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Author Topic: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...  (Read 799 times)

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Offline liza9560

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To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« on: January 03, 2014, 11:20:57 PM »
Hello there!  Since my first bad panic attack hit me on Nov. 1 of 2013, I have been dealing with my anxiety and panic.  At this point, I feel depression has come into the picture, as well. 

What I am struggling with most at the moment is whether or not to take a medication.   I have been seeing a psychotherapist, although only a few times, and the holidays have thrown their monkey wrench into our sessions.  I resume seeing her next week, and I'll also see a shrink proper, who will prescribe me whatever they feel is appropriate.  I am such a believer in natural cures; I want to overcome this mess myself, without the help of any pill.  I read the side effects and withdrawal symptoms of the different benzos and anti-depressants, and I get terrified. 

I am scared most of becoming a different person once I'm on whatever it is I'll be prescribed.  But, I will have episodes or days that are so difficult that I decide I do indeed want something to take.

Anybody else have a hard time accepting medication?  What were your outcomes?  Thanks for reading! :) 
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Offline insights

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 07:04:45 AM »
I am such a believer in natural cures; I want to overcome this mess myself, without the help of any pill.

Anxiety disorders and depression are diseases of the brain caused by the effects of chronic stress hormone exposure which damages brain cells.

So called 'natural' supplements, which are often anything but natural, can help in mild cases, but the only treatments with a good track record for more severe anxiety and depression are medications or the cognitive and/or behavioural and/or mindfulness therapies. Both antidepressants and the therapies work by inducing neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells. Benzodiazepines, OTOH, overcome anxiety by increasing the effectiveness of the brain's 'calming' neurotransmitter system which is also damaged. The brains of people with anxiety disorder have fewer benzodiazepine-GABA complex binding sites, and the ones they do have are less sensitive. If your anxiety only peaks occasionally rather than daily then the benzodiazepines may be all you need. They are the most natural of the anti anxiety meds.

Be aware that beyond a certain point anxiety disorders and depression become chronic conditions which may wax and wane, but don't ever cpmpletely resolve though long remissions are possible. Neither antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or therapy are cures, only treatments.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline mta214

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 08:10:24 AM »
Yes, I do have a hard time accepting medication.  However, my anxiety is quite severe; at times I can't even leave the house!!  So, what I decided on is a combination of low dose medication and therapy.  In addition, I've incorporated exercise and eating healthy.  There are certain side effects that I find unacceptable for me, so I stay away from the meds causing those particular side effects.

I'm not entirely against meds, as I do believe they have their place.  However, I don't believe in medicating FEELINGS, which some meds do.  Good luck in finding a balance that works for you!!
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Offline CrazyCatLady

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 04:47:28 PM »
Anxiety disorders and depression are diseases of the brain caused by the effects of chronic stress hormone exposure which damages brain cells.

So called 'natural' supplements, which are often anything but natural, can help in mild cases, but the only treatments with a good track record for more severe anxiety and depression are medications or the cognitive and/or behavioural and/or mindfulness therapies. Both antidepressants and the therapies work by inducing neurogenesis, the growth of new brain cells. Benzodiazepines, OTOH, overcome anxiety by increasing the effectiveness of the brain's 'calming' neurotransmitter system which is also damaged. The brains of people with anxiety disorder have fewer benzodiazepine-GABA complex binding sites, and the ones they do have are less sensitive. If your anxiety only peaks occasionally rather than daily then the benzodiazepines may be all you need. They are the most natural of the anti anxiety meds.

Be aware that beyond a certain point anxiety disorders and depression become chronic conditions which may wax and wane, but don't ever cpmpletely resolve though long remissions are possible. Neither antidepressants, benzodiazepines, or therapy are cures, only treatments.

Ian

This makes me so sad. Because of the statement I bolded, I wonder if most doctors advocate lifetime treatment for those on medication. My doctor told me that since this is my 2nd bout of severe anxiety that I should stay on meds for 3-5 years then taper off if I so choose. If the anxiety strikes yet again, he recommends medication long term.
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Offline liza9560

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 05:31:34 PM »
Thanks, guys. :)  I'm reading all of you loud and clear.  Lately I have been stir-crazy with the flu and not working or going out, so that explains most of my depression, I'm sure.  In my attempts to sort out myself and pinpoint and eliminate anxiety triggers, I have broken up with a close friend that I wish could be my boyfriend, and I'm dealing with that, too.  Like, all the cruddy things that come with a break-up:  I wanna call him, but I don't.  I miss him.  A lot of crying.  Yadda yadda yadda.

Experiencing bad, sad feelings is one thing.  I think that's the main thing here, too.  But yesterday got scary, as I felt very panicky and out-of-control.  However, after crawling into bed and finding this site, I did feel a lot better.  I also called a friend and talked to her for a long time.

