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341953 tn?1209485491

SSRI's VS. benzos?

okay, so i do not know much about either. I know some of the basics like what drug is in what class, but that is about it.

i ask because my doctor told me i have a general anxiety disorder (i don't really get panic attacks, i get more agiated and angry) and that i am internalizing too much stress, causing my health conditions to worsen.

my mom had given me one of her small ativans to try, and that did help calm me down, without making me feel all out of it and tired.

when i went to the doctor, she had prescribed Buspar first. That was giving me really, really bad headaches. I kept taking it to see if they would subside but they did not. I quit after the fourth day. Well I called yesterday to let the nurse know, and now she wants me to try Celexa. I told her I was not depressed and did not really want to be taking an anti depressant. She said the doctor told me to at least try it.

Does anyone have expierence with any of these? And for actual anxiety, not getting high from either class of pills, what is better?

Do both of them really change the makeup and chemistry of your brain, or is it just the SSRIs that do that?

thanks for any help guys,

11 Responses
306867 tn?1299253309
Just bumping your post up because I am clueless. lol
Avatar universal
I am on Prozac for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.  It is part of the reason I abused pain killers for so long.  I am not depressed but anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications are the same.  They will not make you high or feel out of it, all they will do is balance your mood out.  That way you don't have a ton of ups and downs.  You don't want to start taking ativan or any other benzo because they are highly addictive and from what I have heard they are harder to kick than the opiates.  The problem with the SSRI's is that you will probably have to try a few until you find one that works for you.  I tried Lexapro, Paxil, and Cymbalta before I found the Prozac.  The other thing about the SSRI's is that they take about a month to start working.  I just go back on my Prozac and it is really helping me to stay on track and not go back to abusing pain killers.  Most people that abuse opiates have a problem with anxiety, depression, or some other psychological disorder.  I hope this helps you.
401786 tn?1309155634
I'm gonna try to put this in layman's terms here....Depression and anxiety, sort of work on the same pathways, so does pain by the way.  For an acute anxiety issue, or ocassional issues with a heightened issue for chronic sufferers, benzo's are often used.  Buspar is generally a good choice for chronic anxiety, generally.  Now, it has been found that sufferers from G.A.D. often benefit from the use of some anti-depressants.  HOWEVER, in these sufferers, as well as some who do not, these meds. can cause a worsening of s/s at first, often calling for the need of a benzo. and sleep aid in the beginning.  Most of the s/e associated with the SSRI's usually go away after a few weeks, but some are hard to live with during that time, like the insomnia, etc.  As Firefaery said, they take weeks to work, and some folks give em up before really knowing whether or not they'll work....partly due to their s/e, but sometimes thinking they're not doing the trick.  I'd suggest that when your doc. puts you on a new med., since these folks never tell you the s/e anymore, that if you're experiencing any, you call them up, or go see 'em and talk to them about it all.  They can usually help.  In my experience, personally, and professionally, it does take a couple switches and dose changes to find the right med. and or combo for you.  All drugs change brain chem. to some degree, just not like you are probably thinking.  SSRI's, hence their name, actually just don't allow some of the serotonin to flow back after being released.  This allows more of what you've produced (naturally) to be taken into receptors.  It doesn't cause more to be produced, just more to be accepted into the receptors.  

Any of this help?

341953 tn?1209485491
fire----do you just have GAD, or do you have any other conditions along with it? The reason I ask is because I have numerous conditions (don't feel like typing all of that so you can go to my journal) and SOMEtimes, anxiety levels cause the sickness to worsen. I don't have panic attacks, and I don't have anxiety like issues on a daily basis. It is more like, I do internalize stress, and at times it resurfaces making my conditions trigger pain, sickness, etc. She did have me do a depression test just to make sure that wasn't it, and that came back negative. I have horrible TMJ, so I tend to get tension, almost migraine headaches a lot. The headache I had with the Buspar was along that line....and I couldn't do much but lay down. This was every day that I was taking it. I do not have a very lienient boss at all, and my health in the past has already jeopordized my job, so I don't want to be trying a bunch of new meds and then feeling sick and wanting to miss work because of it....which sucks!

Jacq--------"Depression and anxiety, sort of work on the same pathways, so does pain by the way'    by this, do you mean all of the neurotransmitters work on the same path?  As far as the different anxiety goes, like I said above, I don't have anxiety issues on a daily basis. That is why I wasn't really wanting to take something twice a day, every day. I would prefer something I just took if I was having one of those days. But in the same sense I would not want to get dependent on any kind of pill like that (I am assuming benzo) nor go through withdrawals.

So it all helps, but I am just confused on what to do. If it wasn't bothering my other health conditions so much I would honestly just not take anything for it.

