VeggieBoards banner
1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been having anxiety attacks for about six months now, almost nightly. My family practice physician prescribed Xanax to be taken occassionally to deal with this problem. The Xanax was supposed to be taken for occassional anxiety attacks, but I started taking it every night because I was always having anxiety and couldn't sleep. Now if I don't take the Xanax I have really bad panic attacks- much worse than before- and I've also noticed an increase in my night anxiety.

I went to see another general practice doctor here at school and she only agreed to give me another 10 Xanax because she thinks I am getting addicted to it. To remedy my anxiety she prescribed Zoloft, which I was supposed to start two days ago but haven't yet.

I had a very bad experience with Effexor several years ago that leaves me feeling very reluctant to try another psych medicine. I have been thinking of taking St. John's Wort/5 HTP in some kind of "Mood Blend", which they have at many health food stores. This type of herbal blend has worked for me in the past when I was having severe anxiety. I am more comfortable with taking an herbal blend then with the Zoloft.

However, my doctors, parents, and friends assert that I should try the Zoloft and if it doesn't work I can switch medications or go off of it. I am really nervous because of the bad time I had on Effexor- very foggy and dull feeling, actually felt mildly depressed while on it. I also had a few manic episodes while on this medication. And the withdrawal was both tremendous and very uncomfortable- it lasted probably two weeks and I had so many wierd side effects- anxiety, depression, terrible buzzing "shocks" in my head. I guess if it wasn't for the withdrawal I would probably just take it. Right now I just don't know what to do, and VB is always a place for good feedback on stuff like this.

thanks,

Lindsay
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
first, you need to wean yourself off the Xanax. it should be taken no more than 2-3 days in a row, and at half the dose your doctor gave you.

secondly, insure you are eating a diet that you get all your nutrients from...plus a good multi. vitamin deficiences play a big part in what you are going through.

thirdly, practice yoga and meditation with a good teacher. there are yoga poses that can help symptoms.

and after all this, if you feel you want to do the St johns wort than do so, understanding it can take up to 3 months before you see any results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
680 Posts
LinzyAnn,

It is highly doubtful that any kind of meditation/dietary changes are going to make a difference given your current state.

As you have found out, benzodiazepines such as xanax, valium, halcion, etc. can present their own problems, not the least of which is addiction. SSRI's are typically a viable option for anxiety sufferers, but I would rather see you go a less abrasive route, such as St John's. It is possible that you could also look at something like GABA, but these things tend to not have the same efficacy.

It is true that St. John's takes a good bit longer for onset. It would likely be worth it, though, given your current state.

I'll PM you with more info.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are for sure right about the Xanax. First I have to get a lower dose in order to wean myself off. I didn't think I could become addicted so quickly, but I get really bad anxiety now when I don't take it and before, I was just somewhat anxious. So getting on this Xanax was a big mistake.

You are also right about the eating...man, that is a problem for me. I eat a very poor diet, although I am trying much harder to eat healthfully in the cafeteria and to sometimes just eat in the room. I will get a B complex and multi, though, too. I can do yoga here at the fitness facility, but not really with a good teacher. Maybe I can look into some poses online.

Finally, I am not sure about the St. John's. The formula I used previously contained both St. John's and a blend of other herbs and vitamins and worked fantastic, even for what was, at the time, OCD and panic disorder. My biggest problem is getting off this Xanax. I feel habituated to it, as though around 9:00-10:00 PM I want it really badly. I am considering halving my dose and then halving it again to try to wean off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by purrpelle View Post

first, you need to wean yourself off the Xanax. it should be taken no more than 2-3 days in a row, and at half the dose your doctor gave you.

secondly, insure you are eating a diet that you get all your nutrients from...plus a good multi. vitamin deficiences play a big part in what you are going through.

thirdly, practice yoga and meditation with a good teacher. there are yoga poses that can help symptoms.

and after all this, if you feel you want to do the St johns wort than do so, understanding it can take up to 3 months before you see any results.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
wean off the Xanax slowly, for sure.

honestly, keep doing the yoga- exersize is proven to boost seretonin and will help you feel better.

I would try the straight St johns Wort first. why take something you may not need?

good luck!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
Hi Linzy Ann,

First it does look like you have become dependent on that xanax. It's a habit-forming drug and getting withdrawl symptoms such as the ones you are having when missing a dose is a common sign of dependency. It's good that your doctor is taking you off of them because you are only going to require more and more of it without getting the same benefits.

