i am close to the end of my rope and would really love some advice.
i am a 29 y/o f in good health, besides thyroid problem that has been controlled since i was 15. I was diagnosed with panic disorder when I was 16, but it was under control with zoloft for 10 years. I started becoming anxious again, so i was switched to a different med.
Then I started having pvcs/pacs. I went to a cardiologist and have been evaluated as just having minor pvcs/pacs. i tried 3 other types of antidepressant, but in the end decided they werent helping and quit taking them. Also was on beta blockers that didnt help, so quit taking them too.
I lost some weight and the palpitations have been gone now for 6 months, whit the exception of 1 or 2 here and there. great news right?
So why have i been to the er 3 times in the past month convinced something is wrong with my heart? I feel sometimes like i cant take a deep breath, my heart is going too slow, my head is foggy and i cant think straight. I check my bp like 30 times a day and its always normal. My boyfriend is tired of taking me to the er. It is to the point where I dont like going out in public because i start to feel the panic rise in my throat and i have to get to the nearest exit, timing my pulse the whole way.
My question is this. My cardio workup was about 2 years ago, and the echo and ekg were normal. Do i need another one? could something have cropped up since then? All my blood levels were normal as of last week. Is it anxiety? Do i need to get back on the antidepressants? I hate them, but i was never this crazy!
how can i convince myself that i am not going to have a heart attack and die in my sleep? Im afraid to do anything! Where can I go for help if i have no medical insurance? any advice or comments would help me thank you so much.
I found that alot of the antidepressants didn't work for me either. Xanax calm me some but docs are hesitant to give them. Have you tried effexor? Out of all the anti depressants this one seemed to work the best for me
i take xanax and it relaxes me.. basically sedates me.. There are tons out there.. I hate anxiety.. It suxs when u gotta go somewhere and excited and soon as u getthere u start feeling it appen.. My arm and face get numb on one side and i hyperventalate..but never passed out yet.. Its all a psycological disorder we have to live with... I pray everyday it goes away for everyone
I do take ativan as needed but i dont want to become addicted, i hear that benzodiazepines are dangerous themselves. I have not tried effexor, i have tried prozac, zoloft and lexapro. I do hate that i really want to go places and do things and then once i get there i cant wait to leave. should i try to find a psychiatrist or just go to my regular doc?
Well in answer to your question i would say this is most defo say this is an anxiety illness. I personally feel it wouldnt hurt to have a repeat echo and ecg just to ease your mind, but with what you have said about checking your heart upto 30 times a day it sounds also like you have OCD attached to your anxiety.
If you don't want to go back onto the anti-d's there are plenty of other options open to you. One being CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), this type of therapy will teach you how anxiety works, what effectsa it has on the body and how you can re-train the brain and modify your behaviour to over come these bad habits and thought patterns.
In my opinon doctors nowadays are very lazy in reffering patients to the best and most appropriate clinicans, they instead keep people on med's for as many years as they can, which with depression and anxiety isnt the best way to go. The med's do not teach a person how to develop the coping skills to control their own symptoms and to fully realise that only by experincing and putting those skills learnt into practice will that person understand that no ultimate harm will come to them.
Seeing as you have no insurance i would say to you to either appraoch a clinic that helps people on a free basis, have a look in your local phone book or ask around.... or go to your local library and have a look in the self help section and look for books on anxiety, OCD and cognitive behavioural therapy, if they dont have these books in they will beable to tell you where they do have them, maybe even order them in for you. Then have a read up on info, study it and work on the exercises in the books to try to help you get by until you gain insurance.
Other than that you could try meditation, relaxation, massage, yoga, hypnotherapy cd's/downloads and a whole host of other relaxing and energy rebalancing methods. Google and browze.
As for medication, there are herbal remedies you could try. You say you only take Ativan as and when needed? maybe look into trying herbs such as Valerian, passionflower, camomile, hops.... there are tablets that combine these herbs together to produce a wonderful supplement that will help anxiety at its worst. Your local chemist or health food shop should have these, but always have a chat with them first before buying so they can advise you properly on what would be the best way forward.
I personally feel if you were to combine a few methods together, supplements with meditation downloads and self help books, if you put all of these factors into a daily routine you will find you feel so much calmer and more able to cope throughout the day.
