I would love to hear the pros and cons of the different anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs ... I know this probably a huge broad spectrum question ... I'm mainly trying to figure out what I should ask my doctor for me to try. The doc was pushing Zoloft and I resisted since I took it in the past and gained weight and had no libido ... they (the primary and sleep doc) keep telling me that I need something for the stress issues in my life and that would help with the sleep issues ... I'm just not sure which med to even try at this point. The only thing the sleep doc gave me after today's follow up from my sleep study was Restoril or Serax ... basically just something to knock me out but doesn't really treat my symptoms they found on the sleep study, which now she says indicated periodic limb movement and not RLS ... I told her I know I have an awful time settling down to sleep and change positions constantly until the Restoril or Serax kicks in ... and she said that's not really RLS which I understand, but then what am I to take to help me sleep better and get the anxiety/stress a little better controlled without becoming a zombie? I thought about taking a b-complex for stress and some Sam-E ... thoughts?
Hello Sandra - I don't want to get too much into the drug thing here but I will mention Ativan which is excellent for sleep and also for anxiety.
What I am more interested in is your diagnosis from a psychiatrist? I do not trust what PCP's do because M.D. after their name doesn't mean they understand head meds and mental disorders are like. You said you are seeing a sleep doc and your primary. I would like you to see one more... a psychiatrist so that you have a doctor who understands the effects of the meds and how you are likely to react and how long they take to work. They also are more likely to change a med that doesn't work or try to keep you on a med that needs more time to work.
Let me start by saying there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing a psychiatrist. I have been going to psychs for years. After all, they are the head specialists. Now, you will find that among specialties, psychiatrists tend to disagree with one another more than any other medical specialty I know of. But that is the nature of studying the mind. So if for some reason you end up going from Doctor A to Doctor B and both are psyciatrists, do not be surprised if Doctor B comes up with an entirely different diagnosis and medications than what Doctor A had in mind.
As for how you respond to a medication, especially with psych meds, is very individual. This is why Zoloft might make one person sleep for 12 hours a day and someone else will be wired higher than a kite. Etc. A good psych will titrate a new medication at a low dose and watch carefully to see how you respond and is willing to DC it right away if it is causing problems or is simply not working even at a higher dose.
My personal conviction or which I have an almost religious zeal is to take benzos with absolute regard to their addictive potential. Take as low a dose as seldom as possible. I use benzos and I have a great respect for them but I know what they can do if used over a long period of time. For example I take .25mg of Klonopin to help me sleep when I go into a real anxious phase. I try to space it out about every 7 to 10 days. If I took it frequently it would begin to have far less ability to calm me down and help me sleep. That is just the nature of benzos. I do not find that to be true with AD's.
As for sleep and a calming effect, to me the holy grail of psych medications is to find a good antidepressant to do the job. And some AD's do a good job with some people. I am having fairly good luck with amitryptilline which is an old line tryicylcic. Some people do well with trazadone. I understand sinequan is a good one for calming anxiety and sleep but the caveat with it is it can cause tardive diskinesia in some people with long term use. Mirtazapine is an SSNRI with great potential.
If an AD works for you to accomplish these two goals: reduce anxiety and help you sleep, who cares if it is addictive? It is not going to be as addictive and tolerance is far less of an issue than it is with benzos.
The problem with psycotropics is they work differently on people. Your best friend could be taking trazadone and sleeping like a log and you might take it and get nada or find it wires you. There is simply no way to tell how any one person will respond. You might have a pretty good idea what it will do but you do not know until you very carefully test the waters at a low dose and see what it is doing.
Lastly, the interesting side note to a lot of these problems is depression can be an underlying cause and you won't even realize it. Depression can be the cause of insomnia, anxiety, GI upset, and can even mimick borderline bi-polar symptoms.
The fly in the ointment is the RLS or something that resembles RLS that you have. That might be a tough nut to crack but if you can calm the anxiety and get sleep, that problem might eventually resolve itself.
The only thing that I would add to the excellent answers is to try natural relief. If it is depression issues that are keeping you from sleeping, there are several natural antidepressants that many people swear by including St John's Wort, SamE, and 5HTP (which you have to take about 300mg/night). I take that, along with 10mg of melatonin. I am a big believer in natural supplements now, as when you add more prescription medications you exponentially increase side effects such as libido, etc. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for prescriptions, it's just something that I myself am not comfortable with anymore. I think the one thing that turned me was losing over 50 pounds after I got off of Cymbalta, not to mention the rages that I went through trying to get off of it. I was told over and over again that I ate too much, didn't exercise enough, etc., but that was not the case, it was the med.
