxious.. can i ask if anyone ever feel numbness in the face, especially the left side andmy jaw is sore and as well as my teeth might be the nerves. My fingers sometimes numb also my toes. I got pins and needles all over my body, stomach pain like air inside my tummy rumbling. I have also like tingling all over my head which is some of it are painful.is it all anxiety.. I just had a brain and cervical spine mri its all normal. All blood test came out fine.. about 2 years ago i had heart test, stress, ekg, ecg and 24 hr holter all fine. Endoscopy and gastroscopy, xrays,ultrasound..today, went to the doctor asking for help i breakdown when my son told me last week that mummy everything will be fine. I just cried and my hubby told me to ask some help.. im so sad and well depressed too. So let me know if anyone is feeling this..

I suffer the same thing and they just get angry and give up on you. As soon as I swallow on of their pills I have an acute panic attack. Defeats the whole purpose

in reply to Tanz1977

I tried sertraline and felt terrible. Everyone is different, though, and for many people it works well. But I am terrified of trying anything new again. Hard to know how to approach this. Thanks for the support though.

Hi There,

Your situation is highly complex and extremely difficult.As you experience,your science background or in my case,being rational seems to have zero effect on these horrible experiences.

Also,like many of us you have resistances,avoidances and worries/fears which stop you making decisions and taking action.

Many of us have a deeper level of this 'blocking' with self sabotage.A part of ourselves that wants the problem,that wants to stay with the problem,that doesn't want to improve or obtain a cure.Perhaps it is getting some advantage in putting you through all this misery?

And then there is the 3rd deepest level of avoidance which is self punishment.A part of us which says we are bad,worthless,not nice,disgusting,bad,hurting others etc. This is the worst and deepest level of avoidance or resistance or blockage where a part of us actually is punishing us and trying to hurt us,make us suffer and this can lead to serious actions of degradation and putting our life in danger and even suicide.

Praise the Lord that I do not have that 3rd level and by your very short description it sounds like you have the lighter 2,like me,perhaps.

I am a consultant psychologist in London,I am 60 and became ill 12 years ago with agoraphobia,major depression and panic disorder.

First let me say,try to be more easy on yourself,don't judge your avoidance,anxieties,resistance too harshly.You are under the effect of an illness which is not under your control.And part of this illness is excessive worrying,anxiety,fear and blocking towards some safe or healthy actions that might help and being 'your own worst enemy'.

This is quite normal and a natural part of your disorder.Your resistance IS your disorder.(or at least a large part of it).

So I feel you would benefit hugely from being nice to yourself,stop pushing yourself so hard and take the pressure of yourself.Its not 'now or never'.

You will always have access to these drugs and to C.B.T. psychotherapy or counselling for free can be more difficult to get but the drugs and even C.B.T. are always available I can assure you so don't make it 'now or never',go at your own pace and be kind to yourself like your own best friend or your own positive loving encouraging parent.

Speak to yourself in this way.

As regards to drugs and treatment you are being offered the most succesful treatment combination for your problems however it is standard and not individual to you and it has to be made individual to you.

This must include your resistances and fears in even trying it or popping the first pill.

Firstly,sure anti anxiety medication would normally be a beta blocker and a tranquilliser .This may be proprananol and diazepam.These are the drugs that would reduce your anxiety symptoms however your team feel an anti depressant would be better and they may well be right.

Side effects are much wider and stronger with the tricyclics than SSRI and I see no reason you could not insist on SSRI ,the much lesser potential side effects of the 2.

There is a level that can have fewer side effects which involves natural treatments to increase serotonin availability but this can take spending some private money,can take a lot of effort or combinations as the natural remedies can have a weaker effect.(e.g.St.Johns wort,omega 3 oils,regular excersise etc.)

SSRI can have side effects,some Apalling.

A good way to test is to start on a small dose,take your time before you raise it slowly.

I take an SSRI daily,the most prescribed and taken in the world,Sertraline.

I take the maximum dose of 200 mg and that is not enough to free me from major depression however I use other techniques to help the rest.

The normal starting dose is 50 mg.

However I began,as you could begin on 10mg or 25mg until, it built up in your body and you were certain there are no side effects for you,or any side effects were acceptable.Then you could increase the dose.This is one method that because of my own fears I operated.It also has the advantage that any unpleasant side effects are small and easily coped with and settle before you increase the dose.

Drugs are a very personal reaction,your biology is unique.You could immediately go on the highest dose of the most powerful drug and feel nothing at all !or could be the reverse,nobody really knows,you have to suck it and see.However you feel it is your right to reduce the dose or chuck them away,a prescription is just that,an advice with access to a drug,precriptive.

