I have been taking various depression medications for about 15 years after being diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depression. I developed the PTSD in 1993. I'm a retired police officer, but I did my full 25 years and retired 2 years ago. My problem right now is that my anxiety is never under control, and a good analogy would be that feeling you'd get if you had to slam on your brakes to avoid running over a kid. I'm like that 24/7. I currently take 300 mg of Effexor XR, 2000 mg of Depakote DR (is that the same as ER?), 20 mg of propanolol 3X daily, and last but certainly not least, 1 mg of Klonopin 3X daily, which I've had serious addiction problems in the past that had me in detox 3 times. Somehow, I've been able to keep myself from going over the recommended dose, and my psychiatrist knows my history and knows I just can't deal with the anxiety without it.
My problem is that recently my psychiatrist decided to switch me from 2000 mg of Depakote DR to 200 mg of Lamictil over a period of less than a week. Within two days I was having such severe withdrawal symptoms (tremors, shaking, etc.) that it was unbearable. I immediately went back to the Depakote and the withdrawal went away within a couple days. Is that an unreasonable switch to Depakote to Lamictil so quickly? It seems a little rhetorical to ask, but I'd like your professional opinion.
And how, if ever, am I ever going to get the anxiety under control. The only time it's not as bad is when the depression creeps up and overwhelms the anxiety. It's a catch 22 situation! It's also led me to a nearly successful suicide attempt this Summer that left me in ICU for a few days.
I am sorry that you are dealing with this right now. My anxiety peaked after I had gotten back from my first deployment with the military, so I have seen PTSD first hand and it is very hard to deal with. While none of us are doctors here, have you communicated with your doc about your withdrawal symptoms? Another great resource for me is the pharmacist who fills your prescriptions....for me they are sometimes a lot more patient in dealing with the multitude of questions that we often have.
I'm only 25, and although I havn't had the experiences you've had, I know that slamming on the brakes feeling you spoke about. I have been dealing with that for about 5 years now, but I don't take meds because I refuse to depend on them. I have heard many stories, and personally know people who became addicted to the meds, but they stopped working.
My anxiety can be considered to be uncontrolled, and at times, it is difficult to cope with, often with no reasonable onset, usually starting off as an irrational worry like a police officer getting behind me while driving, or interviewing with an employer, or passing a test at schooll. I also have a physical disability and chronic pain that is "severly" affected by the anxiety. I literally talk to my self when having a panic attack. I tell my self it's all in my head, and i try to convince my self to relax, and I chant this so to speak. It doesnt solve the problem completely, but it allows me to bring myself back to reality.
I know 100% that it really is all in my head, but I can't understand why I react this way. When you start having these anxiety attacks, try to put yourself outside of yourself, another words try to see yourself as someone else as you're going through this, and coax yourself back to rationalization as if you were wittnessing someone else going through it and you were there trying to calm them down.
I know it sounds a bit crazy, but it works. If you were with someone experiencing this, as a police officer, you know you could help calm them. It's like a phsyc Dr. that has to see a Dr.. himself. It's easy for him to help folks with their problems, but a big challenge for him to help himself.
There has been alot of promise in a treatment for PTSD. Its called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and just look it up on google. It sounds kinda weird but there is some real research and results on the treatment.
Also, please dont think your anxiety is 'all in your head', it is actually a chemical reaction to heightened stress, just like having adrenaline coursing through your veins for extended periods. You are absolutely right in finding ways to manage it through self distraction or comfort but there is nothing wrong with needing medication for a physical manifestation of hyper arounsel (anxiety)
The context for "all in my head" was misunderstood. I know that there are chemical reasons, however, metaphorically speaking, it's all in my head. I know the chemical reactions are what is causing the result of the anxiety, therefore, by addressing those reactions to the "irrational" stresses, to me, is for the most part productive. Not 100% productive, but enough to pull me away from the edge of a full fledge panick attack.
