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Avatar universal

Trouble tolerating SSRI's for Social/Situational/Panic Anxieties

I have been suffering with social, situational, and panic anxieties for almost a year now.  I have tried just about every SSRI on the market and have had trouble tolerating them.  They seem to increase my anxiety.  Currently, I am on Xanax, .5 mg 3-4 times a day, and taking 12.5 mg of Paxil CR.  I was on the Paxil CR before and seemed to help, until they took it off the market.  But, I still thought it might be keeping me anxious and was interested in trying others.  Now, I'm back on it, for about a week now, and am waking around 5:00am feeling very restless, my feet especially, with a tightness in my chest from the anxiety.  Anyway, I finally get up, take my Xanax to take the edge off and calm down until I'm feeling good enough to get ready to begin my day.  Around 9:00am I take the Paxil CR, take another .5 mg of Xanax and head out to work.  Taking .5 mg of Xanax as needed after that.  My question is...could the SSRI be making my anxiety worse or keeping me anxious?  Not sure if I am having to take all the Xanax to control the side affects of the SSRI?  Am I better off just taking the Xanax or is it better or a more effective treatment to use both(i.e. taking a Benzo and an SSRI)?  For a while, I was off the SSRI and just taking Xanax and felt pretty good. I still wasn't sure, though, if it was enough to control my anxiety.  My sex life with my husband improved when I went of the SSRI's, which was definately a plus, but was only for a short time.  Right now, I'm so frustrated and confused about what is the best method of treatment.  I also have been going to therapy, but don't seem to be getting very far in recovering.  Any other suggestions?  Has anyone had success with just taking a Benzo?  or supplementing with Vitamins?  or Exercise?  Fish oil?  Any really helpful books?  Thanks for any advice!  This site has been very refreshing to know that I'm not alone, eventhough it feels that way.
14 Responses
242532 tn?1269553979
Yes, for some people the ssri's actually increase anxiety because they act as a stimulant. Talk to your doctor about switching to klonopin, it is longer acting and less addictive than xanax.  Also, to jump start your therapy, go to www.masteringstress.com, print out your sessions, and discuss them in therapy. It will give you more control, a sharper focus, and something that you can do productively in between sessions..
Avatar universal

I'm sorry that you are going through such a tough time.
I was on Wellbutrin (which helped my depression, but always kept me "on the verge of anxiety attacks" and gave me insomnia) and then on Zoloft which gave me pins and needles in my legs (all day long) and leg twitching and insomnia. I have weaned myself off of everything and am in the process of getting off Ambien (after 7 years!). Antidepressants seem to "wire" me and make me anxious as does benedryl. I am extremely sensitive to medication and caffeine.

I joined a health club and work out 4 times per week...2 days on the treadmill for 30 minutes, two days on the stairmaster for 30 minutes and also lift weights twice a week. I am 57 years old...if I can do it, anyone can! YOU WILL FEEL CALMER AFTER YOUR WORKOUT AND IT WILL HELP WITH YOUR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ISSUES. Also stay away from the caffeine! Walking or workout videos at home are great, too!

Best of luck!
Avatar universal
Thanks so much for your advice and support!  I am a 36 year old female.  What actually happened with me was I was an insurance agent running a very successful agency for a Fortune 500 Company, when they decided to put me on an "informal probation" essentially threatening to terminate my "agent agreement" because I wasn't selling enough Life Insurance.  And if you knew my market, it's a tough area for that.  Other than the Life, which I did sell, I was outstanding in all other areas and won several awards, trips, bonuses, etc. But, Life Insurance is all they cared about, because it's where they make their money.  Anyway, the stress and pressure became too much for me and sent my life into a tailspin.  I started having extreme anxiety and got to the point where I had trouble meeting with clients, if at all, and could barely function.  I ended up resigning, because I felt I had no other choice under the circumstances. I'm better now, but still struggling, I have trouble doing the social things I used to all the time.  My husband and I are wanting to relocate, but I fear having to interview for a job and all that goes with moving to an unfamiliar place.  Thanks again, will try the exercise to use up some of this anxious energy.  Take care and all my best 2 U!
Avatar universal
Thank you for your nice comments.