I forgot to say that also modifying your diet may make a huge difference as well. Cutting out sugars and processed foods with lots of addidives and eating far more fruit, veg and oily fish will make you feel calmer and norish your brain and nervous system. People who are low in B Vitamins, omega 3's, magnesium and other vital vitamins and minerals can and DO suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health problems.
You could also think about taking a B-complex or a high strength muti-vitamin, but again have a chat with the health professional instore.
thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question so thoroughly!!! you gave me some great advice, now I know where to start at least! i would much rather try to conquer this without medication. i will let you know how it all works out.
Thank-you, there is however one piece of advice i forgot to give you which is probably the most important of them all. If you do anything i really urge you to do this one thing. There is a book called 'The Secret' by Rhonda Byrne, please read this. If you follow the contents of the book your life WILL change in ways you could only ever dream of. make this book a part of your everyday thinking and you can achieve anything.
This book is the best thing that ever came into my life and people who know 'The secret' will tell you the same.
Thank you I will be finding that book very soon! My dr. did just put me on zoloft, which i have had some luck with a long time ago. However, it is making me a bit anxious after only the second day. I have heard that antidepressants can do that at first, but it subsides after a week or two, is this true?
Yes this is true, the drug will be making changes to your neuro transmitters within your brain and so for a little while, while your body is adapting, many people feel worse with anxiety before they feel better. If it becomes too unbareable you should ask your doc for a top up on your Ativan, to help you control this.
I really do urge you though to try at least to get into therapy (CBT), get books on CBT, meditation etc.. as just think about this for a second and ask yourself this question: Do you want to be taking anti-d's for the rest of your life? Anti-depressants do have their place in medicine and do help people immensly, i am not arguing otherwise, but being placed on anti-d for years with no other therapy or action plan is simply malpractice and even doctors and consultant psychiatrists could not answer my question when i asked them this: Can you guarantee me that taking anti-depressants for a long period of time, over years, will not cause brain or nervous system damage? They could not answer me conclusively. The answer my consultant psychiratrist gave me at the time was: In medicine we can only go by the evidence we have to hand, it is only time and careful documentation of patients reactions on these drugs that gives us this evidence. Sorry to have to tell you that. As she spoke these words to me it came as no big shock, being told that in essense with these drugs we are all walking blind and playing russian roulette.
Just to clarify i have not told you this to scare the hell out of you, just to give you a piece of information that i think is important to share, something most doctors wont bestoe upon a lay person. Anti-d's have their place.
Do take care and i hope that you start feeling better soon.
Thank you so much for your insight. I agree with you one hundred percent. I took myself off of antids because I didnt want to resign myself to a life on them. I had been on them for 13 years! starting when i was 16 years old. I thought I was doing okay until i moved, lost my job, and started going to school all this year. i was strting to feel out of control so i thought better get back on the meds! But this last 3 days of adjusting to the zoloft have been pure hell. I have cried screamed paced, even had thoughts of knocking myself out so i didnt have to be inside my own head. scared the sh&** out of me. had to take double ativan just to lay down. even now, i took that 25mg 24 hours ago and im typing like a maniac who jsut drank 10 cups of coffee. ifeel like im tripping. this is not right or normal, i dont care what anyone says, and id rather be depressed and a little anxious than feel this manic madness. i am NOT taking another damn pill. I am making a psychiatrist appt (not this urgent care physicians assistnt who doesnt know crap). until then i am chugging water to get this devil out of my system. hopefully soon. thanks for all your advice
What you are probably experiencing is akathesia. If you don't know what that means, look it up. Please do not take anymore zoloft because it can go from bad to worse! Also, there is something called the "kindling effect" when people who have taken SSRI's long term, stop and try to restart them. I was on Paxil for a very long time for anxiety and got off of it and three months later tried a different one and the same thing happened to me that is happening to you. Julie has given you some very good advice. I've not read The Secret book but I've got the DVD and the relaxation tape. A psychiatrist will want to push meds on you.........most of them do. Your best bet is CBT and a shrink doesn't do that....at least none I've known do.
Hang in there. I know how bad anxiety *****. Just don't take anymore Zoloft. The akathesia should pass fairly quickly since you've only taken it three days.
