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Doc wrote me a script.

Old 10-19-2017, 01:51 PM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by rmeatgt350 View Post
This is something I know far, far too well. I was on Lexapro for 15 years. I started drinking about 5 years after starting Lexapro. SSRI's are powerful drugs, they can and WILL change your brain chemistry. For some people they are lifesavers, for others they are as bad or worse than alcohol.

Coming off them can be *INCREDIBLY* difficult, people (like me) have debilitating panic attacks and other symptoms that are often worse than the ones we went on them for. Some people feel they can also lower your inhibitions, which can be a dangerous thing for people living with addiction.



That said, if you feel you need them, then as others have mentioned, these drugs can literally save lives for people who have real mental illness problems. I would just personally advise someone to really make sure they need them before they start, and stay in close contact with your DR. Good luck.
Hey rmeatgt!

Thanks for that great insight. From everything I have read so far I think it's best for me to hold off until like you said, (if I really need them). Which im not sure I do. I've been under the influence for so long up until 16 days ago that I dont think that my brain even knows if my anxiety is self induced from alcohol or I actually have a disorder. I guess time will tell.

Brighten
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:02 PM
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Good choice, I think.

Just wanted to mention that my primary also prescribed Klonopin (for three months!) and asked me a week later if I needed refills on anything! On the other hand, she refused to prescribe Antabuse because she didn't know anything about it.

I was rather flabbergasted by this and expressed some of that to her. Left shaking my head and thinking, "Shouldn't PCPs know about addiction?" Some time later, she suggested to my psychiatrist that perhaps Campral would be more effective for me than Naltrexone was. I guess she did go educate herself. My little contribution to her other patients...
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:04 PM
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Oh and also, BMU - try meditation.
There is a free course you can download called Headspace. It's easy and I really love it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
Good choice, I think.

Just wanted to mention that my primary also prescribed Klonopin (for three months!) and asked me a week later if I needed refills on anything! On the other hand, she refused to prescribe Antabuse because she didn't know anything about it.

I was rather flabbergasted by this and expressed some of that to her. Left shaking my head and thinking, "Shouldn't PCPs know about addiction?" Some time later, she suggested to my psychiatrist that perhaps Campral would be more effective for me than Naltrexone was. I guess she did go educate herself. My little contribution to her other patients...
Yep, that's another of my big concerns. My dr is young and I just had that gut feeling she had no clue either about addiction or the treatment of it. It wasnt even so much the young part, just the lack of knowledge to my questions was a bad indicator.

Thanks again!!
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Obladi View Post
Oh and also, BMU - try meditation.
There is a free course you can download called Headspace. It's easy and I really love it.
Meditation? I never thought of that as something I could do, simply because of my personality (or what it was anyway). I know nothing about meditation but I will look into it for sure.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by BrightenMeUp View Post
Hey rmeatgt!

Thanks for that great insight. From everything I have read so far I think it's best for me to hold off until like you said, (if I really need them). Which im not sure I do. I've been under the influence for so long up until 16 days ago that I dont think that my brain even knows if my anxiety is self induced from alcohol or I actually have a disorder. I guess time will tell.

Brighten
I can offer a bit of personal insight on this. When I went on Lexapro it was not for panic attacks or anxiety. It was because I was having some anger management issues and 15 years ago DRs prescribed SSRIs for darned near any mood issue. Going on those is one of my biggest regrets, the panic started when I tried to get off them.

Now how is that relevant to you at all? Well, I can tell you than in my case alcohol has most certainly made my anxiety worse. If you're recently sober and are experiencing mild to moderate anxiety, in my non professional completely anecdotal almost certainly worthless opinion, there is no way Id go on a long term SSRI. Your anxiety is almost certainly as a result of the recent sobriety, and I would be amazed if it didn't go away.

...and, because I know it would make me feel better, if you do have a panic attack the klonopin will help you, that's the one for acute panic, not the "get on it and be stuck on it forever" one, just don't abuse!
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:26 PM
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Yup, meditation, it helps with anxiety for real. Anyone can do it. You can just Google "Headspace," I'm sure. I actually found it via a "One Moment Meditation" tutorial on youtube.

I tend not to meditate when I'm anxious, but doing it even 3 minutes/day is helping me to deal with the bad stuff when it comes along. And it has helped me to switch to deliberate breathing automatically when needed. That in and of itself is worth it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:39 PM
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rmeatgt and obladi.

Excellent insights and info!! Thanks so much !!! I take all these comments to heart.
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Old 10-19-2017, 03:05 PM
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I echo the statements about SSRIs being hard to discontinue. One in particular I have been on for many years and it essentially gave me my life back. However...withdrawals from this drug can be quite hellish even with tapering. And benzo withdrawal is no joke either from what I've read.
Don't start medicating yourself unless you really need to.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:10 PM
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I second linners. I was prescribed Lexapro many years ago, but it made me feel like a zombie. I was switched to another SSRI, which was effective. However, I have been unable to wean off of it. I take the minimum dosage, just every three days or so, but the head zaps, anxiety, and irritation I experience from attempting to totally withdraw always make me go back to it.
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Old 10-19-2017, 04:36 PM
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Hi Brighten - I have no experience to share - just wishing you clarity as you make your decision.

If you weren't fussed on the young dr, maybe a second opinion could help?