I also took Effexor (I just got off it in June) and had negitive effects. Effexor is known to be one of the worst anti-deps to withdrawl from. The "shocks' you felt are actually quite common. I stopped taking mine cold turkey and basically flipped out (became even more depressed etc) and did a lot of crazy things. It took about a month for me to get all of it out of my system. So you are definitely not alone in your experience with that.

Though one thing stood out to me in your post. You said Effexor put you into manic phases. Are you bipolar? From what I have read and observed, a lot of times people with bipolar will go off in manic states when on certain anti-depressants. Sometimes a combination of anti-depressants and mood stabilizers are used then. That might be something you should talk to your doctor about so you won't have to go through those manic phases.

Also, if you are going to take the zoloft, please do not take any herbal pills like St. John's Wart or SAMe. Taking those pills with SSRI's can cause negitive side effects.

Good luck with everything. I have anxiety as well and out of all the pills I've taken (and I've taken a lot) ativan is what works best for me for that. But it seems like you have to do a lot of trying different pills to find the one that works. I'd talk to your doctor before making any decisions just to be safe.

Hang~Ten
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,791 Posts
Lindsay

We only have one Dr. on the boards that I know of and he hasn't stuck his head out yet. I would be careful about taking the advice of all of us non professional people when it comes to something as important as your mental balance. Maybe the Dr. will pop up soon and introduce himself, and give you professional advice. He is ever so knowledgable and reasonable.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,973 Posts
DISCLAIMER: I am not a physician. I have a bachelor's in psychology, and have done extensive independent study in psychopharmacology.

1. You need to find a physician who will set up a taper schedule of some sort for the benzodiazapine addiction (I won't mince words here). I don't want to alarm you unnecessarily, but withdrawal from daily benzodiazapine use may cause seizures that are physically dangerous (although you haven't noticed any, which is a good sign). The taper will be mildly uncomfortable, but far more bearable than "cold-turkey".

2. If you do elect to try an SSRI, make sure your physician knows enough to set you on a taper of some sort if you decide to discontinue the medication. This should make cessation relatively painless.

3. SSRIs are very often only mildly effective for anxiety and only work for some people. Keep your mind open to other medicative options, such as various heterocyclic anti-depressants.

4. In my limited dealings with general practitioners and psychiatrists, I have had more extensive knowledge in psychopharmacology than my doctors. I found this unsettling. Make sure that your doctor knows what he or she is doing.

ebola
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I appreciate all of the input.

Life2- Hello Mama Bear! This is rainbowmoon, I dunno if you remember me? I think your advice is good. I guess I only asked on here because I know a lot of people have taken antidepressants or have experiences with anxiety/depression on this forum. And I really do feel like the medical community has no answers for me, either.

Hang ten- I have never had any manic episodes off antidepressants, but I do have alternating moods that can get pretty crazy. Not at the level of bipolar, however. Is the ativan addictive?

Gnome Chom-

1. You are right. I am not sure who I will see for this problem. I was thinking- I was on .25 to start, then I upped my dosage to .375mg on my own. I feel the possibility of being addicted to such a small amount seems...impossible? Anyway, I was thinking of tapering my dosage on my own, to .25, then .125, then half of that pill! That has to work, don't you think?

2. Ok.

3. What is heterocyclic antidepressants? I can google it.

4. Agreed. I am hesitant especially to take a psychiatric medication from a general practitioner. If it comes to that, I am going to probably go see a psychiatrist.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,934 Posts
Mslinzyann, if your mood swings can "get pretty crazy" and you have other emotional symptoms such as anxiety disorder, you may indeed be bipolar. Bipolar can be mild to severe, and the severity can change throughout life. Both my sister and I are bipolar; my sister's mania didn't appear notably until her mid-forties, prior to that we thought she was unipolar depression with anxiety disorder. Our grandmother was bipolar but mania didn't appear until her late 60s. Please be sure to have yourself checked out for bipolar if you haven't done so, it isn't something to ignore. Please see a psychiatrist who can help you get appropriate treatment for your troubles.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
119 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you Ludi. You could be correct; at the same time my mood swings seem to happen very often throughout the day. For example, I might feel groggy, then irritable, then tired and depressed, then very happy, then quiet and content, then suddenly down again. The moods alternate very quickly, and I never feel very hostile or too out of control. I will look into it, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ludi View Post

Mslinzyann, if your mood swings can "get pretty crazy" and you have other emotional symptoms such as anxiety disorder, you may indeed be bipolar. Bipolar can be mild to severe, and the severity can change throughout life. Both my sister and I are bipolar; my sister's mania didn't appear notably until her mid-forties, prior to that we thought she was unipolar depression with anxiety disorder. Our grandmother was bipolar but mania didn't appear until her late 60s. Please be sure to have yourself checked out for bipolar if you haven't done so, it isn't something to ignore. Please see a psychiatrist who can help you get appropriate treatment for your troubles.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,061 Posts
mslinzyann said:
I appreciate all of the input.