I look forward to resuming therapy next week.  I can't expect this break-up to be easy.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!  I don't think what I'm experiencing will necessitate long-term medication, but I'll be open to what the doctor thinks. :)  Thanks again, everybody!
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Offline insights

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 05:35:24 PM »
This makes me so sad. Because of the statement I bolded, I wonder if most doctors advocate lifetime treatment for those on medication. My doctor told me that since this is my 2nd bout of severe anxiety that I should stay on meds for 3-5 years then taper off if I so choose. If the anxiety strikes yet again, he recommends medication long term.

Unfortunately, anxiety disorders are mostly chronic requiring treatment from time to time. It doesn't have to be with meds, the cognitive/behavioural/mindfulness therapies are also effective.

If meds are your only option then there is a growing argument for staying on them permanently as it appears they become less effective with each discontinuation-restart cycle. Most of the popular antidepressants have few long-term issues, and some benefits, possibly reducing the risk of heart attacks and ischemic stroke and they may also prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline gouldbergvariations

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2014, 01:15:14 PM »
Look into niacinamide as safe and effective alternative to benzodiazepines. It's classified as a b vitamin with anti anxiolytic properties working In a similar action as benzos. It's non addictive and is used by quite a few people looking to ween off benzos.
Not to mention Niacinamide has shown to be effective in treating tuberculosis and MRSA staph infections. It has a wide range of beneficial effects which accompany efficacy for anxiety. Up to 3 grams is typically used for anxiety treatment.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v278/n5704/abs/278563a0.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/155222/?i=3&from=/6118293/related
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/7913840/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/7879292/
http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/36/4/453.long

If you are looking for a ssri replacement, look into inositol also. It's a b vitamin which has also been shown to work similar to ssris but to not the same extreme. The treatment dose of inositol is up to 18 grams daily, and it takes a few weeks to notice a difference. No side effects other than initial flatulence.
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Offline crystalclear81

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2014, 03:55:51 AM »
First of all Anxiety and panic is the number one most curable mental health issue. My mother had it in her 20's for 3 years and actually cured it on her own by facing it and no longer chosing to fear it she is now 60 and has not had one since my sister also had panic and anxiety in highschool for almost 2 years she is now 35 and has not had one since SO anyone on here who has been told or believes it is not curable is very very wrong , They both did it without meds as well. Anyway on the other hand I am on meds for it :( so do I recommend them sometimes you need that kick starter to get things back on track I wish you well
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we have to be there for eachother ;)

Offline chris1234

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 10:47:27 AM »
^^sounds like my family my mom had it for 3-4 years and cured it on her own the only time she ever gets anxious is during her cycle which is just hormones and her sister which is my aunt had it for about 3 years and took Zoloft for 6 months weened off and has been fine ever since ...and this was 20 something years ago ... I think people get a little radical online and specific with terms and stuff... Everyone goes off studies which I'm my eyes doesn't mean ***** ...for people who don't have childhood issues wih anxiety it can just be a learning phase for a lot of us  but on here it seams like everything is a helpless situation and your doomed forever ... People forget that the people who fix their anxiety , don't come back here to post it because they're not concerned with it anymore and are living their lives this is a really great site for people who have questions but could be damaging to desperate suffers who are confused
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Offline Abraham2007

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 01:18:41 PM »

Well peeps, looks as if  the Pro-Medication users are in the lead, since we are Home on this Discussion Forum.






Yup.  Medication users are leading!!!!  We say, 'Take our Meds!'




To all my homeys who take SSRIs, Tricyclics, SNRIs, or even MAIOs --- be proud of your psychiatric medications, and know we rock!!!!



[/b]

Real men take their psych meds.


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Quacks prey on us Anxiety Disorder sufferers as part of the Mental Health community, since we can be desperate for healing.  Don't be victimized, instead be EDUCATED about  QUACKERY!!!!! http://www.quackwatch.com/ 

Offline kutekat

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2014, 03:23:56 AM »
honestly, just medicate. for 5 years of my life i wasted my life thinking i can get over my numerous mental disorders. then i spent 2 years of that 5 finding natural methods to calm my anxiety. the only thing that helped was exercise, and it really didn't help that much at all. getting on psychiatric medications is really scary, and i have had bad experiences. but where i am now, is so much better. why is it so taboo to treat mental illnesses with pills? should we just give up any synthetic chemical because it is not from the ground? natural does not equal safe. cocaine comes from coca plants, opium is from opium poppys, i mean even cyanide comes from natural sources! and someone above mentioned they don't like medicating their feelings, but why? isn't it so important how we feel in this world? you'll take an antibiotic for a cyst but you won't take a medication for your MENTAL health? mental disorders are usually chronic, it's not like the brain just stops being sick (though you can go into remission). we are dealing with the most important organ in our body, our brain. when your brain is plagued by mental illness your whole reality is affected. you being alive is painful. the most effective non medication way is cognitive behavioral therapy, along with counseling. but why not try a med? just because bad things have happened to other people does not mean it will happen to you. also even though no one brought this up, but i see so many people saying psych meds are overprescribed, but how is this when most people with mental illness do NOT seek treatment? i can't tell you how many of my friends have a mental illness(es), and out of all my friends TWO PEOPLE take meds for it. the others suffer because of this pill fear. i hope this didn't sound harsh, i just wanted to be 100% honest. we only live for so long, so we may as well make our time here enjoyable, or atleast tolerable. good luck to you.
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Offline insights

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2014, 06:12:35 AM »
you'll take an antibiotic for a cyst but you won't take a medication for your MENTAL health

I think a very large part of this is because they are called mental disorders, and not what they really are, brain disorders. This has allowed them to be dismissed as minor conditions that we should be able to just get over if only we'd "pull ourselves together."

