Does anxiety medication actually help with anxiety?
Not everyone’s experience is the same so I can only share my own. In my case, yes, it helped. However, after long term use and not asking my doctor any questions before going on it I had many side effects. It took a long time to even figure out that they were side effects. After being on it 11 years for anxiety and depression and having to add others and up the dose it became clear I needed to come of. I went onto a supplement that is for depression, anxiety, ADHD and others. Then with the help of counselors through the place I got the supplement through, I slowly went off. Wellbutrin was real easy for me to get off of. The other one Effexor was an absolute nightmare. It took 3 months for me to get off completely. I had a whole host of withdrawal symptoms for months to come. Even a year later I experienced more symptoms because the medicine can hang out in your muscles and fat. Things like vigorous excerise, extreme heat and massage can all release it into your system. The supplement I’m on helps for sure but doesn’t suppress my emotions like the medication did. Therefore, I cry more again and have to work on keeping my anger in check. However, it wasn’t until I went off that I realized how much it had suppressed my personality. On it I was super easy going which was really nice. But I also had lost some of my empathy towards others. I’ve had a friend tell me I have a lot more facial expressions now when I speak with her. I laugh more and my artistic abilities have come back.
Looking back I wish I could have tell my younger self a few things. Such as, do your own research before beginning the medication including understanding how the medication works. Ask the doctor more questions. Such as is this for the rest of my life? If so please explain why? Exactly how does it work? What are some other things I can be doing to help?
I have discovered more natural approaches since then. Along with the supplement I pay close attention to my diet, I really have to watch my caffeine intake. I also saw a counselor which really helped. So with that said yes, those medications do help with anxiety but one has to weigh the pros and cons.
Wishing you the best as you decide where to go from here.
I’m not sure if I can into the medical side.. Okay, I’ve always been a big advecator of medication and there’s a big reason for this. Without my medication, therapy would do nothing. I am only same and rational enough when I am on my medication. Maybe I misdiagnosed back then and I really do have Maniac Depression AND Anxiety instead of regular depression.. who knows, I’ll have to continue seeing my current therapist to know the answer to that.
Way back before I got prescribed my anti anxiety med(1) I was a mess. I’d have on average a panic attack every year. That may seem small to people but I’m a very “in my own head,” person. I used to be mostly shy and quiet and liked reading(2). For it to progress to a physical state, that is when it is super bad. I could even go Catatonic sometimes..
Let me tell you, that was not fun. Neither was the constant general anxiety for EVERYTHING! Not the normal or maybe little bit anxious. But the stuff that had worst scenario daydreams, lost in thought and not being “present,” yelling shut up or go away to friend who only asked if I was okay because my thoughts were so intrusive and wouldn’t shut up. This state of being vulnerable and nervous because of Anxiety (and/or depression), almost like one has trauma but the only trauma is an uncontrollable mental health issue. The doing alnighters because of my anxiety thoughts.. mostly on school nights. The being either too physically or mentally sick to go to School or face people because if it.
This was my children, my teen years and what it’s like now when I don’t get proper, healthy sleep over a few days or if I ran out of one of my medications(3).
Without my medication, I would not be who I am today and I would not be trying to a morally, upstanding (and fair) person to friends, family and strangers. Nor would I be trying to improve my health with a Therapist(4).
So, yes, it does help. If you’re bad enough to not be able to function without it.. It helps extremely.
PLEASE NOTE; I push for medication when it’s absolutely needed, if someone’s “brain chemicals,” are that far out that therapy will have no effect without one, then yes, absolutely find the right doctor and the right medication.
I also push for therapy because tbh (to be honest) you need both to get strategies to cope with it and diagnose anything else. Or just therapy if you don’t need medication.
SOME STUFF I COULDN’T FIT INTO THE SENTENCES:
(1) The Anti Anxiety Med as I call it, it’s actually the smallest dose of Seroquel – one 25mg per day. Or 12.5mg if I can’t afford to sleep for 10+ hours if it’s past 8: 30 pm to 9 pm.