Your job sounds really stressful and it sounds as if your confidence is a little low. Whose wouldn't be after working in a pressure cooker like that?

I'm sure the exercise will help you feel good about yourself and then you can get your self-confidence back. Remember you were very successful before...there's no reason why you can't be again. You just need to find the right job.

This is just a little bump in the road. Try and think of your potential relocating as a challenge and a way to make your life better.

Keep a positive attitude and best of luck to you, too.
Avatar universal
skat, I know exactly what you've been going through.  I'm a 23 yr old male who slipped into a deep depression six years ago.  I have been on SSRI's for six years to treat my depression.  While the SSRI's helped with the depression, unfortunately the drugs also shot my anxiety level through the roof. Before being put on SSRI's I had a moderate anxiety problem but I was able to enjoy social interactions and was able to function well around people, friends, family, etc. But since being on the SSRI's my anxiety is so high I find it hard to be around people because it just isn't enjoyable when you're very tense.  I've been struggling to find relief from this extreme anxiety for six years but I've resigned myself to the fact that I can't go off of the SSRI's because of my depression.  My advice to you would be to not take an SSRI for anxiety unless it is necessary, i.e., for depression.  leigh gave you some great advice, exercise is very important in helping to release your stress.  Running causes endorphins to be released into your blood stream which will make you feel better. I'd also recommend that you find a self-help book that deals with anxiety, a book that re-enforces positive thinking into your mindset. If you find a good book on the topic, one that helps explain your anxiety and also motivate you, you can begin to understand some of your flawed negative thinking in social situations.  I also found that the positive thoughts were better imbedded in my mind after READING these phrases from a book rather than hearing them from someone.  There are also natural supplements (vitamin B complex) which may help your anxiety.  However only you know the seriousness of your anxiety problem so maybe prescribed drugs are the best way to go.  Whatever way you choose to take on your anxiety I wish you the best of luck and hope you find the relief you're looking for. Keep your head up.   Brian
96108 tn?1197694930
I am taking Effexor XR .75 mg/a day. I am being treated for depression with Generalized Anxiety disorder. Before starting any med's. With the Anxiety- I was having trouble with feeling anxious/on edge, like something bad was going to happen, Irritable, more aggressive, Heart palapations, Trouble sleeping ect...  Before the Effexor XR the doctor started me on Lexapro. One dose sent me to the emergency room with a bad Panic attack.
They switched me to Effexor XR. I noticed a difference after the switch. I didn't feel so anxious, I wasn't Irritable or aggressive.  The heart palpations and trouble sleeping continued. My irritable bowel acted up worse than ever.  I started to have mild Panic attacks. Something I wasn't having before.  My doctor now has added Xanax .25mg/3x a day along with the Effexor XR. I do not like taking the Xanax for obvious reasons. (addictive) I don't take it like he suggested. Only as needed.
I too have wondered if the Effexor XR is making my anxiety worse. If they should try something else. I would hate to be taking the Xanax from a side effect from the Effexor.  Anybody have any thoughts?
Avatar universal

My son has severe panic disorder and he has been helped immensely by taking Zoloft, and Klonapin when necessary. He lives in NYC and can now comfortably ride the subways and trains! That is amazing!

Everyone is different; SSRI's made me anxious and I weaned myself off antidepressants (after 6 years) even though my doctor said I would have to be on them for a lifetime. It's been a year and thank goodness I am depression free. But I exercise, read a lot of self-help books and try to think positively. Medication can only do so much. The way that we think has a lot to do with how we feel. We get locked into thinking a certain way and it's difficult to change. But it can be done. I also do my best not to hang out with negative people who complain about everything.

Maybe you could check with your doctor and see if the Zoloft might work for you.
Hopefully that will help you.

