Medication question


I am new here and deeply entrenched in recovery from PTSD. I went off of the SSRI I had been on for years about two months ago and am so grateful to be free of the side effects of that medication once and for all. I am feeling pretty betrayed by the medical and mental health professionals who have been prescribing this med and diagnosing me as having depression and anxiety but completely missing my PTSD. I realize now that both were symptoms of a bigger problem that was being ignored and the medication numbed me out so much that I just carried on with things but have pretty much been a hollow shell of a person.

Lately I have been having issues with mood swings and anxiety, but I wouldn't say depression. I have been weepy, but in a manageable way and I am deep in the grief part of my journey and would think that tears are appropriate. The anxiety is the major factor at play here and is pretty distressing on an almost daily basis. So, I made an appt to see a psych nurse practitioner and discuss the possibility of an anti anxiety med to help me manage my symptoms and the appt was today. The appt itself was awful and unfortunately reflective of the trend of managed care, assembly line treatment these days. She interviewed me which consisted of checking off her checklist and very little actual conversation. At the end she automatically wanted to put me on Lexapro. When I told her no, that I did not want to go back on an SSRI, she then made it clear she didn't agree, but suggested mood stabilizers and Lamictal specifically. I am very reluctant to go back on an daily medication and expressed that I would prefer to treat the anxiety episodically. She basically acted as though I was drug seeking and wouldn't do it. I may or may not return to this person because I have few options, but I left with a prescription for Lamictal. There seems to be very little on the internet about it and I am curious if anyone has any experience with it. I am just so wary of becoming numb or blunted in anyway again or taking a med that will inhibit my healing work and progress.

Anyway, a longwinded way to ask if anyone has experience with Lamictal specifically or just general experience with meds and PTSD that might be helpful?

19 Replies

  • is there any way your general practitioner (the dr you would go to with the flu or a cold) could prescribe what you want? I find the mental health professionals are not that interested in listening to what we say and they do seem to just want to medicate us away. Clearly if you've been off the SSRI for two years you are managing that ok and just want something to use when the anxiety is high. I'm sorry the appointment was so conveyer belt.

  • I was thinking that yesterday after my experience with the psych NP. I pay out of pocket for medical expenses right now and naïvely thought seeing a mental health professional was a better use of my funds. I have only been off the meds for two months now but I am not deeply depressed, suicidal or anything. Just doing the PTSD work pretty hard core and feeling my feelings for the first time in forever. It makes me sad that mental health professionals want to pathologize everything including normal feelings that result from complex trauma.

  • i think the trouble is that anxiety has no pharma cure, and the temporary ones becomes all too often a full time addiction. there are other ways to manage anxiety. sensible nutritional food, no sugar or sugar substitutes (incredibly bad news) or caffein and a good hobby or something to do. real, decent people to talk with and engage with and therapy. meditation , mindfulness, and walking/exercise. there are herbs like valerian , st johns wort and others but you should not expect much and research such plants thoroughly. valerian is a depressant but may help you doze off when needed and is supposed to help heal the brain; st johns wort is a mild ssri and helps a little for chronic pain i only semi believe any of it , so be careful always. i have liver disease so lots of things might not even work on me. but serious: PROPER food is a foundation for SANITY. if you don't know then start reading.

  • Thank you, I am definitely trying to implement pretty much all of the things you mentioned above in my life. Do you have any recommendations about where to read about nutritional/dietary guidelines as it relates to healing? I have already completely eliminated caffeine because I knew it was making my anxiety worse and am working on the sugar and changing my family's diet as a whole, but just wondering if there's anything about there related to nutrition and mental health that you'd recommend.

  • no i just picked up bits of factoids over the decades but don't apply fully now since about 2011 i have been dysfunctioning , not cooking not shopping etc., but when i first started having panicky mornings big salads w walnuts and avocado and rye bread lunch or supper helped me to start making some decisions. mornings slow oatmeal (quick more glycemic) with walnuts and few wolfberries and bit of milk but no sugar after one egg. probably need two but i hate shopping as one of my traumas was financial. lunch at a senior center - not terrible - then last "meal" sad - rye toast w peanut butter and one avocado before or after. running out of supplements again but make sure i have D and B100. i know better but i am really half nuts. i might consider the occassional anti anxiety med too but i have cirrhosis and i don't feel safe with meds. that's me. or ptsd. whichever.

  • Google prazosin or minipress. It treats a lot of the symptoms of PTSD.

  • What is SSRI?


  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor....specific anti depressants/anti anxiety prescription drugs created in a lab. Do the research on these before getting too excited....its like a bandaid...doesn't solve the problem just masks it with a happy face but there are some nasty side effects and underneath that happy face the problem still exists.

  • Ok... I didn't recognise the reference...

    I have no interest in taking any drugs...

