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Old 04-09-2010, 12:12 PM
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Anxiety

I've been dealing with anxiety pretty much most of my adult life. I feel like as I get older it is getting worse. There was a period of time a few years ago I was regularly having panic attacks. I've been taking Clonazepam for the past few year, however this past 6 months I started weening off the meds thinking I didn't need them. Unfortunately, the panic attacks started back up. I have an appointment on the 28th for more meds.

My question: Has anyone had lucky conquering anxiety with just therapy? I don't want to be on meds forever but as it is I don't foresee me stopping them anytime soon. Also, do you find your anxiety to come and go, or does it gradually get worse as you get older?
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Old 04-09-2010, 12:49 PM
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I was prescribed Xanax for anxiety when I had PPD, but now I do agree that I get anxiety more that I am older because I never had it before other than when I had PPD. I have just recently noticed it though and I don't take anything for it. I'm afraid to take something for it honestly...oh and my boss who is 60-something years old also told me just about a month ago that his anxiety has really gotten worse as he has gotten older. He is also prescribed Xanax but he only takes it if he REALLY REALLY needs it.

I've never had a panic attack, but I have found that if I am mentally "busy" (like if I have a lot going on that I am interested in) that my anxiety is GREATLY reduced
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:37 PM
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I was hoping that it would go away as I got older, but it definitely feels like it is getting worse. I also know that worrying doesn't cause anxiety, because I rarely worry about much except the anxiety

I do notice that when I have nothing to do but think my anxiety is definitely greater than when I am busy. I'll have to find something to keep me busy until my doctor's appointment.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:07 PM
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I know that worrying doesn't cause my anxiety either

Anxiety is so weird, it never seems to really be caused by anything does it? Its actually kind of like when I'm anticipating something to happen or waiting around for something to happen, but its nothing SPECIFIC that I'm waiting for, its when my mind is bored or just wandering, if that makes sense
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:44 PM
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Lately I've gotten really anxious when driving. I will get to my destination and my heart will be racing and I'll feel weird. I hope I'm not developing a driving phobia
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:20 PM
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Before I got sober, I was on Klonopin three times a day. Had to get off that at rehab and was put on a really low dose of an anti-psychotic for anxiety. Five years later, I'm going off of that. I was in therapy for a few years and I rarely get anxious anymore. I used to be terrified of people and speaking in public, now I can do it with minimal anxiety. My whole life has changed, partially due to therapy, to life experience, and to AA.

Just giving you my perspective and that it is possible, in no way am I saying you belong in a 12 step group! My life is completely different and I am no longer ruled by fear, it is a wonderful thing.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:54 PM
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I was hoping that it would go away as I got older, but it definitely feels like it is getting worse. I also know that worrying doesn't cause anxiety, because I rarely worry about much except the anxiety

I do notice that when I have nothing to do but think my anxiety is definitely greater than when I am busy. I'll have to find something to keep me busy until my doctor's appointment.
This is me exactly!

My anxiety problems started when I was 17. I was afraid to take Xanax (and still am) because of the addiction risks. I will take it if I am having a very bad panic attack, but I only take a quarter of a pill. I found a med combo that worked for awhile, Buspar and Amitriptyline (an older anti-depressant.) I went for 5 years with no major issues, panic/anxiety attacks occasionally, but last February I think had a meltdown. I switched to Lexapro, which seems to work well for me.

I have tried going off of meds many times, but the anxiety comes back. I've accepted that I may be on medication for it for the rest of my life. It's like any other medical problem that you need to take medication for. Some people can do it with therapy, but I've always found therapy just makes me more introspective. I tend to overanalyze everything anyway. I don't need to pay someone else to do it for me.

As far as it getting worse with age, I tend to think it does if it's not under control. The longer you go being anxious, the more likely you are to continue being anxious. Mine started with a minor health issue, and now I have full-blown Generalized Anxiety Disorder as well as mild OCD (no compulsions, but I do have obsessive thoughts.)

I've read some self-help books. The most helpful ones for me were ones regarding acceptance versus change. If you can accept that you're going to be anxious sometimes and be kind to yourself, it really helps.

I think the most important thing for you would be to find a medication you can take daily that doesn't have addiction/tolerance risks. Any quick acting anxiety med will have to be upped eventually to get the same effect.

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Old 04-09-2010, 05:01 PM
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^ I couldn't agree more.