Best of luck to you!!
Hey girl, Oh my gosh. I just read all of the responses and everything. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Mine is... I agree with Mary (Headstarter) about seeing a psychiatrist. Their was a time not too many yrs ago that I didn't think I needed one either. I grew up in an alcoholic home, with a physically abusive father, watched my sister die of cancer at 12 yrs old, saw my brother almost die many times due to overdrinking, married at 22 to a very abusive husband, became a chronic alcoholic myself, the list goes on and on. But I was just fine. After a few trips to a 30 day rehab, a few trips to the ER due to alcohol poisoning, and add a couple of trips to the Psych. unit for a week. I realized I might have a problem. When I finally went to a psychiatrist, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Major Depression with reoccuring episodes(Bipolar), ADHD (had that since i was little), Major anxiety, Panick attack disorder, and paranoia issues. And I truly truly agree 100% that all of that was and is correct. I think you very well could have PTSD from alot of things, especially you're brother. I am no dr. But it doesn't take a genious to figure that out. You have been through alot hon. I agree 100% with Mary. Only a psychiatrist can do what you really need. And prescribe the kind of medicine you need. To answer you're question, you asked for peoples opinion's on different medications. I took Ambien, Lunesta, Silenor, Hydroxidrine, and Restoril, and Nothing. For me personally, I just started taking Trazadone, and suprisingly it has worked. And I have major insomnia... obviously. Antidepressant wise, Pristiq works great and causes me no weight gain. But for me personally, an antidepressant wasn't enough. I also take a mood stabilizer called Lamictal. And for the axiety/panick issues I take Klonopin and it works great. I know I have to take my meds because if I don't I get all out of wack, and cry uncontrollably, angry, irritable, restless, anxiety through the roof. Have panick attacks I wouldn't wish on anyone. Just ask my hubby. He likes me to stay on my happy pills. lol It's not funny really. It's a very real medical problem. So go see a psychiatrist at least to get an opinion. Tell them all you have went through. What you're feelling like. Tell them you don't want to be put on anything that will cause you to gain weight. I do. I have chronic back pain. And chronic knee pain. I don't need extra weight. They will work with you. Well, good luck hon. I'm here if you need somebody to talk to. Anytime. I wish you the very best. And I'm sorry you had those horrible experiences. Take care, and will talk to you soon. Ruthie
Hello Sandra. There are many of us, the walking wounded. Not our fault we were there when something happened. I always thought I was put in the wrong family. Maybe abducted by aliens or something.
Reliving these profound traumas are called PTSD. The therapist helps us to leave these things behind and change our view from a victim to an adult who can now manage our own life. Psychiatrists have been trivialized on TV. Lots of jokes from comedians. They are the experts in helping us find medication to help relieve the pain of fear and depression.
It takes courage to ask for help. And you have already done that by posting here. A therapist will get you back to loving life which starts with loving you. There was nothing wrong with you. The world you were living in is what was wrong. You saw way too much tragedy, way too young. I did, too.
You talk of suicide? I take that seriously. Get the help. There are many people in your family and friends who care what happens to you. If you won't do this for yourself, please be giving enough to do it for them. Many here have turned their lives around where everyday is not the memory of something frightening. I believe you can do this too. I did. Karen
Vitamins definitely cant hurt, and I love B12. I wouldn't suggest taking Sam-E with an anti-depressant. When the doctor put me on zoloft many moons ago, I actually became anorexic and couldn't eat. I don't think it was the meds, I think it was something I was going through at the time. Also remember that it isn't always 'cured' right away, (depression). It can take awhile before you and your doctor find the right combination and mg's suitable for you. But you WILL find it. Good luck!!!
Hello Sandra, I have very similar issues and am still seeking a sleeping pill or something to help get me to sleep, i go day's without sleep (up to 4). The only one's that have sort of worked were triazolam, and ambien combined with trazadone.
As far as the antidepressants/anxiety - clonazepam combined with zyprexa combined with sertraline has helped me alot. I take the clonazepam 3 times a day and the others only once a day. Im adhd and also take adderall - adderall makes me sleepy and I asked my doctor if I could use it as a sleeping pill - she said no. So Im stuck taking the stupid ambien which doesnt help me at all. I dont want to be out of line here, but I understand why Michael Jackson had an IV sleeping drug. Im almost at that point myself.
I wish you luck and blessings and hope you find something that works for you. Sincerely Fallentim
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