I thought I would share with you all the medication success I have been having as of late.
Just a little background information, I am a nineteen year old male who has been suffering from health anxiety issues for almost three years now. Within that three years, one of those years was a really good one, with last year being a bit rough in many places.
In about July of 2013, I ended up having a relapse of anxiety with far worse physical symptoms than ever before, convincing myself that I was having brain tumours, strokes and a variety of stomach issues. It got to the point where I was crippled in bed, my legs constantly weak with them jerking and twitching. At that point I realised that medication seemed to be my utmost last resort with anxiety (after being successfully treated with counselling and CBT strategies in the past, and unable to recommence them at that time).
So by that point it was a Sunday in later September 2013 or early October 2013, I went up to the hospital to outpatients (as the GP Clinic in my town does not run on the weekends) to see the Doctor on call. That day had been particularly bad as my legs had been weak and light as a feather, they had been jerking and twitching constantly due to stress and my cognition had me quite convinced I had something wrong with me and I was going to die. At 6:00PM I walked up and waited in the out-patient sitting room for sometime until the nurse saw me, breaking down on him he suggested I see the Doctor to follow up on a prescription of medication to help out as nothing else was working at that point.
After a little while longer, I managed to see the Doctor, one who I had not seen at the clinic before, my mum managed to find out I was up there and she sat in the room as well. I spoke to him about my issues and fear of dying, constant duress and inability to function properly due to debilitating symptoms. So I requested medication as I was no longer able to deal with this influx of anxiety.
Talking a little while longer, the Doctor suggested I go on 25mg Zoloft/Sertraline, then increase it to 50mg after a week to help out with reducing the general anxiety I feel and removing the symptoms. I was quite sceptical, as I was not sure if an SSRI would be able to achieve such a thing. He also prescribed a four weeks worth of Valium, starting at 10mg and slowly reducing it to 2mg, in order to relax my body, help achieve a better sleeping pattern and calm down any unnecessary anxiety while the Zoloft kicks in.
I was quite hopeful at this point, my mother drove me home with our relationship in tact again, so far and we picked up the medication from the pharmacy at 7:00PM. I took the Valium directly as my legs had started jerking and twitching again and I was told to start the 25mg of Zoloft the next morning.
That night's sleep was quite rough, my mind was still on overdrive, but when I did fall to sleep, I woke up feeling a little better. There were still some residual thoughts of worry concerning my health and my legs were quite weak again, but I was doing quite well to distract myself enough to prevent any panic attacks.
I continued the 25mg of Zoloft for another week, before I saw my Doctor again, to increase it to 50mg. And much to my surprise, I had been feeling significantly better in all that time, whether it was mind over matter or the medication kicking in or having some impact, I was happy. Moving on to the 50mg dosage, there were quite a few side effects such as stomach issues again, that did set my anxiety off quite a bit. This was on week three of commencing the medication, and I managed to convince the doctor for a stomach ultrasound due to my panic...
After that was all done, I really began noticing a significant increase in my happiness and a significant decrease in anxiety, the Zoloft had been doing quite an effective job, with little to no somatic symptoms occurring throughout the day. By this point I was coming off the Valium and said I can take 2-5mg of it if I REALLY NEED TO use it in case of a crisis (due to benzodiazpine addiction and or dependence as such). I also began frequenting the local gym to help burn up energy and take my mind off things towards the night, to enable me to sleep better - which also helped quite a bit as well.
Almost 10 or so weeks on from that, I would say that my anxiety levels have dropped 80% since commencing the Zoloft, and I also managed to resume therapy and I am feeling quite good. Every now and then I may have a major or minor set back or bump in the road, particularly at night times where I feel as if the Zoloft is wearing off (though the gym is really good for that as it keeps me busy, along with my mind) but I do manage 8 hours of sleep.
So I guess the point of my little spiel here is that, do not give up with your medication. Even if you have to use them as a last resort or you are either sceptical and or hesitant, because I feel as if I have been quite successful with a combination of Zoloft and Valium, I was also even told I could increase my dosage of Zoloft to 100mg or even 150mg if I need to.
Please be hopeful guys, anxiety disorders are very malicious and unrelenting, but there is effective treatment in many forms.