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  1. #1
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    Massachusetts
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    Medicine - is it a band-aid?

    Hi Everyone,
    I'm confused about medicine, a lot of people have been saying (including my doctor)
    to just take the medicine for a bit and maybe that will be what I need to get by and then I can live a normal life.

    My doctor said the good news is, that my anxiety isn't a life long thing for me (i'm not sure how she can determine that in an hour conversation....but...),
    she says that until I can learn how to deal with anxiey on my own. I should take the meds.... (i'm meeting with a cognitive therapist in a month). Why are they so easy to give you meds before trying to do it a natural way???? Couldnt she have just said, your appoinment with the cognitive therapist is not for a month, try to deal with it naturally for a month if you need meds take then...but if not, dont and soon enough you'll learn the skills to deal!... NO, she told me that anytime i feel anxious that i should be taking them..... now i'm an anxioius person , i feel anxious all the time! ha... i can't deal with the nonsense anxeity, its when i have an attack that causes me trouble!....

    But I don't understand it, because people like us are very intune with everything that has to do with us, our body, our mind....everything around us!
    Since this is mental, how on earth can I take meds fora 2 months... have no panic attacks....., and then convince my mind that when i'm off the meds, that my panic attacks will be gone forever & that i don't need meds, when it was the meds that got me better in the 1st place?????

    Has anyone struggled with this?

    I just don't understand how anyone goes off the medication and doesnt have panic attacks......
    because you never truly learned how to deal with them...(unless you were doing things throughout that time)
    but if not - it was the medicine was what was dealing with the anxiety not you.....(??????)

    I dont mean to offend anyone taking medicine, but I just don't understand it!
    Please opinions would be greatly appreciated!

    I'm 28 years old, I plan to have a baby in a year or so... the doctor prescrived me Ativan (causes birth defects)
    So, obvoulsy, i can't be on meds when i'm pregnant... I don't want to start taking the medication, rely on it...
    get pregnant, unexpectiely or planned and have to go off it .. and be thrown into the world of anxiety attacks & pregnant to boot! (like thats not stressful...ha)

    Thanks for any thoughts you can give!!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2005
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    Maryland
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    114
    Hi Jess!

    I TOTALLY depend on my meds. I don't take antidepression drugs, but I take a benzo called Clonazipam. I only take it once in a while when I'm feeling totally anxious. I'm not hooked on it or anything. BUT, I am living in fear that my doctor might stop prescribing them for me. I just can't see dealing with this anxiety without them, and that makes me even more anxious. I maybe take one once a week.

    I don't know why your doctor thinks you'll be able to deal with your anxiety on your own after taking the meds for a while and then going off them. Not sure what that thinking is. Although I know that when I take the benzo it helps me to do things I wouldn't be able to do normally. And the more exposure you have to uncertain situations and you feel comfortable, the more confidence you build.

    But I am guessing that once you have that baby, your mind will be taken off that anxiety and will be focused on the baby and you will do much better! Sometimes when we have other worries outside of our own inner fears, that helps.

    Good Luck!

  3. #3
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    Mar 2007
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    New York
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    16
    Hello, I've taken lorazepam (Ativan) before and I've been taking clonazepam (Klonopin) for over a year now. I very much understand your concerns. I myself am afraid I've become dependent, I take it every day. Both are benzodiapines, which are addictive. I didn't take my medication for a week and I felt no withdrawal symptoms however. I too feel the same worry you have. When I started taking the benzos, my anxiety was reduced significantly and I felt really alive for the first time in years. At the same time, it was clear that I couldn't be on them forever, I do not want to be on a benzodiazapine for years.

    Basically, my philosophy on all medications comes down to the idea that my anxiety, depression (etc) are all quality of life issues, and that it's best to do what I can about it, even take the medications for the time being if it helps me. My advice would be to try the Ativan and see if it helps, let your doctor know that you plan to become pregnant. Maybe they can choose a drug that is non-tetragenic (damaging to the fetus) or you may choose not to use medication and work through therapy alone, there's really nothing wrong that. There certainly isn't any easy one step solution, and I don't believe that drugs are superior in all cases.

    I wish you well.

    -J

  4. #4
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    May 2007
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    Kirkland, Washington
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    11
    Hello all,
    Well after 8 months I have decided I want to try medication. I was prescribed Cymbalta ( an SSNRI) by a psychiatrist yesterday, apparently because it would have less side effects than the other drugs generally used (SSRI's). But before I could commit and agree to taking an anti depressant, I had to commit to going back to therapy again, because medication will become a crutch instead of a stepping stool to getting better.
    I think that this is a pretty reasonable thought... If you are thinking about getting on or off medication, you really have to ask yourself why? Have you tried all the natural remedies first? Do you have a family history where drugs did not help?
    For those involved in this conversation that are thinking about stopping medication, go to therapy. Start learning coping mechanisms so that you will know how to deal with the freak outs involved when losing a crutch like medication.
    For me, medication can easily become something to rely on. That's why the therapy is so vital, i don't plan on staying on medication for more than the amount of time I have spent indoors (so 8 months). Any thing longer than that and the problem is not being fixed in my opinion.
    I believe in all of the people on this website! We have eachother to gain support from! WE can totally do this!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    158
    Hi

    Here's an analogy that I like to use when explaining the combined benefits of medication and cognitive therapy...

