Anti-anxiety and panic attack meds

I have lived with panic attacks for a greater part of my adult life, I spent years with a clinical psychologist working with methods such as CBT, I had a lengthy and expensive session with a hypnotherapist but have never been able to shake them. Therefore, I have ten Lorazepam tablets that see me through the year, only taking half if an alarming panic is on the rise. This is practical, as panics can cause critical disruption to one's daily life if not put in check. Pre-stroke, I had got to a point where I could manage them but I am at juncture at the moment, as since having my stroke, the combined anxiety, stroke symptoms and panic attacks when combined prostrate me for the whole day and persist into the wee hours of the morning. 

Every time I have tried the "anti-depressant" range of medication, I have had nothing but negative experiences. Last time, my doctor prescribed Zoloft which sent me round the bend, apparently it makes you feel even worse for a few weeks before feeling better. I had tried Zoloft in the past with the same experience and stopped. The last prescription was Zoloft under a different name, so I ignorantly took it. A disaster. 

What I am specifically after is medication that is not an anti-depressant but explicitly for anxiety and panic attacks. I have read about Buspirone being a milder and less risky medication but wanted to ask survivors on here, whether you are using such a medication for anxiety or have knowledge and experience of them. I am at the point now in my recovery (six months) where for the first time since coming out of hospital I am challenged by these feelings in such a way that they are hindering my rehabilitation and personal treatments. 

Rups, sorry to hear of your problems. Anxiety and Panic attacks are horrendous and I do sympathise.

Two medications (which I found were mild) were Amiltryptline and mirtazapine, especialely at low doses 10mgs. They do take about three weeks to kick in, so don't expect an imediate effect, but once they take effect I found them very helpful. Mirtazapin caused me to put on quite a lot of weight, couldn't stop eating, but I didn,t have those problems on Amiltryptline, so have stuck with that one and no problems.

Do hope this is some help to you. I used to swear by CBD capsules, but was advised not to take these with blood thinners. Shame as they worked well!!

Let me know what you think.

Jane.

Amiltryptline 10mg 

On for poss 1 year , decided to stop 1 month ago , now feel better , clearer head , even made my TERRIBLE fatigue worse ! Just can't seem to shift this , nearly  2 years on . Negative / Do not sleep as well. Thanks David. 

Hello Rups, I know that not everyone likes to take antidepressant medication but sometimes it just helps you with some of the stroke effects eg tearfullness, sleep disturbances. 
I take Mirtazapine at night, which is quite mild, and have taken it for about a year. It used to make me feel quite flat in the morning but I now take it with my BP tablet at night and has solved the morning feeling. It has certainly helped me feel more settled than I was and I sleep well, I'm still a bit tearful at times , usually due to sad situations/  music etc. I would also like to recommend Calm sleep stories at night some of which you can get free on YouTube. They help me get to sleep on nights when my mind is working overtime. I've recommended them on here before, my own favourite is the Nordland Night Trainl read by Eric Braa ,

Hope this helps a little.

Ann

 

Hello Jane, useful, thank-you. I will investigate mirtazapine as I do need to put on weight and if it makes one drowsy, I could do with that to beat the insomnia. I've tried amiltryptline in the past but didn't persist with it. 

Hello David, in the past I tried amiltryptline but didn't see it all the way through. How are you going? Do you have stereopsis? The inability to judge distances? Is your vision poorly, by that I mean skew-whiff? In general, can you tell me of some of the progress you have made and when certain symptoms have cleared or settled to a manageable form?

Hello Ann,

This mirtazapine has cropped up a bit, might be worth me trying. My wife listens to audio books at night, at the moment the Skulduggery Pleasant series, she has it set for a one hour timer because if it goes on for too long I end up listening until 5 am. The weird thing is my mind is never working overtime, it's just alert. I have techniques I use for the final countdown of sleep but it is the which side is more comfortable, ten trips for a pee, and stroke-wise, the fuzzy head, sore neck and tinnitus that I have to battle against. I'm getting my eight hours sleep, just at the wrong times. I know I should probably get up and try doing something but stroke symptoms make for that quite uncomfortable. I soldier on, never-the-less :)

Ok , need to be honest !

I try best to be positive, BUT , nearly 2 years on & despite reading lots of your lovely stories of wonderful improvements & hoping.  It just does not happen for me , also feel poss people look at me & think I should have improved ( reality is this is my thinking ! ) although poss better at accepting ? All the best David. 

Hello Rups, your nightime sounds a bit like mine and others on this site. Have you just had tinnitus since the stroke, it seems a lot of SS get it, l have it every day and at bedtime but it doesn't stop me from sleeping. I find it really intrusive at times though. I would try the sleep stories they really help you settle down for sleep and may help you get a better sleep pattern.  I don't think I've heard the Nordland night train all the way through I've usually gone to sleep. I also use earphones.

