Anti-anxiety treatment

Hi all,

Posted last week about my anxiety issues. Although I accept there are some dietary factors in my IBS I think anxiety is my major trigger. Went out last night and had a few drinks and a curry but because I have planned to stay home all day today I've not experienced any symptoms at all.

The anxiety usually begins with me when I'm getting ready to go out. It's become habitual. And now I have to use the toilet several times before I can go out. It mostly affects me at weekends when I'm out of the work/school run routine. It's just driving me mad. There is no enjoyment to be had in days our, holidays etc. I might enjoy it when I'm there but the stress, anxiety, multiple toilet trips beforehand and constant obsession of needing to find a loo while I'm out saps out all the fun and makes me not want to bother.

So I wondered how others manage their anxiety if it sets off their IBS. Breathing techniques and distraction occasionally work for me. I've tried Kalms and St Johns Wort capsules but they didn't do much. I have considered seeing my GP for anti anxiety medication but feel quite reluctant to go down that path as I know it can sometimes exacerbate physical symptoms. Also tried CBT which didn't really work for me.

As ever, any advice would be appreciated xx

21 Replies

  • I think I replied to your other post. I am on citalopram and I think that has really helped get my anxiety under control so that I could get the CBT working/. My GP started me off on 10mg/day but it wasn't having the desired so I doubled my dose and that appears to be doing the job. It hasn't made my IBS any worse (in fact I think it's improving as I'm significantly less anxious) but I had the worst insomnia for about a month. Some GPs might prescribe amitriptyline for the insomnia if it lasts for a while but not all GPs will.

    My advice for asking the GP about meds for your anxiety is to go into the surgery being very clear what you want and what you've already tried. I would also stress to him your concerns about the drugs potentially making your symptoms worst and what does he/she suggest is the best way of managing this. Because anti-anxiety drugs can often take a while to work and you need to be phased on and off them (you shouldn't just stop taking them) I think it will be very important to establish these guidelines early on with your doctor.

    I was always anxious to take medication for my anxiety but now wish I had taken them a lot sooner.

  • I suffer very similar problems. I have found breathing steadily helps and trying to talk myself out of the situation by reasoning that "this isn't really scary". Changing my temperature helps too, eg taking a step outside in the cold, taking my coat off or finding a seat for a few minutes. I've even been found tutting down looking at the bottom shelf in a store for a few minutes helps. I always look for toilets and knowing there is one close by helps me enjoy my time out. Good luck on your next trip out.

  • Brilliant idea to look at a bottom shelf of stores. I fully believe in my case that distracting the brain during high urgency (and resulting high anxiety) times gives my bowels and brains a few minutes to settle while I find a loo. I can foresee myself learning a lot about what my local stores stock now! :)

  • Have you tried Rescue Remedy

  • Tried Rescue Remedy. And Kalms and St Johns. I carry round a little anti-anxiety kit that includes a combination of all of these but to be honest, they don't do much for me :(

  • I found that if I know where toilets are I have less anxiety and now challenge myself by deliberately goi g down to Asda or the library or somewhere else I know there is a toilet and walking around for a while. Thus invariably triggers my need to rush so I can do so - usually my act of actually getting there via a couple of traffic light stops tricks my brain into thinking it has to panic. I can then spend the rest of the day going g where I want to!

    I also use a self hypnosis course

    This is a 100 day course which you follow in a certain order. I did it every night just before going to sleep . The course was around £65 I think but I found it worthwhile and still use it from time to time.

    Like you I didn't like the idea of medication so looked for alternative answers. It is also a good idea to go prepared wherever you are with change of clothes, wet wipes tissues etc as you psychologically feel safer

  • Hi there! I almost wanna cry, reading your post.... Cause it is exactly what I have gone through for more than 15 years. Have tried many many different medicines, but have yet to find something.... Currently I have started using Ativan. Very small tablet that you put under your tongue. It calms you, but by the time I am calm, my IBS still makes me have to run for a loo. This is a terrible way of living and unfortunately not many people understand this. I have lost many friendships over these years because I could not go out everytime, they start to think you avoid them.

