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Have spent so much money on supplements for anxiety.....almost headed to get some meds...

post #1 of 105
Thread Starter 

I'm quite honestly fed up.  I'm so sick of the days where I'm so anxious I want to lay in bed and cry.

 

Most of my days lately have been good.  I get one or two days every 10 or so that my anxiety is through the roof.  Then right before my period it escalates and I end up with a week straight of pure hell.  

 

I've spent so much money, money that we don't have, on supplements claiming to cure anxiety, and I have yet to find one that actually works.  I bought The Linden Method, and yes, at the time it'll reduce my panic attack, but I can't carry my MP3 player everywhere so I can listen to it in when I'm on the verge of an attack. 

 

Yesterday afternoon an attack hit me out of left field.  Hubby, kids and I had a great day.  Went to watch my son skate at school, had a great afternoon, and then all of the sudden I felt like I couldn't breathe, chest was tight, I was super dizzy, nauseated, and I just burst into tears.  My poor hubby had no idea what to do with me.  I ended up laying in a warm bath for 2 1/2 hours and bauled my eyes out.  The attack ended at about 3 hours, but I was left with the icky residual anxiety and today I just feel like I'm on the verge of an attack.

 

This morning i was going to go to the walk in clinic to get medication.  But i didn't and now the clinic is closed.  I just hate medication.  I don't want to cover up any problem with a bandaid (medication) but at the same time, living like this sucks.  Before I had a panic disorder I could just up and go anywhere I wanted.  Go on a little trip without the kids with my DH, lay down and watch a few hours of tv without battling a feeling of panic, lesireuly browse through stores.  I hate being like this.  

 

My good days I feel really good.  Sometimes I get a few little bouts of mild anxiety but it's not even enough to slow me down.  But I still can't travel far without a panic attack.  We used to go out of town at least once every couple of months, now we haven't gone for about 6 months.  I don't like being seperated from my kids and now with them both being in school, one full time and one part time, it sucks.

 

With perscription meds, we get 80% of it back through medical.  With supplemental meds and vitamins we get zilch back.  I literally have thousands of dollars of supplements on the top of my fridge.  

 

I just don't know what to do.  :(

 

 

 

ETA for anyone new reading this thread.  I'm now on perscription medication (cipralex) and doing wonderful.  I've updated this thread after starting medications, so if anyone is curious, browse through the thread.  


Edited by babygrant - 3/27/11 at 8:33am
post #2 of 105

hug2.gif

 

I think it's time to try prescription meds. I know that this is a 'natural family living' site, but there are times when modern pharmaceuticals are called for.  When you've tried supplements, good self care and exercise and they don't work, it's time to look to traditional allopathic medicine.

 

If it helps, I've been on Paxil for anxiety for a while. Without it, I was a mess (not sleeping, panic attacks, constant thoughts of anxiety going around my mind). On it, I've got resources to cope I'm on a low enough dose right now that I do sometimes get a little extra anxiety at the time of my period (actually it's a couple of days before, as the hormone levels drop).

.

I would love to be able to do it with supplements, but for me, they do not work enough. It's OK to use medicine. Really.

 

Think of it this way. If you had diabetes or  high cholesterol, you would first try diet, exercise and supplements, right? But if they didn't work, would you be willing to take modern pharmaceuticals? Most likely. Sometimes your genes are just against you, no matter how good the rest of your diet and self care is.I worked with someone who had terrible heart disease, despite having a great diet, and being a marathon runner. His dad died at 45 from heart trouble and he and his brothers all had genetic predisposition toward heart issues. He's lived longer than his dad, but only because he's on some pretty major heart drugs.

 

There's a great stigma against using pharmaceuticals for mental health issues. But, there is a need for them. They shouldn't be the first thing tried, but you've tried the other things. It's not your "fault" that you need medicine and they can bring you relief.

 

I would recommend, however, that you seek out a psychiatrist if you can. The best combination for mental health issues is both counseling (probably not done by the psych) and medicine.

post #3 of 105

My 14 year old has an anxiety disorder, so my that is where my experience comes from.


