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  • Do you take medication for anxiety?

    Posted by rian-dindzans on May 15, 2024 at 9:03 pm

    Hi all, my therapist and I have been talking about the possibility of me going on anxiety medication. I know a lot of us have all sorts of anxieties just because of how much we have to deal with, and I have been trying to figure out the root of my anxieties – if it’s external, it’s something I can work on and change with the help of other people, but if it’s internal, I am not opposed to using medication to help. I could definitely use a change either way, because the types of anxieties I have are completely irrational and terrifying, but knowing they’re irrational in the moment doesn’t actually help. I’ve had anxiety attacks in the middle of the night because I’m scared that if I fall asleep, I won’t wake up, even though I know I’m totally fine and will remain fine in the morning.

    I think there’s a stigma against mental health medication in general, which makes it difficult to figure out who to talk to about it, especially when you hear about doctors themselves swearing against “relying on” medication (I’ve seen people call meds “crutches,” as if that’s a bad thing. The whole point of the existence of crutches is to help you walk? If meds are mental crutches then that means it helps me… Make it make sense). So I figure the best people to ask would be other people with SMA. My mom and I aren’t sure what sort of effects it might have on my physically, if it would affect my energy/muscles, etc. I’ve messaged my doctor, but if anyone has firsthand experience taking anxiety medication while having SMA, I’d really appreciate the chance to hear your stories as I make my own decision on it. If it’s a little too much for a public forum, I’m open to receiving private messages about it too!

    deann-r replied 1 month, 3 weeks ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • susana-m

    Member
    May 16, 2024 at 7:51 pm

    There’s a lot to unpack here.

    Yes, we’ve got a complex set of circumstances where it’s hard to tell what the original root of anxiety is. What I found is that it’s both external and internal, how you choose to navigate that is up to you.

    I’ve made real progress by addressing several fronts at the same time: talk therapy, medication, journaling, nutrition & other strategies. Modern medicine likes to compartmentalize things but the reality is everything is connected, more than that, everything is interconnected. The act of smiling triggers chemicals in the brain that combat depression while alcohol has been shown to be a depressant.

    Thanks to athletes talking openly about mental health, the stigma has eased. One thing that changed with Covid is better access to mental health care. Your primary Dr has a simple set of questions to figure out what kind of Rx would be most helpful for you. Lexapro is my friend, others prefer clonazepam or Zoloft. I haven’t noticed any negative side effects but your mileage may vary. It has stopped the paralyzing anxiety which gave me the bandwidth to apply talk therapy.

    On another note, I know people with emphysema have a very specific kind of anxiety that is secondary to compromised respiration. The “irrational” anxiety you’re describing could have a very rational origin. Might be time to have a sleep study to measure respiration at night..

    • rian-dindzans

      Member
      May 23, 2024 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing and for your input! I do currently have a therapist who works with me on this among many other things, and she has been helpful. I will be continuing to see her either way I choose. It’s true how everything is connected, there often is never one single solution to mental health struggles. I heard back from my primary care doctor this week and she basically said shrugged her shoulders in doctor speak and told me to talk to the pharmaceutical consultant. It’s comforting to know you didn’t experience any side effects, though everyone’s different and I might.

       

      I’ve had sleep studies before, and I do sleep with a CPAP – brand new actually as the old one expired and insurance switched it out. While I’m not sure of the origin of the night anxiety, I’ve known people I was close with who passed away overnight/in their sleep within the few years, and I think that made what was originally a frequent but mild fear a more sharp and intense fear. Especially knowing how some health problems can sneak up on us, like pressure sores. Being informed about the medical risks we face is definitely a double edged blade.

       

      What you described about how the meds helped you get therapy is basically my goal – a way to manage the anxiety so I can actually take care of myself by sleeping. I’m really glad you found things that work for you, and I hope I can find that for myself. I feel like a basketcase of medical and mental problems oftentimes, and trying to address any of it can feel overwhelming. I’ve been trying to tackle one thing at a time with my therapist, but everything needs urgent attention all at once.

      • deann-r

        Member
        May 24, 2024 at 4:08 pm

        I hope you find what works for you. You mentioned using CPAP at night. Might I suggest talking with your doctors about switching to BiPAP. For those of us with SMA sometimes the constant flow of CPAP can be difficult to breathe against. BiPAP is usually preferred.

  • susana-m

    Member
    May 16, 2024 at 8:50 pm

    Yes, we’ve got a complex set of circumstances where it’s hard to tell what the original root of anxiety is. For me, it’s both external and internal. Modern medicine compartmentalizes but the reality is everything is interconnected. Smiling triggers brain chemicals that combat depression while alcohol has been shown to be a depressant. I’ve made progress by addressing several fronts at the same time: medication, talk therapy, journalling, nutrition & other strategies.

    Thanks to athletes talking about mental health, the stigma has eased some. One thing that changed with Covid is better access to mental health care. Your primary Dr has a set of questions to figure out what kind of Rx would be most helpful for you.I haven’t noticed any negative side effects with Lexapro but your mileage may vary. It has stopped the paralyzing anxiety which gave me the bandwidth to apply talk therapy.

    On another note, I know people with emphysema have a very specific kind of anxiety that is a result of compromised respiration. The “irrational” anxiety you’re describing probably has a rational origin. Might be time to have a sleep study to measure O2 levels at night.. At the very least, don’t dismiss it.

  • chantell-venter

    Member
    May 16, 2024 at 10:39 pm

    I’m taking Xanor in the morning to calm me down and Serlife at night which is an antidepressant. I have anxiety and depression. These medications made me feel a bit sleepy for about a week but after that week I’ve had no other side effects. I didn’t have any side effects affecting my SMA. I also see my psychologist every 3 weeks. All of this helps me a great deal.

    • rian-dindzans

      Member
      May 23, 2024 at 5:59 pm

      Thank you for sharing! It’s good to know about those possible side effects. I can deal with sleepy. I’m glad you found it helps you!

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