i think ive always had some sort of anxiey growing up but for the past month, I been feeling especially anxious I suppose. but I haven't been to a psychiatrist yet. however I will be going very soon. emotionally, I've been feeling very worried, tense, edgy, uncomfortable in general and fearing that something terrible may be wrong with me other than the possibility of it juss being some sort of anxiety disorder, like some sort of psychosis instead. physically Ive felt, tired, restless, fast pounding heart, shortness of breath, dizzyness, sometimes nauseous, sometimes shakey, occasional muscle tension like I feel super sore in my back and/or neck sometimes, difficulty concentrating and insomnia (restless waking at night or waking up too early.) I also feel like my senses are kind of off. like i hear high pitch or background noises alot more, blurry and tunnel vision and sometimes I feel like im in a daze. all these feelings kind of got me down because im just tired of feeling this way. I feel like I cry easier and I just worry a whole lot more. sometimes about nothing at all. occasionally I catch a break where I feel better without any anxiety, but then it just hits me again and I get really uncomfortable. I'm just worried all the time. can anxiety and/or anxiety disorders hit you out of no where? can they last practically 24/7? is it something more than just anxiety? if its just anxiety, is there a natural way to treat it because im terrified to the core of medication. these are just a few questions I have in mind to ask my doctor but I still want to know more. anyone else experience any of these feelings/symptoms and have any suggestions on what I should ask. I'd really appreciate the input. but please stay possitive because just like everything else, negativity worries me. lol
Hello, lynnsee! :) What you explain in your post could easily be anxiety and/or depression. I have experienced this, and I'm here to tell you that THERE IS HELP out there! You need to be in therapy (counseling with a psychiatrist) on a regular basis, probably once a week at first. I know of two herbal supplements that may help you: Valerian Root and St. John's Wort. Do not take these together. If one doesn't work for you, stop taking that one and try the other. And, there is a possibility that counseling and herbal supplements are simply not enough. Do not rule out the possibility that you might need a mild prescription from your doctor to experience any real releif. I feel for you, honestly: I wound up in a psych ward for 6 days because I got so bad. But I am happy to say that I am well now, and I do take prescriptions to keep me 'even'. That doesn't mean you will wind up doing the same thing. I'm just telling you that I know what is happening to you, and I will pray for you to find the comfort you need. Feel free to msg me anytime! Blessings - Blu
thank you so much for your advice and support. it means alot because many times people simply dont understand if they haven't gone through it themselves. as far as prescriptions go, are young adults really more prone to the side effects of prescriptions? that's what terrifies me most. I'm 19 but not the average size of an average 19yr old would be. im really tiny for my age and fear that my size makes me more sensitive to alot of things, including meds. like even the lowest doses my be too much for me or something.
I've seen this post before that tells people not to take valerian and St. John's Wort together, but there is no reason not to. They work on different parts of the system, like taking an antidepressant and a benzo -- valerian is thought to work on GABA, and nobody knows how St. John's wort works, but it doesn't affect GABA. ST. John's Wort is an antidepressant, not something for anxiety. If you truly want to learn about natural approaches a good book to start with is Natural Highs by Hyla Cass, a psychiatrist at UCLA. As to what you should do, I wouldn't see a doctor or a psychiatrist at this point if it were me. I would see a therapist, probably a psychologist. Few psychiatrists these days do therapy, and doctors don't study very much psychology, so all they know is what drug companies tell them -- that's how medicine is practiced in the US largely, by giving you a medication. That may be the way to go at some point, but given you're still functioning pretty well I'd pass on the drugs for now and go for an actual fix, which is to figure out why you're suddenly bothered by something you haven't figured out yet. If you can figure it out, you can fix it, whereas drugs just cover up symptoms. As for natural remedies, they don't have nearly the problems reported with medication, but they aren't risk free, so it's good to do your homework first. Valerian, for example, while good for anxiety, also makes most people tired, so it's most often used for sleep, whereas kava or passionflower don't tend to make people as tired and are far better systemically for anxiety when they work. And natural remedies are usually used in combination, targeting the areas of the body that contribute to depression and anxiety, not singly as drugs are. Naturopaths or practitioners of integrated medicine can help you here. Good luck.
I should have added that a small number of people, I think 5, reported liver problems from taking huge amounts of kava or standardized kava, as opposed to no problems reported using it in the traditional ways. And as for what to ask you doctor, it's to check for physiological causes for your problem, such as hormone or thyroid or blood sugar imbalances, assuming you have a doctor who will give you tests sophisticated enough to truly test these. Most don't. Again, good luck.