Have you tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)? This is a specific type of talk-counseling that helps you learn how to re-program your thoughts. That would be my very first suggestion.

 

Next -- there are several books that contain the same ideas as CBT, and you could work on these principals on your own. Because your situation is extreme and limiting you right now, I think working with a counselor would be idea to help you get back on the right track. There are books that are very mental-health and science based, and there are books that are kind of new agey. Either can work just fine, it's really a matter of what feels better to you. One of my favorite books is You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay, but it is little new agey for some people.

 

Last -- finding a form of body work that feels comfortable to you can really help. Yoga, for example. In yoga, you work on some of the same skills that are taught for getting through a panic attack, such as breathing deeply and slowly and connecting to the moment.

post #4 of 105
Thread Starter 

Well The Linden Method is CBT based I believe.  I've looked for a CBT practitioner here, and there's none.  I went to counselling a few times but hated it.  I tried a couple different ones and the only one left is the mother of a girl I used to be friends with, so not willing to open myself up in that situation.  


I do yoga, I am frequently on my treadmill or bringing the dog for a walk.  I just ordered The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure, but they won't get here for a few more days and today is just one of those shitty shitty days where I just want to feel like this anymore.

 

My kids have a birthday party in a couple of hours so I might go to emerg and ask for a perscription for something.  Maybe.

post #5 of 105

Have you read any self-help books? Can you get counseling paid for through medical? Books that helped me are Triumph Over Fear (years ago) and The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook. For counseling, look for someone who teaches Cognitive Behavioural therapy. 

 

The only herbal remedy that helps me is Valerian Root, but I don't like to rely on it. I'll take it during long trips in the car because I'm a nervous traveller, or if a panic attack hits at bedtime. I have a prescription for Ativan, for situational anxiety (like traveling) but I'm afraid to take it. LOL! (it can be addictive) 

 

Like with so many things, it's important to try to be active, eat right and get enough sleep. If you're on medication for anything else, look into whether it could be contributing to you anxiety. I noticed a huge reduction in my anxiety after I went off the birth control pill, for completely different reasons.

 

If you've started avoiding certain places or activities, try to come up with a strategy so that you can still do them. I often use google earth when I'm planning an outing. I go to street view and look at the stores around the bus stop I'll be getting off at, I practice 'walking' down the street, I look at the front of the building I'll be going to. I find a coffee shop I can go sit at if I need to collect myself. I try not to run through all the scary things that could happen while I'm out, and focus on imagining myself calmly going about my day. You almost have to brainwash yourself into believing it will all work out (because it pretty much always does!)

post #6 of 105
The mind/body connection is so strong with anxiety disorders & particularly panic disorders. For me it was much easier to work on the 'body' part of it than the 'mind' part. So things that help me are frequent cardio exercise, deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation, hot showers... anything that kind of breaks the physical/mental cycle. It sounds so simple but for me it works wonders. I figured out a lot of these techniques on my own, through tons of reading (plus I have a degree in Psychology), but I know there are therapists out there who can teach you these methods. For me the physiological component of my anxiety was so strong, that no amount of talking etc. would help. Even really stupid things like drinking a glass of water help me -- so simple that it doesn't seem like a solution, but you can't hyperventilate while drinking...

I've been on anxiety meds and I don't think I will ever go back on them. I do think they can help (and for me, they were absolutely necessary at the time) but they have side effects... I feel like several years of them really did a lot of damage to me. However, you could even do just a few weeks or months of meds while you learn other methods of coping. It's really hard to learn anything when you're mind and heart are racing and your head is spinning. So you might consider medication as a short-term solution that will calm you enough to figure out a long-term solution. I will say it took me a LONG time to get to the point I'm at now (med-free and pretty well-controlled anxiety), but I had been dealing with this pretty much since I was born so there was a lot of work to do!