(2) I used to be mostly shy and quiet and liked reading(b) with occasional bursts of what you could describe as being semi “extroverted.”
(b) Possibly as a enjoyable past time and a way to escape my own life and my own head.
(3). I have two, pain meds and the Seroquel. If either are not taken together, it’s hell for either side; mental or physical.
(4) Uh, I actually grew up and got some trauma on the way which added a fear of loved ones dying to my anxiety plus possible PTSD but that’s another story.
EDIT: I push for therapy more because even with meds if something is strong enough, a panic attack can make it’s way through. Plus Anxiety is a hard thing, it’s mostly fear based. You find a way to deal with that and you’re a step further to getting started with fighting it.
I only push for meds if they can actually help the person. OR if there are other underlying conditions.
Also I found 2 things that can I can have panic attacks about outside meds 😐 Because the thing that happened is strong enough. Proving one needs help to help themselves.. If that is trusting and fighting yourself, medication or therapy or all three, then great. Just don’t treat either as a “one size fits all,” or that you should blindly follow a doctor without asking questions about any kind of medication (unless they’re a long standing doctor).
I can write for days on this topic as someone who has a degree in this field, and also suffers from panic attacks myself. They are not as debilitating as they used to be, but there were times when I would literally think I was going to die. Someone on this post responded that they had to stop in the middle of the highway while driving. I did that too… but to answer your question, it’s actually simple. It’s simply trial and error.
What works wonders on one person may not do a thing for others. Especially when we are talking the SSRI drugs. I have been on over 10 of them, and not a one helped. I was told that some 10% (give or take) are simply nonresponsive to these drugs and I fall in that category. I get by, by taking 1 to 2 Klonopin a day as needed. Some days I need 2, some days one… some days none.
All the SSRI drugs are hit or miss, and if one doesn’t work, try another. I know it’s a long and time consuming process considering they take roughly 2 months to reach their full effect, so you have to take it that long just to find out it doesn’t work and try again with something else. Ethos is especially frustrating for anyone who might have substance abuse issues (which is a high percentage of people with anxiety and depression issues, they go hand in hand in many cases). This is the perfect segue into what I want to say next.
This leads me to the 2nd class of drugs for anxiety and that’s the benzodiazepines. These will pretty much work on anybody and are fast acting relief, however the downside as most know is addiction. They are easily abusable (Xanax especially so), and they are really meant to be used only as needed, and the protocol is not really meant for these drugs to be used long term, however I have been on mine for 4 years now and I am doing well with it. It took some work, and I so fight a little internal battle everyday not to abuse them, as I am a recovering heroin addict, and that fact, and the subsequent criminal charges I got because of my addiction was what put an end to my dream of being a doctor and forensic psychiatrist, but I nonetheless have studied everything there is to know on these topics. I used to take xanax, but because I could not control my abuse of it, I was switched to Klonopin. For me, it relieves my anxiety, does it’s job well and has a long half life, but best of all it doesn’t leave me wanting to chase a high.
But as I said, this is MY experience and mine alone. You might do just as well, or even better with a small dose of Paxil, and never need to touch a benzo. Maybe you need a combination of both. Truth is, that a doctor doesn’t want to admit is that it’s trial and error, and if i could write you a prescription, the doctor upon initial examination wouldn’t know any better than me, or anyone with a little knowledge of pharmaceuticals, which one or ones is going to be the right fit for you.
Bottom line, don’t give up, and until you find that perfect drug or combo of drugs for you, there are basic lifestyle changes you can make as well, that believe it not help more than you think, such as exercise (actually that’s huge cause it gets all the natural “feel good” stuff in your brain going without getting into the physiology of how the brain works), eating better, getting a full nights sleep, and practicing relaxation techniques. I’ve learned dozens of relaxation techniques that can make those feelings go away. It’s all too much to explain here, but you can do a little research on that subject.
