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Avatar universal

Constant Anxiety

Hi all . I am new to this board but just wanted to post and see if some others have had experience with increased anxiety on SSRI's? I had been on Klonopin and different SSRI's for about 16 years when I decided to wean myself off of them under my Psychiatrists care. I wanted to see if, since I had been sober for 12 years, I didn't need them anymore because I felt good! (sound familiar?). So I weaned off Klonopin about a year and 3 months ago- which was terrible and then I weaned off the 50 mg of Paxil I had been taking for a couple of years.
Everything was good for a while. I was able to feel sadness and actually cry which I had not felt deeply in years. I felt less numb to my emotions and more connected to others and the world. Then my anxiety started creeping back in. I didn't want to admit it so I just kept plugging along, white knuckling it most days. So after about a year off the Klonopin and 9 months off the Paxil, my anxiety had shot up so high that I became paranoid that others could tell there was something "wrong" with me. That I was losing my mind. That I was going to lose it at work and get fired and hauled off to the Psychiatric hospital.
I got desperate right before Christmas and called my Psychiatrist. She agreed to call in a prescription for Paxil for me. I took it with an crazy hope that it would fix me immediately even though I know better. On day three I had such a severe panic attack when I laid down to go to bed, that I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't calm myself down, my thoughts were racing, suicidal ideation was rampant. My sister had to come over because I was afraid I would do something awful to myself. I called the Psychiatrist and she said she'd call in Celexa as I had taken that before. I was terrified but desperate so I did it. By the 2nd day the same thing happened. I was wide awake all night, obsessing about work and people at work thinking I was a ****** worker etc..thinking about how I should just die because I'll always be broken and screwed up and how I just didn't want to be on the planet anymore. My sister came and picked me up and I went to the crisis center. The admitted me to the hospital the next day.
Nurse there told me I had basically psyched myself into that panic attack and suicidal thinking each time. I argued with her that I knew what panic attacks felt like and that that experience was very different. I feel that I had an abnormal reaction to the medication.
They put me on Luvox in the hospital along with Vistaril for anxiety. I took them both and by the third day out of the hospital I had the same violent reaction to the Luvox that I had to the Paxil and Celexa. I went to see a new Psychiatrist who has me on Fatzima, Ativan and Vistaril. He said that he thinks that my anxiety was so high when I started, and that initially SSRI's "ramp up" your anxiety, but that you just have to ride it out. He told me to start low- 10 mg with the Fatzima and then come see him in  week. He put me on the Ativan because he said that I will like have an initial increase in anxiety.
I am on day 4 of Fatzima. The anxiety is still bad but not as bad. I don't know if this is the right solution. I just want to feel normal and I don't want to go back to the hospital. I hung out with friends last night and felt like my old self- like a year ago or so when I was on my meds. I'm afraid I'll never be ok.
Thanks for reading this long long post. Any suggestions or experience would be most appreciated.
9 Responses
973741 tn?1342346373
Hi there.  Very sorry for all that has happened.  You've been through the ringer.  My first reaction, although this isn't what you want to hear, is that it is indeed your own anxiety that caused the panic attack and not the medication.  Reason being is the timing.  However, it also sounds like your doctor skipped the important part of implanting medication whether you've taken it before or not of titrating up in dosage to the therapeutic dose.  That is a helpful in terms of cutting down on transient and start up side effects.  So, perhaps it is a combination of the two.  An approach of a short term anti anxiety medication while you slowly increase the dose of a long term medication would seem smarter to me----  but I'm not your doctor.  Heck, I'm not a doctor at all.  :>)  But that is what would have made more sense to me.  Medications such as you list usually take time to work.  EVEN if you had been on them before.  Your anxiety wouldn't feel better over night.  And perhaps the instant flux of medication along with the anxiety you were already suffering may have triggered a panic attack.  Or perhaps it was happening any way as your anxiety was amping up.

But I think your best bet is to go from here and find a new plan.  Go see your doctor (hopefully a psychiatrist) and talk about how you can take a medication again and have it introduced more slowly and what you an do to ease anxiety in the process.  Also, do you do talk therapy with a psychologist or counselor?  That is an important piece to really dealing with anxiety effectively.  