Is your anxiety related to anything in particular, or does it just seem to come out of nowhere? Can you pinpoint when it started and/or what caused the first panic attack?
post #7 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

The mind/body connection is so strong with anxiety disorders & particularly panic disorders. For me it was much easier to work on the 'body' part of it than the 'mind' part. So things that help me are frequent cardio exercise, deep breathing, deep muscle relaxation, hot showers... anything that kind of breaks the physical/mental cycle. It sounds so simple but for me it works wonders. I figured out a lot of these techniques on my own, through tons of reading (plus I have a degree in Psychology), but I know there are therapists out there who can teach you these methods. For me the physiological component of my anxiety was so strong, that no amount of talking etc. would help. Even really stupid things like drinking a glass of water help me -- so simple that it doesn't seem like a solution, but you can't hyperventilate while drinking...

I've been on anxiety meds and I don't think I will ever go back on them. I do think they can help (and for me, they were absolutely necessary at the time) but they have side effects... I feel like several years of them really did a lot of damage to me. However, you could even do just a few weeks or months of meds while you learn other methods of coping. It's really hard to learn anything when you're mind and heart are racing and your head is spinning. So you might consider medication as a short-term solution that will calm you enough to figure out a long-term solution. I will say it took me a LONG time to get to the point I'm at now (med-free and pretty well-controlled anxiety), but I had been dealing with this pretty much since I was born so there was a lot of work to do!

Is your anxiety related to anything in particular, or does it just seem to come out of nowhere? Can you pinpoint when it started and/or what caused the first panic attack?


Will touch on this  as soon as I get back.  Have to bring the kids to a birthday party, and going to look around at the library.

post #8 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

hug2.gif

 

I think it's time to try prescription meds. I know that this is a 'natural family living' site, but there are times when modern pharmaceuticals are called for.  When you've tried supplements, good self care and exercise and they don't work, it's time to look to traditional allopathic medicine.

 

If it helps, I've been on Paxil for anxiety for a while. Without it, I was a mess (not sleeping, panic attacks, constant thoughts of anxiety going around my mind). On it, I've got resources to cope I'm on a low enough dose right now that I do sometimes get a little extra anxiety at the time of my period (actually it's a couple of days before, as the hormone levels drop).

.

I would love to be able to do it with supplements, but for me, they do not work enough. It's OK to use medicine. Really.

 

Think of it this way. If you had diabetes or  high cholesterol, you would first try diet, exercise and supplements, right? But if they didn't work, would you be willing to take modern pharmaceuticals? Most likely. Sometimes your genes are just against you, no matter how good the rest of your diet and self care is.I worked with someone who had terrible heart disease, despite having a great diet, and being a marathon runner. His dad died at 45 from heart trouble and he and his brothers all had genetic predisposition toward heart issues. He's lived longer than his dad, but only because he's on some pretty major heart drugs.

 

There's a great stigma against using pharmaceuticals for mental health issues. But, there is a need for them. They shouldn't be the first thing tried, but you've tried the other things. It's not your "fault" that you need medicine and they can bring you relief.

 

I would recommend, however, that you seek out a psychiatrist if you can. The best combination for mental health issues is both counseling (probably not done by the psych) and medicine.


Totally agree with all of this. Talk therapy plus meds was what got me through the worst of my anxiety and I ended up weaning off the meds and having a few wonderful anxiety-free years without meds, just from the break it had given me....

And honestly, all those supplements aren't much different than doing meds, except that the med was specifically designed to work on your brain at the exact part where the anxiety "button" is getting pushed. Supplements are much more hit or miss, although they CAN do great things. There is no shame to saying, okay, the supplements aren't working, let's try something else.

hug.gif
post #9 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Is your anxiety related to anything in particular, or does it just seem to come out of nowhere? Can you pinpoint when it started and/or what caused the first panic attack?

 

The panic attacks come out of nowhere.  The anxiety is feeling anxious about having a panic attack.  I start feeling anxious and then I get even more anxious wondering if it's going to turn into a full blown attack.

 

I started having panic attacks after I rolled my dads ATV down a 150 foot bank.  I was honestly lucky to have came out with it with a minor concussion and scrapes and bruises.  I remember driving home from work just a few days later and was driving along a highway I'd drove for 10+ years.  All of the sudden I came to the part of the road where there's a steep embankment on the side and I FREAKED out.  I was all of the sudden terrified I was going to drive off the bank!  DH and I have gone hunting in the bush before and I remember driving up the side of a mountain and thinking we were going to roll off the edge.  It never escalated to a panic attack, but I was really scared and really anxious.

