Ive done plenty of research myself, for years and years, if you or if you know anyone who is suffering from anxiety or depression, the one thing doctors forget to do is to get a thyroid function exam, if you can get your thyroid checked and rule out every possible thyroid issue out there, you may solve the issues you have with your anxiety because your thyroid could be causing you that anxiety. GO TO A DOCTOR AND GET A THYROID TEST, it could save you years of harm from taking depression / anxiety medications. xo
This is why e always recommend people new to anxiety have a very thorough physical work up, to rule out a medical condition that may mimic anxiety/panic, there are several of them. Most docs will do that automatically, and the thyroid is usually the very first thing they check.
Thank you for sharing your years of research with us, but we are aware that the thyroid should be checked for anyone suffering from anxiety issues.
Thyroid function is nearly always included in a standard blood panel work up, and it will always be included if you're symptomatic of anxiety.
I'm sorry that your doctor(s) were apparently unaware that thyroid problems can, as nursegirl stated, mimic symptoms of anxiety and panic.
I hope you have since gotten a second opinion which included a thorough thyroid check.
From the sound of your post, am I correct in assuming you were mis-diagnosed?
We always tell people they should not just blindly accept a diagnosis of anxiety/panic until ALL other possibilities have been ruled out. (This always includes the thyroid) When, and if, anxiety is the only card left on the table, that is when it should be diagnosed and treated.
Thanks for sharing as obviously some doctors don't always check the Thyroid.
Don't be angry, this only hurts you. Be happy you found the cause of your problem and can move forward with your life. I wish you all the best!
Be careful being put on benzodiazapane drugs (anti-anxiety), it is a
quick and easy fix but near impossible to get off of. Believe me, I
have learned the hard way. Four years on Ativan, 3 x a day has
now made my mind and body addicted to the dose. I refuse to up
the dosage and am living through hell everyday. Try asking questions
before submitting to a drug in the Benzo family. Also ask if there are
holistic ways of dealing with anxiety and stress first.
Insanemo, you don't have to request certain tests, the doctors will know what is appropriate. All you have to do is express that you would like to have the common medical conditions that share symptoms with anxiety ruled out, although, your case is pretty obviously due to HIV Anxiety, which therapy wouold help a lot with. It's great to have a physical, but I think your case will be pretty clear cut...anxiety realted to HIV.
Paraquack, while I don't disagree that benzos are not a medication to not take seriously, when used properly, they can be a real life saver. NO medication is a "quick and easy" fix for anxiety, and if you went into medication therapy thinking that, then you ended up stuck in a rut. Meds are very useful in helping us control our symptoms, while therapy helps us cope and learn. Short acting benzos MOST of the time should be limited to either a short term course of treatment, or used on an "as needed" basis. They are not appropriate for long term, regular use, as you found out.
Try having a discussion with your doc about switching you over to Klonopin, which is a long acting benzo, taken regularly, for much longer periods of time. The tolerance issues are MUCH less significant with Klonopin, and the long acting feature keeps people from experiencing those ups and downs common with the more rapid acting benzos.
I totally agree with you regarding Benzos should be used for short term
periods only and not on going anxiety. The problem was I was not aware
of that afterall it was a doctor prescribing the medication and not a street
drug, I always respected medication and never took more than prescribed.
I was and still am in therapy but it hasn't done any good.
In the last few months I heard of a Benzo addiction group and started going to that once a week. At first I felt I didn't belong there because I didn't abuse the drug in any way. But I found out it doesn't make any difference, your brain gets use to that certain dose and wants more.
The only way now is to get off the Ativan, with a doctor controlling the weaning period, or I could go into a seizure. If I could be put into this position with my medical knowledge (which apparently didn't get into drugs)
than imagine all the innocent people that are out there suffering and so
end up abusing the drugs. Thanks for wishing me good luck, I'm going to
really need it.
I totally agree with you that doctors often lack in the education department, that's why it is ALWAYS our own responsibility to educate ourselves on the risks/benefits of taking any medication. We can't just blindly trust our doctor to tell us everything we know. That's why all meds here in the US come with an educational monograph. It's important to try to learn what we can, and then address any questions we have with the doc or Pharmacist.
