Your anxiety has been giving you fits. After last night’s E.R. fiasco you’ve been saying to yourself, “Maybe I need meds!?”
No doubt about it, we human-types don’t care much for pain. Got a headache? Pop a pill. Stomach upset? Pop! Sore throat? Pop! Depressed? Pop! Anxious? Pop!
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Where did those last two come from? Depression and anxiety up the “Pop!” ante big-time. Enter (hopefully) some serious decision-making.
Throat Lozenges They Are Not
When it comes to depression and the anxiety disorders, the meds du jour are the antidepressants, atypical antipsychotics, and the benzodiazepines.
Popular antidepressants include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), venlafaxine (Effexor), and bupropion (Wellbutrin/Zyban).
For reference sake, click here to read the first article in my need-to-know antidepressant series.
Amongst the atypical antipsychotics are aripiprazole (Abilify) and quetiapine (Seroquel).
The benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin), and diazepam (Valium).
Throat lozenges they are not. So if you’re kicking-around the idea of taking meds for depression and anxiety, forget knee-jerk reactions and snap decisions. Each and every med you may be prescribed has potentially life-altering side-effects and risks. And that’s in the immediate, as well as down the road – even after you’ve quit taking them!
Antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics can generate weight gain, sexual dysfunction, headaches, stomach upset, and nervousness. And the aftermath of discontinuation is no picnic.
The benzodiazepines may bring drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, and withdrawal.
Perhaps you’re the one who’s saying, “Maybe I need meds!?” If you are, please consider the following…
- What are the true bottom-line reasons you want to turn to meds?
- Are you dealing with annoying and inconvenient symptoms or life-interruption (equals disorder)?
- Are your pain and emotions trumping reason and good-common-sense?
- Are you opting for the easy way out?
- If you were to go with meds – and if they knocked-out your misery – would you be robbing yourself of a defining growth opportunity?
- Have you researched other treatment options?
- What are others in your position doing to manage?
- Could you improve your lifestyle habits? Diet, exercise, stress-management, substance use (or abuse)?
- What are your goals and expectations regarding meds?
- Are they realistic or fantasies?
- Are you prepared to do some thorough research? What’s your plan?
- What are the risks and side-effects of the meds you believe will help?
- Are you aware that meds without therapy is often a disappointing proposition?
- Are you willing to participate in therapy?
- If so, use it as a relief starting point. It may end-up being the answer. If it doesn’t work as quickly as you’d like, you and your therapist – as a team – can consider a meds option.
Over and Out
I know from personal experience that depression and anxiety can bring great pain – the kind of pain that begs for a very quick fix. How natural it is to repeat and buy-in to, “Maybe I need meds!?”
Who knows? Meds may turn out to be the answer for you. But there’s just so much to pause and consider before giving-in to those knee-jerk reactions and snap decisions.
The next time you’ re tempted, come back to the 15 Think-It-Overs. You’ll be glad you did.