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Razzle

Anxiety disorder prior to drugs

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Razzle

I had a severe anxiety disorder in my early 20's and then recovered for decades. After benzos then the AD my nervous system would have longed for the old anxiety.

 

Since those of us with anxiety can get triggered from painful or strange symptoms and these drugs do all of that and more I would appreciate hearing from others with an anxiety history how you keep from spinning up into an anxiety state.

 

I saw myself do it last night. As my symptoms increased so did my anxiety and I went into a full blown feed-back loop.

 

Anxiety alone can be nearly as bad as a drug withdrawal and it certainly does not help the nervous system calm and heal

 

R

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squirrel

i went on Paxil for panic attacks, which i would add were nothing compared to this hell. I too would like to know the answer.

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Phil

Same with me - withdrawal is nothing compared to the social anxiety i originally went on meds for.

 

The way Im learning to deal with all my negative emotions is through acceptance. It doesnt mean I like or want these feelings, but I dont try to control them and get extra anxious about them. Trying to control emotions just leads to more stress.

Its a very hard lesson to learn, because my mind tends to naturally ruminate and worry about everything during w/d, so I have to keep distracting myself, and reminding myself to accept the feelings.

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Punarbhava

Same with me - withdrawal is nothing compared to the social anxiety i originally went on meds for.

 

The way Im learning to deal with all my negative emotions is through acceptance. It doesnt mean I like or want these feelings, but I dont try to control them and get extra anxious about them. Trying to control emotions just leads to more stress.

Its a very hard lesson to learn, because my mind tends to naturally ruminate and worry about everything during w/d, so I have to keep distracting myself, and reminding myself to accept the feelings.

 

 

Excellent post Phil!

 

Resistence = increased stress = disempowerment

 

Acceptance = reduction of stress = empowerment

 

 

Pun

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Razzle

Pun

 

How do you not have resistance when the symptoms are so severe you are holding on for your life - they are 24/7 and have gone on for years with no improvement. I am scared to face another day!!

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bronxboy8

My symptoms are 24/7 for years to, when you get no relief at all it does become scary at times.

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squirrel

I am wondering if people who suffered from anxiety ( hence the need for the drug) before Paxil withdrawl take longer to recover.This thought is going round in my head all the time.Surely the old anxiety will still be there?

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Maybe

Hello Squirrel,

 

if you had anxiety problems before you took the pills and if you did not treat the anxiety, the chance is high that it is still there, yes. The pills only mask the problems, they do not heal them.

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squirrel

the anxiety problems i had prior to withdrawl may have been easier to get sorted but since all the wd terror I have had its made things a whole lot worse.

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alexjuice

I can't say.

 

I was an anxiety sufferer (still am to a degree) but I took so many drugs that I don't know if my case is that useful.

 

I also still take a benzo.

 

It could be that people who are super aware of their environment, super sensitive to social cues, are more likely to have both anxiety and w/d... I dunno. I mention this because there is a 43 year old guy with not-exactly-Aspergers in my therapy group. He says that SSRIs help him understand humor and interact socially, that before meds he didn't absorb social signals around him at all. And, the interesting part... He says he has tried different meds and stopped them (cold turkey even) and then later reinstated on different meds (stimulants & ADs) and says he has never experienced any withdrawal at all.

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Hopeful

Hi Squirrel,

 

I haven't been around in awhile, but I popped in to answer a pm and saw your post.

 

I have learned going through this that anxiety can rear its ugly head in many ways. I believe that the trauma of going through a difficult protracted w/d can kick the flight or fight into high gear for some people. Claire Weekes has an audio book called: Pass throught Panic: Freeing yourself from anxiety and fear was very helpful to me with the residual anxiety from the w/d. It helps you understand how anxiety works.

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angie007

Id like to know the answer to this question also;-

 

As someone who was medicated for GRIEF issues and had zero symptoms, since tapering paxil and now off, have horrendous anxiety, but not the normal type of situational anxiety,

this is the super duper chemical ramped up fear type anxiety??

Can i also assume that when wd is through ( if it ever is) that this will go away also??

as i have tried every method i have learned during my taper and sometimes just nothing works!!!

 

Anyone else noticed that anxiety affects our heads too!!

This type of anxiety produces some very weird feelings in the head.

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Maybe

Hey Angie,

 

As I wrote in another thread I also had a lot of anxiety in the beginning of wd. Chemically induced mixed with "normal" anxiety due to the whole situation. And yes, I had many weird symptoms especially around my head.

 

Now, 24 months out, I have no more anxiety at all. At least not consciously.

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angie007

Awww Maybe,

 

Your telling me that one day all of this does indeed go away????

 

Thank you so much my dear friend, you dont know just how much this means to me, well in fact, you do know as an ex anxiety sufferer,

its cruel, id give anything to end this anxiety i really would.

But... in the meantime, i will struggle through the best way i know how.

Thank you so much

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Honza

I've been thinking about this a lot: Will my body be able to cope with anxiety symptoms in the long term when I'm off meds? Will it withstand the physical stress from the prolonged periods of anxiety, or is this likely going to lead to stroke or heart attack or some other health problems?

