Anxiety medications - thoughts, recommendations, etc.

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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 204
   Posted 4/8/2007 10:05 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm not entirely sure what answers I'm looking for out of this post but I figured I'd see what others experiences were. I am a 25 year old male who's always been 'high strung' or had anxiety. Funny thing is I don't recall always having this and when I look back to how I was even 4 years ago I was in much better shape in terms of not always worrying and having anxiety. It may be the fact that I moved away from family and friends when I was 19 and just sort of got thrust into a career. I never really had time to just 'relax' and maybe it's all caught up.

Over the past year or so I started to notice that occasionally I'd get really uncomfortable when going out - sometimes to the point where I'd sweat profusely if I was alone in public settings or just didn't feel 'comfortable' (even though I'd just be with friends). It really sucked. I often worry about things unneccessarily - what people think of me and so forth. I guess the thing is - I just felt this was normal. I don't know what anxiety sufferers equate to its 'symptoms'.

Regardless, I always told myself that this was related to low self esteem or confidence issues. I have been talking to a therapist for well over a year now about general issues. Over the past year, I was diagnosed with some digestive issues - IBS and proctitis that really took a toll on me emotionally. I'm sure the anxiety doesn't help it either. Anyways, the reason i mention all this is that I had recently gone to a doctor that was recommended by a friend who also suffered from severe anxiety (panic attack variety, which I can't say I've really had).

The doctor is one that traditionally practices a more homeopathic approach to treating patients, however, my friend told me that recently she has started prescribing Effexor due to how many of her patients responded so well to it. I had a long appointment covering my basic thoughts, feelings, etc. and she gave me 2 tests to complete that will determine my hormonal levels. In the interim she wanted me to start on Effexor to treat what she believes is anxiety (also mentioning that it had positive affects from what she saw, for focus, IBS, and depression in her other patients). Essentially, it sounded like a wonder drug that seems to fit the bill.

Since then, I read up on the net and pretty much got terrified to the point where I am almost in refusal to even want to try it. I'm not opposed to drugs for anxiety but it sounds awfully difficult to come off of. Speaking with my therapist on the phone also reaffirmed that I should check to see if there is something a little less difficult to come off of and see if eating better and exercising would help. She thinks I have mild anxiety but should see if that helps before taking a medicinal route. However, she said if I can't get motivated to even want to do those things that medication may be helpful. I'm hopeful to try that but I've always been cyclic in getting into changing my life substantially in those ways. I'll get gung ho and do it and something will trigger where I just stop - likely something that raises my anxiety and gets me bummed out for whatever reason (or just getting overwhelmed with tasks at work) .

I guess I'm surprised that I was prescribed this as the first step, even though it sounds so difficult to come off of. In researching I've read that lexapro is another good alternative, but sounds less difficult to come off of. Has anyone had luck with it? As for effexor - it's really too bad because it sounds great when it works. Am i just seeing a small subset of users experiences - the vocal minority so to speak, when it comes to withdrawal symptoms? That's the main thing i am most concerned about. I'm researching further to see if there are alternatives to that. Any tips, help or info is much appreciated. It's kind of hard to ignore the 5 weeks of effexor samples i have just sitting in my cabinet when the doctor tells me that she wants me to see how much better i'd feel on it...

Post Edited (tiesto81) : 4/8/2007 9:17:18 PM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 204
   Posted 4/8/2007 10:31 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the encouraging words. Sometimes, I wonder if I'm so used to having anxiety that I just kind of let it foster inside of me. Those that don't know me see me as really laid back and approachable, but those that do know me personally always talk about my worrying and high strung personality.

I think the best I've been able to do was last year when I was excercising doing yoga, and eating well. I felt better, but not the calm me that I remember years back. I will do some more research. Thanks and happy easter to you as well1

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Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 4/8/2007 11:36 PM (GMT -6)   
Well, if you don't have a "fear" of taking medicines, I would go ahead and follow doctor's orders. It may be enough to open your mind just enough to let you relax. I was prescribed Klonopin some time ago, which is a drug that's notoriously addictive and difficult to come off of, but I finally got so tired of the anxiety that I was willing to let it help me. Being pharmaceutical-averse, believe me, it took a long time to come to that conclusion. But I finally did and started taking the medicine. It's been a God send. It's hard to remember how long I've been on it, but I think it's been three weeks. Not a single panic attack. Much less general anxiety. Sometimes I can't allow myself to have real "downtime" or my anxiety will try to rebound, but still, no panic attacks. My life is finally livable.

I don't care if I have to take Klonopin the rest of my life. If my doctor wants me to stop, I will. I won't be looking forward to it but I'll just cross that bridge when I get to it.

These drugs aren't narcotics. I can't imagine tapering being THAT bad. Now there will always be a few exceptions and those people will be understandably vocal, but talk about your concerns with doctors and pharmacists. A good doctor will know much more about the subject than just about anybody you could talk to on the internet.

Having said all that, I also agree with mystruggle. There was a time that I could manage my anxiety with exercise and diet. I've never tried CBT but from what I know about it, I think I "invented" some CBT for myself along the way. Whether or not you take the pill, definitely continue trying these other things. A pill alone will not really cure you. It's just a tool. My life has been hectic recently but I've tried to be more "generally active" in part to prepare myself for an exercise routine. I've been thinking about some CBT, too. Before I started Klonopin I never would've been in the frame of mind to do these things.

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Date Joined Jan 2006
Total Posts : 1629
   Posted 4/9/2007 5:07 AM (GMT -6)   
I take effexor and it has helped my depression and anxiety greatly. Medication isn't the answer to everyones problems but it is a great help in lifting a person out of that big black hole and reducing anxiety. I couldn't have got through my bad time without it.
There are lots of horror stories out there about a lot of meds, especially anti depressants but we always here the bad things and it does scare people. They wouldn't be on the market if they weren't safe to use and they do help a lot of people through hard times.
It is up to you what you do regarding the meds but do listen to your doctor.

Anxiety can be managed with relaxation techniques, distraction and CBT so also look into other alternatives aswell as the medication. I use all these techniques along with my medication.

Victoria x

Moderator ~ Depression and Anxiety Forum

Xx Sometimes we all have to go a little crazy just to stay sane xX

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Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 2433
   Posted 4/9/2007 8:49 AM (GMT -6)   
I don't know where people find these horror stories about coming off meds!??? If the meds were that bad, do you honestly think millions of people would be taking them? I don't. I took Effexor for several months, and found it to help a lot along with Klonopin. When I decided to taper off of it, I followed my doctor's tapering regimen and was fine. Naturally your body will react to not having a substance it was used to anymore, but honestly, it certainly wasn't something to complain about. A little drowsiness in the morning and occasional "cloudy" feeling was about it. Nothing bad happened. Trust me, these meds will change your life, but only if you let them.
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