Agoraphobia Community
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Avatar universal
Agoraphobia and medication
I have been suffering with panic disorder and agoraphobia for 4 years now. I have been housebound for most of it. I cant take the anti-depressants due to bad side effects. I take 25 mg Hydroxyzine at night to help sleep. It takes the egde off but not enough to get me out. I am unable to get to my doctors office, but have done some phone counseling over the years. I was given a script for lorazepam (ativan) but I am terrified to try it. Does anyone have any comments or suggestions about medication. I need to get to the point where I can get to my doctor and see if they can figure out what going on and get therapy. Does anyone suggest the lorazepam?
11 Responses
134578 tn?1517087675
I suggest you do whatever you need to do to get out of the house, if it is anti-anxiety meds that is fine.  If you don't, you will never get out of the house.  (What is worse, taking a medication or staying in the house forever?)
1118884 tn?1338596450
Hi and welcome.

You took a step forward when you posted her.  Good for you.  As a fellow sufferer of same disorder, I can relate.

I'm not familiar with hydroxyzine, but if it helps you to sleep it's valuable. I have not taken lorazepam, but here and  in another anxiety forum I visit, it is commonly prescribed for patients with anxiety disorders.

Like you, after years of trying dozens of antidepressants, my body can no longer tolerate any of them.  I am on 2 mg of clonazapam daily. Believe it is in same class of anti anxiety medications as lorazepam.

You are looking at a journey.  It starts @ your doctor's office.  Hope you are seeing a psychiatrist.  Meds form the base from which we work.  And it is up to us.  Without meds, believe all of us would be housebound.  Keep in mind I have same difficulties you do, but with a lot of work and proper medication am able to have a life.

In MH, we talk about taking baby steps toward getting out of housebound state.  We give ourselves credit for talking a walk around the garden, yard, house, apt complex.  The more you practice leaving the house the easier it gets. We also talk about the importance of acceptance. Agoraphobia is a medical condition: it governs our lives. It can be treated and overcome to varying degrees.

I sense you have hesitations about anti anxiety medication.  Understand.  But, your goal is to start tamping down the anxiety, and you will need medication to help.  Please don't google your symptoms and the meds.........we have all done it.  No real payoff to that activity.  You know it.  I believe much of what I googled in early days just made it harder for me to finally get help.  I got a great deal of support from people in this forum, and hope you will return here to tell us more.

You need to have a good psychiatrist.  He/she will be your best ally.  Therapy is extremely useful after you are settled on proper medication.  Of course ....going to doctor and therapist seems like going to Mars, I know, when you have been reclusive for so long.  

As AnnieBrooke says: weigh the benefits of taking an anti anxiety vs staying home alone for the rest of your life.  I wish you the very best as you begin to fight your illness.

We are a keystroke away.  Post anytime.
Avatar universal
I appreciate the feedback. ANd I know you are both right about the medication. I think it might be my only chance for getting out. As of right now I do not have a therapist. I am not able to get to my doctor and dont know any other way to get it from home. I did do some phone counseling for awhile but can no longer afford that. I do try to get out as much as possible. And as long as I am in my "safty zone" I am ok. I have learned to control it in that area. ANd that area is only about 5 miles from home. At times it has been farther but panic attacks caused it to get smaller and smaller. I have the Lorazepam (Ativan) ,5mg right now but have not tried it. Dont know if it is beacuse I fear the medicine or fear it not working and it might be my last resort. As you can tell I live in the "what if's" most of the time. And that is no healthy. And you are right, I have googled the medicines over and over again to learn about effects and side effects. Another not so good choice. My 20th reunion is this summer and I reallt want to go. I am trying to make it a goal. But what I need to concentrate on is getting to the doctor and getting some much needed therapy. I dont know anyone who suffers from this condition so I dont really know what to do. But thank you for your advice. I appreciate it more than you know.
Avatar universal
It can take a little while for this med to build up in your system. So if you do decide to try it, don't be surprised if you feel nothing the first few days.We're all so different it's hard to say how we'll react to a med and how long it will take to start working. I think it would be a great idea for you to give it a try to see if it helps. I really hope you get to go to your reunion. That would be wonderful.
Avatar universal
Thank you!! I am tryinh my hardest to be comfortable with taking it. Those kinds of things are so difficult for me. I will keep you all posted:)
1118884 tn?1338596450
Having a goal is good.  If it is within reasonable limits.  A reunion can loom huge in the minds of those of us with agoraphobia or severe anxiety.  