Thank you thank you thank you! I am crying with relief right now because I was so sure I was losing my damn mind and it was never coming back! That explains exactly what is happening to me. horrible. absolutely horrible. i will never touch an ssri again. i literally almost admitted myself to an inpatient facility, no joke. thank you so so so much without you guys on this forum i would be tearing my hair out. im going to try to relax and just let it work its way out. I did just get the secret book by the way and it is very interesting. i didnt read much because im finding it hard to focus at the moment. but i will soon. again thank you ladies for your unwavering support!
Yes i totally agree this sounds very much like akathesia. I am extremely sorry you had to experience that as it is one of the worst expereinces to go through, can you believe that in Nazi germany and Russia they induced akathesia in their viticims as a method of torture! I too have experinced this form of pure hell as i was on Paxil for 14yrs straight, weened off of them over the course of several months but, like yourself, became unwell again. Tried to return to the drug and had the worst experience of my life through akathesia, as a result my nervous system has never been quite the same. I tried an anti-d another time after this and suffered Serotonin syndrome and was taken to hospital. I am convinced without a shadow of a doubt that my nervous system has been damaged by taking these drugs and this is why i urge people to try other avenues first in their quest for relief from anxiety and not to stay on them long term.
You will alos find other people who are regulars on this forum have suffered similar expereinces and it is only when you talk to them that you suddenly come to the conclusion that something is certainly not right, and this is the exact reason for why i posed my question to the consultant.
I am also convinced that in the next decade it will come to light the true extent of the damage these drugs can induce and i truely believe that GlaxoSmithKline already know the true implications due to several documentations already in public view. One of which are patients on Diabetic medicine that is KNOWN by GSK to cause myocardial infarction (heart attack) but they still manufacturer the drug and all the case studies that proved this medicine was unsafe went 'missing'. It was only when numerous diabetic patients were being admitted after having a heart attack that was also on the drug, that the medical profession put two and two together. Amazingly though even though this information was aired on national TV the drug is still in circulation.
Vicschick - I would appreciate it if you could send me a link or more detail regarding the 'Kindling effect'. I have googled this and only found information pertaining to depression and epilepsy, but not to anxiety or drug effect.
colleen - I am glad you have got the secret, follow the book, really absorb it and you will find you feel better without any med's. Drink plenty of water, eat healthy and for the next couple of days just rest. When your ready you should seek out a pyschologist rather than a psychiatrist.
I agree that for some people, these meds have caused some problems, and some even seem to have chronic issues after stopping the meds. I'm all for a non-med approach to treating anxiety...but I also recognize the vast successes many have had with these meds . I have spent years of my life on various SSRI's and have suffered no ill effects as a result (not currently on anything). I've also been lucky enough to experience a miraculous "recovery" from anxiety and panic several times, with the help of both meds and therapy.
Therefore, while I can understand that some people have had bad experiences, we can't discount all the positive ones as well. It really comes down to people making educated decisions about whether or not trying a med is for them, and allowing themselves to have their own unique experience. It's great to be cautious, but we also don't want to scare people into thinking these situations are going to happen to them...people are anxious enough starting a new med, and once they start hearing horror stories, then they tend to throw the towel in due to anxiety about the med.
I'm obviously a supporter of meds for anxiety in the right situations, but also, I'm ALL for alternative treatments as well....whatever works to relieve the anxiety! The combo of meds and therapy worked wonders for me...took me from a place of darkness and inability to function in daily life (severe agoraphobia) to "me" again, able to live life quite normally.
You both make very valid points. I was still a bit neurotic yesterday and for a minute this morning, but once I got my daughter off to school my anxiety lessened. I am trying not to take another ativan until i absolutely have to. i believe the akathisia is abating at last. Thank the Lord. I will seek the help of a psychologist, I have gotten ahold of my local MHMR and have an appointment shortly. This experience has put my anxiety in perspective. I was a bit depressed and had some health anxiety, but compared to that akathisia, I was dancing on frickin rainbows!!!!!!!!!! It really put it in perspective and I am determined to approach this head on and without drugs(besides my lovely ativan once in a while sparingly).
They worked wonders for me before. but I guess i just cannot tolerate them anymore. i hope they have not done long term damage to my brain, but who knows? if they can make you almost kill yourself they cant be all good.
