I was approached by my counselor about the possibility of taking anti-anxiety medications. Since I've been suffering for three years and haven't seen a whole lot of improvement, that it's possible that my brain is used to having the attacks.

Here's my problem: I hate taking medications. Of any kind! I won't even take something for a headache or cramps, unless they hurt so bad that I can't do anything. I'm so afraid that I will become dependent on them, or that I will have terrible side effects and it's going to change my personality. I don't want people to know about my anxiety and if I do go on the medications and they change me, people will know and that is just terrifying for me.

So, I want to know. What are some medications that work for people? If I do go on something, I do want it to be short term and nothing that I take when an attack hits. I don't want to be completely dependent on them nor be on medications for the rest of my life.

Please help me! I would really appreciate your input!

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5 Responses Mar 17, 2009

Meds scare me too. I have had some improvement using alternative treatments - I was seeing a Naturopathic doctor for a while who prescribed specific nutritional supplements for me based on my exact symptoms. They did seem to help but not as quickly as I would like. You have to take them regularly for several weeks or even months to see any effect (same as meds). The quality of the supplements DEFINITELY matters be sure you are getting a good brand, try your local health food store for recommendations.

Been on many many meds, and what you need to realize is that it is trial and error. Sometimes they work, sometimes they stop working, sometimes they don't work at all (for some people). Reality is that no matter which you choose, if you are thinking SSRI's all Drs. will tell you that they take 4 - 6 weeks MINIMUM to really feel any effects. My point to you is that if you feel that you may want to try something you are still a month and a half away from finding out if it will work for you.

Then therapy is the only way. Something is causing that anxiety and panic attacks and the only way to fight back is knowing what triggers it. Don't give up!!

I suggest that you try another type of therapy and follow the recommendations of fe45au about exercise and doing something creative and spiritual.<br />
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If you decide to use medication for anxiety and panic attacks you need to do your homework researching about the medications used to treat those disorders their side effects and the possibility of creating dependence. Benzodiazepines (Klonopin, Ativan, Xanax, Valium) are specially dangerous.<br />
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In my case I am taking 15 mg of lexapro for depression and anxiety 25 mg of Seroquel (dangerous) an atypical antipsychotic as a sedative before going to bed and I was (thanks God I no longer use it) taking 2mg a day of klonopin for my anxiety and panic attacks.<br />
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The side effects that I am experiencing right now are headache, Diarrhea and sometimes hypomania. Once I recover I have to wane from both medications and that could cause problems.<br />
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I hope that you along with your counselor or therapist will make the right decision about which path to take.

From my own personal experience with depression for over 30 years and not being on meds and now I am on meds for anxiety and depression, it has a made a wonderful difference.<br />
During my divorce 6 years ago my husband tried to kill me. From that trauma, I was devastated. At that time I felt that I needed something to allay the panic attacks and the suicidal thoughts. Through my years of depression, I did every thing to fight it. I learned a lot to help myself shut some of it down. When things would happened to me where I would beat myself up in my head about what a failure I was, my thoughts were always suicide to solve it. I learned steps to go a different way, but there were always these thoughts in my head.<br />
When I went on meds and they had to be sorted out because zoloft made me a zombie literally. I would sit at work and just stare. I couldn't function. I went on Celexa for a short time and it is a mild anti-depressant but helpful at the time.<br />
What ended up helping me and I'll explain how, was paxil (anti-anxiety) and wellbutrin (anti-depressant).<br />
I no longer have the suicidal thoughts which allows me to focus my attention on other things in life. I have a better outlook on life. I still do the things I was doing to help myself stay emotionally healthy, so the meds were an adjunct.<br />
The anti-anxiety helped to calm 50% of the panic attacks at the time of the trauma. I jumped at everything and was afraid over everyone esp. men.<br />
It has not changed my personality at all. When I have been out of meds and come off of it, and there needs to be a gradual withdrawal, I become cranky, take things that people say more personally and think about them all of the time. Being calmer allows me to make better decisions for my life. For the sake of humanity and so I'm not a witch with a "b", I will cont. to take both meds. <br />
My MD kept asking me why I wanted those 2 meds so I finally asked her why she thought they weren't appropriate and she didn't have an answer. Her nurse practitioner who I was seeing at the time of the trauma helped me get on appropriate meds. So I cont. with them. <br />
Sometimes you may have to juggle the dosage, the types, anti-anxiety anti-depression, mood modifiers for Manic-depressive. <br />
There is no set rules that you have to take these forever. As you go through your therapy, you may learn some things that will help control your moods. The meds just give you an extra la<x>yer of help.<br />
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Here are some things I have done to help my moods from going through therapy and living life in general.<br />
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Do physical exercise 3x/week to kick out endorphins, these are the feel good hormones.<br />
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Do something creative, color, draw, sing, play an instrument, etc. Even if you are bad at it, do it anyway. It's good for you.<br />
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Do something spiritual. I am a devout christian and having my relationship with God is so critical for me. I've spent years in the bible going through verses to find ones where it says that He loves me and that I was worthy even if I never did anything good. I have reprogrammed my mind with bible verses so that is what I think about myself. The brain doesn't function in a vacuum so if you try to get rid bad thoughts you're going to have to fill them with good thoughts.<br />
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Do volunteer work for others. We always feel better when we help others.<br />
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Going on the meds doesn't mean it's permanent. Hope this helps. You can see my divorce story on my blog.<br />
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elaine<br />
Those are basic things that I do.