Ann

David, I'm sure many of us think the same from time to time. Unfortunately, those closest to us often assume we will suddenly morph into the person we were. My partner worries about my walking ability and asks why I can't walk better by now. Yesterday, he said ai was shuffling about like an old man and I answered by saying that's exactly what I am.

I try to improve every day, but my mind is often full of the walking I used to be able to do...however, I'm often thinking of forty years ago! Then I remind myself I came home with a walking frame, was very tottery, fell a few times and couldn't even cook. I've moved forward a lot since, but,alas, getting older at the same time. I still keep trying though.

Dear David

improvement is very slow. Its hard to see any improvement day by day. But if you keep a brief diary then maybe you will see improvement.

please keep positive. Your brain needs to know what is expected next. 

this pandemic doesnt help. 
 

Dont give up. Tell your brain what you want to do today.

its easter sunday, us Christians know this is the first day of a new start. 
 

good luck

colin

Hello Ann,

Yes, the tinnitus has surfaced since stroke, although, initially I thought it was just white noise associated with my brain repairing itself. Sort of a relief to discover it is quite common but still a nuisance. I bought myself one of those earphone headbands, perhaps I may try that tonight :) 

Honesty is good, I feel like sometimes I might be in it for the long haul. I have spoken to other cerebellar stroke survivors, it's useful to work out what needs managing and what will deal with itself over time. I was described by someone close to me today as "useless", I didn't take offence because I am kind of useless at the moment and that person sees the world that way, but it can be challenging at times!

Jelly legs .

My wife calls me ,when really tired , not yet old man (although, I feel it .) All the best John .  David .

I belive so many of us read these comments & find so rewarding. 

So Thanks Colin.   /   David .

Cerebellar stroke / feel useless. 

Rups , sorry I personally would take it as upsetting ! Not many of us , having this type of stroke. Nearly 2 years on , no real improvement. Out of bed & shower , (this in itself, is a great achievement & workout, for me ! ) JUST can't get past 11.30 am ,early lunch & HAVE TO , return to bed , for 3 hours . Up again & bed about 9pm . 

Good speaking David. 

Hello David, prior to my stroke, I may have taken it personally but since I find that many people have a superficial grasp of the debilitating condition post-stroke, I tend to just chuckle it off as a sort of innocent ignorance. I have to explain in great detail how my symptoms affect me, otherwise, some people go away thinking I just have headaches and vertigo. 

Your routine is almost exactly the same as mine. Showering for me is an immense effort which requires a great run up before I am ready to tackle it. I'm usually up by 11 am, after a few hours back to bed for several hours, then up again and back to bed around 9 pm - but I don't fall asleep until about 1 - 3 am. I too have an early lunch, usually soup as it is the easiest to get down. 

Thanks for your insights, it is all very helpful for me to put things in perspective. 

Andy Dovey , brain attack ,

7 years on , cerebellum stroke ,musician.  ( Poss Google, ) I found helpful ! 

Good talking Rups . All the best David. 

DON'T BE A VICTIM !

I try so hard ,but find it difficult. Any advise.   ( ps . any one know how to put New message & header on here, without tagging it onto someone else's ? )

Thanks David. 

Update:

Mental Health GP has suggested putting me on fluoxetine (Prozac), I fancied more trying the mirtazapine, but he had already made his mind up on the best route. Anyone else had experience with fluoxetine? 

My anxiety is so grievous at the moment, I'm almost never far from being in bed. It's weird because the first six months of recovery, I was in charge and pushing through, I've had a sudden slump. Some of my symptoms in many ways are in remission, but there's some new ones that have turned up which I am finding hard to describe. One is a sort of "out of bodiness", particularly in my head which makes me feel very fragile, another is effort in getting words out but I am mostly talking to myself. I guess these might be anxiety related. I certainly know that the apathy I feel towards any kind of effort is a draining symptom of anxiety and a dispirited disposition. 

It's almost impossible to get help also which is very disheartening. On the NHS stroke page it is says ... 

"A team of different specialists may help with your rehabilitation, including physiotherapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, dietitians, and specialist nurses and doctors.

You'll be encouraged to actively participate in the rehabilitation process and work with your care team to set goals you want to achieve during your recovery" 

And ...

"You'll receive a psychological assessment from a member of your healthcare team soon after your stroke to check if you're experiencing any emotional problems.

Advice should be given to help you deal with the psychological impact of stroke. This includes the impact on relationships with other family members and any sexual relationship.

There should also be a regular review of any problems of depression and anxiety, and psychological and emotional symptoms generally."

I got none of this. In fact, I even got missed on the Covid vaccination! The follow through on the NHS site is misleading. The Mental Health GP thought it odd that an anti-depressant regime had not been put into place for me after leaving hospital. Aside from that, it has been a very isolated recovery with only the Stroke Association and Community Steps (Both charitable organisations) to reach out for support. 

Anyway, that's my grumble.