Any CPers here who also have anxiety/panic and depression?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 169
   Posted 8/16/2007 8:59 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone...

I've been in a rough place emotionally the past few months due to overwhelming medical, financial, emotional, and physical overload. I have always suffered from depression and also anxiety/panic as well to varying degrees, but like I said, the past few months it has been rapidly escalating to the point I feel like I'm "losing it".

I was started on Lexapro a few weeks ago, and that has not helped yet. I never did find a AD that helped me, and I have tried nearly all of them at some point, only to stop taking them after a few months of no change (this is over a decade or so of trying, not recent). I have also started seeing a therapist for counseling again, and have been going for just over a month. The problem is, I need something to calm me down NOW. I used to take Ativan from previous psychiatrists, but recently when my panic has been so bad, I was unable to get more than 10 pills of Ativan and it was only for travel anxiety, which my pain doc gave me. They wouldn't give me any more and said I needed to find a psychiatrist if I needed more. So that is what I am doing. My therapist works with a psychiatrist who is willing to take me on, and I see him Monday.

What I am so anxious about is this: I am afraid the psychiatrist won't give me Ativan due to my pain meds. My therapist has NO CLUE about chronic pain patients, and in fact, when I told her I took Morphine every 8 hours for chronic pain, she was ready to refer me to substance abuse counseling!!!! I was so angry, and that just compounded my anxiety. Geez. I wish people in the medical community would get up to date on chronic pain!!! Just because I take morphine on a routine basis, does not meed I am an addict!!! So now I am REALLY out of my mind with anxiety, and have NOTHING to calm me down. I asked my primary if he would consider calling me in just a couple ativan to get me over the weekend, but he refused. I knew he would. He doesn't believe in me being on pain medicine, and I almost feel like he "punishes" me for being on pain meds by not helping with my anxiety. It just costs me WAY more money to go see a shrink, which I don't have. I think most of you guys know I haven't worked in over 9 months due to cancer treatment and too many other medical issues, and I am broke now. Broke.

But anyway, I just wondered if anyone here who is on pain management is also getting some type of anxiety meds/treatment as well. I have taken Ativan a few times over the past decade, and it does help, but I am scared out of my mind thinking this psychiatrist will deny me medication due to my being on pain management. I hope that makes sense. I feel like I can't even get my thoughts straight. I am sitting here trembling, sweating, scared to death. I just hope this psych can HELP me get over this anxiety and depression. I HATE feeling like this. I HATE it. The therapist made me feel like a joke. I have enough problems from health care workers thinking I'm just an addict because I am young and on so many pain meds. Now I have to have that feeling all over again in regards to my getting help for anxiety/depression. I was sexually abused twice in my life, and i have always been anxious/depressed, even when I was a little girl.

I know this post probably makes no sense, but I just wondered if anyone here is also receiving help for anxiety/depression in addition to pain. I guess after seeing my therapists reaction to asking about Ativan while being on pain meds made me think I am being unreasonable here. Is it really that big of a deal to want something which I know helped me in that past???? I just want help in calming down. I know meds are not a permanent fix, and I am seeking counseling for my issues. But I don't know why I must be made to feel guilty for wanting a little help in calming down. I mean, I take pain medicine for pain. Why can't I take anxiety medicine (ativan) for anxiety??? Is that too much to ask for a pain patient??

Sigh. I am so scared right now. So upset, and no one to talk to. I can barely function as it is, and now this anxiety has taken over and I can't get control.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 932
   Posted 8/16/2007 9:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm surprized your oncologist isn't helping you out here as well. Anyone with cancer, and the CP issues you have is usually on pain meds...this is really what stuff like morphine is used for. I don't see a problem with about 1mg of Ativan, or .5 every 4-6 hrs. You do have to be carefull, but it should cause a problem.
And, sometime pain meds can cause anxiety.
I don't know what to do about the med. situation, b/c I'm usually the one telling people I don't want so many meds.
Oh, try a benadryl. There is sometihng called aterax(sp?) that is used for anxiety, and it is basically an anti-histamine. I asked the doc. if I could just take a benadryl instead, and he agreed to that.
There is a breathing tech. that has really helped me. Simply breath in your nose, make sure your tongue is on the roof of your mouth, deeply then exhale all your air, through your mouth, make sure you tongue is on the bottom of your mouth, touching about to the back of your teeth. I'll tell you what this does if you wanna know...its a bit hard to explain.
you should really look into Engergy Medicine.
I really feel for the situation you are in, and i pray that you are feeling with peace and healing.
DX-Migraines:Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome:
I am WELL!! 
Meds: ProzAC 40mg, Klonopin 1mg BID , Ambien 10mg
PRN- Imitrex INJ, Pherergan, Actiq 600mcg(fentanyl suckers) for migraine breakthrough pain
 NO MORE MEDS!!!! Doing engergy medicine
May God give you a reason to smile today, an extra reason to laugh, and bring joy to your soul.

