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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4310
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hi: In general how long does it take your brain to "repair

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Hi: In general how long does it take your brain to "repair itself". In the last year in a half I was taken off lexapro and put on xanax er to control my anxiety and depression. Because i took it sporadically I was beginning to have to drink and take the xanax to keep my anxiety at bay. Eventually I hit rock bottom and had to get off the xanax completley. Around New Year my doctor put me on lexapro. Lexapro is now generic and although it made things better it did not do the job it did the first time I was on it. I stopped taking that about 4 months later. I have now started working out daily (intense) i.e. swimming..spinning etc. I am trying to eat healthier and practice meditation. Compared to not being able to leave the house without having a major panic attack things are better...however I am in a constant depersonalized anxious sort of state. How long can I expect this to go on? I really want some positive news and to know this is normal because I am getting very frustrated and concerned this is never going to get better.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 11 months ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

It is a difficult question on how long it takes the brain to repair itself. One think, if your anxiety is caused by a decrease or increase in certain neurotransmitters in your brain, then it is possible that your brain may correct that or not, and if not then medications help correct that biological cause for the anxiety, but I assume you may not want to go that route.

DoctorZ :

Now if your anxiety was caused by certain events in your life provoked an anxious response, then the brain can definitely correct itself with certain techniques.

DoctorZ :

So I would like to ask, did anything happen in your life that precipitated the start of your anxiety?

DoctorZ :

By the way the increase in intense exercise most likely increased the amount of endorphins in your system, decreased the cortisol, which contributed to less anxiety, so that is definitely a good, healthy, and natural way to help your lessen your anxiety.

Customer:

loll well.....easy answer...I have had panic/anxiety disorder since I was 16....

Customer:

complicated answer...in the last two year

Customer:

was in a car accident broke three limbs, filed bankruptcy, moved out of my hometown for the first time ever in life, moved in three different houses in last year, lost the guy I was dating to prison for twelve years, grow medicinal marijuana for a living and with that an facing a felony charge right now which I go to court for on Thursday, lost my grandpa whom I was close to, switched from lexapro to xanax and had to stop xanax and woah as little of a dose I was on WORST EXPERIENCE in my life...

Customer:

the best my anxiety ever was, was two times in my life. One when I was on lexapro the very first time about 4 years ago. Then right after my car accident when I was living at home with my parents, but my parents eat very healthy and they were cooking my food....that is why i was so dissapointed that the generic lexapro just didn't work as well

DoctorZ :

Okay you are right that is definitely a complicated answer, but I would say all of those events have definitely caused you stress and most likely increased the severity of your anxiety/panic disorder that you had diagnosed when you were 16.

DoctorZ :

So the Lexapro worked well for you, but not the generic. Have you considered trying another SSRI that may work work for you just as effectively and one that is not generic?

Customer:

correct the lexapro was literally like a wonder drug, and then I went on it this time and it just didn't work as effectively....i have not because honestly it took me till I was 28 years old and missing a trip to cancun with my family because of my anxiety to try out lexapro.....so with that being said do you like any particular ones...

DoctorZ :

Well Paxil and Zoloft are particularly effective in that area if you want to go with medication. There is also something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that has a great and effective track record in helping individuals manage their anxiety symptoms for the long term

Customer:

ok great...I have been seeing a therapist at university of michigan since i moved here....i'm in cbt now, but had much more success with act therapy when I was in bg

DoctorZ :

ACT Therapy is really good too

Customer:

so just a quick question...i understand exercising and eating right isn't going to be a quick fix like zoloft would...but in general do you know how long it would take for your brain to restructure? for example a neuropshychologist I once saw said that he doesn't like to neuro testing on individuals who don't abstain from alcohol for like 3-4 months because it takes that long for your brain to really obtain normal cognitive functioning....

DoctorZ :

Well Zoloft probably takes around 8 weeks to achieve its maximum effectiveness, so it also not a quick fix. The brain is very adaptable and can create new neural pathways all the time, so when you ask about restructuring it is really is a complicated question and it all depends on the individual and how severe any "damage" is done to the brain that requires restructuring.

Customer:

interesting ok

Customer:

thanks for your help

DoctorZ :

When you do a neuro-test, like an fMRI, is will show areas of the brain that light up and darken to certain emotional stimuli. Some are considered normal and some are considered abnormal. If the medication achieves its full effectiveness and you no longer feel as anxious or depersonalized anxious, then it should be "restructured" fully, but there really is no timeline that I can definitely say on when this will happen

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4310
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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