Help Please..Questions about SSRI's and Anxiety

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 12/18/2008 2:04 AM (GMT -6)   
 Hello first I guess I should start off by giving a quick rundown of my illness.. I have had panic attacks, general anxiety and ocd since 2003 so it has been awhile, they started where I knew what my attacks were from snow, heavy rain, at the beginning I thought I was dying of everything because I became a hypochondriac. I started going to a Psych Center in 2006 which I see a psychiatrist every few months and a clinical social worker once a week. I am very afraid of taking medicine, not just meds for this but medication of ANY type. As I learned the panic and phobias tend to increase, I went from everything of not being able to swallow my foods, fears of going to hell, you name it, but in August 2007 things seemed to be getting worse, my anxiety attacks were coming more and more often, and very severe, driving in heat was one just to name a few, so I finally decided to try medication. Since the start my pdoc prescribed Xanax 0.25 which I rarely took, but in August 2007 I started to take Zoloft at the lowest dose..when I started to take it my life went from bad to worse in a heartbeat, I CONSTANTLY had panic attacks, which has caused me to become agoraphobic, I am now on disability, no job, and I don't know how to describe it but the panic attacks were so bad I did not know how my parents were going to drive me down to the corner of the street let alone get to the hospital which is only 5 miles away if that. I went to the area psychiatric hospital, they took me off of zoloft and put me on effexor and prescribed Klonopin 2mg. Tried that, nothing same thing, the most extreme panic attacks I ever had in my life (and never want to experience again)bad, I stopped taking the Effexor and slowly felt better, still agoraphobic, still have the origional problems, but I can atleast stay in my house without constant panic attacks, I do still take the Klonopin, but I do not want a high dose, I refuse, so I take .25mg daily. This past spring I slowy started to push myself and I can now go to "safe places" either with my mom or girlfriend, I can also drive by myself to places close by that I feel safe with, I even accomplished on nice days driving from my house to my parents using back roads, but for me these are all accomplishments non the less.. My anxiety still gets bad, even at home I have alot of general anxiety, depression, the therapist says I block myself from the world so as soon as any problems from the outside world get in I freak out..
Here is where I need help.. My Dr and Therapist said I NEED medication and are pretty much saying if I don't take it I cannot come to counseling (which I rely on to get by ALOT) talking always helps, but they say with all my problems that I def NEED it.. I won't lie I am scared to death! My question is.. with what I described about the problems I had when taking the SSRI's, are these normal problems (maybe my fears of medication going haywire) or was this a serious problem that happens to people when taking SSRI's.. I read up and get conflicting information on it, U of Maryland says when starting an SSRI it is common to experience intense anxiety at the beginning and to take a Benzopine to help, but then I read WebMD and it says to contact your dr. immediately if you experience increased anxiety (which I never jumped at flies before). I am just wondering when people start taking an SSRI is this normal? One other quick question.. my psychologist said that since it seems the ssri's are not working she wants me to start taking Risperdal?? Anyone ever heard of this type of treatment? Maybe I am Bipolar and that is why the SSRI's were causing such a problem? any recommendations on a good SSRI to try? Somehow I just get the feeling whatever they give me is just going to make my quality of life worse than it is..Any help you can give me would be sooooo greatly appreciated!! Thanks so much for listening

Green Grove
Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 2424
   Posted 12/18/2008 2:45 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dave and Welcome!

First off quit googling symptoms and meds. You will just freak yourself out and end up with higher Health Anxiety than you already do. I know how hard this is because I am the same way :) When it comes to your meds you have to ask you PCP about them and your therapist. If they are not helping you, you might consider finding a new doc and therapist. I know from experience that the SSRI's do nothing for me. I have not had a problem so it is hard for me to say anything about them, except I believe some people really benefit from the use. . . sometimes serving as a crucial step for a chemical imbalance issues.

Well, I'm sure some other people will be on here with more advice for you. It sounds like you are doing pretty well getting out of the house by yourself and seeking help to fix your anxiety issues. That is the biggest step right there :) So be proud of yourself for each small acomplishment and take things slowly. Browse some of the different threads we have on the A&P forum and check out the resources for some more sound advice :)

I wish you the best of luck my friend :)
Much Love, Hugs, Peace & Comfort :)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 12/18/2008 9:50 AM (GMT -6)   
All medications can have some kind of side effects. Maybe the meds you tried weren't the right ones for "you". I would continue to try something as I agree with your therapist that you need something. I also agree with Sam, stay off the medical websites, you are just making it worse for yourself. I wish you luck and hope you get your a/p under control soon.