And here’s another hint. We bring on our own panic attacks much of the time from the very fear OF having a panic attack. Every time you get a sweat, or chill, or cramp, your mind starts thinking “oh shit, here it comes” and we actually create our own anxiety. Don’t fall into that trap where our mind becomes our own worst enemy.
Good luck to you and always remember, nothing last forever. That includes the bad stuff.
I can answer this.
During my early twenties I had severe anxiety and panic attacks. One of the worst made me exit my car in the middle of the highway at night because I was thinking I was going to die; I felt pins and needles all over my body, felt that I couldn’t breathe and my heart was racing ao fast I though it was going to explode.
That is anxiety, that is what anxiety does.
Then you can’t stop thinking about it and when the next attack will be.
I went to a psychologist who then sent me to a pychiatrist.
He was very good. He listened to me, asked a lot of questions and so on. He also gave me Sertraline (an SSRI anti depressant) and Xanax, but told me not to take Xanax and just to do when I had an attack. I never had to take Xanax in the end.
I wasn’t depressed but the SSRI helps you get better at your anxiety. And it did.
After a month or so after starting I felt great. I was no longer worried about dying or grtting another attack. I could live life again.
I took them for almost 2 years. Now I’m almost 30 and been 3–4 years without them.
I sill struggle with anxiety at times but haven’t had and attack since.
Also I learned to read and listen to my body; I know when the anxiety is creeping in and I can stop it before getting an attack.
I’m married and have a great job and living life to the fullest.
Getting a psychiatrist and getting medication to help me was the best thing I did.
Just a note: there are different SSRI so talk to your doc if yours aren’t working or if you’re getting bad side effects, especially dangerous ones such as getting suicidal thoughts.
Medications can help with anxiety, but you should them as a temporary measure, not as a treatment. Medications may bring temporary relief from the symptoms of anxiety but they do very little or nothing at all to treat the underlying psychological cause of anxiety. This requires the right kind of psychotherapy. I recommend Mindfulness Therapy for anxiety, where we learn to meditate on our emotions and thoughts. Unfortunately mindfulness is often taught as a way of “emptying the mind” and getting away from thoughts and emotions. That simply won’t work. But, when you learn how to meditate on your anxiety then you will make real progress, and without the need for medications.
How to Overcome Anxiety & Depression without medications
The most effective way to overcome anxiety and depression is to break free from the underlying habitual reactive thinking that fuels your anxiety or depression. This is precisely what we focus on during online therapy sessions. It is very effective and most people see significant improvements after 2-3 sessions. Medications only provide temporary relief from the symptoms, but do not change the underlying cause; Mindfulness Therapy does change the underlying process that causes anxiety and depression and that is why it is so effective for producing lasting changes.
Welcome! My name is Peter Strong and I am a professional therapist. I provide online therapy via Skype for the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic attacks, depression and other emotional problems. If you would like to learn more about how to overcome your anxiety without the use of medications, please visit my website and email me and then we can schedule a session.
The treatment of anxiety typically involves the prescription of medications, but that only treats the symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks, it does not treat the underlying cause, and that’s what I try to address in these online therapy sessions that I provide via Skype.
You need to change the pattern of reactive thinking that fuels the anxiety process, and this is what we work on during mindfulness therapy online. You have to learn how to actually embrace your thoughts and emotions using mindfulness. If you react to your thoughts or emotions with some form of aversion or avoidance, that will simply make the anxiety stronger. What really works is when you learn to embrace your anxiety with conscious awareness and a quality of friendship that comes along with that conscious awareness. This really starts the process of change.
So, please, if you would like to learn more about how to overcome anxiety without the use of medications, or without endless sessions of counseling and talk therapy, please contact me and let’s discuss this in more detail. Thank you!
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I have treated patients with moderate to severe anxiety for over three decades in my practice as a psychiatrist, and can confidently say that medications may be excellent first line treatments for specific chronic anxiety disorders.
Some forms of anxiety are primarily due to psychological stressors, and can be successfully treated with various forms of psychotherapy. I know this, and do this regularly in my practice. About half of my practice is spent working with patients in once or twice weekly psychotherapy.