New Member

Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 19
   Posted 8/17/2007 7:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there. I just had to respond to this. I really feel for you. I also have panic/anxiety. I have found that my pain and panic are very much connected to each other. The more anxious I am, the worse my pain gets and the worse my pain is, the more anxious I get!! It's a viscous circle!! I see a psychiatrist about once every 3 or 4 months. They are a lot more likely to recommend meds than therapists. Mine knows I see a pain doc and that I take vicodin for pain, she just advises me NOT to take ativan and vicodin together. And, yes, vicodin sometimes causes anxiety in me. If I'm having a real anxious day I will choose the ativan over the pain meds. Just being calm and relaxed also helps with my pain.
I don't know if this helps any but I can totally relate to you!! I hope you feel better soon.
DX: fibromyalgia, arthritis, panic attacks, IBS
RX: Paxil, ultracet, baclofen, ativan (as needed) vicoden (for really bad flare ups)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 8/17/2007 10:37 AM (GMT -6)   
rehabnurse, i am so sorry for what you are going through. i would think having cancer alone would be enough to be on anti-depressant/anxiety meds. i have been suffering from chronic back pain for a few years and have been through everything with pain meds. i went to my normal physician a few weeks ago in tears (not like me) and guess what? all the meds i was taking the number 1 side effect was depression. so he was suprised to find out my PM dr wasn't putting me on an anti-depressant. he actually had a psychaitrist come talk to me & they explained that chronic pain & depression go hand-in-hand. i was put on amitryitlyne (sp wrong i'm sure) & zoloft. the zoloft in the day (makes me have a speedy buzz) & the amitryptiline at night (makes me sleep) & my pain level was always around a strong 7-8, now its an easy 3-4. i have not felt so well in years. i have only been on these meds maybe 2 weeks & i can tell a huge difference. i am also on ms contin, percocet & soma. (i was on the duragesic patch & i just don't need it anymore) it helps to eliminate the stress. maybe you can call your insurance co & ask them if they can recommend a psychiatrist who deals with chronic pain? i noticed that in my insurance benefits page online. i'm really sorry that you are going through this.... what type of cancer do you have? well, i will keep you in my thoughts. good luck! :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 8/18/2007 5:17 PM (GMT -6)   

Depression/anxiety both go hand in hand with CP as some one else said. I have suffered from Anxiety/ nervousness/depression all of my life as far as I can remember. I think I was born that way.My childhood was not happy due to this. Now I have been suffering from Chronic pain for 16 years, every waking minute of my life. I have been on nerve pills off and on over the years, but it has ben a while until about 2 months ago. I told my Doctor that I needed something for my nerves and he gave me Ativan. It has really helped with the anxiety. I take Hydrococdone 5/500 and Soma  and Neurtonin for the pain. It dulls it unless I overdo and then I am in real trouble. Some days I can't do anything and other days I can do enough to get by. I get nervous because of all the things that need to be done and I just am not able to do anymore. It causes the anxiety. I will be going to a pain clinic as soon as my stupid former doctor ever sends my records to the pain clinic. I think he is toying with me. We parted on a sour note. I love my new Primary. He is the one who gave me the Ativan.

Good Luck and I hope you get some relief soon!

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 8/19/2007 12:10 PM (GMT -6)   
Rehabnurse - I must have ADD because I couldn't read your entire original post, but first, I really feel for you.

I'm sue you would agree that it's not necessarilly Ativan you need, just SOME type of benzodiazapine to calm you down. I don't think you should have ANY problem whatsoever getting as much as you need. If it seems like a lot you are taking, so what - you need it. I am a chronic pain patient and I take klonopin, along with opiates and AD's because I'm a lot like you and also suffer from A/P. I originally took the klonopin for A/P. but I realized that it really helped a lot with the type of pain I have as well. So, my doctors have given me a lot of freedom to take almost as much klonopin as I want or need. I'm currently not taking nearly as much as I have in the past, but the point is that I did, and it helped at the time.

My doctors have always assured me that there are no adverse drug interactions when taking benzos, opiates, AD's, and even things like anti-seizure meds simultaneously. Of course I'm talking about reasonable amounts - but "reasonable" is quite a bit.

Good luck to you - I sure hope you find a caring, knowledgeable, realistic doctor that gives you what you need to feel better.

Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 189
   Posted 8/19/2007 12:59 PM (GMT -6)   
RehabNurse:  Just got up after working all night last night and have read your post.  I am worried about you!  I think everyone will agree that chronic pain (whatever kind of pain it is) and anxiety/depression go hand in hand.  I completely agree with you that the medical profession needs to catch up with treating chronic pain but with all of the highly publicized cases of abuse, I don't think that is going to happen.  Even my neurologist, who I truly brag about on here all the time, hesitated this past visit about giving me meds.  He actually didn't give me refills on anything which is very unlike him.  He explained that, because we live in the county where Chris Benoit (the wrestler) lived and killed himself and his family, the DEA and our Sheriff's Department is coming down hard on all the docs who treat any kind of chronic pain.  It is scary - your doctor feels you need meds and are too scared to give them to you.  What kind of medicine is that?????????  I am so angry at the whole thing in general.  My first question to eveyrone is - when someone kills their family and themself, why doesn't anyone blame that person - not the doctor that prescribed the meds?  Now, I know the steroids are in question (and I do have a big problem with that), but right now, his doctor is getting screwed about writing pain meds for he and his wife.  Go figure?????
Anyway, just know that I am thinking about you.  Please keep looking for a doctor that will help.  I know that when you are tired and sick, it is difficult to pursue your rights, but please keep trying.  Get someone to go  with you - I find it always help to have someone else there with me to help battle!
Take care and please write if you need to vent.  I am always here to listen!  I worked last night and haven't taken meds - guess what?  Here comes a headache.  I feel like crap.  That exhausted feeling where you can't put one foot in front of the other.  I HATE THIS!! (Sorry, Ann, I was yelling for that one - ha!).  Going to take a Relpax (and ruin my day). 
DX:  Migraines since June, 2006, kidney stones
RX:  Daily - Verapamil, Trileptal
PRN:  Relpax, Prednisone, Dilaudid, Lortab, Lidocaine Nasal Spray

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