I am so grateful that someone, somewhere, figured out how to control anxiety and panic attacks with medication. Without medicine, I would be in some serious trouble. I feel like I would probably be curled up somewhere, crying, watching life pass me by. Would I be on disability? Would I have lost my job? What would have become of my husband and my kids? Yes, I truly am grateful medicine exists, but they are not perfect and should not be taken lightly.
The two types of medication that worked for me are “Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s)” and “Benzodiazepines”.
According to RXlist.com, “benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for anxiety…they appear to work by affecting neurotransmitters in the brain. One neurotransmitter is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GAMA), which suppresses the activity of the nerves.
Examples of benzodiazepines:
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
The most common side effects:
- Can cause physical dependence
During my uncontrollable panic, I tried all of these, except Diazepam. There was no reason other than it was never prescribed. I certainly did not have a preference, since I had no idea what these medications were, or what they did. Of the ones I tried, the only one that worked was Xanax. Within 15 minutes, whatever feelings of panic or extreme anxiety I was feeling simply disappeared.
I did not experience any negative side effects. I was so wound up that Xanax just made me “normal”, not sedated. I often joked that even at high doses of Xanax, I could probably go dancing all night! I felt dizzy, weak and unsteady from the sensations of panic, so in my case, Xanax took that all away. I just felt calm. It was great! Unfortunately, the body gets accustomed to Xanax and will eventually need higher doses to achieve the same effect.
According to Psychology today, “Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors are a class of anti-depressants prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders. They work by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter, Serotonin.”
Examples of SSRI’s:
- Fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Setraline (Zoloft)
- Paroxetine (Paxil and Pexeva)
- Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
- Escitalopram (Lexapro)
The most common side effects:
- Anxiety or Nervousness
- Nausea and Diarrhea
- Weight loss/gain
- Loss of interest in Sex
- Inability to Achieve Orgasm
I tried all of the SSRI’s listed. These medications are not as straight forward as benzodiazepines. The side effects of the medication mirror the symptoms of the panic attacks themselves! I was left wondering if the medications were actually making me worse! I always doubted whether or not I was doing the right thing by taking them until they started working.
SSRIs deserve their own page. There is way too much that happened from the time I started taking them, to the time I got better. It is the main reason for starting the blog. So many people are afraid to take medication, like I was and there wasn’t much to read about what I was experiencing when trying to take them. Everything I found just told me to stop taking them and that just made the situation more confusing. Stay tuned….
Continue my story here: