thinking about medication -- help!

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New Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/27/2007 10:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I'm brand new to the forums... I joined because I'm in need of some serious feedback and support, and I don't know what else to do. If you have had experiences with anxiety, panic attacks, and medication, I hope you'll read on and share some of your thoughts. Any little bit would be a great help!

I'm in my early twenties and have dealt with panic attacks and anxiety all my life, although I never wanted an official diagnosis. My father was an alcoholic, verbally abusive towards my mom and I (we've been estranged from him for several years). My mother suffers from bipolar disorder. She's been in and out of therapy, and has tried too many different kinds of medication for me to recount. She has always shown an acute sensitivity to side effects, from temporary memory loss to weight gain to ringing in her ears; certain meds seemed to make her giddy, while others seemed to put her in a fog, with zero energy.

For the past few years, I thought my own problems were improving. I started attending college and started seeing my boyfriend of nearly two years -- he's a great guy and has been wonderfully supportive. But lately my anxiety has gotten worse. Often I do just fine during the day -- I go to class on a fairly large campus, I see people every day at work -- agoraphobia doesn't seem to be the cause. It's at night that I begin to panic for no apparent reason. Generally everything will be going fine, but if there's one tiny thing I'm worried about, I won't be able to shake the feeling that a panic attack is coming on. I feel jittery (a too much caffeine sort of feeling) and occasionally my fingers and/or toes will tingle or go completely numb. In a full-blown attack, I can't control my breathing at all and the numbness continues up my elbows and knees. My thoughts become uncontrollable and it takes hours to finally calm myself down enough to function (as a busy college student, this is really beginning to damage my grades).

Recently I started going back to regular therapy sessions. The subject of medication comes up a lot. After seeing the way different medications affected my mother, I'm terrified to put any sort of chemical drug into my body, especially since I've always shared her sensitivity to side effects when it comes to prescription drugs from the doctor. But I don't feel like I can control my anxiety on my own anymore.

Anyone been in this situation? And have any of you found medications or other approaches that have worked for you without too many adverse effects? I could really use some reassurance and would appreciate any kind of guidance in general as I'm making this decision. Thanks so much,


New Member

Date Joined Mar 2007
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/27/2007 10:44 PM (GMT -6)   
Ooh, sorry... I just realized there's a medication thread further down on the page -- I hadn't seen it earlier or I would've posted there...

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 3/27/2007 11:57 PM (GMT -6)   
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the meds they prescribe for anxiety are quite a bit different than the ones they prescribe for bipolar people.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1052
   Posted 3/28/2007 2:18 AM (GMT -6)   

  Hi lucyintheshy,

And wecome to HW as I'm sure that you have gone though the posting on meds by now but that's ok, I myself have a sensitivity to a lot of meds as well but like you said that it mostly happens at night you my talk it over with your pdoc and see if you can be out on something like xanex or valium for your moments of anxiety as it is a fast acting med with little side affects and can be taken as needed. The SSRI's are more of a long term med taken daily and can help with your overall anxiety/panic problems. I myself have found that taking Lexapro has helped me so much with my anxiety and over all feeling well from it but I did have a few side affects at frist from it but it did past but it is finding the right med that fits you and you may find it very helpfull with your anxiety as we tend to see a lot of ppl with the pressures of college put on them.

  Cowboy up

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2006
Total Posts : 2721
   Posted 3/28/2007 2:29 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lucy, Freezing pretty much said what I was going to!!!! I find Valium helps with immediate relief and andti-depressents for longer term "stabilising" of anxiety moods.  Have you tried some sort of Cognitive behavioural Treatment - a kind of counselling.  That has helped me out a lot with "free floating" anxiety that follows me around.
I had my first panic attacks in college so I can understand.  There is a lot of pressure isn't there?!  I suggest maybe go and have a chat with your GP about medication/counselling options.  Congrats for asking for help and input.  That's a great first step!! Keep us posted Lucy xxxxx 
I alone can do this, but I cannot do it alone. 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2006
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 3/28/2007 12:43 PM (GMT -6)   
Man, do i wish they had this forum when I was going to college (1965 - ha, ha)!  That's exactly the time I started experiencing all the same feelings you're talking about here yet I didn't have any support system and just thought I was losing my mind and would end up in a mental hospital the rest of my life.  I personally feel that the combination of life's experiences, the stresses of college AND the additional curse of hormones is what spurs on anxiety at this time in our lives - so many of us feel the same crazy feelings, have the same "numbness", shakiness, general fear, etc., etc. that it should give some comfort to know we're not alone.  Since I've been able to come onto this site and vent whenever I'm going through a particularly bad stretch of anxiety, it has kept me from having to go back into therapy - THIS is my therapy.  I guess for me at least the realization that sooooo many others suffer from the same thing helps me to know that I'm NOT crazy, that I've got this disorder just because of the "luck of the draw" and I need to always deal with it when it starts to take over my life.  I too was TERRIFIED of taking any drugs, and only when I was at my worst did I finally start taking Xanax which truly helped with my particular anxiety.  That was during my early 20's and last year, after 10 years of hardly any anxiety, it starte up again.  This time it was particuarly bad but the doc wanted me to go on anti-depressants rather than Xanax.  It took me almost two weeks to get up the courage to take the first pill but it turned out that, for me at least, I had very few side effects (Celexa) and it did help me cope with things much better.  I think it helped somewhat with the anxiety but it was good to finally not cry at the drop of a hat.  After about l0 months of taking it I felt so good that I weaned myself off and really didn't have any withdrawal type symptoms at all.  Lately the anxiety is creeping back in so I might go bback on the Celexa or something else but surprisingly - I once again feel that FEAR of taking it - how silly is that when I've already been there and it's been fine - just a lifelong medication fear I guess.  But I'll get over it and take the meds if need be.  So I hope you can do the same - it probably will do you a world of good.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 3/28/2007 7:07 PM (GMT -6)   
Welcome to HW.......
Do check out some of the meds posted in the NEW med thread lol .....
I am sure most ppl are worried at first about meds but many have had great successes with them
and with self help such as CBT and other techniques to try and beat this or at least get ahold on it
I too take valium as needed and works great for me
Please do stick around and get to know us and us you
'Ppl here are fantastic as is the care and support
Stay with us
be well
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