Hang ten- I have never had any manic episodes off antidepressants, but I do have alternating moods that can get pretty crazy. Not at the level of bipolar, however. Is the ativan addictive?

Right off the bat, I would urge you to see a psychiatrist. General Practitioners aren't very knowledgable in psychiatry. They aren't supposed to be, after all. A psychiatrist will be able to evaluate you for bipolar or any other disorders and they know all about side effects and dosage tapering. I've seen both and the GP's weren't reliable at all with giving me psychiatric medications and checking up on me to make sure I was okay.

If you are having mood swings that seem severe or that really inhibit your lifestyle, then it would probably do you good to have that checked out. Bipolar can be mild in some people but quite severe in others. Both my bff and my bf are bipolar and they both cycle differently but have some of the same symptoms.

Lastly, yes Ativan (Lorazepam) CAN BE very addicting. It's a benzodiazepine and has similar side effects of other benzos. It's been the only drug that has consistantly helped me and I *love* it, but it doesn't always work for others as it does for me. My bff for example was given Ativan a few months ago. She quickly became addicted to it and was taking incredibley high doses without it helping her at all. She finally had to be taken off of it and the withdrawls were harsh. So, like most drugs, it can affect people very differently.

Good luck with all of this and I hope you get relief from your anxiety very soon.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,973 Posts
>>Anyway, I was thinking of tapering my dosage on my own, to .25, then .125, then half of that pill! That has to work, don't you think?>>

I would do a physician-assisted taper schedule.

She will be able to guide how to increment the dosage downward while minimizing ill-effects.

ebola
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I don't know if this is helpful, but I have a severe anxiety disorder and I've been on medication for almost 3 years. Paxil made me gain 50lbs and suddenly stopped working about a year and a half after I started taking it. I pretty much went crazy, was extremely depressed, and had to drop all of my classes in college and move home for a while. I then took Lexapro, which didn't work well, and started recently taking Effexor CR. At first, I didn't think it was working and I felt the fog you described. After seeing a psychiatrist and them wanting to keep working with it, they adjusted my dosage and the crappy effects wore off. I've been on it almost six months (I take 225mg a day now), I have never felt better in my life. I'm genuinely happy, not the comatose state most anti-depressants/anxieties seem to put people in, and I'm actually doing things I was unable to do before. I haven't had a panic attack in eight months nor have I had any serious depressive episodes since taking the medication. I also take herbal remedies, given to me from my accupuncturist, and they work so well with the medication! Sorry if I seem a little gung-ho...I'm just so excited.

Anyways, the point of that was...it's really important to see a psychiatrist to figure out what will work best for you. Medication works differently in everyone but psychiatrists have a good idea of what will treat/intensify any symptons you have. You should also discuss with them any reservations you have about medications and your interest in natural remedies, any good psychiatrist will be absolutely willing to work with you on that and can often help you find a good natural doctor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
885 Posts
I agree with all the others - you are way past a natural treatment right now. You need to get a doctor to help you wean from the addiction, definitely. Don't do it on your own. The biggest mistake people make with this drugs is NOT TAKING THEM AS PRESCRIBED. Never make adjustments on your own, as you have now learned in a terrible way.

Every drug works differently for different people. I have had friends on paxil who have loved it, others, who gained lots of weight (like post above) and ended up having to take a leave of absence from work.

I know a lot of people who have taken prozac very successfully, and it is an SSRI. I think you need to see a psychiatrist who is more knowledgable about the different drugs. Make an appointment as soon as possible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
I've suffered from panic attacks, alcoholism, and general anxiety disorder for years. I've tried benzodiazepines (Vallium, Klonopin, etc.) for the symptoms. Not only is it hard to find a doctor who will prescribe these meds, but they also have many dangers; the harshest, of which, is addiction (which is counter-productive). I have since tried an herb called Passion Flower. It actually works. St. John's Wort, Valerian Root and all those are just a bunch of weeds. Passion Flower actually relieves the symptoms, is a lot cheaper, and is available in raw, bulk form. The effects are IDENTICAL to benzos, without the addictive dangers. Most people make tea out of it, but I smoke it. You can mix it with your tobacco, weed, or whatever. Try it. You won't be sorry.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top