 

The first time I had a full blown panic attack I was a  passenger in the vehicle with DH driving.  We were driving to the optomotrist to pick out glasses for my youngest son.  We'd just found out the day before that he couldn't see.  I had a full blown attack on the way, and I had to leave to go sit in the truck while DH picked out ds's glasses.  I repeatedly called DH on his cell and told him we needed to get to the hospital NOW because I felt like I was having a heart attack.  The attack then turned into extreme abdominal pain which I later found out was a gallbladder attack, but I'm not sure if the anxiety brought on the gallbladder attack or if the gallbladder attack brought on the anxiety.  But that was the start of this horrid cycle.

 

post #10 of 105

I agree with the PP to avoid beating yourself up about needing meds.  Some people's anxiety is elevated enough that natural stuff, while it will help, doesn't cut the mustard.  Would you look down on a friend for needing meds?  No, nor should you criticize yourself for the same.  It sounds like you have done a tremendous job dealing with some very significant challenges.  Be proud of how you've done, and use tools when needed.  Nobody ever criticized a carpenter for using a hammer instead of his head, you know?

post #11 of 105

A great big YEAH THAT to everything LynnS6 said.

 

After my daughter was born, I struggled terribly with depression and anxiety.  I ate right, I did yoga, I worked out - I still felt horrible and frightened.  The thing that made the difference for me was medication.  Sometimes we do all the natural things, and all the self-care and self-help things, and we still need help.  (Sometimes we are too troubled to do the self-help and self-care things, and then we need help too - you do not have to run through a checklist and prove that you've tried everything else before you can honorably try medication.)

post #12 of 105

I don't think there is anything wrong with going on meds when you really need them!

 

You don't have to think of them as a band-aid, you can think of them as a temporary thing to get you through it while you do other things to get to the root of it.... like go to counseling, read about it, and just generally work through it. 

(Actually that is kind what a band-aid does, if you think about it in positive terms.  A band-aid is great because it protects a vulnerable part of you while it heals and gets stronger, and then you don't need the band-aid anymore.)

 

I did have terrible anxiety, for a few years, to the point that I had physical medical issues due to the huge amount of stress I was under- it related to a specific traumatic event in my life.

 

I know this doesn't work for everybody and I hesitate to say it here, but honestly what snapped me out of it after those years, was praying and feeling like God took it from me.  I believe in Jesus and what He said in the Bible, and He talks a lot about healing, and honestly that's how I got through it and over it.

Sorry, because I know that offends some, and that is not my intent at all- just being honest with my experience. 

 

post #13 of 105
For me, counseling has been really helpful. Have you considered EMDR? It sounds like your panic attacks started because of a traumatic incident (the car accident) so EMDR can help. I have PTSD, and have found that while some of my panic attacks are preceded by an obvious trigger (something like, for you, driving in a car) some of them had no discernible reason. but as we have treated the underlying trauma, ALL of my panic attacks are improving- less often, less intense etc. EMDR is a specific technique for working with PTSD, but any one who works with trauma would be a good choice to try.

Are you saying you've tried ALL the counselors in your area (save the one woman)? Sometimes people aren't aware that there are different types of therapist- some are psychologists, but there are also LMFT (marriage and family therapists) LPCs (licensed professional counselors) and various social works such a MSWs that work with individuals in therapy. At least here, they all have their own seperate listings you have to check under in the phone book. And, someone new might have opened up in town since you last looked. If you've tried everyone, what about looking in neighboring towns? Were they all terrible, or were thee other reasons you decided not to continue? When I first started therapy, I was very scared and uncomfortable with it, but things got better with time. Looking back, some of it was the particular therapists, but other times it was that I needed time to become comfortable in therapy etc.


