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Avatar universal

Alternative treatment? Please help.

Hello, I have been fighting anxiety, panic attacks and OCD for years. I am currently on 0.5 mg of klonopin a day and started CBT. However, lately, my hypochondriac obsession are unbearable. Panic attacks leave me with dread, tiredness, low mood, lack of concentration. I feel like I was hit by train. Panic attacks are usually triggered by sensation in my body I observe. Now it is a pulsing mild headache on my left side that comes and goes every 10 to 40 min, lasts for few seconds, pulsing and goes away. I am in fear that I will have a stroke and die. Before was HIV, MS, etc.etc.etc. Worrying about everything, constant tension. I was on every possible SSRI and I cannot tolerate side effects and they don't help. Benzo, yes but I don't want to be( I am already) dependent. Is there anything you have run to that helps to relax, calm down and get rid of constant terror and tension? Any alternatives, supplements?, Please share your thoughts. I am so tired of life, fear and constant dread. I ffel like I am not curable. I can't stand my life.......:-(..................
11 Responses
1308134 tn?1295191219
Sorry for the long delay. I don't always have time to check on a conversation... I thought I had set this up to let me know when you posted something but I guess not.

Did you ever try buspirone? Sometimes I have found it to be helpful when folks are super sensitive to SSRI side effects. Often have to titrate that medicine up very slowly...

Also, I wonder about an MAOI. For most of them you would probably not want to try them because of possible side effects but there is a selegeline patch that can be helpful and your description of being very sensitive...
Avatar universal
hi there,
I am no expert so I'm not going to profess to be one. All I can say is hang in there. Someone with a lot more knowledge will probably answer you soon. Hope you're feeling a bit better somewhat as the hours have passed..
1308134 tn?1295191219
It is awful to feel so anxious all of the time.
The best answer that I have to your question begins with another question. You said you had tried all of the SSRI's and that you cannot tolerate the side effects and they don't help. It would be useful to me to know a little bit more about that. I am especially interested in knowing the names of the SSRI's that you have tried, what the side effects were, what the maximum dose was that you took, and for how long. Also, were you taking any other medications along with the SSRI's that you tried?
This will help me to think about the best options for you to consider.
Avatar universal
Dear Doctor Foster:
Thank you for your kind reply. This will not be easy because I was on multiple meds over the time, different combinations etc. looking for answers. I will try. In general SSRI's mad me feel vivid, fill sick all the time, like I am rotten inside, no feelings, no emotions, being someone else, no sex drive, dissociation, more depression, list goes on and on, but not all of them. I started with Paxil 10 years ago, not much side effects, but no results to treat way back then my depression. Then Prozac. Same thing, more side effects. Zoloft, to the highest dosage for couple of years. Less anxiety, but depression worse. In between they tried Trazadoone, hallucination, totally drugged, even worse. Lamictal, still no help even worse. Then nothing for a while, just Xanax. Wellbutrin, Effexor I was so sick.Cymbalta, better but like being in the cloud all the time. After that, I started seeing a doctor who experimented on me diagnosing me with BPII. I think he almost killed me. I was on six meds at the same time at some point. Lithium, Depakote, Lamictal, Gedeon, Abilify, Xanax, Lexapro, omg....what I went through. I wanted to stick in because I thought he was wright. No he never was wright. I started seeing new doctor, one of the best in the city who specializes in BP. He took me slowly of all of these drugs saying that this is just an Anxiety. Lexapro is not bad, but my dosage I fairly tolerated was 2.5mg a day. Then I quit Lexapro, stayed on Klonopin only, worked it down to 0.5 a day. I feel better than with all of meds I mentioned, however, I struggle a lot. So sensitive, panic attacks, control freak, negative thinking, tired, dread, lack of concentration, overall general discomfort, anger, frustration, hard to make decision, obsessive thinking, fear about health, family, ringing in ears, fear of dying, flying,  last at least on and off for 6 months. Then I am trying to get better, fears goes away, and I can feel better for couple of months. Then something changes in my life (hate changes) someone I know passes away,  From what my psychologist say, I am feed myself with thoughts. He says those are patterns I have been creating for long time. I am so stuck now, and my bad days feel anxiety to the roof, and better days I am better than ever. Despite that, I finish college, now in grad school and doing ok with carrier. Some people admire me. I am go to guy and I have wonderful fiance, Iove very much. My life is not bad. You would never told If we would meet some day, I learned how to play my role. But nobody knows I am crying form pain inside...... Now I have head pains in front and sometimes side on my heaed. I can feel it for a couple seconds pulsating, then goes away from 5 min to 2 hours. Of course I have a fear of stroke, tumor etc. It eats me alive. The pain is only 2-4 in scale of 10. How can I help myself. How can I balance my life, stop struggling and let others who live with me to live normal life? I understand a lot about life, people, but still cannot free myself of fear.....Thank you for reading that Doctor. Thank you you Care!
Avatar universal
Hello Doc, I was hoping to hear form you.
Avatar universal
Hello Doctor,