If you don't mind me asking nursegirl, what combo of meds and therapy worked for you? where did you go for therapy?
Hi colleen, glad you're starting to feel a LITTLE bit better, try to give it time and try hard to keep yourself preoccupied. It helps a lot to keep your mind off the anxiety.
I've been on 3 different SSRI's at different times in my life and they all worked pretty well. The most effective for me was my first round of meds after being Dx'd with Panic Disorder at 18 (a loooooooong time ago...lol). That was Zoloft and Ativan prn. I was on the Zoloft for years, with my last dose being 200mg daily (started at 50). As the Zoloft started working, I needed less and less of Ativan. At 1st, I was taking 2mg sometimes 2-3 times a day, granted, only for a few weeks did I need that much then I was able to decrease it as the Zoloft did its thing. After about 6 months on the Zoloft, I didn't need the Ativan at all. Of course, I fell into the common trap after a few yrs of "I'm doing so well I don't need the med anymore."..only to come off it and have panic and anxiety 100 times worse than the original symptoms. The second time around, my doc put me on Lexapro and Ativan...also a very successful combo for me and the Ativan became unnecessary after a few months. I had a FEW more initial side effects with the Lexpro, but honestly, not bad at all. I tolerated it very well and it worked great.
Then, I got pregnant unexpectedly so my docs and I decided that Prozac would be "safer" during the pregnancy. I also did well on that. I switched back to the Lexapro after I had my daughter and did fine for many years until yet AGAIN I decided I'd try things without the medication (which I could smack myself for!). This time around, I had a MUCH harder time trying to get back on the med (Lexpro), with some pretty severe initial side effects, much like what you reported with the Zoloft. I got into some intensive therapy at that time and was able to eventually (loooong road) get myself functional again. After that, I was partially functional, but lived with quite a bit of anxiety and really didn't do a whole lot, I was definitely limited.
Recently, last year, I was having more anxiety and depression, so I decided with my doc to go back on the Zoloft, which I did well on. This time around though, I had some other significant health issues and was advised to stop the Zoloft for a while...not that it contributed, but (long story) my hematologist was trying to decrease some pretty bad symptoms I had going on and wanted to eliminate any and all possible contributors. I haven't been back on meds since, and have done pretty well. I surely have good and bad days....but overall, I can't complain. I DEFINITELY notice a much improved quality of life while on the meds, versus even now, when my anxiety is manageable.
I wouldn't hesitate going back on something if I needed to (which I probably do), and wouldn't be surprised if I had some trouble re-starting the meds again (as I had trouble with the Lexapro the 2nd go-round)...but I also feel it is SO important to learn how to COPE in addition to depending on meds to help with the symptoms. The techniques I've learned in therapy (just regular run of the mill talk therapy with a psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders) have been invaluable to me. I've also found that the more I read and learned about anxiety, and more people I've met who suffer, the less alone I feel, and the more empowered I get. We are such closet sufferers, but I tell you, when you start getting more vocal about the anxiety, it's AMAZING how many people you know (even very close people in your life) that start sharing that they are anxiety sufferers as well. Not that I would want ANYONE to have anxiety, but boy, does that make you feel not so alone and more able to fight the fight. I've been shocked at some of the people I've discovered have battled anxiety for decades. I would've never known, and they all pretty much said the same about me. Oh, how we put up a good front sometimes!
As for not tolerating the meds anymore, it DOES happen to people. Myself, I also experienced a HUGE difference in how I tolerated a med I once went on with no problems, so I get that. But after some time, I DID get through it. It was rough though, and that's no lie. I can easily see how people can't do it. There are a lot of theories as to why that happens, one being a sort of cellular "memory", where the reintroduction of the med causes a much QUICKER change in the brain chemistry, leading to a much larger circulating serotonin (or norepinephrine) level than when the med was initially tried. While SSRI's are all in the same CLASS of med, they DO differ quite a bit in their mechanism of action, which is why people often do better on a different med the second (or third...) time around.
I wish these meds came without side effects and negative effects, but like any med, it's just one of the trade-offs. We're all so different and all have such varied experiences, which is why I always stress the importance of someone trying a med for the 1st time allowing themselves to have their own experience and to try not to get too wrapped up in anyone's stories, good or bad.