Many other forms of clinical anxiety are based more on biological predispositions of chemical changes in the brain, and are best treated currently with medications. These medications actually get close to treating the foundational causes of the person’s anxiety, and do not mask anything. Contrary to what some people believe, these medications can be the mainstay of treatment and be safe and effective.
The model that many people use, in my opinion, incorrectly, is one of an earache or performance anxiety, and think that practice or deep breathing treats these conditions.
The mainstream current understanding is that these conditions are in substantial degree biologically mediated in the brain’s chemical and electrical functioning, and can be well treated by modulating those neurotransmitter systems as close to back to normal as we can currently manage.
The more accurate model is one for rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disorder, or epilepsy, or asthma. They may all involve lifestyle changes or adaptations, medication treatments, and other kinds of therapy, but are basically medical illnesses.
I do believe anxiety medication is warranted when someone is having an extreme anxiety episode in order to eliminate the uncomfortable anxiety symptoms that come with an anxiety attack. I feel medicine is appropriate for short term use while one is working on other meausres to get their anxiety under control, but when taken for long periods of time I feel that anxiety medications can begin to lose their intial effect and how ironic is it that while they are meant to cure anxiety there is also a flip side in that they can actually have a rebound effect and create anxiety (also referred to as paradoxical excitement) as well as a host of other mental factors such as aggression, depression, irritability or hostility. Anti-anxiety medications can be very addicting and also very dangerous to stop abruptly. Benzodiazepines and tranquilizers sedate the central nervous system. Due to the half-life of most of the anti-anxiety drugs, such as Xanax, they are more addictive due to their fast acting nature and when the drug wears off a person wants to take more to once again achieve the calming effect that they got initially. Also, anxiety medications do not address the root problem of the anxiety but only puts a band-aid on a gaping wound. If you can try and find some type of therapy that works and that can address the root problem of the anxiety I would start with that and you may find that you are able to deal better with the anxious feelings without medication. I think that medication should be an absolute last resort to dealing with anxiety as there are so many negative side effects and the potential for addiction is high. I do however think medication may be appropriate in extreme cases when absolutely nothing else has worked and person needs some type of relief from extreme anxiety, but as stated before I do believe that medication will become more ineffective when taken over a long period of time which usually means a person needs more of the medication to reach the desired effects which can mean in the end addiction. I would weigh the pros and cons of your situation, how extreme is the anxiety, can therapy and/or counseling help to get you through it without medication, self-help techniques that may be effective, etc. If you absolutely have to have medication for chronic anxiety that does not respond to other therapies please use caution and only take the smallest dose possible to relieve the anxiety and try other methods to deal with the anxiety instead of just relying on the medication alone.
As for the depression I feel that anti-depressants can greatly help as sometimes serotonin levels in the brain need to be readjusted. You may need to try different anti-depressants to find out which one works best for you, but as I can attest when you find the one that works it will be like the sun came out brighter than it has ever been and you will will feel better able to cope and be much happier. Anti-depressants can also help with anxiety issues and you may find you do not need to even go the benzodiazepine route, which would be ideal. No one should have to go through life depressed when all that is needed is a balancing of the serotonin in our brain, and is exactly what the anti-depressants will do as well as help curb the anxiety. I hope this helps, and good luck to you!! Please see 2 articles that may be of some help….
If you have been diagnosed with anxiety, chances are, you have been prescribed a series of drugs that might work, but they might make you feel worse in the process.
Typically, when you are diagnosed with chronic anxiety disorder, your doctor will skip right to a pharmaceutical solution while overlooking your diet and other health factors. As patients, we accept the diagnosis and the medicine with the hopes that it will make us feel better.
Unfortunately for many, it doesn’t.
Common Anxiety Drugs
SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor)- these can include generic names such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine and sertraline.
SNRI (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor)- SNRI’s include venlafaxine and duloxetine.
Tricyclic antidepressant- these include amitriptyline, imipramine and nortriptyline.
