Anxiety Support
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Medication or no medication?

I've been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks for a few months now, my doctor prescribed me anti depressants so I done my research and I don't think I want to take them, they say they make your anxiety worse to start with and other side effects were dizziness and nausea and they're my biggest fears. I'd love to hear some success stories from people who have either taken medication or gone without, thanks :)

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Hello Emx95. I have PTSD and some brain and physical damage from an accident 17 years ago. I could not have worked without an epidural for pain, which also reduced my anxiety.But I worked in a high anxiety occupation. After I was involved in that accident, I needed help and not certain where to turn. By grace and luck, a very good neuropsychiatrist took me in, and tested, counseled me about what would be permanent, what could improve and what couldn't. He was honest with me and I still see him for about 15-30minutes each month. I take antidepressants; took a while to adjust to be beneficial to me.

Curious as to where you chose to research antidepressants. Please remember that the 11th Commandment in my house is : Thou shall not Google, Ask MD, as far as meds and healthcare are concerned.

Why bother going to a doctor for help, then not take it? Yes, almost everything in life has a cost; some side effects may occur. They don't always stay as your body chemistry adjusts to your meds.

Hope members who do not take meds will respond to you so you will have useful information to help you make a decision. Take care of yourself.

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Hi Emz96,

HearYou has covered nearly everything.

If you choose not take medication, you will need to engage in a guided talking therapy. I have talked about Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) with Hpesoj50 today.

You are your own expert and must trust whichever decision as being the right one for you.

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As I've said before, anxiety about anti-anxiety medications is just another symptom of anxiety.

If anxiety becomes so overwhelming and we have families and jobs to maintain then I say taking respite with meds is the right thing to do. But use the time to learn about self help methods of relief and recovery because you don't want to be on meds for life if you can avoid it.

Twice meds have made all the difference to me between carrying on or retiring to a dark room indefinitely. The first time was with diazepam/valium in the 1970s. Then I discovered the books of Claire Weekes and her acceptance method and recovered.

But my anxiety is genetic and it returned in the 1990s. Then I went onto amitriptyline (3 x 25mg daily) and quickly found respite. Then I fished out the Weekes books and read and reread them and I recovered.

A lot of nonsense is written about the side effects of medications probably because the makers cover themselves by listing every possible side effect on the accompanying notes which makes anxiety sufferers over react and imagine the worst. Of course meds do have side effects but are minor for most people and tend to pass after a while. Very occasionally someone experiences something more serious.

I suspect anxiety peeps start taking meds and sit there waiting for some terrible side effect to afflict them.

I noticed no side affects at all with diazepam until after 2 years I decided to come off them, nobody knew then you have to come off them very gradually.

With amitriptyline, a very early serotonin booster that is anti anxiety and anti depression and has recently come back into favour, the only side effects were dizziness when standing up (this stopped after about a month), dry mouth and the ability to fall asleep to order. Oh, and feelings of euphoria when you come off them.

So I think meds have an important part to play in anxiety disorder in providing relief without recovery whilst only talking cures (therapy) and self help books can with practice and persistance provide both relief and recovery. That's my view. But then I'm the only person here that consults Google to find reassurance rather than reasons to worry myself half to death.

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Sorry, no matter what, 11dt Commandment is Thou shall not Google. Consult MD. :)

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You're probably right, HearYou, but today I Googled 'low blood oxygen saturation' and was able to reassure myself I don't have it. Being a hypochondriac I have a fingertip Sp02 tester, of course😀

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Jeff,

I'm Southern and you are what we call a "mess". (that's a compliment with a smile attached).

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I, too, got anxiety researching the side effects. I finally took the plunge and drumroll.... no side effects (maybe a little sleepy at first). I feel SO much better. I have my days but still tolerable. With my low dose I can still sense the anxiety and use Claire Weekes strategies to “float” through it. Great way to desensitize. I did mess with my doses at first to get it right. I cut it in half and did once a day for two weeks then increased to 1/2 dose in morn then the other in the eve. It works well for me.

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I’m so much happier now and can do so many things I wouldn’t have dreamed of before.

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Thanks everyone, by the sound of it I must just be worrying g myself about the side effects, but anyone who just suddenly became anxious like me, did you look for a reason why you got anxiety? That's what I'm trying to do before I take medication, to see if there's anything else I can do, like herbal supplements or diet changes..

By suddenly becoming anxious I mean one day I was good and the next I'm sick every time I got out for dinner, go shopping, when someone talks about having a drink or going out, even anxious having dinner with my partner and his family all of a sudden.

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I have some deeply seeded reasons but it mostly comes from my current situation of work, taking care of the kids, and my husband. I knew I couldn’t change any of those things and decided meds would help me calm my overworked nerves. It took 9 months to reach a decision. I was suffering so much physically and had already tried dozens of ideas for natural relief.

