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Medication helps me manage my anxiety – so why are we so scared of it as a treatment?

VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 124Member Pioneering
edited October 2017 in Guest blogs
@VioletFenn is our community ASD advisor but she also has an anxiety diagnosis that she speaks about to raise awareness and break the taboo around mental health.  She is a writer for the Metro and wrote about how medication really helps her manage her anxiety and questions so why are we so scared of it as a treatment?

If you live with chronic anxiety, you’ll be used to people giving you well-meaning solutions. All the solutions are thrown at us – be at one with nature, eat clean, get a dog. We’ve heard them all and believe us, we’ve tried.

Funnily enough, the one thing that people rarely suggest is the one that can really help – medication. Given how well some medications can manage anxiety, why the reluctance? If someone is diagnosed with diabetes, no one would suggest that they should do without their insulin and just get out more, so why is it seen as acceptable to say such things to those of us who suffer with anxiety? And ‘suffer’ is the right word – anxiety can be downright awful.

black and white image of woman in glasses

Most good doctors will recommend the sleeping / walking / eating better methods before they suggest the medicated option. And even when they do suggest meds, you have to find the drug that works for you.

Regardless of the arguments for and against antidepressants, when you have exhausted all the holistic options they are sometimes the only solution – and they can be a very good one.

You can read the full article here.

What are your thoughts on medication? Have you faced resistance from others about taking medication for a mental health diagnosis? Why do you think that some people are scared of medication as a treatment? Let us know your experiences.

Replies

  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 1,003Member Pioneering
    I just lost 15 minutes of typing an answer to this but because I had to move to relieve pain somehow he page went back. Why is it that web pages never retain what is typed in unless you save it?

    I don't feel up to trying again but basically agree with the proviso that my biggest problem is side effect issues.

    I'll try later after I (hopefully) get some sleep and de-stress a little maybe. At the moment I am just angry at myself for being stupid.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • ohalloranohalloran Posts: 4Member Listener
    ny  son wlth nental health lsse stll hears the volces ues takes nedlcatlon thls helps but does not cure he stll hears the volces the oth
  • ohalloranohalloran Posts: 4Member Listener
    the other son has ADHD and feels the nedlcatlon nakes hln worse so refuses to take lt 

  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Posts: 100Member Courageous
    @VioletFenn
    Hello, hope you are well. I was diagnosed with severe anxiety (in addition to other stuff) earlier this year, and my gp referred me to local MH services for counselling and/or cbt; as I was already on quite a lot of medication that zombies me out a bit, I decided to wait on therapy (referred in March this year, and still waiting...) as I was afraid to add to the soporific haziness that had become my daily life. I had to attend both my pip assessment and work capability assessment in the space of ten days recently, (in a very busy, monster-ridden part of town) and my gp begrudgingly prescribed me diazepam for both occasions, and, I have to say, it made an almost impossible task bearable. So, I went back, and asked her if I could possibly be prescribed Diazepam, or something similar, with a view to me getting out among people more often, and she said no lol. 
    So; my position on medication for the crushing and dangerous effects of my anxiety has changed,but I cannot seem to be able to convince my gp that it would be of benefit. Sigh. 
    I attend a 'health group' weekly, and one of the younger lads there tells me he has been prescribed a beta blocker for anxiety, and that it helps when it comes to immediate need; I have no reference point for this, but intend speaking to my gp about it (when I can get an appointment); my hopefulness for the therapy offered by MH services is dwindling with every week that I do not hear from them, so this may be something that would help me in its stead. Stay safe,
    Baz

  • wildlifewildlife Posts: 1,316Member Pioneering
    After 40 odd years of suffering from stress and anxiety I've recently been diagnosed with Complex PTSD and yesterday i had a proper meltdown. A 7 hour panic attack ending up at A & E last night at 10pm with a waiting room full of screaming children. Only to be told there was no mental health dept. or hospital I could go to and was refused any medication to calm me down. Anyhow laid awake all night and saw my GP who had emails from the hospital out of Doctor. Have finally got medication.   
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 1,003Member Pioneering
    I don't think people should be scared of using medication to combat health issues of any sort with one proviso. If, like me, the side-effects are consistently bad then you need to have longer discussions with the GP's to make sure they think outside the box when prescribing. A lot of times they will prescribe the same medication 3 or 4 times, if you have problems, from different manufacturers rather than assuming that it is the medication itself that is the issue. They are also fond of updating people onto newer medications without always checking the failure rates as, I assume, this keeps prescription costs down. It is also important to really be firm with doctors at times because even if you have problems they will try to persist with changing levels and timings of medications rather than moving onto something else.