How They Work
SSRI’s, SNRI’s and Tricyclic antidepressants all work by blocking the reabsorption of serotonin or norepinephrine by certain nerve cells in the brain. They can improve your mood dramatically which “covers” the symptoms but don’t usually address the underlying cause of the anxiety.
Success Rate and Side Effects
For many people diagnosed with anxiety disorder, the success rate of pharmaceuticals isn’t very high. With the best anxiety medications only seeing a 75% success rate, most anxiety drugs are much less successful with recorded results being as low as 20% for some patients. When you factor in the side effects, of which there are many, a pharmaceutical solution isn’t a good solution at all.
Some of the more common side effect associated with anxiety medications can include:
- Nausea And Vomiting
- Weight Gain
- Sexual Problems
Side effects that are uncommon, but do still occur can include:
- Thoughts about suicide or dying
- Attempts to commit suicide
- New or worsening depression
- New or worsening anxiety
- Feeling very agitated or restless
- Panic attacks
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
- New or worsening irritability
- Acting aggressively, being angry, or violent
- Acting on dangerous impulses
- An extreme increase in activity and talking (mania)
- Other unusual changes in behavior or mood
The list alone is enough to give anyone anxiety and it should, some of these side effects can be life threatening!
The Benefits Of Drug Free Coaching
Before you accept your diagnosis and begin taking a course of anti-anxiety medications, know that there is a better way to get relief from the effects of anxiety disorder. Drug free anxiety coaching can help you feel better without drugs by showing you how to create a self-care routine that, when combined with effective coaching, could rid you of anxiety forever.
From diet and exercise, to meditation and stress management techniques, there are so many better approaches to resolving anxiety than taking pills.
If you have any questions please comment below 🙂
Common Treatments for Anxiety
Anxiety is a difficult thing to live with. It can affect your relationships and overall quality of life. The good news is, anxiety tends to respond to treatment. Here are some of the more common treatments for anxiety.
Behavioral therapy is about just that – behavior. It is not designed to delve into the patient’s past, or explore underlying causes of the patient’s anxiety. It does, however, help the patient identify patterns of thinking and behaving, and how those thoughts and behaviors are connected. The goal is to help the patient manage the problem.
This kind of therapy teaches the patient to have rational responses to stressful situations rather than negative, self-abasing responses. Cognitive therapy helps the patient face – and therefore overcome – the irrational thoughts and beliefs that bring on an anxious response.
While there are several anxiety medications on the market, most experts agree that medication should be used in conjunction with some other sort of therapy. Medication is generally considered a short-term help, and, depending on the type of anxiety exhibited, is not a long-term solution.
This is basic, but effective. Exercise causes the brain to release endorphins, the “feel good” brain chemicals that help you relax and feel happy and content. Exercise also uses your muscles and promotes good circulation. Daily exercise is best, but even regular exercise several times a week has proven helpful.
-Meditation or Relaxation Techniques
Like regular exercise, these treatments need to be practiced regularly. They can help release muscle tension. Meditation and relaxation also promote centered, calm patterns of thought.
While most of us think of a patient lying on a couch with a psychiatrist swinging a pocket watch in front of the patient’s face, modern, legitimate hypnosis is practiced differently. Performed by a hypnotherapist, hypnosis puts the patient into a deeply relaxed state. While the patient is in this state, the hypnotherapist suggests techniques and methods for managing the patient’s anxiety.
This treatment basically teaches you how to recogize your body’s anxiety symptoms. It “tunes you in” to your body’s cues so that you can recognize an oncoming episode of anxiety. If you can recognize its onset, you can learn to stop it from getting full-blown.
This usually involves talking to someone, and is sometimes called “talk therapy.” Therapists help the anxiety sufferer understand and identify what is going on, which then enables the sufferer to manage his or her anxiety.
In my experience, yes. More than 20 years ago, I lost my mother, which was painful beyond belief. Shortly thereafter, I had a number of very unpleasant experiences at work, and was targeted by a new supervisor who disliked me for personal reasons. I had to change jobs more than once. And the next two places were even worse.