Everything you describe sure sounds a lot like anxiety, and it sounds like you may even be experiencing some derealization, which is a (harmless) side effect of severe and/or chronic anxiety. It's an alteration in perception, you feel as though you're almost in a dream like state, everything "looks" funny, sounds funny, etc. Almost as if you were watching the world through someone else's eyes, or a movie projector.
First step should always be having a thorough check up to rule out a possible medical cause, as there are many common, non serious conditions that will mimic anxiety...ie thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, etc. That should be your first move...if you haven't recently had a thorough work-up including blood work, make an appt with your PCP.
Once you've ruled out a medical cause, then you have to explore ways to manage the anxiety. There are many different approaches to treating anxiety. There is the more traditional medication/therapy approach, there is a more natural approach (like what paxiled describes above), there are more faith based/spiritual approaches, which may include things like yoga, biofeedback, meditation, etc. Some people even incorporate some things from the different approaches, to make their own treatment plan. A little bit of this..little bit of that, you know?
I personally am a supporter of the more traditional approach. That doesn't always mean medication, but sometimes it does. I feel that the decision to try a medication to help control the symptoms of anxiety while working on coping mechanisms in therapy is a very individualized, unique one that each person must make for themselves.
I feel that there are definitely times when meds are indicated. Those would be when someone has struggled with anxiety for an extended period of time, has maybe tried alternative treatments with little success. Also, if someone is experiencing a debilitating level of anxiety, where their day to day life is consumed with anxiety, and they can think of little else and are having a hard time functioning...meds are indicated in my opinion.
As Paxiled said, meds are not a "cure", they are just one aspect of treatment. Meds help to reduce the symptoms so that a person can make some progress in therapy, learning how to manage their anxiety and change that anxious cycle of thinking...while also allowing one to function a bit better in his/her day to day lives. Meds do come with some risks, so again, it's a decision that must be made carefully, after doing your homework, and discussing your options with a doctor.
Paxiled is also correct that psychiatrists rarely do the actual therapy part of treatment anymore. Their job is primarily to manage medication. So, if you're not sure about meds at this point, you probably don't necessarily need a psychiatrist. If you DO want to explore meds as an option, then I WOULD recommend asking for a referral to a psych. Therapy is usually done by a psychotherapist...your PCP can refer you to a therapist. A therapist well versed in CBT, or cognitive behavioral therapy, is a good choice for treating anxiety.
As for some of your questions...yes, anxiety disorders can come on "just like that". That's actually one of the diagnostic criteria of many anxiety disorders, the very "out of the blue" component. Also, you're actually right at the age most people with anxiety disorders experience their first onset of significant anxiety. There can be some anxiety prior to that, but the more severe anxiety symptoms usually present themselves in the late teens, early 20's. I was diagnosed with panic disorder at age 18. I was anxious ALL of my life prior to that, but my first major "stand up and take notice" panic attack occured at 18.
Your size is no indication how you will do with a med. Just because you're small doesn't mean you will have a harder time tolerating a med. It MAY mean that you would need a lower dose than someone larger, but again, not necessarily.
The decision on how to proceed is yours. You can always try the supplements mentioned, along with some therapy, and some lifestyle changes (adding or increasing exercise, cutting out stimulants, alcohol, etc)...and give that a few months. If you're not seeing the kind of improvement you would like, you can then always try a medication. That option is always there for you. OR, if you feel you would like to explore the medication option first, then you can certainly do that.
Lots of people have had tremendous success treating anxiety with meds. There are lots of people who have also had bad experiences. NONE of those, good or bad, can be discounted, and while it's always good to kind of ask others to share their experiences, no one experience should be weighed more heavily than another. Every person has to allow themselves to have their own individual experience when it comes to meds. For instance, if you asked, I would tell you I have had very positive experiences with meds...and Paxiled has lived through a nightmare with a med. BOTH of our experiences are valid but neither are any indication of what YOUR experience would be like. That's the one thing about meds that is frustrating, it's very much a trial and error process...and it takes time to assess how a med is going to work.
Any which way, you have lots of options and I'm glad you found your way here. We're all here for you...you're among people who really understand and who have lived through it. You're far from alone. Nearly 20% of the US population is diagnosed with an anxiety disorder..that's a LOT of people...and imagine the REAL number that would include the people who haven't officially been diagnosed? I would be willing to bet that probably 40% of the population deals with chronic anxiety. Just a guess.
thank you so much for the advice and support. I'm glad you responded to my post. I have tried Zoloft. as soon as all this hit me, I went straight to my PCP, all my blood work came out normal and he gave me 25mg of Zoloft to start off. I know they say meds take time to work, but I think I was so scared and worried about the side effects that I convinced myself that I was experiencing them after only four days. I got really bad insomnia, my limbs felt real heavy and kind of numb, I'd feel pretty dizzy looking at things to the point where it looked like it was moving and I just felt out of it more than I already had. so I stopped taking them. now I'm scared to try any other medication. I feel really torn, I want to get better, but I'm worried about how to actually get there. I fear that I never will.