What I'm asking is: Are people with anxiety disorder likely to have a normal lifespan if they don't take meds?
See, I don't want to put my health at risk, but at the same time I know what ADs did to me and I'll do my best to avoid them. It's a tough one.

I'm ready to use techniques like meditation and CBT, and maybe some herbs/supplements if my CNS hypersensitivity normalizes. But is it going to be enough?

I guess nobody can really answer this, but I'd like to know your opinion.

Thank you!

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Rachelina

My opinion is yes, meditation and CBT will be enough. I'd also recommend MBCT (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy). I ordered a book which takes you through an 8-week course, and it's been so helpful. Also yoga. Anxiety physically ties your body up in knots, and yoga helps release those knots. I've actually never felt that yoga reduces my anxiety, but I can feel that it is counteracting the physical damage that anxiety does. Best wishes to you!

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Blondiee1915

Hi Honza -

 

Good question . I wonder the same thing. I always analyze what is going on with me if my anxiety is related to WD or it is my regular anxiety setting in . In my heart I believe I can be okay and manage without the medications but while I feel so crappy I find myself thinking that this is me and what do I do now . I started listening to meditation before bed and do some exercise here and there not consistent but I am trying to be better . How are you doing now after being off meds since 2015 ?

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KarenB

You can add Emotional Freedom Technique to the list of tools for dealing with anxiety.  It's my personal favourite.  Plus yoga.  Plus avoiding sugar and caffeine.  Actually - I'd go for a whole nest of strategies.  It's much stronger than relying on one. 

 

And given that ssri's and ssni's often cause anxiety, yep, I reckon you're better off without. 

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Honza

I always analyze what is going on with me if my anxiety is related to WD or it is my regular anxiety setting in.

 

Yep, me too. But for example, I don't think I was as sensitive to stimulants before taking ADs as I am these days after WD. I don't know if I developed this sensitivity because of ADs or if I'd have developed it anyway. I just want to get better.

But it would be good to know if it's WD related, at least to have some hope for it to get better over time...

 

 

while I feel so crappy I find myself thinking that this is me and what do I do now .

 

The same here, I think about it very often. Seems like an automatic negative thought that could be "dissolved" by CBT?

 

 

How are you doing now after being off meds since 2015 ?

 

For about 18 months after WD I've been practicing meditation quite seriously, 1-2 hours a day on average. It helped me tremendously to withstand the emotional instability that followed WD. Through that period I was mild-to-moderately depressed, but meditation helped me to somehow be happy for little things even in the midst of adversity. It was such a strange mixture of depression and happiness! And there was no anxiety whatsoever... I though the anxiety was gone for good, I even forgot how it felt like to be anxious.

 

Anyway, after 18 months, I happened to face many stressors at the same time (death of a relative, exams, savings running low) and I remember after the funeral I accidentally drank a cup of green tea (which I'm sensitive to) thinking it was a mint tea. I soon started to have tinnitus, feeling very anxious, panicky, agitated. Racing thoughts. Worried about my health, did a lot of research around the internet for many days. Looking back, what I think I should have done is to simply accept the situation and don't add to anxiety by analyzing it. Tried some B-complex to help my mood, but that actually made things much worse as I'm apparently still too sensitive to it. WD hypersensitivity again?

 

At that time, I somehow came to the conclusion that I was bipolar (but today I think it was just a panicky thought triggered by anxiety). Anyway, I spent many evenings searching the internet for the best cure for bipolar disorder. The more research I did, the more freaked out it made me. In a few weeks I had trouble with sleep and developed some obsessive thoughts, fear of harming myself, etc. It all developed so fast, within just a few weeks!

 

So at the moment I'm trying to somehow make sense out of it, to see what actually triggered the vicious circle of deepening anxiety, and how to avoid it next time. But first of all - how to escape the current vicious circle. Maybe by NOT trying to make sense out of it (-:

I cannot sit and meditate these days, as I have some back pain problems, and for the same reason I can't do much exercise either - which is too bad, as it would love to boost my serotonin with an aerobic exercise. It helps a great deal!

 

Anyway, I'm going to listen to Pass Through Panic audio CD by Claire Weekes, then do some CBT.

I also hope for my back to get better too... I'm only 28, don't want to spend the rest of my life disabled and anxious.

 

But anyway, the good thing is that I'm not depressed these days. Anxious, yes, but not depressed. Also, today I tried to apply some basic concepts of Claire Weekes teaching, and it seems to already provide some relief (-:

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Blondiee1915

It sounds like you are doing what you should be doing with some set backs.  I also started with some meditation.  My problem is that I am very fatigued I can barely make it through the work day and have to make myself exercise,my body just feels so heavy.  So I listen to meditation in bed, it helps me fall asleep.  Sometimes I zone out and just fall asleep and sometimes I am awake and can do the breathing and actually feel good doing it.  I guess it is better than nothing.  

 

I am also like you, started lexapro in 2008 and still young 32 and want to end this vicious ssri life cycle.  It just sucks that you do not know what to expect, how you will react to any external changes/stress, and how long it will take.  You have been off for almost two years and still struggle.  Some people are fine after a year.  I guess noone knows what happens and we can only hope for the best.  Did you have any good windows at all?  

