Anxiety Medication

Updated on March 05, 2008
M.R. asks from Chicago, IL
16 answers

I have had anxiety and panic attacks for almost two years now. I've been taking Paxil which has helped me; the only problem I have is that I start to weight gain when taking the medication. Are there any other medications or maybe homeopathic remedies that I can use and not worry about my weight? I've heard of Valerian Root. Any recommendations are appreciated.

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L.S.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,
You can find Rescue Remedy at any Health Food Store, they are drops that you put under the tongue or into a glass of water. Magnesium is also good for relxation, preferably the chelated form so that it won't irritate the stomach.
L.

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L.H.

answers from Chicago on

im on a medication for something else and gained 50 lbs if you would like you can send me a message and we can talk more personaly and with mine there is no replacement. at least not at this time, I know how much of a problem this is, I think it has effected my life, the weight gain problem and it seems any thing I do doesnt seem to make much of a significint change, i even go to the fitnes center

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E.W.

answers from Chicago on

I have a friend who gained wait on Paxil too. Her and her doc tried numerous meds until they found the right one for her (Prozac). Everyone's body chemistry is different so you may have to try a couple different meds until you find the right one for you. Discuss it with your doctor. If she doesn't validate your concern and offer solutions find another doc!

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J.J.

answers from Chicago on

I recommend Bach Rescue Remedy in spray form--available at most health food stores (Whole Foods is one)...

http://www.bachflower.com/Rescue_Remedy.htm

I also recommend homeopathy, but it's not something that you should figure out on your own. The use of homeopathy, especially for complex issues like this one, is a custom-fit affair, so you're more likely to get the right remedy if you go to a doctor who is experienced with using it. I recommend Dr. Shepperd, who is one of the best homeopathic MDs in the Chicago area...

http://www.centerforintegralhealth.com/about.htm

There is also a supplement preparation at Whole Foods which is called "Positive Thoughts", which contains both Valerian and St. John's Wart, which I have found to be helpful, but I strongly advise you to NOT take it at the same time that you are on any prescription anti-depressant--or for the several weeks after being off it when you still may have some remnant of that medication in your body.

Also, if you take St. John's Wart, take care when you are exposed to the sun, because it can increase your likelihood of sunburn.

Best wishes.

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H.J.

answers from Chicago on

I'm currently taking Effexor for anxiety. I haven't experienced any weight gain. Sounds like it's time to investigate switching your meds. Talk to your doctor. Are you also doing some talk therapy? I found that to be very helpful as well, to get at the root of some of my anxiety issues, and to identify some bad habits that were perpetuating it.

Good luck.

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M.P.

answers from Chicago on

Hello. I'm a psychiatrist, so I can definately address this one. If Paxil worked well for you, but you had side effects, I think it makes sense that you stay within the same class of medicine (SSRI). Paxil is the most likely of these to cause weight gain, but there are plenty of others. I would start with Prozac (generic fluoxetine)which works very well and is pretty "weight neutral". That would also be a good choice if you are planning to get pregnant again as Paxil is no longer used in pregnancy, but Prozac has been okay. Other options are Celexa, Zoloft or Lexapro (Lexapro is brand, others come in generic).

If you're still taking Paxil, it's very important that you work with your doctor on coming off. Paxil can cause a lot of issues coming off of it, so you want to do it very slowly (like 5-10 mg every two weeks). You should start the other medicine before you're off of the Paxil as it will take several weeks to have an effect.

I haven't used Valerian root much, but some people find it helpful. I think that St. John's Wort can be helpful. If you do any of these, just let your doctor know because they can interact with other medicines.

And, of course, is psychotherapy. I don't know if you tried this - sometimes it really depends on if you "click" with your therapist. Also, some books are really helpful - especially for anxiety as so much of panic is related to the worry that you'll have another one. I'd recommend "The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook" or "Feeling Good Handbook" (David Burns). You could also try meditation (which takes practice, so don't get discouraged) and/or yoga.

If this is getting in the way of being able to function, work, take care of the kids and yourself, etc. then don't count out medication. While not a panacea, it can be pretty life-changing.
Good luck.

M.

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M.H.

answers from Chicago on

Hello, those attacks are horrible to suffer,I've used Valerian root and it works pretty good and St. johns Wort also is good. I hope this helps and good luck. Maria

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

Juice Plus. I take medication for anxiety also and I have had wieght gain in the past with other meds. I was introduced to Juice Plus and since I've been taking it, it has helped balance out everything. If you want to know more you can go to my website. www.fruitandveggiemama.com.

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E.R.

answers from Chicago on

I work as a psychotherapist in an alternative health center where we seek the least possible medication necessary. That being said, if you find paxil helpful, please don't stop without consulting your MD. Valerian root is not powerful enough to compare to Paxil. Quitting without help can make you worse.