No problem. Thank yo very much for answering. No I have never tried Buspar. I was thinking about it but none of the doctors ever tried it. Also, never tried MAOI's. My psychologist wants to wait before he sends me back to psychiatrist. However, I have to tell you about one thing that has been and resolves all of my problems in a right dosage. It is like a Miracle, something that changes everything. It is Alcohol. I drink about 4-5 drinks/beers 1 to 2 times a week. Please don't worry, I am to smart to self medicate and will never do it on regular basis. If I drink too much, the alcohol not only gives almost immediate relief, but gives next and often the second great day after drinking. I might be more prone to somatic symptoms then then, but my generalized worry, dread, tiredness, obsessions, fears, discomfort, and depression are all gone. Why is it like that? I would gave up everything to feel better. Thank you for your interest and help. I appreciate it so much. There is not many doctors who care and you can talk to these days.
Avatar universal
Alcohol, like food, sex, excessive work, driving, spending, etc is a defense mechanism.  Whichever method you use the relief will only be temporary.  One expert said that it is like numbing yourself to the pain.

I think that you are self-medicating.  I think that your alcohol consumption, while only one or two days a week, is excessive.

Does alcohol really make you feel less depressed?  Maybe it is the alleviation of anxiety symptoms due to the lack of inhibition.  ??  Just a thought.

I don't understand why you have good or bad days.  To me that makes me think about bipolar or an undiagnosed personality disorder with splitting as a defense (hence the good/ bad periods).

Alcohol is rarely the answer to anything.  I would recommend you limit your use.
Avatar universal
I don’t think that drinking once a week can be considered as self medicating, especially when I am in full control of it. Sex, food, or speeding ;-)…..doesn’t do anything to me. And yes, alcohol in controlled dosage wipes out everything form depression to anxiety through boost in self confidence, and ability to enjoy life. It has the best effect next day when everything settles.
Good and bad days are characteristics of every single psychiatric disorder, as well as normal part of our lives. If you want to label everybody with BP or PD because of that, good luck with becoming genuine pig of a psychiatrist who has second home paid of from kick offs he received form pharmaceutical companies. I was there once, and you don’t want me to tell you what I went through.  Psychiatry is a very vague topic and there is still a lot to learn there. Only doctors, like Dr. Foster, who carefully evaluate patients, make careful decisions, and looks out side the box are successful, and truly know how to help people. Rest of them, I am sorry for what I am about to say now, should have been taken their licenses away because lack of knowledge, training, self improvement, and labeling patients who have bad and good days with BP or PD for example.
Avatar universal
1-2 times a week you said.  I think it's more about the quantity.  If it's not self-medicating then why so much?

There are people who experience mental health issues that rarely experience good periods.  I agree that life does come with its ups and downs.  I was referring to extremes.  Why are your bad days bad and your better days great.  Seems abnormal to me (unless there is another explanation).

