Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Mental Health & HIV

What Do You Take For Anxiety?

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RobbyR:
I have been on Paxil (good and bad) and beta blockers, still get panic attacks though. My doc referred me to psychiatrist so maybe he can give me more expert advice for treatment ideas. I was given some benzos (Klonopin) years ago which helped a lot, more than anything else, but I also have a history of substance abuse (cocaine) but have been clean for 4 years & not remotely tempted to ever use again. So I feel like that's why they don't want to give me benzos cause they're scared I'll abuse them.

But just wondering what some of you guys & gals take for anxiety/panic issues? I suspect I have more going on than just the anxiety but will let the psych sort that out I guess. Paxil works pretty well day to day, but still getting these sudden panic attacks sometimes. I also just started taking Hydroxyzine which helps a bit for my anxiety.

tednlou2:
I'm sorry to hear you're still having anxiety and panic attacks.  While mine have gotten much better, I still have daily anxiety.  The all out panic attacks have just gotten better.  I've had some really bad panic attacks, though.

I am on Prozac, Xanax, and the beta-blocker, Atenolol.  While these have helped, I've not been cured.  I honestly don't know what I would do without the Xanax.  I've been in situations where I was having a bad panic attack, and gasping for air.  Popped a Xanax, talked myself down, breathing exercises, and I'm usually better.  I will still usually feel crappy, because of the flood of adrenaline and other chemicals. 

Of course, benzos can be habit forming and cause all sorts of problems.  I think it is like pain meds.  People should try other things first.  But, if your quality of life is not good, then you have to weigh the pros and cons.  For me, I've not had addiction issues some 5 years later--knock wood.  I let refills expire.  But, many are different and will need more and more, which will lead to running out. 

I wish you all the best dealing with this, because I know how awful it is.  I avoid so many things, because I just fear I will have a panic attack in front of friends.  That's where the therapist comes in.  I see him, to try and deal with that. 

Ann:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) can do wonders for anxiety and panic attacks and many studies have shown that it's much more effective than meds alone. CBT teaches you how to keep the anxiety at bay and stop panic attacks from happening in the first place.

CBT techniques can be applied to a wide variety of situations and practicing the techniques can lead to not needing any anxiety meds.

Rather than getting a referral to a psychiatrist, I would suggest you ask your doctor for a referral to a psychologist who is trained in teaching people CBT. Psychiatrists really only dole out drugs these days.

There are also a lot of books out there on CBT - while reading them can be a place to start and/or a way to keep it fresh in your mind, learning it first-hand in a face-to-face setting is best because a therapist can give you feedback on your progress that you cannot get from a book.

I can highly recommend CBT, so at least think about giving it a try. Good luck!

Cojo:
To add to Ann's comment, I'd also include something called Mindfulness Body Stress Reduction (MBSR) . It has worked well for me to deal with both generalized and acute anxiety. Here's the catch - it really is a discipline that needs to be developed and practiced to fully work; unlike a benzo that is fast acting, works but cannot be sustained over a long period of time. I took a CBT based MBSR course and found it works when applied...Google it and check it out

tednlou2:
I asked my therapist about CBT.  He said that's what we are doing.  Well, while we have discussed what things raise my anxiety, what I'm thinking, and what I tell myself, I am not sure it is working well.

But, maybe it is.  I guess I have learned to tell myself I've had these before, I'm not dying, and it will go away.  But, I mean, it doesn't feel like intense therapy, like I would imagine.  And, when you only see the therapist once a month, it gets hard to get into a rhythm.  I suppose if I told him I need more frequent visits, he may find a way to work me in. 

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