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Emz96, we acquire anxiety disorder after a long period of stress, worry, over work and/or disappointment that finally takes its toll of our nervous system which becomes over sensitised.

In this state our nerves start to play tricks on us: we can experience panic attacks, a sense of impending doom and demise, agrophobia, claustrophobia, social anxiety and health anxiety. This last leads us to believe that every ache or bodily misfunction must be cancer or heart disease and we tend to continue in this false belief regardless of doctors, tests and scans telling us there's nothing wrong.

Our sensitised nerves exaggerate our minor worries into major fears and are very good at mimicking real organic illness. The symptoms of anxiety produce a fear hormone that continues to sensitise our nerves that then produce more symptoms and fear in a never ending vicious circle.

We can feel o.k. for a few days but as our nerves are still sensitised it's not going to go away without proper intervention. Herbs and diet changes may be helpful but do not provide recovery, there is no instant fix, no button to push that makes it all go away.

Medications can provide relief for as long as you take them. But for recovery you need to break the vicious circle of first fear producing second fear. To do that you must do the opposite of what you've probably been doing so far.

First, stop fighting your anxiety because you can't win. Fighting only causes more tension and stress. You must surrender to it, learn to live with it for the time being. But when the bad feelings come don't fight them, instead imagine every muscle in your body relaxing, feel that happening to your jaw, your limbs, your body, everything.

Second you must accept your anxiety for the time being, don't try to reject it, accept that you will co-exist with it as calmly as you can and with the least amount of fear. After all , anxiety is not life threatening, cannot disable you or make you lose your mind. It is only good at imitating those things, anxiety is a fake, a fraud and a confidence trickster. So accept all the symotoms your nerves send your way and continue to do all the things you normally do despite the bad feelings which you now know are fake.

And if you practice this Acceptance method with persistance you will deny your nerves the self-induced fear they thrive on and gradually they will recover in the fullness of time and so will you.

The Acceptance method for recovery from anxiety disorder in all its forms was first set out many years ago by Doctor Claire Weekes in her first book 'Self help for your nerves' u.k. edition and 'Hope and help with your nerves' u.s. edition both available from Amazon new or used for a few quid/bucks.

You will recognise yourself in its pages, read some of the hundreds of reader reviews 90% of which rate the book Very Good or Excellent.

I wish you God's speed in your journey to recovery whatever course you take.

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I find I get a buzzy feeling at first with my meds, and gurgling stomach, slightly upset stomach, and some dizzyness, but things have improved after a week or so. I find taking the meds at night means by morning most of the mental side effects have worn off. Does anyone else do this?

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DeeM3 can I ask what medication you are taking?

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Lexapro

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Hi Emz96, I am in the same position as you. I was prescribed citalopram just yesterday. I suffered an increase in my anxiety at the beginning of the year and was prescribed sertraline 50mg but I had a very bad reaction to it so stopped taking it. Since then I have struggled to cope with my anxiety, despite concentrating on mindfulness meditation. Over the last 6 to 8 weeks my anxiety has become so extreme and I feel in a continual state of panic. I had an almighty panic attack on Monday night (which I managed to get through by repeating out loud a grounding exercise) but I also decided to take a diazepam 2mg which I have had since April and not resorted to take in all this time. I saw a gp yesterday who suggested I try a different ssri of a lower strength due to my sensitivity to medication, along with 5mg diazapam to counteract the possible increase in anxiety in the first week or so. So I have 10mg citalopram but am really concerned about taking it. Due to my worry about taking medication, i have been halving the 5mg diazepam tablets today and feel that was the right choice as that dose is making me very drowsy and dizzy but doesn't seem to be helping much with the racing heart, however, I did manage my first night's proper sleep for months (although I had the most disturbing dream I've ever had!)

I just don't know what to do. My husband is usually very supportive and understands about taking a temporary medication like diazepam, but doesn't agree with long term drugs such as the ssri.

I am feeling particularly down tonight as I am at my wits end with the anxiety and panic but I am at a loss and scared about what to do.

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Molly, what I would do is: don't get tied up in knots about side effects. Take the citalopram in the strength prescribed, you have said that your anxiety has been extreme recently so take it and don't stop after 2 days because of imagined or temporary side effects. Also, take the diazepam as many as prescribed, I've used it for over 40 years from time to time. This is not the time for you to prove how good you are for not taking diazepam, just take it and together with the citalopram just enjoy the respite. Diazepam are Heaven sent.

Now here's the important bit, once you're feeling reasonably free from anxiety go to Amazon and in the U.K. search for a book by Claire Weekes written 40 years ago titled 'Self help for your nerves' or in the U.S. the same book is titled 'Hope and help for your nerves'. Read a few of the hundreds of reader reviews, 90% rate the book Very Good or Excellent. The book is available new or used for just a few dollars/pounds.