It is perfectly legal to not take a drug or dose at your own rate or way that feels safer for you.

I know many who simply lie and say they are taking their drugs bur don't.

I find it acceptable for you also to lie so you could recieve cheap or free psychotherapy or C.B.T. both of which could help you or even cure you without ever touching a drug.

The medics advice is standard,from the book.You are not a number in a book,you are completely unique.

You may fit in precisely with the standard diagnosis and treatment or your diagnosis could be completely wrong or the treatment could have no effect upon you.So go your own way.Step forward with what YOU want to try in the WAY you feel happy to do it.

Feel free to contact me.

Valentin77, I wrote a long response to u and lost it. I would very much like to communicate with u further. It sounds like u might can help me

I also have been prescribed sertralaine. Do u think this will stop my ruminating thoughts of something bad happening?

Hi There,

Sertraline might reduce your ruminating thoughts.If you became depressed first then had increased ruminating thoughts then it probably would reduce them.

If you were not depressed first it still may reduce them,it's possible.

Unfortunately like most drugs which effect the brain it's very much try it and see.

However sertraline or another s.s.r.i. Could be worth a try.

Feel free to communicate with me.

Are you allowed to give emails,texts or other numbers on this site?

I would not want to break any strict rules,

I'm not sure if u can give email address or text number. I just wish I had someone who could be with me while I begin the zoloft. I am to take 12.5mg to start. Do u think it will make me feel funny? I want so badly to get past all this. It all began with fast heart rate out of nowhere with repeated er visits due to me not wanting to take metoprolol beta blocker. I finally had to take it

Right.Well I guess it is up to us if we adults to share numbers etc.

I totally understand your desire to have someone with you when you take it.

On my rise to maximum dosage I stayed with family on their couch.They didn't understand and couldn't help however it was much more comforting and less scary,so it did help.

However,it is always personal and you could theoretically take a maximum dose of several drugs prescribed together and feel nothing at all.Or maybe only much better.

Which country are you in?

I am in the US. In Virginia actually. How do I get past this fear? If I took it might be the best thing evet. I'm my own worst enemy

1) Look up the negative side effects of this particular drug.What are the percentage chances of those negative side effects for you.Give it a rational number for chances of side effects,but only the side effects you feel you could not cope with.

Then write a rational realistic positive page or paragraph which gives you all the ideal possibilities of taking this drug,and all the rational facts that say bad things are unlikely to happen,write it like you are a lawyer trying to convince with truth and positive possibilities that this drug is safe and that bad side effects are incredibly unlikely to happen and even if they did you could cope.

Remember how ever bad you feel from these drugs it WILL BE GONE.SUFFER and wait it out and you WILL feel back to normal and just fine.

2) start small.As small a dose as you wish,even a tiny crumb of the drug every day.Find out it is safe,find out you have nothing to fear except your own fantasy disaster imagination.Billions of people all accross the world take huge doses of this drug and are just fine.So start as small as you want,take your time,don't rush.Keep n going.

And create a plan if you do feel bad(more than your own negative worries ).A plan of action.Someone you could be with?A&E?phone a doctor ?do deep breathing?drink lots of water?if you feel bad AND it's not going away what is your practical plan of action?

Write your plan out step by step and number each thing.Practice your emergency plan,(or the parts that you can)so that you have it in your back pocket ready as nessesary,this could include alcohol,tranquillisers ,sex,a crucifix,whatever would help you.

So work on setting up your rational page of positive realistic possibilities and reasons why bad side effects would be unlikely to happen to you.

Read your page with concentration every time you have fears.Convince yourself of the rational and reasonable probabilities.Keep the page with you.

And don't pressure yourself over the drug,let your practical action plan be clear and practiced.Also have your page of positive writing to repeat to yourself.Once these 2 things are set up,practiced,familiar,repetitive then start on the tiniest dose of drug.Only increase it once you feel sure there is no side effects.

You will soon have this drug 'in your pocket' ,they may cure you,that is what they are there for.Set everything up and start small.

When push came to shove and I had to take Metoprolol, I did. (And never regretted doing it, I feel great) No more irregular heart beat. Think of the Zoloft as being the same thing. Your mind needs relief from your anxiety. Zoloft is waiting to help you. You won't know how much it can help until you try it. I know it's scary. We are all afraid of medications. Having been prescribed by your doctor you have less chance of a bad reaction (because he knows your health history) Sometimes things we may buy over the counter will give us more problems.

Before you start a new medication, you will feel more comfortable having someone at home with you. Tell them you will be taking your first dose, write down the dosage as well as the time you took it.