One of the previous OP's suggested valerian, this works for me as well. I've been using a valerian tea, and have lately not even had to use that often. As for the recording, if it works why NOT carry an MP3 player on you? They are small and unobtrusive, and if you panic in a place where you can go to the car, or find a quite place to sit and listen, then its a tool you can use. Obviously not all tools work in all places, but if you can use it sometimes, its a good step.

Medications for anxiety do work, but they should not be taken long term. And they do not cure your anxiety- you'll be doing nothing to treat the underlying problem. Taken long term, anti-anxiety meds can actually cause an increase in anxiety and panic. And they can be VERY addictive. Its best to use them for a short time, and only when needed- not long term, or as a daily med that you take the same time every day.
post #14 of 105

B-complex vitamins are supposed to be really good for regulating mood. 

 

Also gallbladder attacks bring on anxiety for me, too, so I don't think that's all that unusual.  A good vitamin E (with mixed tocopherols) helps my gallbladder a lot. 

post #15 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post

Medications for anxiety do work, but they should not be taken long term. And they do not cure your anxiety- you'll be doing nothing to treat the underlying problem. Taken long term, anti-anxiety meds can actually cause an increase in anxiety and panic. And they can be VERY addictive. Its best to use them for a short time, and only when needed- not long term, or as a daily med that you take the same time every day.

Advice like this, on a message board with no sources whatsoever, should be taken with a huge grain of salt. My research of the brain and how anti-anxiety medicines work in the brain do not support all of these statements---these are really things to be discussed with a trained psychiatrist...
post #16 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oubliette8 View Post

For me, counseling has been really helpful. Have you considered EMDR? It sounds like your panic attacks started because of a traumatic incident (the car accident) so EMDR can help. I have PTSD, and have found that while some of my panic attacks are preceded by an obvious trigger (something like, for you, driving in a car) some of them had no discernible reason. but as we have treated the underlying trauma, ALL of my panic attacks are improving- less often, less intense etc. EMDR is a specific technique for working with PTSD, but any one who works with trauma would be a good choice to try.

Yes... it sounds like you've had a few specific traumatic incidents, and maybe working through these will help your overall anxiety & cut down on the panic attacks. Just the fact that you're able to identify when this all started etc. is a big step in the right direction. I'm not you & I'm not giving 'medical advice' but if it were me, I think I'd consider taking a daily anti-anxiety med and finding a therapist who's experienced in treating PTSD, weaning off the meds once I'd developed many other coping techniques...

I took anxiety meds from age 16 through about age 22 I believe. It was a long time (and it had effects on my overall health as well as short-term memory and kind of made the world less... colorful & exciting...) but I do not think I could have gotten through those years without the meds. I wasn't able to function -- couldn't go to school/work or drive -- and I certainly wasn't able to do any real 'work' in therapy because the anxiety was just too much in the way. I was dealing with a lot of other problems (anorexia, depression, abuse...) but I will tell you that the anxiety was by far the most difficult to conquer. Something about the way it messes with your mind just makes it so hard to self-treat. There are lots of options for anxiety meds -- some can be taken daily, long-term, and others just during an acute attack, and sometimes treating other physical issues (i.e. I needed heart medication) could help as well. Sometimes a low-dose antidepressant can help... Obviously you'd have to talk all the options over with a doctor or psychiatrist, but something like Valium is NOT the only (or necessarily best) option. One of the medications I took was not supposed to be given to teenagers and was in a dose 4x what adults normally took, but it was the only thing that worked for me -- you should be able to find something milder & with fewer side effects than what I experienced... Don't think of it as covering up the problem with a bandaid... it's not covering up the problem, it's taking off some of the weight of it so you can properly work through it.

BIG HUGS!
post #17 of 105
Thread Starter 

Hmm, I hit multiquote, but I don't see any of the messages on my reply.  Hmm.....