I'm very sorry for your difficulty.  And panic attacks are terrible.  I'm sure avoiding that in the future is a high priority as it feels so bad.  I wish you the best of luck in figuring this out.  Work with your doctor on a better solution.  good luck
Avatar universal
Thank you for your response. I'm still struggling, but saw another doctor, a psychiatrist, and have actually been on Fetzima with Visitril for anxiety and .5 of Ativan daily. I'm not well, but feel some hope. I have been struggling with this for so many years and sometimes I just feel like giving up. I try to think my way out of it, to rationalize my way out of it, to positive think my way out of it and it just doesn't work...then I start to think that because I can't get myself out of it I am a loser and a terrible person. I hate it. Thanks for taking the time to respond. I think that you are right, that the I did cause the reaction..but that even makes me feel more awful.
Avatar universal
Have you ever checked your Vitamin D3 or magnesium blood levels? Deficiency can cause anxiety and depression.
Avatar universal
Good suggestion. I have plenty of D3 in the whole food supplement that I take. I'm not sure about the magnesium though.
Avatar universal
Wait, I don't have D3, I just have D. Magnesium and Calcium is low so I'll have to get a supplement for that.
Avatar universal

What brand and how many IU's is it?
If it's D2 (Ergocalciferol) that is bad. Actually harmful.
D3 (cholecalciferol) that is the good one you want to take.

D3 less than 3,000iu daily isn't very much.

Mainstream doctors accept as normal any vitamin D blood level above 75 nmol/L (30 ng/ml). There is good evidence, however, that levels of around 150 nmol/L (60 ng/ml) are safe and confer many health benefits."

It costs more but it's better to buy calcium and magnesium and D3 in separate supplements. They put the wrong dosage together and use supplements that aren't good.

Calcium should be taken about an hour apart from the other supplements due to absorption issues.

You need to take the D3 and K2 with some type of fat in your meal. The fat helps the fat solvable vitamins absorb. D3 taken in morning or afternoon is best. May cause insomnia if taken at night.

If you are taking enough D3, magnesium and K2, your calcium levels will go up because your balance vitamin/mineral is being restored.

If you're sure your calcium is low then yes take a supplement. Calcium to magnesium ratio needs to be equal. Or 2:1 with magnesium in a higher dose. Add Vitamin K2 to regulate the calcium so it's not deposited into the arteries. Some people have anxiety on Vitamin K2 (MK7) if that happens look for Vitamin K2 (MK4).

Intake of at least 200mg magnesium daily is helpful. Try to split magnesium dose during the day. Your body uses it constantly. Magnesium Citrate at night may cause insomnia.
RDA recommends 300mg daily  for women.

Magnesium Oxide is not a good choice.
Magnesium Citrate is ok, can have a laxative affect.
Magnesium Glycinate has amino acids that are supposed to be relaxing.


Calcium Carbonate
(calcium carbonate is constipating)
A common form of calcium supplement, calcium carbonate is an alkaline-based compound found in rocks, limestone, shells of marine animals, pearls, eggshells and snails. It holds one of the highest concentrations of elemental calcium (35-40%), but is not high in bioavailability and requires the production of extra stomach acid to be absorbed.

Calcium Citrate
(calcium citrate is not constipating)
Differing from the alkaline qualities of calcium carbonate, calcium citrate has an acidic base. This acidity requires less production of natural stomach acids, allowing this type of calcium to be better absorbed than the carbonate form. It does, however, have less elemental calcium concentration (20%), and again, low bioavailability.

Oyster Shell Calcium
While it may seem like a more natural form of calcium, and thus higher in absorbable content, oyster shell calcium, as well as dolomite and bone meal, are difficult to quality-control and have been found to show levels of lead toxins. In general, these “natural forms” of calcium should be avoided.