D
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:10 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by ed2715 View Post
I second linners. I was prescribed Lexapro many years ago, but it made me feel like a zombie. I was switched to another SSRI, which was effective. However, I have been unable to wean off of it. I take the minimum dosage, just every three days or so, but the head zaps, anxiety, and irritation I experience from attempting to totally withdraw always make me go back to it.
Yeah it's rough. Some people are able to come off of it with only slight tapering and don't seem to experience any severe symptoms but it's different for everyone, and how long you've been on it seems to play a role too. Also discouraging if you end up with a doctor who thinks withdrawals are some kind of myth. They do make liquid forms of some these meds which are helpful as tapering should be done really slowly and over a long period of time. Liquid lets you step it down in very small increments.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:17 PM
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My experience with SSRI's is diametrically opposed to the examples given above. I've been off and on them for various lengths of time for years, and have had little issues with discontinuation given a modest and supervised taper, which should be done with nearly any psychiatric medication.

Klonopin is NOT the first line for panic attack, it's more used for generalized anxiety disorder and seizures. Xanax is the gold standard for panic. In any event, there are other medications for anxiety that don't have the fierce addictive potential of benzos.

SSRI's can also be used for anxiety, and their use can be short term in early sobriety.

I agree that you should be asking for a second opinion from a specialist. PLEASE get a referral from your PCP for a psych consult, preferably with someone who is also an addiction specialist.
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Old 10-19-2017, 05:27 PM
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I truly appreciate the thoughts, insights, experiences, and concerns that have been posted! I know meds can be a touchy subject just like alcoholism is as well.

You all are awesome!!

Brighten
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Old 10-20-2017, 12:29 AM
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Hi Brighten, you sound like you are really thinking through this carefully, good for you. I will chime in and say that while medications haven't been a lifesaver for me- in as much as I don't think they are absolutely critical to my well-being- I do take a mood-stabiliser and in the past have taken anti-anxiety and anti-depressive medications. I think modern medicine is a gift and if something helps with little or no side effects, why not? I don't think of it as "cheating" or being weak or anything else. I took lexapro for quite a while and found it to be a helpful medication with no side effects. It really evened me out. I also was prescribed valium, a benzo, and took at as prescribed for over a year. I recently quit that cold turkey and will never, ever accept another addictive drug, but that is just me. Some people can take them with no issue, but I did feel an anxious dependency on the medication which I felt like was getting into unhealthy territory. I started to think too much about my dose, if and when I could take an extra dose (as was directed by my doctor, I was free to use the medication "as needed" in addition to my daily dose). The mood-stabiliser I am on now, a small dose of slow release lithium, does not "pull" me or call to me. It is just a medication I take each day to keep me calmer.
I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist who specialises in this stuff. Your family doctor might not be so informed whereas this is literally the only thing a psychiatrist does. One caveat, some psychiatrists are better than others.... I know all too well about that....
Good luck whatever you decide.
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Old 10-20-2017, 12:49 AM
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Linners80 is spot on IMO .

GPs just don't have the time to get to the root cause of our addictions and any mental symptoms caused by them . They have their prescription pad in their hand the minute you mention anxiety/depression . Put another way they offer band aids .
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Old 10-20-2017, 05:18 AM
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Just my experience here:

I take a well supervised rx regimen and am totally honest with my dr about how I feel - we have added and adjusted some meds during my 20 mo (tomorrow) of sobriety. I take: Trazadone and seroquel for sleep (the latter has an anti-anxiety component); ativan (a benzo, and I am very careful that I am not completely out by the end of the month and most days, I take 1 (I seem to get a headache if none) or 2, and when I had to go without for two days bc of an rx issue, I was fine except the headache and a little excitability); campral, an anti-craving med for maintenance (Note- I have never had any physical cravings so I figure why not stay on it); paxil for mild depression (since last Dec) and I did have an experience where again, scripts were messed up by insurance and by day 3 without, cold turkey, I was panicking and distraught as all the serotonin seemed to have been drained from my body); and I take lamictal (lamotrigine) as a maint med for a pre-sobriety dx of BPD that doesn't seem to present now.

This works for me. The only one I really need to watch (and do) is the ativan since it is a benzo, and I have learned to judge when and how much (if there is a range prescribed like take 1- 1 1/2) to take as I have gotten more in tune with my body, mind etc. Also....through AA I have an arsenal of tools built to "handle" life so turning to meds that are "as needed" is less automatic than it was early on.

You mention uncertainty that your doctor had experience or was familiar with your situation- I know that having a psych who is knowledgeable about addiction is a big deal to me.
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Old 10-20-2017, 06:17 AM
  # 38 (permalink)  
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Brighten,

I have to chime in. I have been on the above meds for a long period of time and went to rehab 2 years ago for the above mentioned, plus some.
My experience: it took months to get off the benzodiazepines. It was horrible. Just horrible.

Be careful. A month script may lead to another, then bam, your body soon becomes physically addicted. It's a vicious cycle.

Just be aware, that yes, you can become physically addicted.

If you can tolerate it, give your body a chance to heal a bit longer

Please be careful.
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Old 10-20-2017, 10:13 AM
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Just my experience; I'm prescribed xanex for anxiety/panic crap. I take them when I need them and do not abuse them. Yes.. they over prescribe me. I toss the leftovers in the garbage disposal now(drunk me would sale them). There's NO way I could function on my 'prescribed amount'.. I'd be a zombie! Try and tough it out for a while and see how you feel,then go from there. I've never been dependent on drugs(i also smoke pot occasionally still),but I did anything you can think of except for shooting up(steroids excluded). Go with your gut. I've seen a lot of my old friends hooked on pills and it's as bad if not worse than stopping drinking.
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Old 10-20-2017, 02:39 PM
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Thank You everyone!!

I made up my mind I am definitely gonna hold off on these meds. Maybe look into seeing a psychiatrist if needed and also practice some of the things that were mentioned to me in this thread. I just gotta make the time to do these things, im a bad procrastinator..

You guys and ladies are great!! So glad I mad this thread.

Brighten
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