    I spent alot of time looking up side effects of prosaic and Paxil when my wife was put on them sequentially... Things like depression, becoming re-addicted to drugs you had combatted and stopped taking! there was an extensive list... Some were totally nuts!

    Just what we need.".become addicted again after going through the dt's and stuff getting off alcohol! And you're not supposed to drink with these drugs&! ... Sounds like a way to get people going to see several doctors 6 times a week!

  • I have a wonderful psychiatrist who gave me a prescription specifically for anxiety. He had me take it only when needed & of course monitored my use. The purpose was to calm me down so I could focus on healing my problems (PTSD). I had been trying valerian root, which I think is useful, but for me it wasn't the right thing at the right time. In 6 months I went from more frequent use to now, I don't use it at all. I did not become addicted or have it become a habit. I think your request was reasonable & the nurse practitioner was not experienced enough. I have a friend in the same situation & her psychiatrist did the same thing with her & she had the same results. I'm glad I chose what worked for me. What works for you, obviously I can't say. I would not give up on finding the right person to treat me. I had to shop around to find a competent physician with excellent credentials & references. Did research on the internet before I went. I did take Prazosin briefly to treat nighmare's & flashbacks. I believe that is it's primary use in PTSD. For anxiety my friend & I were prescribed a very low dose Xanax & was monitored as it can become habit forming, so I was very mindful of that. Sorry, never heard of Lamictal. There should be info on the internet. Good luck & don't give up. You will find the right person & method for you.

  • Thank you! I am so glad you have a supportive physician. I know they are out there, I just have a hard time knowing where and without insurance am pretty limited in what I can afford to pay out of pocket. I will continue to look, though I am also considering forgoing meds altogether and continuing to find a more holistic path to healing. Your story inspires me, though and thank you for sharing.

  • I don't have insurance either so I know how that goes. Micheles website has such a wealth of information on all things PTSD, for free. Very educational. One thing I really liked about her is her stressing that everyone of us is an individual. What is the perfect method for one person may not be the best idea for someone else. One thing I related to was the point where she just went out dancing every night for a while. I felt the same way. I had such an urge to simply dance. Other people thought I was avoiding dealing with issues, it was nice to have the validation that my instincts were right & to trust where they lead me. You already have a plan in place to try. I get the anxiety about having anxiety thing.

    Good Luck !

  • Lamictal... I went on it, oh, prolly 10 years ago...didn't like it... it blunted me...fuzzy...tried it for a few months, but I was in abusive marriage, with a young daughter...I couldn't do it..I needed to be awake and aware.. But, different people's body chemistry can be different.. Just offering my experience. Take Care~Kristina

  • Being awake and aware is also an issue for me as I have young children and am a single mom. I am definitely wary of being altered by any medication. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • I would avoid medication as well as a talk therapy therapist that makes you feel worse about life, yourself than u did before! We can talk about our traumas til we are so down and depressed that medication would be the only answer but u want to talk about your traumas or how to rid your body of the effects of trauma and process though what they have done to u? There are other ways to do this and personally speaking I have wasted enough time and money on "talk" therapists. Michele is an amazing source to go to for those options, her books have helped me big time. And after taking advantage of the opportunity to talk with her, i realized she was a positive that that came as a result of the onslaught of traumas that hit me. I've spent months and months trying out different ways to heal...I think I found a couple that could help me. Do your own research and discover what might work for u..I'm more than happy to share those with u if u like.

  • I do go to therapy and have found it helpful this go round. I have been several times in the past however the people I have seen were not trauma informed and minimally, if at all, helpful. The therapist I see now is trauma informed and we are about to begin EMDR. I am definitely open to continuing to remain off of all medications and to take a more holistic approach to healing and have already begun some of that as well. My concern and the reason I went to see this psych nurse is the level of anxiety I sometimes experience as it makes it really hard to function with young children sometimes. I actually only wanted to talk about something I would take only in the worst of circumstance to enable me to function and manage the anxiety. but I also realize that actually feeling my feelings is new to me and perhaps I have more anxiety about having anxiety that is then feeding the anxiety, if that makes any sense. I'd love to hear about what you have found that is working for you as I am wide open to learning and trying out new things in an effort to get better.

  • Oh! Well put Jerikas...

    This is why I don't allow myself to be triggered

    Talking about it dosnt usually help much... Finding ways to deal with it does!

  • Mamameg, You have to do what you feel is right for you. Do the research, weigh the pros and cons. What is right for one person isn't right for another. I have taken antidepressants with so so results, I never had a problem with getting off of the. But then again. I don't think it was true depression. Although they do help me personally in the Winter months, and when that passes, I just stop. Everyone is different. If I may ask a question? Do you see a pattern in your mood swings?

  • You know, it's hard to say if they are mood swings or triggers actually. As I try to think about when I feel like I have had mood swings, it always comes back to some sort of trigger or feeling disconnected in some way from myself. Thank you for asking. I am definitely going to pay more attention and see what I come up with in this regard.

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