I began to be very preoccupied with my situation. I kept going over what had happened in my mind, trying to understand it, trying to see if it was my fault, and trying to figure out how to stop it from happening again.
I became so anxious I was having difficulty functioning.
I will be forever thankful to the physician who helped me. At the time I was an RN, and reluctant to ask for this kind of help.
It took several different tries, but I found medication that helped. Then it was a long road out of nursing, a profession uniquely full of bullies and petty people who have gotten ahead.
Yes, the medication helped. I don’t know where I would be today if I had not had it. My quality of life was terrible.
I finally came to understand that the world is full of many mixed up people, and quite a few others are stupid. And a small number are evil.
Today I am thankful for my experience. And thankful for benzodiazepines and SSRI’s, which I no longer need.
Mine does but everybody’s body is different so you might have to try a different couple of types of anxiety medication before you find one that works for you I know they try not to prescribe the benzo it’s because of the pill epidemic nowadays and they try to use other remedies instead like one medication is Buspar and that doesn’t work at all for me I take klonopin and that’s what works for me and that’s what I’ve been on for quite some time now nothing else has worked and I’ve tried and researched so many different anxiety medications it’s ridiculous so it’s everybody’s body is different and how the medication reacts in your body is different from say you to your friend so you just have to try it give it at least two weeks because usually medication takes two weeks to actually get into your system and take effect and if you’re still not feeling anything or any release in two weeks I will go back to your psychiatrist and I would ask them to try and prescribe you something else anxiety is not fun I understand that and sometimes it can feel like you have a bomb that’s ready to explode just in the pit of your chest or your stomach so when you talk to your psychiatrist about your anxiety medication make sure you’re completely honest with how severe the anxiety is how you feel when the anxiety kicks in how it affects you in your ability to maintain your day or maintain working the rest of your shift at your job so on and so forth things like that
I am here to say that , yes, medication does actually help with anxiety. As you saw I am bipolar and have borderline personality disorder. At times I have very high levels of anxiety. I was given lorazepam for the anxiety but didn’t like the dulling effects of it so always went off it.
I also have an autoimmune disorder and Lupus. The autoimmune disorder is a bad skin conditions that is exacerbated by anxiety. Everytime my anxiety got bad this condition reared its ugly head. It got so bad at one time I had to be in hospital. (medical). I begged my psychiatrist to do something about my anxiety and he put me on a medication named “Buspirone”. After a week or so my anxiety came way down and I started to feel great. My skin condition came under control. I find there are no real side effects with Buspirone either. It doesn’t make me drowsy or feel lifeless…just much less anxious and angry. (I swear I do not work for the makers of Buspirone..lol).
Everyone is different. This seems to be a very non-invasive med that really helps, so I recommend, to anyone with an anxiety problem, to at least try it to see if it is right for them. Hope this helps and good luck to you.
I take 1mg or one half (0.5mg)of Ativan as needed. When I feel anxious or a panic attack coming on Ativan starts working within 30mins or less. Once it kicks in I’m better than fine and this can last a full day for me. I don’t feel tired at all. I don’t feel a warm relaxing feeling over my body or like I’m in a fog. I don’t feel numbed and doped out of my mind. Instead, I feel like I am coming out of a fog. That I am completely in the present moment and I can actually focus and enjoy what I am doing. I can read something once and understand the first time compared to when I’m anxious I could read the same thing 20x and still have no idea what I read. I have been on so So so many other “anxiety and depression” medication and have never experienced any relief. It can be highly addictive because one, it works and two if you abuse it you will build a tolerance, and if Doctors see dependency you can be instantly taken off of it. This means while you take the drug you want to work with other outlets to help work through the root of your anxiety via therapy, EMDR therapy, yoga, etc. I wish this wasn’t such a hard drug for so many people to get that really need it. If you work with a Doctor and make your case you might be able to get a prescription but beware of the chance for addiction.