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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 10643
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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I suffer from extreme anxiety disorder and

Customer Question

I suffer from extreme anxiety disorder and depression...along with chronic pain, which is under control right now. I have taken benzodiazepines for many years in different dosages and been able to function. Now I am being denied that medication by the Kaiser HMO and am looking for a private psychiatrist who is willing to prescribe them and monitor me. Any names or advice? I cannot believe that the most widely-prescribed anxiety medications in the world are no longer available to those who truly need them to function.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

*This website DOES NOT constitute treatment and only provides information and advice in a Q&A format. For treatment (therapy and/or medications) you must go to a licensed professional in your area. Please note that anything said here is not private or confidential, as this is a public forum.

Hello and thank you for using JustAnswer. Unfortunately while benzodiazepines are effective in lessening anxiety, they are a controlled substance and must be used only for a short period of time. Also given that you are above the age of 60, recent research has shown that the use of benzodiazepines for those above the age of 60 can result in significant increase of risk of developing dementia, so all of these reasons are why the benzodiazepines were not being offered to you. As for trying to find a new private practice psychiatrist to help you gain a prescription for a benzodiazepine, I would recommend looking for a psychiatrist that specializes in treatment for anxiety and panic disorders, but because the psychiatrist has full discretion on what to prescribe for you, there is no guarantee that he/she will prescribe you a benzodiazepine. And if you go into the session asking for a benzodiazepine right away, the psychiatrist will think you are medication seeking and will deny it as well, so unfortunately you are just going to have to try different psychiatrists to see which ones will be willing to prescribe it or not...but like I said with that increased dementia risk, it will be difficult for you to gain a prescription for a benzodiazepine as most professionals will not want to risk you getting dementia.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that is the argument (and that is what is usually is) I get from my doctors at Kaiser. I thank you for your response. Prilosec is also causing dementia, I guess, so I can't take that either? What are they using instead for people with extreme anxiety? I have been offered stuff for bi-polar, psychosis, etc. I have neither of these problems. Whey are these drugs less dangerous than the benzos? They work so well. It is hard to know what to do. I have been offered Trazodone. Will that work as well? I feel totally abandoned.
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Benzodiazepines have a much higher risk for causing dementia than Prilosec according to current research and why it increases the risk of dementia is not entirely clear. Other medications you can consider would be Pregablin or Gabapentin as these act in a similar way as a benzodiazepine, are used off-label to treat anxiety/panic, are not addictive, and will not significantly increase your risk of dementia. Trazodone, Mirtazapine, and other antidepressants can be used for treating anxiety and panic, but you would have to take them every day and not as needed because that is not how these medications work as they need to build up in your system. Mirtazapine is considered the superior antidepressant for anxiety though, so you may want to start with that one.

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

I hope this helps to provide you some guidance on this issue. Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns as I would be happy to continue assisting you regarding this issue.

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