No one would think of telling an epileptic to "pull himself together" these days, but this too was considered a mental disorder until the late 1930s. The brain differences found in epilepsy are also found in those with anxiety disorders. In both there are fewer benzodiazepine-GABA binding sites than normal and the ones that exist are less sensitive which is why benzodiazepines work so well for both conditions.

When I achieve world domination one of my first acts will be to ban the use of the term 'mental disorders.' There are few words that have caused as much anguish and frustration as that combination.  :(

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

Offline AncientMelody

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2014, 10:46:05 AM »
I'm ok with the term mental health....what I don't like is the term "behavioral health". My psychiatrist works at the "outpatient behavioral health clinic" I spent months blaming myself for my anxiety and depression (which as you might guess worsened my anxiety and depression) so the term behavioral health feels like it has sort of an antagonistic slant.

To the OP: put your trust in your medical providers, if you feel comfortable and trusting with them, accept their assessment and advice for you. That's my best advice. As a medical practitioner myself I think I spent almost a little too much time in the driver's seat and I kind of have to remind myself when I have my appointments, I'm going to be the patient now, not the practitioner. Ask your psychotherapist whether they feel you're making progress. Therapy is an excellent tool, yet sometimes you can be so overcome by your anxiety symptoms that you cannot process it effectively. So it can be very helpful there. An important thing with medication: start at a low dose if you do an SSRI or similar medication and be aware that there can be some challenging start up side effects....and often these will pass. A lot of us with anxiety may panic because we are afraid of the side effects and stop something in a few days that could potentially be beneficial.

Good luck!
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Offline liza9560

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2014, 02:18:52 PM »
Again, thanks everybody!  I've started taking Zoloft.  I actually took my first dose last Thursday, and then one Friday.  It made me sleepy and gassy, shaky and anxious, chilly and sweaty.  I had a long weekend car ride and trip to take with five other people, so I didn't take it on Saturday.  I felt fine--a little anxiety here and there, but generally happy and good.  I finally took it again last night (Sunday night).  My doc recommended I take 50 mg to start, and after maybe a month to up the dosage if needed.

I got a headache after I took it last night, but three hours after I took it I was able to fall asleep.  I also was able to sleep well, only awakening once.  After about 9 hours of sleep I awoke and felt really shaky and yucky.  I got up and made and ate breakfast, although I had no appetite.  I lay back down and dozed for a few hours.

Today has been pretty freaky. :(  I went to the grocery store in a fog.  My anxiety is kicking HARD.  This is the hardest it's hit me since I started the stuff.  Perhaps my skipping the Saturday dose has something to do with it, but honestly, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with this in the van full of people on the 9 hour ride.

I've read plenty that says things will get better with the Zoloft, so I think I'll persevere.  I decided to take this stuff for a reason; I must keep reminding myself that.  I also have friends that have taken it and successfully weened themselves off of it, with good reviews.  There is hope.  ***** gets so scary sometimes, though!

I'm also going to call my doc and ask if it's ok to go down to 25 mg for now.  I have some klonopins in case I really need to get it together for something, but I want to take those things sparingly.

Sheesh. :P   
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Offline insights

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Re: To Medicate or Not to Medicate? I don't want to, but...
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2014, 04:29:04 PM »
I had a long weekend car ride and trip to take with five other people, so I didn't take it on Saturday.

Antidepressants must be taken daily. They work by encouraging the growth of new brain cells and it is best if this process isn't interrupted. 

Quote
My doc recommended I take 50 mg to start, and after maybe a month to up the dosage if needed.

For most this is too high a starting dose. 25mg would have been kinder.

Quote
Today has been pretty freaky. :(  I went to the grocery store in a fog.  My anxiety is kicking HARD.  This is the hardest it's hit me since I started the stuff.  Perhaps my skipping the Saturday dose has something to do with it, but honestly, I'm glad I didn't have to deal with this in the van full of people on the 9 hour ride.

Skipping the Saturday dose probably had nothing to do with it. Antidepressants make anxiety worse in the first few weeks which is why a lower starting dose is better.

Quote
I'm also going to call my doc and ask if it's ok to go down to 25 mg for now.

A very good idea. 

Ian
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NOTE: I'm not a doctor, and particularly not yours, so there may be factors I'm unaware of. Therefore all advice is of a general nature and you should consult your doctor before following any of it, especially before changing med doses.

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