    For the majority though the process is usually straightforward just remember to apprise the GP of any side-effects but don't go looking for them until you notice something causing you issues. The mind is strong and can induce physical effects on the body if you believe it strongly enough.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • VioletFennVioletFenn Posts: 124Member Pioneering
    @Barrylad1957

    I've had beta blockers on prescription in the past (and indeed, have still got some stashed in the cupboard for emergencies, although I've not needed them for ages). They work incredibly well, as they're fast-acting but also go through your system quickly so have little or no side effects. GPs are often willing to give them in small doses to those who are seriously anxious about driving tests / exams and the like. They're definitely worth investigating in my personal opinion - because you don't need to take them on a regular basis they have far fewer potential issues than many other drugs. 

    Violet
    ASD advisor, Scope
  • mossycowmossycow Posts: 486Community champion Pioneering
    edited December 2017
    I totally agree with beta blockers. About 6 years ago I spoke to my GP after about 15 years of having some bad patches and taking certain antidepressants. They were fantastic therapeutically and got me back on track each time. I wouldn't dream of not taking antibiotics or my asthma inhaler.... So why wouldn't I take a course of antidepressants that helped my brain even out and kill some anxiety that was leaving me unwell.

    However, these came with side effects which ideally I didn't want to have. So my creative Doctor suggested similar, it sounds to your situation, @VioletFenn. I think I've gone through 3 packs in the last 6 years, just there for emergencies when anxiety rears its ugly head. I take one, I watch comedy (the more contravercial the better...) and so far have always felt better. Def worth asking gp about.

    @wildlife   So sorry you've been feeling so unwell. How is medication going? Mine took at least 4 to 6 weeks to really kick in. I got nauseated and asked gp for some tablets for that which helped lower stress and let me get on with life no

    "I'm trying to live like a random poem I read that ended 'to bloom where we are planted"

  • FootlooseFootloose Posts: 21Member Listener
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned here, and yet I am aware from a number of people is one of the reasons why they wish to steer clear of prescription drugs for things like depression and other mental health-related issues, is that of very significant increases in weight and body mass that some of these drugs cause, which cannot be 'dieted' off and can last for many years after they are no longer taking the 'meds' what caused these effects. One hears of drugs being developed and trialled to overcome these side-effects, but I gather these drugs have other side-effects, so are then abandoned. 

    The point is, why hasn't the Pharma industry developed drugs without these side-effects, and is it generally perceived that the benefits of the drugs, outweigh the side-effects they cause, which I would have thought, those who are subjected to them, then get depressed, because their 'body-image' has been dramatically changed, presumably causing them to be prescribed with yet another drug, to deal with the depression that the excessive weight-gain has caused? I can cite at least one person whose weight has increased from just under 8 stone to over 22 stone, (Size 8 to a size 24) and 21 years later, has only just recently been able to get into size 18 clothes. I also get the distinct impression that this doesn't seem to be an issue that medical and MH professionals particularly want to talk about. Maybe there is only a minority of people who suffer as badly as this, but surely in this day and age, a way of testing people's metabolism, to find out if they would become obese BEFORE the drug is given, could be devised? 
  • TopkittenTopkitten Posts: 1,003Member Pioneering
    As regards the weight issue.... we live currently in a society of over indulgence. I have met quite a few people on anti depressants and such medications. Only a percentage of them end up with weight issues and most of those were already having such issues before they went on the medication. The trick, if you can call it that, is to not over eat or drink in the first place. This can unfortunately leave you a bit left out of things because you are not joining in ALL the time with those that do not see the problem.

    I have noticed during MEETUP events that everyone but 2 or 3 drinks themselves stupid and alcohol is notorious for causing weight gain. Recently, at a Xmas meet , those same people ate the bulk of the food provided as well. People look at me oddly for being sober and picking at food rather than scoffing it down but it's like water off a ducks back. I care little for what most people think of me and I guess that is another trick, if you wish to think it so, as so many people now crave the approbation of others.... especially peers.

    Yes, if you have weight issues these medications are likely to compound it but there is always a solution to every problem. You just need to look for it, find it and act on it without worrying about how this appears to others.

    TK
    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
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