 

I think the less I search the internet the better it is.  I had all possible tests done and everything tuned out okay.  So I just try to accept it.  The hardest part is that my social life is non existent.  I force myself to go to places here and there but it takes such effort and energy.  I used to be so care free and very outgoing.  I hope that one day it will be the case.  So I guess my advice is that continue with non drug techniques and try to live as normal of a life as possible and be easy on yourself.

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Blondiee1915

Hi Honza - how are you doing these days ?

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Honza

Hi Honza - how are you doing these days ?

 

Hi Blondiee,

 

I have highs and lows. But I believe I can now say that everything I've been experiencing during last about 2 months is just symptoms of generic anxiety disorder which I was diagnosed with as a child. So basically the anxiety returned, but I cannot blame ADs for that. I don't think I'm experiencing any post-withdrawal symptoms any more. The depression I've been experiencing for about 20 months since going off ADs went away and although I feel quite anxious sometimes, I'm no longer depressed.

 

Honza

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Blondiee1915

That's great that depression left . How is your anxiety ? Do you get typical anxiety symptoms like sweatiness racing thoughts lightheaded ? Hopefully you are managing

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Honza

That's great that depression left . How is your anxiety ? Do you get typical anxiety symptoms like sweatiness racing thoughts lightheaded ? Hopefully you are managing

 

I'm trying to address the anxiety using CBT with help from an experienced therapist... we've just started recently. CBT helps me a great deal, as well as audio recordings from brilliant Dr. Claire Weekes - especially "Hope and Help for Your Nerves" and "Freedom from Nervous Suffering".

 

Other things that help me to certain extent are exercise and herbs like lemon balm or chamomile. Since their mechanism of action is similar to that of benzodiazepines, it is advisable to only take them short-term or cycle them on/off to avoid receptor down-regulation. Nevertheless their effect is much weaker than that of benzos.

 

This page was of a great help to me:

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/54028-treating-anxiety-safely-effectively/

 

Yes, racing thoughts is one of the symptoms I'm experiencing during anxiety. And sometimes I feel lightheaded too.

Worries about future, health concerns... especially during mornings and sometimes in the evening.

But I have these "waves" of anxiety usually triggered by some adverse event or something that makes me worry too much about future.

I don't experience much sweatiness though. I've been experiencing it while on Citalopram, but that's quite common side effect.

 

Best Wishes,

 

Honza

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miT

Anyone with anxiety problems, like me, must eventually tackle the root of the problem: your own thought processes. You’ll have to really see that your mind is creating problems instead of solving them. Your mind is not even interested in solving all your problems, it just wants to keep you identified with the thoughts so that it can continue being what it always has been. Do you really think that if all your current problems were magically solved your brain would leave you alone? Really? Absence of thought would mean the death of the ego. Currently your whole life is centered around securing your ego (protecting yourself, assuring the future, controlling how people see you, sounds familiar?), so it won’t just let go. What it would do is creating new problems ("gotta check this"), have you identified with it and you’ll have a life that skippers from problem to problem. Like now.

 

You can’t stop the automated thoughts, so don’t attempt to do that. What you can do is see them as what they are, thoughts, and not lending an identity to it. This unplugs the machine, because your identification provides it with the energy to go on and on.

 

So when anxiety is mounting, be aware that something is pulling on you. Feel the energy in your body as it comes up. Do not transform the energy into mental activity, even though something wants you to. What you’re feeling is real, so that’s a great place to start! If you dare to stay with the anxiety, you have completely bypassed the ego as it’s whole creation is merely a deflection not to go through the pain you’re in. But obviously resistence to pain doesn’t nullify the pain.

And what happens with the anxiety? It resolves much more rapidly because for the first time you didn’t run away from it.

But the main reward: you’re free. You’re not caught anymore in mechanical associations of your brain. You can now react differently to life instead of hard-wired.

 

Only then you can start realizing that your ego, your thoughts, are not helping you anymore, you’re on the path to a life without fear.

 

If you want to know more about this, you could check out the following authors (books or youtube):

- eckhart tolle

- guy finley (for rational people)

 

Obviously meditation also helps to become aware of this.

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Honza

You can’t stop the automated thoughts, so don’t attempt to do that. What you can do is see them as what they are, thoughts, and not lending an identity to it. This unplugs the machine, because your identification provides it with the energy to go on and on.

 

So when anxiety is mounting, be aware that something is pulling on you. Feel the energy in your body as it comes up. Do not transform the energy into mental activity, even though something wants you to. What you’re feeling is real, so that’s a great place to start! If you dare to stay with the anxiety, you have completely bypassed the ego as it’s whole creation is merely a deflection not to go through the pain you’re in. But obviously resistence to pain doesn’t nullify the pain.

And what happens with the anxiety? It resolves much more rapidly because for the first time you didn’t run away from it.

But the main reward: you’re free. You’re not caught anymore in mechanical associations of your brain. You can now react differently to life instead of hard-wired.

 

Thank you miT, that was a very valuable post and I totally agree with it. I can confirm that the mechanism you're describing really works.

 

Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now is a great book.

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