Anti-anxiety Medication In The U.k.

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barefoot

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My therapist has suggested I could go to a psychiatrist to see whether medication might help me. My first response was "no" but now I'm wondering if I should consider it.

She suggested it towards the end of last year when I felt pretty depressed - I felt very disengaged, disconnected, unmotivated, low, flat, exhausted etc. I took anti-depressants for about 18 months about 15 years ago...tried about three different sorts, I think I found one in the end which did help,(unless I just improved over time?) though I didn't especially like the permanent flat line feeling, plus I experienced quite a lot of SI while I was on them, plus there were some other side effects that weren't great. And coming off them was a pretty horrible experience.

I told my therapist about this previous experience and she said that something for anxiety may be more suitable than an anti-depressant.

I occasionally take Valium - usually when I'm in bed at night and my mind and heart are racing. I find that really helps. But that's a very occasional take as and when needed because, obviously, you're not supposed to take them often and it's difficult to get more than a few on prescription.

I am feeling super-anxious at the moment - but I also have a couple of stressful things going on, so it's not surprising that my anxiety is currently soaring. So, I think I need to wait until those couple of things are sorted/have settled down and then see how I feel.

In the meantime, I'm wondering what anti-anxiety medications anyone takes (particularly if you're in the UK) and how you find them in terms of effectiveness and side effects etc. Apart from the odd Valium, I've never taken anything for anxiety so I don't know anything about the different options available and don't know what to expect from them.

Also, if I decide that I do want to pursue it and look at medication options, do I really need to go to a psychiatrist or will I do just as well going to my GP?

Thanks.
 

digger

Moderator
The only thing I've been offered specifically for anxiety is propranolol, which is a beta blocker. I don't find it helpful personally, but I know of people who do. GPs here have told me that their preferred approach to treating anxiety is with antidepressants. I haven't seen a psychiatrist so can't compare with what they might suggest.

Who did you see to get the valium script? Perhaps go back to them to review anxiety treatment?
 

barefoot

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Thanks @digger

I got the Valium from my GP but specifically asked for them to help me manage anxiety around a few medical procedures I was having.

I guess if I were to go back to GP to consider other options, I'd have to tell them about my general anxiety, about PTSD, about seeing a therapist... I don't really know why but I've decided to keep these bits of information to myself, so they are not on my medical records.

I really don't feel keen to start taking anti-depressants, though I guess a lot may have changed in the past 15 years since I took them...
 

digger

Moderator
Have you tried betablockers before? That might be worth discussing.

I understand the reluctance about having things on your medical records. I've only recently shared more with a GP, but that has mostly been through frustration at being misunderstood, misjudged, because they don't have the full picture. It's a hard call.

I've had mostly negative experiences with antidepressants, but I have recently started a new* one, still early days with it though. That's more to address depression for me than anxiety, but everything is tangled in together.

*new to me, it's actually one of the older type
 

barefoot

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No, I haven't tried beta blockers. Not really sure what they are so I'll look them up. Thanks for the tip.

Yeah, I don't even really know why I'm reluctant to have it on my records. I guess if it means they have a fuller picture and I can then discuss things like my anxiety with them and get some solutions, it probably makes sense that they know?

When I took anti-depressants years ago, I was very depressed and not really anxious. These days, the anxiety is more of an issue than depression, though I did have a blip towards the end of last year when I felt depressed.

I did talk vaguely to a GP (who I'd never seen before) last year about anxiety and tried to get a prescription for more than 7 Valium. She refused and said that if I was too anxious to sleep she'd be more inclined to give me an anti-depressant. She hadn't actually asked me anything about my history, whether I'd ever been depressed or taken medication or what the anxiety was like for me. She just seemed totally ready to write me a prescription for an anti-depressant even though I hadn't even said I was depressed (because I wasn't!) So I just decided to get out of there quick and I haven't mentioned it at my GP surgery since.

Good luck with the new medication - hope it helps.
 
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