Then relax (do not start watching the clock or pacing) get into a good movie or read a book etc. You will be okay, do not look for symptoms. You can let us know on the forum as well, that you are looking for support in having taken your first dose.

This medication may open the door to your feeling better. Oh not with the first dose but as it builds up in your system and reaches full efficacy, will you start to notice a good change in your mood.

I wish you well Nervousgirl, you are never alone. We all care! x

U take metoprolol too? Can I ask the reason and is it metoprolol tartrate? I take 25mg 2x daily for fast heart. Do u know how exactly the zoloft works? Is it in your brain?

I do take Metoprolol 25mg once a day in the morning. It is for my blood pressure and anxiety. The Zoloft is an SSRI that will help with anxiety and depression. I am on Lexapro. It takes about 4-6 weeks to reach the correct therapeutic level. Your doctor will adjust the dosage as he sees how you are doing. It does work in the brain.

But am I lacking something my brain needs and that is causing anxiety? I don't understand why this all won't calm down on its own? What happened to me???

I am on 200mg a day of Zoloft.It is essential for me.I discovered I have extremely low levels of serotonin.Zoloft gives me more serotonin.

A lack of serotonin creates low mood,anxiety and even major psychotic depression and anxiety(as in my case).

I started on 25mg feeling very very worried .But surprisingly it had no terrible immediate side effects and anyway,what else could I do?what other options were there?

I thought this tiny white pill would have ABSOLUTELY no beneficial effect except,perhaps,making me feel even more ILL or probably all numbed out like a zombie.

After 4 or 5 days of taking this dose I woke up feeling much better,in fact my problems and inner pain was SLICED IN HALF. I could not believe it.I had no idea,even as a psychologist working for 36 years that a tiny drug could slice into my misery so wonderfully.I felt nothing bad,nothing negative,no numbing,I just felt like my old normal positive self,just ME.

I NOW realise that I have permanent serotonin deficiency and I MUST keep it topped up and continue to take Zoloft or something similar which does the same thing.

There are many natural methods for in reading serotonin,like excersise,and omega 3 oils etc.etc.however these are all quite slight compared to Zoloft. So maybe each healthy thing such as taking oily fish or omega 3 oils may equal 10 mg of Zoloft.

So do enough of these things should all add up to a significant increase.

Unlikely in my case that they would all be enough so sometimes we just need something that will do the trick.Like sometimes we just need a pain killer,a hug,something to eat or whatever.

I never dreamed I was serotonin deficient but I am,and SEVERELY,and could not live independently or even 'normally' without it.

For you,it might have no effect whatsoever,it all depends if you are serotonin deficient and the only way of knowing this is by trying something that is known to increase it.Unfortunately there are no tests at the moment.

This is exactly what I have. I tried my hardest to go the natural route and it was never enough. I am a firm believer in medicine! I am currently on 10mg Lexapro.

One positive advantage is you will take a maximum of 20mg a day.I am taking 200mg a day of Zoloft(sertraline)so your mind and body is on a small amount of drug compared with me.This could be more beneficial long term.However I believe Zoloft is more widely taken,tested for longer period.

There are people who are mentally ill or suffering from inner disturbance who can take all the drugs in the world with not one jot of improvement,(25% maximum),I feel that me and you and many others are incredibly lucky for such a fabulous response to SSRI ,which indicates poor levels of serotonin or serotonin availability.

The many natural methods,some proved,many not,for me,also have a beneficial effect however this usually costs money or takes effort.

There are a whole range of healthy supplements which help many,I have found omega 3 oils and probiotics excellent.Also aerobic excersise however there are many many others to try.

For me,each beneficial natural treatment has a similar effect to perhaps at least 5% of the effect of chemical drug.Of course when you are profoundly suffering 5 or 10% is magnificent.

Also by combining I could see this effect rising greatly(35%?).For me,great healthy additions to my drug treatment as the maximum dose is not fully enough for me.

So I experiment with other techniques.I also practice a full C.B.T. treatment daily applied which is also essential.

My psych did a test in her office and it ca me back I had an MTHFR mutation which puts me at higher risk of depression. She also gave me deplin which is supposed to be a medical food. Are u familiar with.this? Supposedly my body.can't process vitamin B or something about folate. Does this make sense?

Makes perfect sense. I think this test along with a full panel thyroid and nutritional deficiencies shoud be the standard of care before any meds are peracribed. That being said its also a nice buffer to have a sedative like a benzo on hans in cass things get shaky in the first couple weeks to ensure pushing through any start up side effects then taper off the benzos after you feel stable. Just my thoughts..not a dr here. Seen it help many people although we are all different.

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