    Imagine if you were recovering from a broken leg and your doctor told you that you needed to see a physio to start exercising it properly again. The problem is, when you see the physio it is too painful to exercise your leg so you go back to the doctor and he prescribes pain killers. These allow you to start exercising your leg and get it back to full strength with the physio. It is not the pain killers that get your leg back to full strength, it is the physio but the pain killers did help with the physical pain and allow you to perform the exercises. There's no way you would say "I'm not taking pain killers because they just mask the problem" so I don't really understand why people have this view of anxiety medication.

    You can't categorise anxiety as either a pathological problem or a mental problem because it is a combination of the two. The chemical make up of your body and your brain affect how neurons react and therefore affect your thoughts and moods. A much more graphic illustration of this is when you have a few beers and feel less stressed - or the next morning when you have a hangover and you can't function properly.

    I can't understand if your doctor was prescribing anti-depressants for only a month because they probably wouldn't take effect in that short a period. I think it's more likely that he was suggesting anti-depressants as an ongoing treatment to compliment the cognitive therapy.

    9 months ago I was spending about 23 hours a day lying in bed scared of everything (even going to the toilet was terrifying). I was convinced that I was dying and I had aches and pains all over. I started taking a new drug called escitalopram and about 5 weeks later I felt like I was getting some motivation back. I started going out for short walks and staying out longer and longer. I was having far fewer panic attacks and so I wasn't spending all day terrified that I was going to have a panic attack. Eventually it was my own determination to get out and retrain my mind that made me better but the medication helped to kick-start that process.

    I would guess that the doctor's prognosis about anxiety not being a life-long problem is based on the fact that it very rarely is.

    Hope this helps you to understand.

    Best wishes

    Chris
    The mind is like a maze; the deeper you get into it, the harder it is to get out.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2006
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by RabidBadger
    Hi

    Here's an analogy that I like to use when explaining the combined benefits of medication and cognitive therapy...

    Imagine if you were recovering from a broken leg and your doctor told you that you needed to see a physio to start exercising it properly again. The problem is, when you see the physio it is too painful to exercise your leg so you go back to the doctor and he prescribes pain killers. These allow you to start exercising your leg and get it back to full strength with the physio. It is not the pain killers that get your leg back to full strength, it is the physio but the pain killers did help with the physical pain and allow you to perform the exercises. There's no way you would say "I'm not taking pain killers because they just mask the problem" so I don't really understand why people have this view of anxiety medication.

    Eventually it was my own determination to get out and retrain my mind that made me better but the medication helped to kick-start that process.

    Chris
    Chris I really like your analogy but especially like the last part of your note that I just put in bold. I'm not against drug therapy but a lot people get on it without cbt and that is a problem in my opinion. To use a variation of your analogy.
    If you hurt your leg skiing and were prescribed pain killers and skipped your physical therapy because you felt pretty good just on the pain killers and eventually healed and stopped taking the pain medication without strengthening your leg, you are very likely to injure your leg again on a future skiing trip.
    That's the problem with drug therapy in my opinion, too many people are doing it alone and expect it to cure the problem. Used properly with cbt, as you suggest, I think it is great

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by conceptcanibal
    Hello all,
    Well after 8 months I have decided I want to try medication. I was prescribed Cymbalta ( an SSNRI) by a psychiatrist yesterday, apparently because it would have less side effects than the other drugs generally used (SSRI's). But before I could commit and agree to taking an anti depressant, I had to commit to going back to therapy again, because medication will become a crutch instead of a stepping stool to getting better.
    I think that this is a pretty reasonable thought... If you are thinking about getting on or off medication, you really have to ask yourself why? Have you tried all the natural remedies first? Do you have a family history where drugs did not help?
    For those involved in this conversation that are thinking about stopping medication, go to therapy. Start learning coping mechanisms so that you will know how to deal with the freak outs involved when losing a crutch like medication.
    For me, medication can easily become something to rely on. That's why the therapy is so vital, i don't plan on staying on medication for more than the amount of time I have spent indoors (so 8 months). Any thing longer than that and the problem is not being fixed in my opinion.
    I believe in all of the people on this website! We have eachother to gain support from! WE can totally do this!
    How are you doing concept? I hope the combo therapy is working for you