I was just talking about this with a friend. Him and I both suffer from severe panic/anxiety. He said it gets worse as you get older. It makes sense, I found it much easier to fight through when I was in my teens then I do now. My sister had it bad and she conquered hers, but she got help very quickly after they first came on. I hear that anxiety disorders are supposed to have a high success rate. You really just have to force yourself through the icky feeling and keep forcing yourself through until your body realizes not to just "fight or flight" at any time.

I tried medication including Klonopin, didn't work for me. My Mother gets these natural pills called "calms". They work for her but not for me. They make me sleep, lol. Other things such as food allergies can cause panic attacks. Try to see if you can be checked for other things that might be causing them.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:14 PM
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I am Bipolar and I suffer from anxiety too. Doctors in Australia rarely prescribe things like xanax and valium as they are addictive, instead a lot of anti depressants are prescribed and for some people they are quite useful.

I currently take an anti depressant and a mood stabiliser, nothing specific for my anxiety. Over time I have learned what my anxiety triggers are, perhaps if you can pin point these it may help you?
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Old 04-10-2010, 09:10 AM
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it doesnt necessarily get worse as you get older, but most times people have more to be anxious about as they age anyway. i take xanax and know a few other people who do. i have to be on a fast-acting benzo b/c i have ibs that goes with anxiety, so i literally get "sick" when i get anxiety (for littler things even, like exams). there are some antidepressants that are more likely to help with anxiety as well. if you do decide to try meds, its going to be a bit of trial and error, to see what the minimum dose is that gives you your desired effects with minimal side effects. most people are against taking meds (nobody wants to have to take a pill every day), but for some people it makes a world of difference. hope you feel better
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:18 PM
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The past week I have cut down on the caffeine, I was drinking 5-6 cups of coffee a day. Normally this is fine but since my anxiety has been acting up, I'm trying to cut it out completely. It does seem to work, because I notice after drinking caffeine I start clenching my jaws and then my TMJ acts up.

I've been to a therapist for depression, but it really never helped me. As you said All4oldchevy I'm introspective enough. I know what is wrong with me and most of the time I know why, but please just make it go away

I'm coming to terms with that I am going to be one of those people who takes med all the time. One of the reasons I stopped was because I am happier in my life than I have ever been. I figured if I'm happy then I shouldn't have any reasons to be anxious...well that wasn't true. Whether happy or not the anxiety is here to stay for now.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:41 PM
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^That's common. I'm at a great point in my life and still have anxiety. For some people it only comes up during tough times, but for others it's a life long thing. I'm sure you will find something that helps you. The coffee thing is a good idea. I have to cut back when I'm having problems.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:58 PM
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Please be SUPER careful if you decide to start taking Xanax for it. It is highly addictive. I have a family member addicted to it and it is very sad.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:19 PM
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I've taken Xanax before and noticed that the next day if I don't take it I'm very bitchy and irritable. I have virtually no physical dependence on the Clonazepam, mainly just psychological...having one with me is like a security blanket. My doctor said that you don't build up a tolerance to Clonazepam like you will to other benzos.

I remember when he first put me on Clonazepam, he prescribed me 3 pills a day, hell he should've just given me a sleeping pill I find that one a day taken at night works wonders.
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Old 04-10-2010, 11:47 PM
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Please be SUPER careful if you decide to start taking Xanax for it. It is highly addictive. I have a family member addicted to it and it is very sad.
See, that's what scares me about it. My doc gives me one prescription with 30 pills every year and I probably take like 3 of them total.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:01 AM
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See, that's what scares me about it. My doc gives me one prescription with 30 pills every year and I probably take like 3 of them total.
It's good that you are very aware of it. The person I am referring to is prescribed 60/month. And takes all of them.

This same family member had a severe addiction to Meth about 7 years ago and there isn't much difference in side-affects between the two (from the outside looking in).
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Old 04-11-2010, 01:18 AM
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Char you sound exactly like me in terms of your anxiety, except I've never been on any meds for it, but probably should be. I have wanted to go to the doc to talk to him about it and see if i could get some, but in comes the anxiety again and the thought of going to a doc totally sets me off.

I have tried natural pills too like DaisyDuke mentioned and they did absolutely nothing. I've also tried these meditation audio tape things that a bunch of anxiety sufferers raved about, but they didn't really help at all besides give me a tiny bit of encouragement for .5 seconds.