Take care and good luck!
Avatar universal
OH MY WORD! NO Do not try KLONOPIN! NO NO NO.. If anything take valium instead! sigh!!! geez oh my word... no no no.. sigh.. Valium and Klonopin work the same way but I feel valium is safer to get off of and easier to get off of as well.  This information is coming from someone who has been on and off valium w/ out adverse withdrawls and tried 4 times to get off klonopin without any luck and the side effects are HORRID!  Plus you can get seizures from klonopin withdrawls.  Oh gracious. I've been taking Klonopin for 10 yrs can't get off em.  Please, consider all other options first.. don't jump into a pill addiction.  Educate yourself before taking the pills.
Avatar universal

The Paxil withdrawal thread has closed but i just wanted to let everyone know that after 1 week the horrible withdrawal syptoms have almost gone! i'm feeling so much better so there is hope! Good Luck everyone and be good to yourselves ;)
Avatar universal
Hi i am new to the forum, I have tried Effexor about 2 years ago with not much success, for me the side effects were worse than the inital problem. I have just been prescribed lexapro 2 days ago for anxiety and depression and my anxiety went CRAZY. have not slept since. I called my doc this am and he called in Xanax .25 and that seems to calm me down quite a bit. I will take it tonight and see if I can get some sleep. I do not think SSRIs are for me b/c my anxiety outweighs my depression. I think my depression is caused by my anxiety, so any drug that increases the anxiety isnt for me. I hear horror stories about dependence of Xanax, but it seems to work for me better than SSRIs. Do you think if I stay on a low dose it will harm me in the long run? Thanks to everyone on these forums, its nice to be able to talk about my problems.
Avatar universal
I cannot believe that doctors are still prescribing klonopin!!!  It is HIGHLY addictive and to say that it is less addicitive than zanax is foolish.  First, klonopin is a longer lasting benzo..second, it is more potent than zanax and has more sedative effects.  Third, klonopin withdrawal can cause seizures.  

Benzo's should only be used temporarily.  They are used to alleviate severe anxiety symptoms when someone is switching meds or having a short-term anxious episode.  It should NEVER be used for more than a short-term set period.  There is an abundance of research that says this and research has proved that this drug is bad news.  Just like valium, oxyconton, etc. has proven to be TROUBLE...so is klonopin.  

I was on klonopin for over 5 years and all it did was supress my try feelings and make it a hell of a lot worse to deal with once I got off of it.  Weaning myslef off of klonopin was hell and I actually lost hair as a reslt of the stress.

I have researched this drug and have had personal experience with it.  DO NOT GET INVOLVED WITH KLONOPIN!!!  It is HIGHLY addictive and essentially makes everything worse to deal with in the end.  

Doctors who are prescribing and/or suggesting this drug as a long-term option should be sacnctioned.
Avatar universal
To everyone - if you are not a Dr, please be careful about telling people to take or NOT take any meds. You do not thave the person's history and you are not trained. What made me think about it was the comment made that Klonopin is more addictive because it lasts longer.

The fact that it remains in your bloodstream longer actually makes it less addictive - much like the difference between smoking and the patch. When you associate a panic event with meds than sure, it could rewire your brain, but taking any meds without a Dr's backing the entire time, including anmy changes to or removal of of meds should always be monitored by a professional.

I found that Klonopin with it's slow rise way more effective than any of these fast acting benzos. and yes, if you must come off them, you are risk if you suddenly stop them, but that risk is the same regardless of the drug.

Every drug works great for some and creates havoc for others. If none of us ever needed them it would be GREAT. But if you must, find a Dr you can work with. And research the drug yourself, and be careful about ANYONE who says it is the best or the worst simply on their own experience, as they are not capable of understanding YOU and that we are all different when it comes to symptoms, causes, and drug reactions.

Avatar universal
I have been siffering from anxiety for years now and I know how much hell it can be. Hang in there. Have you ever tried Pamelor? I am on 75 mgs of that plus .25mg of xanax 3 times a day and it really works. Its a older medication (Pamelor) but really helped me after paxil failed to help. Ask your DR. about it and if you have any questions about it let me know.
Avatar universal
I have been taking 100 mg of Zoloft for a couple years now.  The only problem that I am having is that it makes me hyper at times during the day.  This is most difficuly dealing with while at work.

Does anyone have a suggestion of something that I could take to take the edge off without making me sleepy or drowsy?

I have Klonopin but I see all the bad reviews here so don't want to take it.

Any suggestions?
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