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Too anxious to take anti anxiety medication( pregabalin). Please help me.

(8 Posts)
MayorMumbum Mon 10-Apr-17 14:58:27

I have suffered with GAD/Panic Disorder and (severe) health anxiety since I was seven, I'm now thirty and am feeling like giving up. Life is so hard for me at the moment and I'm really struggling to look after myself and my 3 DC's and I think my marriage may be on it's last legs purely because I'm too anxious to be there for my husband.

I have recently been prescribed Pregabalin for anxiety on top of the Sertraline I've been taking for years. The pregabalin works like a dream and is by far the best tablet I've taken for my anxiety. However, because of my anxiety I began to look up the side effects of Pregabalin and now I'm terrified. Apparently the effects of withdrawal have put people in hospital and it can damage kidneys etc.

I'm too anxious to take anti anxiety medication. I know it's ridiculous. They help me, but I don't want to become dependent.

I don't know why I'm posting this really. I've not posted in this section before, but I have no one to talk to and I'm falling apart sad.

AwakeCantSleep Mon 10-Apr-17 15:13:13

Hello there. Hugs to yoy flowers. Anxiety is such a debilitating illness. I suffer from anxiety too, and have been prescribed the same combination (sertraline and pregabalin). The pregabalin has made a huge difference. I'm on 2x 75mg daily. Initially I had some side effects (dizziness mainly, a bit like being drunk without the alcohol), but now I am absolutely fine on it. For me it's quite important to take it at set intervals (I've chosen 10am and 10pm), but not everyone is so sensitive to missing out or delaying a dose.

Can you speak to your doctor about your fears? The thing with "Dr Google" is that you only get to read the horror stories. People who get on fine don't tend to post about it on the internet.

I don't know about withdrawal (haven't tried to come off it yet). I doubt it can be worse than Venlafaxine withdrawal (which really knocked me, it was awful, but I survived smile).

Only you can make the decision, but I'd encourage you to give pregabalin a try purely based on my experience. I am coping significantly better on this medication. Life is more enjoyable. I get more out of therapy, and can now address some issues that previously I was too anxious to even think about.

MayorMumbum Mon 10-Apr-17 15:28:49

Thanks so much for your reply. I really appreciate it.

My main fixation when it comes to my health anxiety is cancer (and I've recently had a real scare so I'm so fragile right now ) and I'm terrified of medication giving me cancer, as silly as that sounds.

I've also never suffered withdrawal from anything and the idea of it terrifies me as well as being dependent on a drug. You are right about Dr Google. My health anxiety and google are not good for one another at all!

But pregabalin is working so well, so it's so hard for me to be afraid of a drug that could honestly save my life. Before I started taking it I was close to a breakdown. I was sectioned after DC2 briefly and I never want to have that experience again sad.

AwakeCantSleep Mon 10-Apr-17 15:55:18

Are you getting therapy? Therapy has really helped me recognise my fears and put them into perspective. Also, mindfulness based cognitive therapy has been extremely helpful in achieving some distance in between myself and the object of my anxiety. It is much easier for me now not to become so engaged in the constant chatter in my mind ("Ah, there is this anxiety again, chatting away like a parrot. I don't have to listen to it.") If the pregabalin is working well, try to embrace it, as an act of self-care. You deserve to feel better and lead a fulfilling life flowers

I don't think pregabalin makes you physically dependent (like alcohol can, or hard drugs such as valium). Sertraline doesn't do that, either. (Potential) Withdrawal effects stem from the chemical adjustments in the brain and body, and are temporary. Yes, they can be unpleasant, but they will pass. In any case, now is really not the time to even think about withdrawal effects, since pregabalin and sertraline are helping you, and are improving your quality of life. There is no need to come off them.

MayorMumbum Mon 10-Apr-17 16:15:43

I had therapy for two years but didn't feel like it made any difference whatsoever. Pregabalin is the only thing that has helped my anxiety other than diazepam (which the GP won't prescribe) and I've been medicated off and on since I was a child.

My issue is that I don't know if my GP will prescribe pregabalin indefinitely based on our last conversation (where I was legitimately considering ECT) and I'm terrified of being really unwell with withdrawal.

Also I'm scared it will cause issues with long term use.

I just don't know what to do sad.

AwakeCantSleep Mon 10-Apr-17 16:44:31

Please do not worry about withdrawal. From you are writing, you have been suffering with ill mental health for many years - withdrawal will be a matter of weeks, most likely. Really, nothing in comparison to what you have been going through flowers

Can you access more mental health support via the NHS? Maybe it's a case of finding the right therapist for you. I have had (private) consultations with a couple of psychiatrists (I am too "well" to get them on the NHS...), and both said that ultimately therapy is the answer. It may take a long time, but therapy can help you change your mindset, thinking patterns and belief systems. Medication won't do that. However medication can improve your symptoms, which is obviously great, but also can make you well enough to properly engage in therapy. (This has been the case for me.)

If you have no experience of mindfulness, I highly recommend it. There are 8 week courses being offered in many locations (some on the NHS, and some accept self referrals).

Finally (this may not be relevant in your case), have the mental health professionals thoroughly checked for conditions which co-present with anxiety? I have recently discovered that I am borderline ADD (despite being high achieving academically). Following this revelation, my anxiety levels have dropped significantly. Apparently, intelligent girls/women are under-diagnosed in this respect, as they are likely to try to mask the symptoms of ADD as much as possible.

If you feel unsupported by the medical profession, make a fuss and fight for further referrals. Enlist your husband to help with this if these interactions triggers your anxiety. The most important thing to understand is that you can get better flowers

MayorMumbum Mon 10-Apr-17 17:18:18

I think a big part of it is because there is a lot of addiction in my family and I am terrified of being dependent on a drug of any sort, even if it's helping me.

I tried mindfulness, CBT, years of therapy etc which is why I ended up at the GP asking for ECT (which he basically told me I will never be referred for). I've been struggling since I was seven years old and I don't know how much longer I can do it to be honest.

I will consider more therapy (possibly private). I just need to get over my anxiety about the medication. I want to enjoy my life.

MayorMumbum Mon 10-Apr-17 17:19:44

I was also high achieving academically until I had a nervous breakdown at university so it's interesting you mention that. I've never been investigated for things like ADD etc, only physical causes.

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