Avatar universal
I have GAD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and ADHD.  I have good and bad days too, but honestly the SSRI's have helped to balance out the good and bad days so that they aren't so severe.  I didn't really get that sick from trying the different medications but I but feel really nasty all of the time on the Paxil.  On the Cymbalta I thought I was having a heart attack and had to stop taking that immediately.  Honestly the SSRI's shouldn't cause you to have to many side effects, if they do get off them immediately and call your doctor.  They don't seem to ever get it right the first time, so be patient.  In the long run it is worth it, I promise.
401786 tn?1309155634
Without getting ridiculously complicated, this should help clear up what I mean.....

Serotonin is involved in the modulation of pain.  In a clinically depressed person, serotonin is decreased, leading to an increase in pain sensations.  The total opposite is also true.  In the presence of pain, depression is pretty common.  Pain, and depression, both cause anxiety, so there's a pretty strong link between the three.  The association between anxiety and pain is well documented.  Anxiety may increase a person's perception of pain, and pain in turn may cause anxiety.  Even the tension associated with anxiety, can cause it's own pain.  Fatigue and sleeplessness are also related to pain experiences.  Pain interferes with one falling asleep and staying asleep, and thus induces fatigue.  Fatigue can lower a person's pain tolerance.  

Even with all of this biochemistry, there is an explanation for why, for example, I can feel better despite severe pain, when hanging with someone great and listening to music, or typing here, or keeping my mind busy.  Doesn't mean you're not in pain, there is a science behind this.  The sensation of pain may be blocked by intense concentration (during a sporting game, or what have you even).  This explains, for me, why it's worse at night while I'm awake and alone and without stimulation, and worse in the a.m., when I'm alone and without it again.  I get on here, and feel much better.  Pain may be increased by anxiety or fear, and without the presence or support of loved ones (that care about pain mngmt).  Not to mention that pain is often increased when in conjunction with other illnesses or discomforts.  There are lots of medical issues that even cause anxiety and depression, like heart, or endocrine disorders, just to name two.

I recommend trying that antidepressant, it's not a magic pill to take anything away, and they do not make you a robot, in my experience --if it's right for you.  It won't take any exogenous problems away, but may help in coping and overall mood.  
401786 tn?1309155634
You really shouldn't stop an SSRI without talking to your doc., for a few reasons.  I'll just list one.  Stopping one abruptly, if you've taken it for a while, can cause rebound depression, sleeplessness, anxiety.  It's not an addictive, or dependent issue though, so don't worry about that.  I took Paxil a long time ago.  Twice.  One time, it was like the proverbial "magical pill" for me, after getting through two weeks of insomnia and restlessness (which was helped with a sleep aid).  Second time, it helped, but I could not tolerate the side effects.  Had I needed to stay on something, I'd have switched meds. or tried a dosage adjustment.
341953 tn?1209485491
well i hope i can decide on what to do. i would like to say i will just rule out both SSRI, anti depressants, benzos...whatever. BUT the problem is my health issues are still here, no matter how hard I try to ignore them. that is the part that is not too uplifting. i hate trying all kinds of drugs, not to mention spending all the money on them too. between the buspar and celexa, which do you think may be better for my situation?
and don't worry, i won't take it as a medical opinion ;)
Avatar universal
I have been on Paxil and Prozac. I gained 60 pounds. SSRIs, in my opinion, make you fat. Benzos, I did not find very addictive at all. My addiction is to opiates. I prefer benzos for anxiety. Ativan levels out my social anxiety and a small dose of Xanax lets me stop thinking at night so I can fall asleep. SSRIs did not help me one bit. Bad thoughts were just pushed away a little, but always there. Benzos banished them so I could function.
341953 tn?1209485491
man oh man. i do suppose no matter how many questions one asks, the fact is, it changes from person to person. and by that, i mean how certain medications effect certain people. i am really thrilled right now that i am handling my pain without taking narcotics, however with all of this stuff my doctor and i are discussing, it is making me think twice about how i deal with stuff. i am not going to lay out my whole life story or anything, but i have had some pretty messed up situations handed to me. i did not chose to go and make things dr. phil like complicated, they chose me. unfortunately. so because of a lot i have been through, i know that i do have a lot of stress i deal with constantly, which in turn changes my mood at times from good to freak out. i may try the second SSRI option, i may not. i do not know yet. i do know that when i was really stressed out and feeling so sick to my stomach because of it, i took that ativan and it lifted all of that. but without making me feel high or anything. when i took the SSRI, it gave me a pounding headache and almost made me feel weird for even taking it. i don't know, maybe it is just me.....i do not think i am depressed, however i do have to handle a lot of stress and at times i don't so well.
Avatar universal
SSRIs gave me headaches too. Paxil gave me stomach problems and diarrhea type symptoms
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