 

Thanks so much for the replies everyone.  I sat down with DH last night and we talked.  Since I had a bottle of 5HTP still kicking around, I decided I'd try a lower dose and see if that helps.  My doctor originally told me to try 150 mg in the morning and 150 mg at night.  Of course I had major nausea, heart palps, and I think it fueled my anxiety.  So today I took 50 mg right before breakfast, and I did get nauseated for about an hour, I am actually feeling a bit better now.  Not 100% but better than I was when I woke up.  I had ordered The Mood Cure and The Diet Cure off amazon about a week ago and it's supposed to get here on Tuesday, so I'm hoping I can last until it gets here, so I can take a quick peek through and see if there's any recommendations there that will help me.

 

That being said, I'd accepted that this may not work.  DH and I are both on board that perscription meds may be in order, and I'm ok with that.  Before I read all of the replies I was ashamed.  I felt like a failure to put it nicely.  I should be able to control my intrusive thoughts but I can't.  But the post that really hit the nail on the head is the one about genetics.  When I told my mom how I was feeling she told me about all of my relatives with panic disorder.  Both grandmas, lots of aunts, an uncle, my mom and my sister!  my mom or sister have never told me about it before!  Would've been nice so I didn't feel so alone, but that's ok.  So I'm going to give it a few more days until the books come in and then I'll take whatever comes my way.

 

Thanks so much everyone.  *hugs*

post #18 of 105
Quote:
Originally Posted by babygrant View Post

it's supposed to get here on Tuesday, so I'm hoping I can last until it gets here,


Are you suicidal?

 

What are you afraid will happen between now and Tuesday?

 

I agree with the general tone of this thread -- it's time to try meds. You don't have to suffer. There's really not much of a difference between taking supplements and taking meds, except that with meds, you work with a doctor to get the dosage right, have better quality control, etc.

post #19 of 105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by babygrant View Post

it's supposed to get here on Tuesday, so I'm hoping I can last until it gets here,


Are you suicidal?

 

What are you afraid will happen between now and Tuesday?

 

I agree with the general tone of this thread -- it's time to try meds. You don't have to suffer. There's really not much of a difference between taking supplements and taking meds, except that with meds, you work with a doctor to get the dosage right, have better quality control, etc.


No no, no thoughts of suicide.  I've been to that point before when I was in a severe depression about 10 years ago, and thankfully haven't been there since.  I would've looked for pharamceutical help long long ago had I felt like that.

 

I'm not afraid of anything happening between now and tuesday....the feelings of anxiety just suck SOOOO bad.  Can't even sit down comfortably for 2 minutes.  

post #20 of 105

 Let me assure you that CBT does work, but you have to find someone who is trained in that modality. That will most likely be a psychologist, not a MSW or a LFC, or a psychiatrist. I am not familair with the Linden method and there was *nothing* on their website that explained the content of their treatment, so I can't tell you if it is CBT or not. You  may need to call around and find someone who works in this modality. I have seen patients who have not been out of the house in years, have not set foot in a restaurant in 15 years, who cannot ride in a car, who have multiple intense panic attacks each day - get significant improvement with CBT. This may be a source for finding a CBT therapist near you: http://www.beckinstitute.org/Library/InfoManage/Guide.asp?FolderID=200&SessionID={F992178E-0749-482B-9EEB-FB808CFDE4B0}

 

A very good book is: The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, by Bourne. Used copies are available on Amazon usually for just a few dollars. Earlier versions are not much changed from the recent version, so getting an older edition is fine.

 

In terms of meds there are two broad classes: anoxilytics and SSRI types - The anoxylitics are things like Klonopin - which cause a fairly rapid response and are, for lack of a better term, sedating. They are often taken on the onset of a panic attack, or taken 2-3x a day. They can be habit forming. A few people develop addictions to them, where they take more than they should (often because their anxiety is not being well managed) and they are habit forming. They can cause rebound anxiety when they wear off. Personally, I prefer to treat patients who ARE NOT taking this type of medication because it my experience in interferes w/ effective therapy and does not treat the underlying source of their anxiety. (Its a bit like taking an asprin for a headache - reduces the pain but doesn't treat the cause of the headache).  SSRI type medications (Paxil, etc.) are longer acting, work in a different manner, and often are helpful for generalized anxiety, but may not do a lot for panic attacks. A bonus is that they also help w/ Depression, which often presents w/ anxiety.

 

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