  • I really feel for you. I am in my 40s now and only recently in the last two years mastered my anxiety and stress related IBS which I've experienced since my 20s. Like you I was living in fear of having an accident, not finding a toilet in time. I still have these fears to some extent but I manage them a whole lot better. I had to think through my fears and what the triggers were for fearing in particular an accident. I had to rationalise that the only accident I had ever had was when I was young (under 10) and once in my 20s which was pretty embarrassing involving me, after a meal out, jumping out of the car in the dark on a country road to be ill whilst the others waited for me. Since then I had always made it to a toilet, no matter how uncomfortable the journey to the toilet was. I started having large heart palpitations a few years ago which are also stress / anxiety related. I have had to treat both issues the same way. I have consulted the doctor and I do not have anything other than a slight irregular, non-life threatening heart beat, and anxiety triggered IBS.

    My triggers are big meetings, travelling where there may be no facilities or little opportunity to use them, eating out (had a couple of food poisoning incidences that have left me running from the tube for the nearest toiled!).

    Travelling: As soon as I feel the knot in my stomach starting and the urge to use a toilet, I get cool, take off coat / jumper and then deep breathing. If I am on a train, I will often stand up by a window or walk a few carriages to distsract myself. If it is noisy enough, I 'OM' through deep breathing. This is really helpful when driving. So many times I've thought that I would need a toilet, or have had palpitations that has driven me to think I would have a heart attack and hurt others on the road. All has been fine, but deep breathing and windows open and calming down have all worked within time. I've 'OM-ed' my way up many a motorway.

    Restaurants: without fail I always have tissues, small plastic bag and immodium tucked into my handbag 'just in case'. But without fail, I take silicolgel before eating out. It gives me the crutch I need to enjoy the meal, and if there is anything nasty hiding in the food, then I know it will deal with any toxins. Psychologicallly this is a huge help.

    Basically, I take silicolgel everyday and now actually work with the company that sells it in the UK. I knew about it from years gone by but I kept thinking I was just being stupid with my behaviour and that i was unlucky with food poisoning, and I didn't take anything even though I was in some quite desperate situations. I wish that I had taken it earlier in my life and then all the misery and embarrassment I have suffered would probably have been non-existent.

    Today I have to go out to a show with some clients. I am petrified I will need to get up and down during the performance, I always book an aisle seat but these are complimentary and so I could be anywhere. However, I know if I take silicolgel then I will be fine, and I'll take an extra dose today just in case we go to dinner after the show.

    Being 'prepared' with my bag of comfort products, knowing where toilet stops are, tissues, bottle of water, plastic bag and having a bottle of silicolgel in my bag is really all I need, with an Immodium in the bag just in case.

    I hope this helps and if you want to find out more about silicolgel you can visit - they are always happy to answer any questions and regularly run competitions on their website to win samples.

    I don't think there is one 'right' answer on this - everyone has to find what works with them but this forum is so good for sharing things tried.

    I hope you find something to help you soon. I speak to many IBS sufferers who are using silicolgel and tell me that they have 100% got their life back. That is the best part of my job. Being a sufferer I can totally relate to that, and so glad they have found freedom again to socialise and enjoy life more.

  • Hi there! I found your reply interesting and much similiar to what I do to cope with my situation. I am quite interested in the Silicolgel, but cannot seem to find a distributor in South Africa. Is it possible for you to maybe inform me if this product is sold here? I would realy appreciate it so much!

  • I don't know the answer and will find out for you. Also just for info, foods rich in silicon naturally are bananas and green beans like runner beans, and cereals. Beer apparently too because cereals used in brewing contain silicon.

  • Hi Stine7211, I hope you are feeling good today? I don't know if silicolgel is distributed in SA. I can't find one, and neither can the UK company locate one. I do know of two companies that ship it from the UK abroad and so you could investigate these two sites and shipping costs:


    I hope that is helpful. Just for into, I arrived at the show and had mid row seats but glad to report that I didn't get any IBS symptoms and even enjoyed a glass of wine through the show. I would never have contemplated that without taking silicolgel in the morning and afternoon before the show. I do hope you are able to try it and that it helps you too.