For me, it wasn't always a piece of cake, but the end result I wouldn't have traded for the world. Even the pretty severe side effects I had with the Lexapro the 2nd time around ended up being worth it for me. These meds truly gave me "ME" back and allowed me to live a normal, anxiety-free life for a long time.
Hope you're feeling better soon...use the Ativan as you're getting better, drink lots of water and try to get some exercise...a brisk walk will help you get rid of that jittery, "coming out of your skin" feeling. Also a nice HOT bath always made me feel better. Hang in there...you'll find something that works for you, be it therapy, natural meds, whatever. Just keep trying until you find what is "right" for you....which is all that matters. Take care.
This is why I didn't start off with my own story of woe, I didn't want to put colleen off from taking the anti-d but to advise of different options open. But it just so happened that as the thread went along it headed in that direction. I feel that colleen is far more empowered now and her life will improve as a result of having the information she has been given by us all.
Julie...you tell your own story, but don't generalize or lump everything into the same category. It's hard sometimes to stay unbiased, but you do a good job presenting the info in a factual, non scary way, and you never dismiss others' ideas.
I'm glad colleen found us....just hope she feels better soon!
Wow... I certainly don't lump everything into the same category. I try to help by giving people very fair and honest advice. Even though I have had my own bad experiences I would never state a person NOT to take anti-d's, as I have said they have their place. What I disagree with is doc's keeping people on these drugs for years with no therapy to empower themselves so when they do come off they can actually put skills otherwise learnt into practice. That is one reason why I always state therapy and alternatives first. I now prefer not to tell my story openly in the beginning as it will simply scare the poster and that is not want I set out to acheive.
I am far more open minded than you just gave me credit for, I know that everyone is an individual and reacts as such.
I do however thank u for noticing the positives in my posts, for that I appreicate.
I do hope all is now resolved as I think we should go back to concentrating on colleen and not who gives the better and more appropriate advice.
NO! You read my post wrong dear! I said you DON'T generalize and lump everything into one category! Reading it again, I see how you came to that conclusion....but no, I didn't mean that you do that....I was actually saying that you DON'T. Sorry for the confusion!
Well i stopped taking the zoloft wednesday. I went to the er and they commited me to psychiatric overnight on friday. It was driving me crazy and i had no choice. They tried to give me celexa and i was like NO! the pysychiatrist i talked to said it was probably due to the zoloft and the stress in my life, let me go home in the morning. Ive been pretty anxious still, even after 3 and a half days not taking it. i guess im just more scared that it wont go away. i am going to make a therapy appt monday, just tryin to get through the weekend. I know its different for everyone, but i just pray this feeling will go soon. do you guys think it will? are there cases where it has lasted long term? he upped my ativan but i dont want to take it too much.
Hiya colleen, I am so sorry you ended up in hospital, your really not having a great time hey. However you really did do the right thing. This feeling will pass, it is individual to that person but it will go! Your body has had a bit of a shock so you have to just rest and above all think positivity. Probabaly the fact that this experience has frightened you may be what is causing some of the intense anxiety and holding you in a loop of anxiety feeding anxiety. This is perfectly understandable and not your fault, anyone would be shaken up after such an experience.
My advice would be to download some guided medtiation downloads from the net, have a look on youtube, there are plenty of free web-sites and if you can copy them to a cd or mp3. Then take as much time as you need and just listen to them in a restful manner. This will give your body a chance to switch the 'Alarm' off and give you some much needed peace. I do the guided meditations once or twice a day and i can tell you they are a complete God send. Guided meditations can be better and easier for people who are new to meditation rather than just music so i recommend you try those first. Have you had a chance to read the secret?
Simple other things may help as well, such as cutting out all caffine and switching to decaf tea and coffee, cutting out fizzy drinks and alcohol, they all make anxiety FAR worse. Drinking pure fruit juices, mineral water and herbal teas are much better. Maybe try some Valerian tea (smells like old socks but tastes far, far better...lol) or camomile. valerian is a good calming herb as is camomile.