I also found it easier in my teens for some reason... i have no idea why that is... but it definitely got WAY worse a few years ago. I have been struggling with it since i was a kid... i refused to go to school and made up reasons why i couldn't go so my mom would have to call in for me. high school for some reason i was alright... the anxiety didn't phase me as much at all and i only missed school when i actually was sick haha. As soon as I moved up and on with my life though, things escalated a lot. I think it's because the older I got, the more I was realizing things were out of my control and I would have to do things I didn't want to do. My fiance is the only person in my life who knows I struggle with this every day, and he's amazing and understands because he dealt with a bit of it before. I hide it pretty well, my friends have no idea. My mom didn't even know until I mentioned to her one day in the car that I get panic attacks and have terrible anxiety. I don't think she understands though so we don't really ever talk about it.

Lately, I've been trying to force myself to do things that I dread doing which I think helps the most. Mind you, they are simple things, and ridiculous to the average person who can go about their day normally... things like getting into my car and driving, going to a store and standing in line, going freakin grocery shopping (i hadn't gone in over a year, my boy always did it... he's been making me go with him lately). That sounds so funny when i see myself type it. but really, i got so bad over the past 2 or so years that i wasn't even leaving my house. I think the worst thing I could have done was move to the city when I did. the city put everything in my mind on overdrive all the time. Since I've been in this new place (and back in the country where i belong) i've felt SO much better and have been more active here and happier than i have been in years.

So anyways, to answer your first question Char, I personally haven't had any success conquering it. I thought I had, but back it came out of nowhere! So I guess for me it comes and goes. I'd really like it go GO again though for GOOD! I think that just working on little things every day helps too. trying to fix the problem slowly.

For those of you on the meds, does it really make a dramatic difference? Does it change/stop the way you think about things or does it just mask it for a while? I'm hesitant that if I did get meds sometime, it might not actually stop the anxiety at the core :\
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Old 04-11-2010, 10:33 AM
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^So, any benzo (basically a tranquilizer) will stop it within like 10 minutes, but it will come back. It helps when say, you are having such a bad panic attack that you can't sleep or can't function.

Any ssri antidepressant (it will take awhile to find one that works for you), alters your serotonin levels, so should change the anxiety on a biological level. It doesn't change your thoughts and you can still have a panic attack, but you will be less obsessive and less likely to have one. It doesn't make you a different person by any means.

I agree with you Dana, I don't know what I'd do without my hubby.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:03 AM
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I too suffer from anxiety.

My dad suddenly passed when I was 19 and since then I am on an anxiety roller coaster.

It was really horrible for a while and I tried to hide when I had attacks. I finally broke down and told my BF (now husband) and he was awesome! He really helped me with my attacks with out the use of meds. I have seen my doctor a couple of times about my anxiety. She prescribed me some meds that I have just in case, but because they are highly addictive and I am really reluctant to take them. I like to have them for piece of mind in case I have a really huge attack.

I tend to get attacks when I drive too. What really helps me is a phone call to someone. My attacks get so bad because when I start to feel one coming on I dwell and think so much about it. So I find if I call someone (my mom or hubby) I usually tell them I am getting an attack and they change the subject and just talk to me, get me involved in the conversation and pretty soon I start to feel a lot better.

I can't have too much caffeine. I limit myself to a cup of coffee a day, it is hard, but much better than feeling anxious. I try to work out or relieve my stress somehow too. Pilates or maybe walking/ running.

I hope you can get a handle on it. I really hate having them. I can really relate to people who have attacks because I know how bad they suck. I would never wish this on my worst enemy.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:33 AM
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^So, any benzo (basically a tranquilizer) will stop it within like 10 minutes, but it will come back.

I just wanted to address this comment. Most of you know I have bipolar and anxiety disorders and have been medicated for them for quite a while. While I am no professional I wanted to share a little information about the benzo activity time that I have learned from doctors (and other professionals though my work with the Suicide Prevention Foundation.)

A benzo like Klonopin is a slow acting benzo. It has a large curve time. They are used every day because they are slow to start and taper off slowly. Klonopin is not used so much as a panic attack stopper because it takes longer to work. It also has a longer half life and you taper off the dose slowly so you doint have the "addicted" feeling as much.

Xanax is a much quicker working drug. It is used more for acute anxiety attacks because it starts to work quickly, very quickly. But you also can crash from it very quickly too. The half life is much shorter than that of Klonopin. That is why quite often you see Klonopin prescribed for daily use and Xanax for single attacks. Because of the quick effects and crashes this is what can often lead to the addicted. The tranquil feeling does not stay as long and patients often take more and more to achieve this feeling.