Many women gain weight on these meds, and it's hard to lose. However, exercise is the key. If you work into your daily routine some serious exercise it will gradually help with weight (give it 6 months) and help with your anxiety too. Frankly, you won't want to do the exercise, because of the mood disorder; so you'll have to push the issue with yourself.

A colleague of mine does do homeopathic treatment for anxiety, so that's an better alternative. If you are interested you can email me offline at [email protected]____.com

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T.V.

answers from Chicago on

M.-I am sorry to hear that you are having these issues. When you are on a prescription medication of any kind it is very hard to wean yourself off and most of the time you can not quit it cold turkey, however, the mind is a wonderful, underestimated powerful tool. First you have to look at your eating patterns. Eliminate all processed foods, sugar, breads, pastas and incorporate much more ORGANIC fresh fruits and vegetables-right there you will notice a huge change. Yes-valerian root is excellent and so is kava-kava, St. John's wort, panax ginseng, and passionflower. Trader Joes carries a product called SAM-e with a combo of some of the things I mentioned and runs $16.00 a bottle or there abouts. My mother used that and noticed a marked improvement and we do not take much of anything-and if we do it is all holistic. Further-your doctor will probably tell you not to do it. I just do not want you to be surprised if he/she gives you a bit of a difficult time about it.

Do you practice yoga or do acupuncture-those are great avenues.

This is just a beginning-it does take some time for the herbs to regulate into your body. I have been studied holistics for 7 years and have been able to help many people. Get the information--you may want to check out www.mercola.com. He has some great reference material on his website. if you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact me.

Thanks
T.

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M.R.

answers from Chicago on

After advice from a psychiatrist who has an expertise in researching meds, I've just begun a generic of Zoloft for panic attacks, and am waiting to see results in the weeks to come. I do know Paxil has weight gain as one side effect. A word of caution: I've heard that one should not go off meds cold turkey; also that it might be unsafe to mix homeopathic remedies with drugs you are taking. I'd talk to the doc about this to be safe. I wish you the very best.

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K.H.

answers from Chicago on

M. -

A nutritional protocol with nutrients that support brain function and hormones may be useful for you. Valerian is a superb herb often used to assist with sleep, it can be valid for conditions like hyperactivity and ADD, depending on your chemistry - the best thing is to work with nutrients first and herbs second - be very mindful that not all herbs are created equally or with manufacturing integrity

Mother Earth aka K. Hanrahan
www.bestwellnessconsultant.com

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T.W.

answers from Chicago on

I suffered from severe anxiety (including crippling nightmares and a bout of agoraphobia) for most of my adult life. I used Lexapro for over a year, and though it was great for the anxiety, it killed my sex drive. Last year, I switched to Effexor XR 75 mg, and it has worked wonders. No drugged feeling, no lowered sex drive, and no weight gain. In fact, I have more energy so I'm able to keep up with my hyper 4 yr old. Good luck. No one should have to suffer from panic attacks.

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W.L.

answers from Chicago on

I have a friend who is dealing with the same thing. Another friend of mine sent this information to me and I thought it might be a helpful start into your research. This is informaitonal only as I am not an expert nor do I have any personal experience with any of this stuff. Please do not try any of these items without talking to your doctor about them first. You can go to www.naturessunshine.com and type in any of these products in the search bar and get a detailed description of what each of them are suppose to do.

Herbals: Valerian, Chinese Stress Relief, Nervous Fatigue, and Gaba Comb.

Vitamins&Minerals: Colloidal, Calcium&magnesium, Nutri-Calm or Stress Pak

Homeopathic: Nervousness
Diet: Eliminate sugar, acids, coffee, tea. Vegetables are more soothing to nerves than fruits.

Aromatherapy: Inner Peace, Lavender, Roman Chamomilel, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Geranium, Frankincense Sandalwood, Yiang Yiang.

Good Luck

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L.B.

answers from Chicago on

Consider consulting with a certified hypnotist or a therapist that knows hypnosis. Anxiety/panic attacks are often a learned habit of fearful thought patterns. I have had clients experience relief in as little as 2-3 sessions.

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A.A.

answers from Chicago on

Hi M.,

I took Buspar (Buspirone is the generic I think) for anxiety for about 2 years. It is very mild and had no side effects for me. No change in weight, sex drive, anything. It did help my anxiety though and was easy to taper off of when I was ready. I have been anxiety free for about a year now and without any medicine. Maybe try the Buspar and also if you are not already, consider seeing a therapist just to talk about the issues. The only way to completely rid yourself of the anxiety is to find out the true cause of it and learn to modify your behavior and the way you think about things. I hope this helps. Feel free to send me a message if you have any questions, I know anxiety can be a terrible thing to suffer from. Good Luck

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