If you should decide to read the book you will find yourself saying "Hey, this woman must have known me when she wrote this book!"

Use your period of respite afforded by the medications to read this very easy-to-read book which many believe to be the definitive self-help book ever written, the first step on your road to recovery.

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Perfectly said!

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Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your reply and advice. I have often reacted badly to medications, even everyday painkillers, so I do get rather apprehensive at the thought of taking most medicines.

I have the book you mention, I bought it earlier this year when my anxiety was at an all-time high (although it has reached new heights!) I will re-read it starting today as I certainly did recognise myself in her words. I believe it was published the year I was born and I remember smiling at some of the case studies she mentions; however, times may have changed but anxiety hasn't.

A very good friend experienced severe anxiety some years ago and she too has encouraged me to take the meds for now but to incorporate some self-help alongside it. I have been watching some videos by a cardiologist (UK based) who recommends taking a magnesium supplement so I will purchase some and incorporate that too. Plus I will continue with the mindfulness meditation.

It's been a tough year (hell, it's been a tough life!) but I am now at the stage where I feel I have to turn my life around before it's too late. I want to enjoy life, I really do.

Thank you again.

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Thanks Jeff, I appreciate your reply and advice. I have often reacted badly to medications, even everyday painkillers, so I do get rather apprehensive at the thought of taking most medicines.

I have the book you mention, I bought it earlier this year when my anxiety was at an all-time high (although it has reached new heights!) I will re-read it starting today as I certainly did recognise myself in her words. I believe it was published the year I was born and I remember smiling at some of the case studies she mentions; however, times may have changed but anxiety hasn't.

A very good friend experienced severe anxiety some years ago and she too has encouraged me to take the meds for now but to incorporate some self-help alongside it. I have been watching some videos by a cardiologist (UK based) who recommends taking a magnesium supplement so I will purchase some and incorporate that too. Plus I will continue with the mindfulness meditation.

It's been a tough year (hell, it's been a tough life!) but I am now at the stage where I feel I have to turn my life around before it's too late. I want to enjoy life, I really do.

Thank you again.

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Yes, Molly, I understand many people here have found magnesium helpful.

Regarding the Weekes book, you do have to read it and reread it until it's ingrained into your psyche, specially if one has a reoccurance. As you say, the social background and gender roles she mentions are from a bygone age but anxiety never changes. The Bible was written against a social background of 2000 years ago but nobody holds that against it.

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Hi jeff, I'm partway through the book already... thanks for your support.

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i prefer no medication becuase i would learn how to contorl it if your feeling some type of way just let your parents know and make sure she could comfort you mostly mine happens during school and nothing happened so the best thing is to not look uo things like i do cause all your doing is making it worse the best thimg for me was the breathing technique but other than that all you have to do is stop looking things up and you will be okay i promise you my family been thriugh so i know nothings gonna happen have a good day guys =)

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I have been on anti anxiety meds for almost 30 years . I would like to suggest yoga , exersize, and a good healthy diet along with prayer and breathing meditation . Way better. God Bless

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I take meds. Just remember you are in control. I kept hoping while the doctors kept increasing doses and giving more meds. I am now in the process of trying to wean off. Trust me getting off is much harder than getting off. The side effects can also mimic the symptoms of anxiety so it could be that you have anxiety. Not side effects. It helped me through a tough time. It also got to be too much for me. Meds are like a bandaid to help you while you work on getting to the root of the problem, recognize triggers, develop coping skills and relaxation techniques with a therapist. It’s hard then to get off of them. The best treatment for depression and anxiety is diet and exercise. There are many foods that will naturally enhance you serotonin. As far as exercise it is just trying to stay active. Idol minds bread negativity and doubt. It’s also a lot to do with hope you perceive things. You choose how you react to things. It’s hard and takes a conscious effort on your part. Best of luck in whatever you decide! Meds affect all of differently based on size, gender, health, history etc. What may work well for one may do the opposite for you. Meds take a bit also to build up in your system. You won’t necessarily feel it at first. Then it takes longer to get out of your system. It’s all really a mind game.

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Hopeful-Tinkerbell, I agree with everything you said regarding medication and it's place in anxiety. Once it has done it's job, it's up to us to use other modalities in developing coping skills. I went through the same steps as you and many others. The results speak for themselves. Anxiety free. Good Luck in weaning off the meds. xx

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Hi I started on low dose proponolol but came off after 3 months I didn't enjoy taking them. What has been best for me is counselling, self help books and meditation x

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Me too Nicki1984. We all find different paths to get to the same goal, Anxiety free :) x

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