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    May 2007
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    East Bay
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    Well, the reason why your doctor told you that you need to take meds all the time (as opposed to 'when needed') is that this is the way that SSRIs work. Unlike benzos, they take several weeks before they have any effect. And once they DO have an effect, they must ALWAYS be taken. As for prescribing meds right away, this is unfortunately they way the health care system works. Just keep one thing in mind. And that is that you are under no obligation to take medication. Don't let ANYONE bully you into it. If you want to try CBT first without meds, then you are perfectly free to do so. This is something that you should REALLY think about if your anxiety is not so severe as to be debilitating. If you can still basically do most things, they you probably don't even need meds. I would only recommend that you think about meds right away if things are REALLY, REALLY bad. But even if your anxiety is not too serious during the day, you might also want to take something like Lorazepam at night if your anxiety is causing you to not sleep. Insomnia can make even relatively mild anxiety MUCH worse.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbed
    Well, the reason why your doctor told you that you need to take meds all the time (as opposed to 'when needed') is that this is the way that SSRIs work. Unlike benzos, they take several weeks before they have any effect. And once they DO have an effect, they must ALWAYS be taken. As for prescribing meds right away, this is unfortunately they way the health care system works. Just keep one thing in mind. And that is that you are under no obligation to take medication. Don't let ANYONE bully you into it. If you want to try CBT first without meds, then you are perfectly free to do so. This is something that you should REALLY think about if your anxiety is not so severe as to be debilitating. If you can still basically do most things, they you probably don't even need meds. I would only recommend that you think about meds right away if things are REALLY, REALLY bad. But even if your anxiety is not too serious during the day, you might also want to take something like Lorazepam at night if your anxiety is causing you to not sleep. Insomnia can make even relatively mild anxiety MUCH worse.
    Lots of good points Robbed. Meds can be helpful and very useful when used properly. My beef is that most want to put you on meds and forget about you. The tea form thought countering exercise from cbt is what has given me the most and longest lasting relief. I never would have been able to get off meds without them.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    14

    Re: Medicine - is it a band-aid?

    Quote Originally Posted by jessr421
    Hi Everyone,
    I'm confused about medicine, a lot of people have been saying (including my doctor)
    to just take the medicine for a bit and maybe that will be what I need to get by and then I can live a normal life.

    My doctor said the good news is, that my anxiety isn't a life long thing for me (i'm not sure how she can determine that in an hour conversation....but...),
    she says that until I can learn how to deal with anxiey on my own. I should take the meds.... (i'm meeting with a cognitive therapist in a month). Why are they so easy to give you meds before trying to do it a natural way???? Couldnt she have just said, your appoinment with the cognitive therapist is not for a month, try to deal with it naturally for a month if you need meds take then...but if not, dont and soon enough you'll learn the skills to deal!... NO, she told me that anytime i feel anxious that i should be taking them..... now i'm an anxioius person , i feel anxious all the time! ha... i can't deal with the nonsense anxeity, its when i have an attack that causes me trouble!....

    But I don't understand it, because people like us are very intune with everything that has to do with us, our body, our mind....everything around us!
    Since this is mental, how on earth can I take meds fora 2 months... have no panic attacks....., and then convince my mind that when i'm off the meds, that my panic attacks will be gone forever & that i don't need meds, when it was the meds that got me better in the 1st place?????

    Has anyone struggled with this?

    I just don't understand how anyone goes off the medication and doesnt have panic attacks......
    because you never truly learned how to deal with them...(unless you were doing things throughout that time)
    but if not - it was the medicine was what was dealing with the anxiety not you.....(??????)

    I dont mean to offend anyone taking medicine, but I just don't understand it!
    Please opinions would be greatly appreciated!

    I'm 28 years old, I plan to have a baby in a year or so... the doctor prescrived me Ativan (causes birth defects)
    So, obvoulsy, i can't be on meds when i'm pregnant... I don't want to start taking the medication, rely on it...
    get pregnant, unexpectiely or planned and have to go off it .. and be thrown into the world of anxiety attacks & pregnant to boot! (like thats not stressful...ha)

    Thanks for any thoughts you can give!!
    Please know that i am not a doctor or therapist but i feel that i need to tell you that what i have been told form my therapist and couselor is that medcation takes at least 2 months to take effect. Maybe 3. so in reality what i think they are trying to acomplish is to get you on medication and to have it take effect while you are in theripy sort of like a double wammy and then while you are on medication i think that i would take at least 3 months to ween off of (it is very dangerous to go cold turkey!) So i think that realistically you are looking at taking 6 months of meds unless you have immedate tramatsing side effects from it. you might want to have a serious chat with your Dr on how long the medication takes to have a effect and if it's hard to get off of. That said, medication and theripy are the most effective way of geting past your problems. And PLEASE, PLEASE don't try to think that having a baby will help you get better because if it doesn't then it will be hard on two of you instead of just you.

    also medicine can i a startlingly helpful effect but what's really crappy about it is feeling awsome for about a month and then deciding that you don't need the meds anymore so you stop taking them and then your back to square one or worse. I strongly urge you to talk to your doctor about how long medication has to take effect. You are a capable rational adult and i know i've just given you a lot of information but you have the ability to make a good choice. please, talk to you doctor.
    don't be surprised if i just dissapea

 

 

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