It's like watching a really good suspense or horror movie, you get nervous or anxious when you feel the onset of something happening, you just don't know when or what, and then something jumps out and catches you off guard and scares the mess out of you. Rationally, you know it's just a movie, and after you are freaking out, you calm yourself by telling yourself it's just a movie. You may say to yourself, "how can a movie make me react this way?"
As I said earlier, I have a physical disability, I'm not disabled, but I do suffer from chronic pain, and an anxiety attack takes me many hours to recover from. It is tough to manage. I was recently laid off from work after 6 years with my employer, and I have been looking for a job. I have had two interviews and I am almost positive that I didn't get the jobs due to my anxiety showing through. I can hear it shake in my voice, my hands and knees are shaky.
I also know that there is nothing wrong with taking meds to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, but in my personal situation, the anxiety remains even after taking the prescribed doses. I spent a year on welbuterin (may be spelled wrong) and xanax, but the symptoms were only reduced. Taking that and the stories of those I have known to become addicted to meds into consideration, those drugs are not for me. It is the root of the anxiety that I need to cure, not take a happy pill that doesn't cure the symptoms. It works for some folks, and for some folks it doesn't.
Talking and responding on forums seems to offer relief as well, unfortunately they are not available at the times most needed.
I have been anxious since I was a kid and suffered from a number of panic attacks, but I thought I grew out of it. By the time I was 17, that anxiety came back because of health issues. Thats when the weakness and shakiness began which manifested itself severely when nervous.
When I was 20, on Halloween, I had taken a couple of hits from a joint with some friends, and about 4 hours after that, I was pulled over for doing a rolling stop at a stop sign on a dirt road. I wasn't and still am not a drinker, nor a "smoker," I just didn't see the harm in it. I was not high by this point, nor was it even a thought in my mind, but I was nervous just because I got pulled over. The officer said I was acting funny and asked me to step out of the truck. He asked me if I had drank anything or taken any drugs that day and I was honest with him. I told him I took two hits from a joint several hours before, but because I was so nervous he didnt believe me.
By this point I was shaking horribly, and he performed a field sobriety test and I failed. I was arrested for DUI. I tried explaining to the judge my situation, provided documentation of my physical and axiety conditions, but it was no good. Because I had admitted to smoking 2 hits from a joint, and I failed the field test, the charge stuck. I truly wasn't intoxicated, I was nervous. Because I was honest, I incriminated myself. I found out later by a retired lawyer that I didn't have to say anything, and the health issues alone would have justified my behavior. I had to spend nearly $4,000 in school, fines, and 1 year probation fees. Now I have to carry that with me.
Till this day, still with nothing to hide and urine as clear as ginger-ale, when I'm in my vehicle and I see a police officer, or one gets behind me, I go into panic mode. I know my system is clean, but with the way my brain functions, I can see myself being arrested for suspicion of DUI. I don't have a problem with police officers, nor do I hold a grudge against my arresting officer, but it's scary to think it could happen again.
The Florida DMV said it would be complicated to have it noted on my drivers license and could potentialy be viewed as a driving hazard, which in turn could lead to restriction or a complete loss of driving privilages.
Wow, thank you all for your sharing and caring! It really makes me feel better to hear your advice, and know there are others out there who know what I'm talking about. Do you ever get the feeling that whenever you tell someone you have PTSD, which you usually have to tell them it is an acronym for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, that they have no idea what you're going through? Even my estranged wife (who left me with my 17 year old and a $223,000 mortgage back in February, never understood PTSD, Anxiety, or Major Depression. I printed out info for her, asked her to go go therapy with me so she'd understand it, and she just didn't give a damn. She actually told people she left me because I'm "nuts" and slept all the time! That really helped :)
Anyway, I've decreased my dose of Depakote to 1500 mg at night, and I'm feeling the same as I did on 2000 mg, so I'll stay at that dose for a month or so, and then try just 1000 mg. I will keep my psychiatrist updated on all of this, but I'm looking for a new dr. anyway. I like the guy, but I think he made a horrible mistake in transitioning me from Depakote to Lamictil so quickly.
Thanks again, God bless you all, and I'll keep checking the forum.
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