  • Dinghy, thank you so much for all the trouble. I will look into it. So happy for you that you enjoyed your evening out. I know, it always feels like such an awesome achievement when you had such a successful evening without any incidents. Even if we are the only ones feeling it!! Hehehe.... At the moment I am using Bevispas. Don't know if you know the tablets? Thanks again for everthing!

  • I don't know Bevispas but will check it out. Good luck. Really hope you get some relief from this crippling condition. What a fag it is to have to plan everything, isn't it? Anyway - hope you have some amazing weather out there in SA at the moment? It is freezing and grey here! I even ran the usual dog walk this morning to keep warm - and that smacks of desperation for me! Take care,

  • Yes we do have beautiful weather now. Slowly turning to autumn. My favorite season!! We don't get snow here where I live. Good luck with the cold. Hold on to the promise of summer😊👍.

  • Hi. You sound exactly like me! Same problems. Unfortunately I have had this since a child and at 60 still have it. I am at the stage now where mostly I accept it and the fact that it will not go away. I agree that distraction can help such as when I am out with my grandchildren. If I am involved with them the anxiety regarding needing the toilet doesn't arise as much. It is dealing with my reaction to needing a toilet urgently or if an accident occurs which has changed over the last year or so. I try to accept what is happening in that moment and not make a drama out of it in my mind. I deal with it and congratulate myself on coping with that experience. Yes it is horrible to deal with every day and the uncertainty of what will happen but coping with how I react has helped mentally. I still read IBS articles for hints and tips and would love to be rid of it but at least the anger and depression has lessened. I find diazepam useful when travelling or if there is an event which is causing heightened anxiety but try and avoid most medication. Imodium is useful but cause me problems for the following week so again I only take when really needed. Mindfulness has been of the greatest help as like yourself CBT made no difference.

    Hope you manage to find your own ways of coping. Good luck.

  • I can also say how stress I find does start my ibs, and I cant seem to find how to cope. Yes, it happens, when I know I have to go out, and it makes going out anywhere not as enjoyable. I find peppermint oil capsules help at times. I have been to stress relief courses, and the advice does help, with breathing properly, it a matter of keeping this going. Trouble is when my stomach is bad, I worry, which makes it worse. Its a viscious circle, which as they say, you somehow have to break.

  • Ive had stress related IBS - D for years now. Theres no one size fits all but I currently take 10mg of Amitriptinine at night ,as I was having to go to the loo during the night and it was becoming draining. I also take mebeverine 20 mins before EVERY meal. It has definitely helped me control my digestion.

    I dont like having to take these tablets, but they give a me fairly normal quality of life. You can buy mebeverine over the counter, its called colofac. Try it and if you get on with it you can get it ob prescription.

    Good luck,


  • If you see your anxiety, it will be mostly related to 'future'. 'Something is going to bother me' this thought constantly running in the head becomes a worry which brings anxiety. As you said it is the habit in the mind and over a period of time it saps out all the fun. I have gone through such situations and mind-tendencies. I personally found some breathing techniques very useful to release the anxiety. Specifically, SKY breathing is the most powerful exercises I have ever experienced. I learnt it at the art of living center (you can google about it). I have been doing it for last 5 years and I find it very helpful for anxiety and eventually for IBS symptoms also. Give it a go and see how it works for you :)

    Hope it helps!

  • Hi amptriptyline really helps especially if you have ibs D

  • Thank you all so much for your replies. They are all so helpful and it helps just to know I'm not suffering alone. This has given me a lot to think about. I actually did some OM-ing on my way home in the car! I've decided to bite the bullet and book the break next week for me and my partner. Three nights away in a city including a day at a spa. I know I'll be panicking on the morning that we go but I'm not going to let this rule my life. As they say, shit happens and I guess I'll just have to deal with it when it does and try not to let the fear control me. I find it's quite irrational as I still get it even when I'm going somewhere where I know there are toilets. I have no idea how I'll cope next week :(

  • Hi just reading through some of your posts, although i can't offer any help, it's reassuring to know I'm not alone how I feel a d other people could understand, going through a real bad spell at the moment, so reading other people havr the same issues, although no comfort for u, is a bit of help for me, thanks

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