Both can be highly addictive as said above me. But I really wanted to share this information because I've been suffering for so long from anxiety and wanted to help others if I could.

Please remember that I am not a doctor, I've just been in treatment for a long time. I hope that some of what I said has made sense to you guys.
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Old 04-11-2010, 11:33 AM
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Another thing to remember, as shown by the response just on the forum, is that anxiety is a really common thing for women. No one should feel like they're alone in it.
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Old 04-11-2010, 12:22 PM
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Nobody should feel like they are alone because they are not. I know a lot of people personally that suffer from it which is why I wanted to start this thread because I know there are others here that need a place to talk about it.

I do find that the Klonopin works wonder for my anxiety. I'm prescribed 2 pills a day but I usually just take one. I'd much rather take one pill daily then have to take fast acting/short lasting ones like Xanax. I guess you could say I feel somewhat high when taking Xanax but on Klonopin I never really notice a mood change other than I'm just less anxious.

Dana I don't know if you can ever get to the core of what causes the anxiety. Some say it could be hormonal, a chemical imbalance or inherited. The meds really helped me. Prior to starting them I was having a few panic attacks a week. I started to become a hypochondriac thinking that every little ache or pain in my body was the death of me. All the worry and stress gave me terrible heartburn I was for sure that something was wrong with my heart. I would worry that I was going to crash whenever I got in a car, and if I wasn't in control my anxiety was through the roof. I went to my GP and he just told me to drink less coffee, yeah I'm sure coffee caused all that I couldn't take it anymore so I made an appointment at a psychiatric clinic. I told the Doc I couldn't afford therapy, also because I didn't think it would be really helpful, so he has me come in twice a year just for meds...it takes 5 minutes. I'm surprised how much one little pill could make me feel 100X better. I can't wait until April 28th so I can get back on them full time. I'd much rather take a pill daily then feel anxiety daily. I am pretty certain all the stress on my body from the anxiety has to be way worse then the long term effects of a pill.
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Old 04-11-2010, 02:51 PM
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Please be SUPER careful if you decide to start taking Xanax for it. It is highly addictive. I have a family member addicted to it and it is very sad.
i kind of wanted to expand on this a bit. xanax (and nearly all benzos) is a schedule IV drug in the US. according to the dea, they have a low potential for abuse. there are people who should not be on them, such as those with "addictive personalities," and with all drugs, they work differently in different people. most people do not have a problem with them. they have also been fairly commonly misused because they are so readily available (ex valium). just wanted to throw that out there so people aren't overly scared to try a benzo if they and their doc think it would be beneficial.
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Old 04-11-2010, 08:20 PM
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Another thing to remember, as shown by the response just on the forum, is that anxiety is a really common thing for women. No one should feel like they're alone in it.
Couldn't have said it better myself Steph. I also think it's great to see people share their experiences and offer support
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:52 PM
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Therapy does help...but only if a person is willing to be open and honest with themselves: it requires a fair amount of self-reflection. Meds can help a person get into a frame of mind where they're open to this sort of self-confrontation: where they can identify harmful patterns in their behavior and/or thought processes, and make efforts to correct them.

All of the above is possible without a therapist and/or medication, but at the very least it takes another person who is willing to actively listen and provide objective feedback. Unfortunately, social stigmas and a lack of a "good listener" can make this way counter-productive. A good therapist will provide an environment free of judgment, and guide you towards the path that is right for you.

As for my personal experience:

I've been through a bit of therapy and through a lot of meds over the years, nothing ever sustained though. To be honest, I've never had an official diagnosis. It seems to bounce between depression, attention deficit disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc, etc. So that's something to take into consideration.

I've had a lot of problems with anxiety, especially recently. Part of it is situation-bound: my current living conditions and where I'm at in general. Part of it's hard-wired though.

I've been taking pristiq and buspar for a few months now, and things have leveled out a bit. I've got a prescription for xanex as well, but I only take it when I absolutely need it, and even then I'll only take a half a pill. Thus, 30 0.5mg pills typically will last me about 4 months.

I certainly don't think of Xanex as a "feel good" drug. If I take it while I'm in a funk, I run the risk of getting into an even deeper funk. It takes the volume down about 2 notches, but not in that dreamy-ooooh-this-is-nice-way, but in a "huh, everything's a little quieter" way. It might just be the way I react to it, but it doesn't feel like a recreational drug to me.

My .02
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