I am not disagreeing with you at all, just trying to clarify that, for me, I don't feel it is always fair to so quickly blame the doctors for not telling us what we need to know. They SHOULD, absolutely (in a perfect world), but anything related to our health is always going to be our responsibility. ANY time a doc recommends a new med, or Rx's a new med, it's so important to do our own research, so we know what to expect, to be able to make an educated decision.
As for the people that choose to abuse the drugs, that's a totally different situation. YOU are dealing with dependency, where your body obviously needs the drug to function at a certain level, ,or you will go into w/d's.
An "addiction" is different. Those people do not follow the dosing inctructions, and often exhibit maladaptive behavior to seek the drug, doing things that would normally be out of character for that person (stealing, lying, etc). They do that because they are seeking for of a high, versus taking the med as it was intended. None of it is fun for sure, but there are definitely some very clear diffferences.
The terms "dependency", "addiction", and "tolerance" are often used interchangeably, when there are some very obvious differences. The three issues sometimes can coexist here and there, and one can lead to another for sure. I like to clarify that when I get the chance (for the readers, you obviously understand that) because it is helpful for people to know the difference.
I'm very glad you found some resources that are helping you to safely wean off the Ativan, and it sounds like you found a doctor that is helping you taper slowly and safely. That is the most important thing.
I would also recommend that you start to work with a therapist and your doc, putting an alternative plan in place for dealing with your anxiety after you are off the Ativan. Even with a slow and deliberate taper, there is a pretty good chance you will have some issues with rebound anxiety. Therefore, if you can start formulating a game plan ahead of time, you may be able to do some damage control before your taper is complete. Sometimes, it is recommended to start on an SSRI antidepressant (like Zoloft, Lexapro, Prozac) during the taper, so you can start reaping the benefits of that kind of med before the taper is complete Also, you can ask your doc about the Klonopin as well. You may be disenchanted with benzos as a whole at this point, which I understand, but sometimes, if the anxiety remains severe, then it is necessary to consider your options, which may include Klonopin. It's definitely worth discussing with your doc.
Very best of luck to you. Sounds like you're in good hands, the slower the taper, the more likely you will only have minimal discomfort, if any. Keep us updated on how you're doing.
Thank you so much for being so kind and considerate as well as very
knowledgable about the seriousness of taking drugs. Thank you for
clarifying the difference between addiction, dependency and tolerance.
I really needed that distinction to be made because I feel so bad about
having gotten into this predicament.
I wish I could tell you that I have started the weaning process but am
waiting for an appointment opening with my psychiatrist. I will keep you
updated and am sorry if I scared anyone into taking prescribed medications. Thank you again "nursegirl". Take care.
I started getting off Ativan last Friday night May 4th. My psychiatrist
happens to go by the Ashton Manual and is using Valium as a replacement
for the Ativan. Very slowly done, have replaced the bedtime Ativan with
Valium and continue with the morning dose of Ativan as well as late
afternoon of Ativan.
I have so much body pain that in itself is scaring me. I am seeing a physical therapist for the muscle spasms throughout my back, neck and shoulders.
It's better but not better if that makes any sense. The intense fear is still
there but not in the morning like it use to be. It is hitting me hard right now,
starting around noon til 4pm. I wish there was an easier way to deal with this. People say they will see you through this, but they really don't. Once they have gotten off the drug causing the problem, it is hard for them to
remember what each day was like. And I only just started. I am still afraid
of what's to come. Anyone out there who can give me support please??
Aw hon, I'm sorry you are going through this. Some people have more trouble than others coming off certain meds. My advice to you is to keep communicating with your doctor.
I also think if you can be honest with yourself and accept that there will be SOME discomfort for a while, but not forever, that will help a bit. Tell yourself it's like having a bad flu. Also, your doc may be able to slow it down a little for you if your symptoms are severe.
I'm a firm believer that "slow and steady wins the race" when it comes to tapering off a habit forming drug. Keep venting, try to keep busy and don't be afraid to tell your doc if it all becomes a bit too much, but at the same time, be realistic that this will not likely be without SOME level of discomfort.
Let us know how you're doing. Thinking of you, praying it goes well.
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