Do you really want to go?  That is the first question you ask yourself.  If it is an absolute 'yes'....then you know you can find a way.

It would be good if someone could take you.  If you have the help of an anti anxiety medication by then, you will take it to get you through the event itself.

Thanks for responding to posts.  We try to be of help, but if original post is all we see, it is a bit like the arrow shot into the air..landing we know not where..lol!

Blessings
Avatar universal
I feel you!  I was the same exact way!  I was afraid to go to the doctors alone so i always ended up canceling my appointments.  Im not a very big fan of medication because of the side effects.  People told me the same thing like, take the medicine or stay in the house forever.  I told myself, yeah i can get out now but also look like a zombie thats groggy from the side effects and dependent.  I didnt want meds to control me.  I had to change my  thinking!  I keep telling myself nothing going to happen, ill just get a panic attack but im not going to die cause i had this alot of times and im still here today!  So at night i would do couple dry runs to my doctors just to get use to being there so the next day the fear is not that bad.  After ahwile it will disapear and you will laugh about it.  Today i see my doctors alone and i feel better than before!  Fear builds more when you try to escape it! When a panic comes, dont run, face it head on and it will subside!  Also forget what people think of you!  You would be suprise how much people is going through the same thing as you!  When you go to your appointments, bring a smartphone and play games or go on a social network like twitter or facebook.  It will distract your mind from the anxiety.  I usually go on twitter.  I follow this guy on twitter name anxietymaster. He give some good tips.  Well hope you get better! Good luck!
Avatar universal
Hi Betz
I wonder if this will still get to you and how you are.
I want to tell you something very important.
You CANNOT have a continually ongoing panic attack.
They ALWAYS recede.
You will NOT "go mad" because of the strength you fell it has.
Just try try try to ride the wave (it comes in waves) and depending on the intensity of fear it WILL RECEDE to nothing after anything from 15 minutes to....if it is less intense.....an hour say.
You will then feel a bit tired....it is all rather exhausting.....but you will feel as if you've taken a peace drug. This is the time when you can stay in the feared situation and start re-making associations from fear to relaxation.

But my main message....first told me by a doc at the world renowned Maudsley Hospital....that the fear feedback loop WILL STOP in a limited time is a must -know.
Avatar universal
BTW Betz wonder what happened to you about meds.
Lorazepam would very likely help you but as it has dependency problems for a start you might just take something like what you've been taking......hydroxyzine.....for panic it seems to be quite a strong anxiolytic with no dependency
Good luck
Avatar universal
You're all lifesavers. I couldn't  understand  why I was feeling like this up and down Rollercoaster and then reading your responses made sense. I live a hectic life as a sah mom and a very demanding 3 year old. So I have a cousin who always spots me a few of her xanax  I take them when I need them. Here and there and then WAM! Racing thoughts panics, scared of everything, the future. Making up scenirios. Full on panic attacks and agoraphobia. Xanax  isn't for me no matter how much it bandaids my mood at the time of taking it. I truly  understand  it now. I wish you all the best in your journeys. I know what's it like!!!!
Avatar universal
I truly understand what you are going through.  Having been on an 1/8 of a mg of Xanax daily for 30 years and using it as a band aid affect, I went into symptoms of a drug dependent person.  It has taken the last 5 years with 3 hospitalizations and becoming Agoraphobic to finally get off Benzos.   I wish I could say I was rid of the fear and anxiety but I am not.  I could never say that I was addicted to Xanax because of the small amount I took every day by prescription from my doctor.  I never took more or less of the drug.  It has been a nightmare that I wouldn't wish on anyone.  I am presently using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Relaxation/Imagery tapes and will soon start Hypnosis.  I am not really living, just existing.  I too, live in a very stressful environment and know how this contributes to the situation.  I wish you well.  Never give up and stay strong.  People do care....
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