"I fear that I never will." Hey, you're just getting started here. Meds are often worse for "side effects" before you feel the effects you're looking for. They are foreign to the body's experience, and the body rebels, but for most those early effects taper off or you just don't care so much once the med starts working. If the med is too harsh, you can try another, but you've also been given lots of alternatives here to medication, so don't give up before you've even gotten started!
Small point, since I agree with your post, but "traditional" medicine isn't what you practice -- that's the new kid on the block, highly lucrative but short on experience. Traditional means it's been around a long time, which allopathic medicine hasn't. On the other hand, traditional medicine for mental illness includes dungeons, exorcism, burning at the stake, ostracism, and other wonderful things, but the plant medicine and spiritual medicine and meditation and yoga are thousands of years old -- now that's traditional medicine. Just sayin.'
FYI my panic attacks would last DAYS and weeks. There was no "20 minutes" .... The initial rush of adrenaline would last that long then I was stuck with the racing heart, shaking, twitching, worrying, sweating, like I just work up from a nightmare feeling. God awful. Then I had GAD on top of it. It took zoloft, xanax and a wonderful therapist and psychiatrist to get me back on track. But I totally know how hard this is and how scary. I wouldn't wish this on any friends or loved ones.
Mine came out of the blue when I was 19 years old and I've now been on zoloft for 15 years to help. I have come a far way but still have break through panic at times. I am not scared by it anymore, I can talk myself through the attacks which are few and far between.
Yeah, unfortunately you didn't give the Zoloft enough time. No doubt the initial start-up side effects can be rough, and often times with these meds, we have to feel a little worse before we feel better.
The good news is, the side effects are almost always short lived for most people, they start to subside in about a week or two. Sometimes it's helpful to use a short term course of an anti-anxiety med like Ativan or Xanax, to help with the side effects, just during those first few weeks.
To be honest, sounds like you psyched yourself out, so probably a lot of the "side effects" were anxiety more than anything. It's tough to try a med when a person has a lot of anxiety about the med itself and the side effects. That's a common problem. Since you're the kind of person who is going to be anxious about the medication, I really think it would be helpful for you to ask about an anti-anxiety med.
Personally, I highly recommend Zoloft. Not only did I have a great experience with it, but it is the most commonly Rx'ed antidepressant for anxiety disorders, because it's effective for many people, and easier to tolerate than some of the others. You started out on a low dose, which was good.
My personal, unofficial recommendation would be to give the Zoloft another shot if you are going to go the med route. Definitely ask about an anxiolytic as well.
Paxiled..I see your point, but I used the word "traditional" more to mean something that is widely accepted, common, a usual practice, typical...conventional.
yea, I definitely psyched myself out big time about not only the meds but the anxiety itself. before the doctor even wrote down my prescription, I had already read up on the side effects and got super scared. I've heard of a couple of anti-anxiety meds, like Xanax but I heard of that more like as a street drug, and also buspar but I don't know much about that one. know anything about it?
BuSpar is a med that is sometimes prescribed for anxiety, although I haven't seen a lot of success with it. Some people have reported that it helps...again, back to that trial and error thing. I personally think there are better options.
Xanax is not a street drug, it is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety. There is potential for abuse (for people with a history of addiction), and it is habit forming, but when used either "as needed", meaning not regularly every day, or for short term courses of treatment, there is really very little risk of dependency.
If you're thinking of trying a med, I again would recommend you giving the Zoloft another chance, perhaps with the addition of an anti-anxiety med, to help you with the initial anxiety you will have about taking the medication.
ok thanks. despite all my fears about meds and everything else, i just really want to know, will i ever go back to completely feeling like myself again? like does this ever completely go away? or will it just get worse? that's another huge worry i have...
Well, if you end up being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, then anxiety is something you'll have to contend with here and there, for the long run, but yes, you absolutely can get back to feeling like yourself. Anxiety disorders are not cureable, but they're very manageable. I was diagnosed at 18 with panic disorder, and I've had periods where my anxiety was so bad I could barely leave my home, and then I've had periods where I've lived a life almost completely free of anxiety. The periods where I've done well have definitely far outnumbered the bad times.
If that's what you're contending with, once you learn more about it, and understand how to handle the cycle of anxious thinking, you'll be well equipped to deal with the times when anxiety is peaking for you.
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