Yeah, so I've had issues with anxiety for a long time, a long time as in my whole life. It didn't start having a negative impact on my health until I was a young adult (early 20s). I believe it is what's known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD. I also believe it runs in my family. My mother had very similar symptoms. We never discussed these types of things in my family though.
So I've experienced just about every symptom there is for GAD. I get both physical symptoms as well as the mental anxiety. Some of the physical symptoms will change over time, the general mental anxiety stays the same.
Some of the more pronounced symptoms I've had or still have include:
- Extreme difficulty falling asleep
- Large itchy skin rashes
- Painful lumps, like hives or cysts, especially on the fingers, eyes and armpit areas
- Unexplained severe joint or muscle pains
- Panic attacks
- Unable to swallow, especially while speaking
Early on, I went to quite a few doctors for the physical symptoms. I had no idea what was causing it then. The doctors had no explanation, they would just make a guess and give you something for it which didn't help. Eventually, much later on, I figured it out myself that everything stemmed from anxiety and got much worse under stress.
So, let's cut to the chase here.
Eventually I went to a doctor and sought out help for anxiety. I was prescribed Xanax.
It worked like a miracle. For the first time in years, I was able to sleep like a normal human being. The rashes cleared up, the lumps went away, the body aches vanished. My income went up, my social life improved, I got laid more, everything.
I had the same prescription for Xanax (Alprazolam) for 5 years. I took it on an 'as needed' basis. I mostly took it at night before bed. I had periods of days, sometimes weeks where I didn't take any at all. I'm not saying it was a perfect drug, it didn't cure everything but it certainly worked well for me.
So after 5 years my regular doctor gets replaced by a different doctor at the practice I went to.
New doctor asks me the usual questions, how's it going..etc.. I tell him the Xanax is still working out fine and explain how it's improved my life.....
New doctor says "Well, Xanax is a dangerous drug so we'll have to stop that immediately"....
I'm just in utter disbelief as he goes into a sales pitch for Zoloft. I bluntly declined the prescription for Zoloft and left with nothing. That was the end of the Xanax.
So I'm back to the same crap, not sleeping and breaking out in hives. I went like that for a while then tried a new doctor. He gives me the same spiel about drug addiction and tries to give me Zoloft. I again decline. At this point, I'm starting to feel hopeless so, against my better judgement, I go to a psychiatrist...
And you can guess what happens at the psychiatrist.....yes, he only offers me Zoloft.
Yes, Zoloft (Sertraline)....That's apparently the only present day option available to treat anxiety. Anything else is out of the question, don't even ask. If you even mention another drug option, the guy looks like I asked him for a bag of crack. So, completely out of options, I finally took it.....
It takes 4-6 weeks just to start working. The first month I took it, I was sick as hell. This stuff has many side effects.
The first side effect was nausea and vomiting....yay! After the daily vomiting subsided, the extreme acid reflux kicks in, another wonderful side effect. I was spending most of my day standing over a sink drooling non-stop for a month.
After 6 weeks the vomiting and drooling subsided. Now the real fun begins.....After the junk kicks in, I have no energy or motivation. I start sleeping like over 18 hours a day, I am not exaggerating. I can only stay up for a few hours then I go take another nap. I had the dosage adjusted 4 times and there was no difference. The psychiatrist will not give me anything but Zoloft. After staying on it for one year, I just stopped taking it and stopped going to the psychiatrist.
From my one year experience, Zoloft was a horrible drug. I have never taken anything in my life with so many bad side effects. Did it ease my anxiety? Yeah, it did. But I spent 6 weeks throwing up and drooling, then another 10 months almost comatose, sleeping all day. I didn't care about anything when I was on it. I also gained over 20 pounds from lack of exercise.
The one and only side effect from Xanax was short term drowsiness, that's it. I never had any addiction to it whatsoever. I think this whole dangerous drug hysteria about benzodiazepines is a bunch of BS. If you hear these horror stories of benzo addiction, the idiots are taking ridiculous massive doses of it. They're taking more in one day than my whole prescription for 30 days.