From what I have read I don't think that medication is the best option for people with pd's (unless it is to help manage symptoms or treat other disorders).  Maybe if they had shares in psychotherapy I would agree with you.  I think that a good doctor will work with you to help treat symptoms you have difficulties with and that interfere with your life.

I think you carry issues from your past (with your doctor over medicating you, etc).  I think it would be helpful to work through this at some point.  Anger just makes you bitter and a slave to memories of how this person treated you.  Personally I think that was a ridiculous number of meds to be prescribed.  I would have refused to have taken them but understand how difficult it can be to assert yourself when unwell and when faced with what at the times seems plausible information.

I believe that psychiatry is largely subjective and I believe that many psychiatrists abuse their positions of power.  Not all, but some.

I think that you're right to a degree and the doctor who I've admired the most has been Dr Gould, former expert on the mental health expert forum.  He seemed less about medication and more about addressing emotional issues.  I like that approach.
My personal opinion though is that you're a little bit in denial.  That is just the impression I get.  Maybe I shouldn't say that and save hurting you but that is my impression.  It may be useful to look at what others say openly and honestly and if it doesn't fit then reject it.  You know yourself best, you need to do what is best for you.  We all have our own individual paths that we need to travel down for recovery.  No one can tell you which one to go down or what is best for you.  Recovery is also something that happens at a pace we're comfortable with.
Avatar universal
Thank you for understanding. I agree with what you wrote. Please believe me that 4-5 beers don't do much for a 190lbs guy ;-). That was misunderstanding, or my explanation....therefore I should say I have bad days, very bad days, better and ok days. It never leaves me completely. Unless like I say, I have couple/few drinks night before, then I can feel peace. If I drink more, the result is opposite. I agreed to so many meds because I believed this "doctor" that I am BPII. I wanted to last as long as I can for the drugs to work.....nothing work, my life was a hell. Then I started seeing BPD specialist, one of the best, also the most expensive, psychiatrist in the city. He took me slowly from all the meds and diagnosed with anxiety linked with depression. I am on 0.5 MG klonopin for couple of years now. My worst periods always are triggered and depend of something that happens in my life, I start worry about, then obsess, then go into depression and anxiety. If there is nothing going on and my life is good, I always find something to interrupt my peace. If you ever felt what I felt, feeling so stuck and this pain inside, you know what I mean. I wish you the best.
Avatar universal
Especially one that has a tolerance?  I shouldn't lecture, and maybe just as well you didn't mention smoking, but I'm concerned if it's above the number of recommended standard drinks.

Have you tried to figure out where your baseline for mood is?  Are your OK days above or below average?  It sounds as though they could be close to neutral to just below average.

Have you looked at why you feel better with alcohol?  Seriously looked I mean.  What role do you think it plays?

The most expensive doesn't always equate to the best.  Taking you off all those meds makes me believe that he is OK though.

Your anxiety seems extremely high which kind of makes me wonder if there isn't something else going on.  ??  I don't know.  I'm just a very opinionated layperson.

The doctor will most likely understand the significance of what you're saying better than what I can.  I'm unsure about what you're saying means.

It almost sounds as though you're sabotaging yourself as well.  Not necessarily intentionally but indirectly.  There have been times when I have felt less stressed.  I think that there were times when this felt ?scary and I would subconsciously create more stress.  It's almost like going through withdrawal from stress and you need a fix.

I think that I can relate.  I know what it feels like to be extremely anxious.  To have ocd, panic attacks, etc.  I know what it feels like to be depressed and to feel stuck.  I know what it feels like to be severely unwell.  I also know what it feels like to be mistreated by health professionals (always in your best interest of course).  I know what it feels like to be treated like an object or a thing without thoughts and feelings of my own.

Just wondering if the therapy is bringing up material that is making you feel anxious which is triggering all the fears of illnesses, etc?

I would advise sticking with psychotherapy.  I personally have had most benefit from psychoanalytical psychotherapy.  You need to do what works best for you though.  If after a while you don't feel like you're benefiting from the therapy don't be afraid to ask for another therapist or try a different type of therapy.  I wouldn't advise staying with something that isn't working.
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