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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I have been struggling with severe panic attacks and anxiety

Customer Question

I have been struggling with severe panic attacks and anxiety disorder for the past 6 weeks. I've been on 10 of Prozac and .5 of Ativan for nearly a month. I have only had 5 good days. I have taken Effexor in the past and was considering changing since the Prozac hasn't seemed to work, but now after reading so many horrilble blogs about this addictive medicine, I'm worried I shouldn't take it. However, I am becoming nonfunctional...fear has consumed me. Any other medication requests?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Medication is very helpful if you are feeling that your anxiety and panic are interfering with your ability to function in daily life. And it sounds like that is what is going on in your case.

Getting your symptoms to a manageable level so you can get treatment to reduce or eliminate your anxiety is vital. If you feel you cannot function, then any other treatment options won't help.

Whenever medications are used for treatment, it is very common for people to need to try at least one or two different medications or more before finding one that helps. This is because everyone's body chemistry is different. So if one medication works for one person, it may not work for another or it might even cause adverse side effects. So don't be discouraged. You will find the right medication for you.

Here are some of the more common medications for anxiety:

Xanax (alprazolam)
Klonopin (clonazepam)
Valium (diazepam)
Ativan (lorazepam)

These medications are known as tranquilizers. They help to slow down your system and help produce a calming effect.They are also fast acting. As a result, they are very popular and often the first line of medications tried for someone with anxiety disorder. But they do have unwanted side effects such as slowing down reflexes and thinking ability, making a person feel foggy or even drunk. This can impair a person's ability to function in such situations as driving.

Anti depressants can also be used for anxiety disorders. Prozac, the one you are taking now, is an example of an anti depressant. Others include Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. These work by regulating serotonin levels in the brain to elevate mood. They can take up to 4 to 6 weeks to establish full effect in the blood. Side effects include nausea, sleepiness and weight gain. Withdrawal is also an issue, requiring a doctor's supervision.

Another possible mediation is Buspar. It also works to increase serotonin in the brain like anti depressants do. It takes up to 2 weeks to work. But it has less of a sedating effect than other mediations. It also has low risk of dependence.

Once you establish a mediation that works, therapy and self help is essential in overcoming anxiety. Individual outpatient therapy, support groups, learning about anxiety and self help all can help you recover. If you would like recommendations, I would be happy to help.

I hope this has helped you,


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Are you currently working with your doctor to change your medication? It is recommended with the medication you are on. If so, you may want to consider changing the class of medication you take if you feel the one you are on is not working at all.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I will be out of town from Monday, May 28th through Monday, June 4th. Please note that I will be unable to respond to any emails until my return.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for letting me know. But you may want to let the moderators know since the Experts do not send the emails, Just Answer does.

Thanks again and have a good trip!