Good luck,
Gail *Nanners*
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years.  Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium.  Resections in 2002 and 2005.  Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis. Currently my Crohns is in remission.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6397
   Posted 12/18/2008 12:03 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Dave

I have taken a number of different medications including two SSRI's and what i have found is that the side effects ease after a couple of weeks once your body gets used to the new medication. With the SSRI's i tried (Prozac & Citalopram) i found that i hardly got any side effects and was moved from Prozac to Citalopram as this is supposed to have better results if you are suffering from anxiety. I personal have not had much joy with AD and i am currently taking Effexor xl.

I would say give it a go and see how you get on and take the advice of your doctor and try not to google things if you can.

Take Care and let us know how you get on.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 12/18/2008 12:22 PM (GMT -6)   

Dear Dave,

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to you on your first visit to Healing Well! To help you get the most out of the Anxiety and Panic Forum please take the time to browse our threads .  We have many members that have the same concerns as you do.

Pharmacophobia is the name of the phobia related to the fear of taking medicines or drugs. I feel there is so much controversy re to take ornot to take medications that many members are confused and afraid to try the meds.

I take the meds, but for me it is a big issue too.  I have gone through many of the ADs as have others and I am still not happy with what I take.

Others go right onto the meds and they work like a charm.  Remember each person is different and will react to the meds in their own way.

You have received some excellent advice from the members.

Take care and again a warm welcome.



Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety/Panic & Depression
& GERD  Forums
*~* *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources

Post Edited (stkitt) : 12/18/2008 1:15:53 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 1009
   Posted 12/18/2008 12:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Is your therapist a psychiatrist who can prescribe the drugs? From personal experience I think this is very important. Your general doc isn't as familiar with all the possible drugs to try nor with all of the possible side effects. I think that everyone responds differently to SSRIs and that each SSRI drug is a little different. I was first started on Buspar and I had the same reactions you are describing. My anxiety intensified to the point where it was unbearable. I stuck it out for a couple of weeks and then was prescribed Paxil. I felt tired, spacy, kind of weird the first 2 or 3 weeks, but I didn't have increased anxiety and eventually the spacy weird feeling went away. From there I switched to Celexa and had no major side effects. I haven't been on anything for several years. Sometimes you just get to a point where you need to try to get your brain chemistry back to norma and that's ok.
It sounds to me like you are really taking steps in the right direction. I agree that if you aren't happy with your doc you should try another one, maybe one that specializes in anxiety. A lot of people on this site have had success with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, so if you aren't already trying that it might be worth a go. If you truly have an anxiety disorder, I think you should exhaust all your other options first, since you feel so strongly about not using drugs. I would then go back to trying an SSRI or some other type of antianxiety drug if you can't find a solution through therapy. That is just my opinion and I am not a qualified professional so make of it what you will :-).
Being bipolar is totally different than having an anxiety disorder, however. When you are bipolar you really need to be on medication to keep your brain chemistry in order. My nephew is bipolar and it is not good when he goes off his meds. From what my sister has told me the drugs he takes for bipolar disorder won't have any effect on someone that isn't bipolar, but if you are bipolar it will help. My nephew also tried antidepressents first because they thought he was depressed and it made him worse. Hope things get better for you soon!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 12/18/2008 12:55 PM (GMT -6)   
You need a new psychiatrist. They shouldn't force you to take meds. It's a personal choice. I think being afraid of taking meds is a normal thing for people who suffer from anxiety/panic attacks. I was deathly afraid, too. That's why when I started a new medication, I sat outside the ER in my car. I took the pill and waited an hour to see if anything occurred. It calms you down to take the first dose close to a hospital. I take Prozac. The side effects were not good at first. With the help of my friend, I made it through them. The side effects go away after about 2 weeks. I think you definitely need meds. At least for now. It's really affecting your life and I can hear the panic in your words. My heart goes out to you, Dave. Let us know what you decide! Carol

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 3
   Posted 12/26/2008 7:39 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, you're not alone with the meds phobia. The first time I took an SSRI I was absolutely TERRIFIED. I also had the absolute worse panic attack of my life on the 3rd day of starting treatment and was much much more anxious for at least the first two weeks. The anxiety then reduced until it was non-existant and I can now credit SSRIs to saving my life

How long did you try them for?? They are very prone to making the panic worse to begin with, I'm just wondering whether you were on them for more than a week or two and they were still intensifying the anxiety?
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