Elemental calcium is key because it's the actual amount of calcium in the supplement. It's what your body absorbs for bone growth and other health benefits. The Supplement Facts label on calcium supplements is helpful in determining how much calcium is in one serving. As an example, calcium carbonate is 40 percent elemental calcium, so 1,250 milligrams (mg) of calcium carbonate contains 500 mg of elemental calcium. Be sure to note the serving size (number of tablets) when determining how much calcium is in one serving.

Vitamin D deficiency causes a defect in the ability of the body to deposit calcium into the collagen jello-like matrix in the bone.

Vitamin D3 MUST be taken DAILY to obtain the best result. In the form cholecalciferol it has a half life of 19-25hrs and in this form there are cells throughout the body that can covert it to the storage form and/or the active hormonal form just when and where it is required.

Avatar universal
Wow thank you Gemfly! My mom is a nutritionist and knows a lot about vitamins and supplements, but we have not discussed D3. She takes powdered cal-mag and drinks it every night. I will take your suggestions!
Avatar universal
If you're not deficient in calcium and get it in your diet it's not good to take extra. Too much calcium ends up deposited into your arteries and can cause heart attack. Also kidney stones, etc.

Normal Lab range for Vitamin D3 is 30-100ng/mL.
Anything under 50ng/mL isn't good and you to to be at 50 at least for optimal sleep and health.

When taking vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) never D2 - Ergocalciferol) you need to supplement with magnesium. They work together, plus D3 can use up magnesium. When D and magnesium levels are raised, calcium level goes up too.

Vitamin K2 also helps vitamin D work more effectively. Vitamin D3 MAGNESIUM and vitamin K2 are all antiinflammatory and they work together better than singly although perhaps it's better to take vit d morning and Vit k2 at the last meal of the day as fat soluble vitamins may compete for fat for transport into the body, but if there is enough fat there should be transport for all.

Vitamin K2 helps direct calcium to where it needs to go...and not be deposited into your arteries.

Avatar universal
Wait, wait, wait.  It is impossible for extra magnesium to create extra calcium and vice versa.  It is almost impossible these days to find a D supplement that isn't D3, but you can avoid buying supplements that don't absorb well by not shopping for them in the supermarket.  A good health food store will have better brands, but you'll also have to take more pills -- calcium and magnesium in a form the body can use well require one to take several pills.  But this assumes you need to supplement with any of these, and without testing over a period of time who knows?  But calcium and magnesium compete with one another in the body, as they are in electrical balance with one another and with other electrolytes -- which is why this class of minerals is called electrolytes.  It's true that Vitamin D will help calcium absorb better, but it's also true that the more you absorb calcium the more chance you have of depleting magnesium.  Most people get a adequate and balanced amount of each by, first, going out in the sun every day for a half hour at peak hours -- that's how the body manufacturers Vitamin D.  As for calcium and magnesium, they are best obtained in leafy green vegetables.  Overdoing dairy can deplete magnesium, as it's very high in calcium but very low in magnesium, and people have been trained to eat a lot of dairy even though most humans lack the enzyme needed to digest it.  So look, it's possible you are deficient in some nutrients, but to just guess without obvious symptoms such as muscle pain or constipation (signs of low magnesium) or brittle bones or fingernails (signs of low magnesium and calcium or signs of too much calcium and too little magnesium, common in the US) is, well, just guessing.  I'm also wondering about the powdered calcium your Mom is taking.  Most powdered calcium is carbonate, which is the least well absorbed, and powders can oxidize easily as they are exposed to the light every time you open the jar or can.  So again, you need to study nutrients if you're going to supplement to make sure they're in the proper balance (for most people, that's 2:1 calcium to magnesium, but some will need extra magnesium if, let's say, they're on medications, which often use the magnesium pathway to get to the brain and therefore can block the absorption of magnesium.  I personally think your nurse was right -- these meds usually don't start working that quickly, so you very well may have psyched yourself out -- after all, that's what anxiety disorders are.  But you may have been sensitive to them.  Not a bad thing to not be on Paxil, as it's a mean drug, but any drug you try will take time before it starts working, but side effects will start right away.  The only way to avoid this mess is to find a therapist who can actually help you.  Good luck.
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