This will get better, i know it is hellish right now but try to focus on your desires and not this mental cancer....... yeah thats what i call it..lol
Please listen to your doctors. That is important. All doctors are NOT pill pushers. I take Celexa and clonazepam. I have gone without either one and I can struggle through. I also know that my anxiety will not hurt me physically. Kowing this still does not help my quality of life. You need to focus on feeling better. This might not be a bad period caused by the Zoloft. There was a reason you were going back to the Zoloft. Perhaps these episodes are a worsening in your anxiety. If you hate SSRI's there are other anti-anxiety meds. Also Klonopin, a longer acting benzo than ativan, might be a good fit for you. You should really talk over all the alternatives with your doctor. There are many out there. SNRI's are somewhat different than SSRI's. Buspar is another anxiolytic. Tricylics are another aternative. Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist. There is no need to suffer when they are there to help you.
Thank you so much for your comment. I did decide to go back on the ssri because of anxiety and mild depression. However i am absolutely positive that the zoloft sent me in a downward spiral. i have never experienced anything like that in my life...i was almost contemplating taking my whole bottle of ativan, i was hospitalized for petes sake, and i have never never felt like that. I still have lingering anxiety from it and have had to double my ativan dose to 1 mg until this goes away, God willing, it will be soon. Its been 5 days but i hear everyone is different. I am of course now terrified to try anything. I have an appt with a therapist tomorrow so we will see what happens from there. I would like to try alternative therapy, because although i know these drugs can be a godsend(they have for me in the past) they scare the crap out of me now...maybe a longer acting benzo would be good, i just dont want to gt addicted. there are so many different cocktails possible...who knows if ill find one or not. all i know is NO ZOLOFT!it also scares me that maybe my brain is misfiring or something and it will never heal itself....so scared right now...:(
U knw I feel I owe u a massive apology colleen, I think by by me going on about brain, nervous system damage and being on these drugs for yrs, harping on about my own crappy experience, I think because uve had this bad time u now believe ur brain is damaged too. I think maybe if I had stuck to simply giving advice about alternatives this thought may of not entered ur mind and u wouldn't be feeling as scared. So for this I am truely sorry! I'm sure this is what Nursegirl was trying to get across, so she was right. I will in future just concentrate on giving positive advice and leave all the horror stories behind, it simply does no good, esspecially when that person suffers from anxiety.
I am glad though to hear that your seeing a psychologist, that is a very positive step in the right direction, I truely hope it works out well for you.
Just to let u know though that with myself I may be unable to take anti-d's but I am successfully on a beta-blocker and take Diazepam if and when it is needed. I am now on a successful dose that helps control the general anxiety, without any side effects so I am extremely happy for this. So there is other medications out there.
I am glad you have found a good way to control your GAD. Diazepam is a good benzo, too. Nobody wants to be addicted or dependent on a drug to feel normal. I take fish oil, supplements and have tried Seredyn ( all natural ). My quality of life just wasn't the best it could be. I was a very happy, outgoing person and I found myself struggling to make it through the day. I had several deaths in my family and I believe that started the whole panic attack/GAD response. I have been on and off SSRI's and Klonopin. I never hesitate to let my doctor know when I am feeling uncomfortable for any length of time. It's helpful just to know there is something that can make you feel better. It must be awful to think this feeling may never end. Everyone needs hope and to know that there is something that can help them, regardless of what category of therapy it falls under. I think this forum is lucky to have people with a wide range of experience with Anxiety and the help available. I think Nursegirl and yourself both have valid concerns and advice.
Julie, while very thoughtful, I don't think you owe colleen an apology at all. You presented the info to her in a factual way, not at all in an alarming tone. People with negative experiences SHOULD share them...I just get ticked when someone takes the stance of something like..."Meds are awful, they'll ruin you for life, don't take them!" (luckily these people are rare around here...and are good at ignoring my "bitching" posts...lol). Julie, you're always fair and balanced, and while you may have some opinions about meds, you don't dismiss other people's points of views and are always respectful.
Anxiety Rx is forever a learning process, and if we didn't share, we wouldn't be helping one another in the best way possible. No one is right or wrong and the truth is...many different approaches have helped different people. I'm just happy when people find what is right for them!
I just wish one of us COULD make colleen better, I feel bad she's going thru such a rough time.
Thank-u to the both of u, I'm glad u feel differently. It was the last sentence in Colleens most recent post that made me suddenly feel like my words, with her own trumatic experience, had placed that worry there and is maybe keeping that fire burning.
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