Best antidepressants for anxiety? And about to begin a benzo taper

Posted by sears @sears, Nov 24, 2019

What are the best antidepressants for anxiety? I know everyone is different, looking for opinions and options. I’m about to begin a benzo taper. My doctor wants me to stabilize a little before starting.

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@lisalucier

Hi @mostlybill – just curious about for how long you tried the bupropion (Wellbutrin)? I'm asking cause I have been on it for years, and I recall that the start of it was a very bumpy ride. I had increased anxiety, too, and was pretty worried about that. I was close to telling my doctor I'd like another antidepressant when a pharmacist told me I'd need to give it quite a bit longer — I think 2-3 months for things to all level out and feel the maximum positive effect and less side effects from the medication. That proved to be true in my case, and things all leveled out in a couple or three months and it was really helpful for my depression.

Will you share more about what your experience with this medication was like?

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I really never took any anxiety medication for any length of time. I took three anti-depressant drugs suggested by several different doctors when I discussed anxiety issues. I maybe took four Welbutrin tablets and it made me physically uncomfortable. Extremely. The buspar and Lexapro were ultra extreme reactions after only one pill. Drugs effect everyone differently. This whole class of drugs is now listed in my medical record as an allergy because of the extreme reaction I had. All drugs seem to have a side effect, and we each have to weigh benefit and risk. The goal is to have the best quality of life possible. I know meds can be helpful. Anxiety is not an easy thing to live with.
Best wishes.

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Makes complete sense, @mostlybill. I would not want to take any more of a medication that made me extremely physically uncomfortable.

You are totally right, from my personal experience and those I have heard from many others, that drugs affect everyone differently.

Anxiety is indeed not an easy thing to live with, especially when it's heightened. In some more highly stressful circumstances, like buying a home, selling our then home and moving all this calendar year, my anxiety did go way up. I was prescribed fluoxetine (Prozac) for a period to help me get over the hump. It helped me out, but this time my doctor had to up the dose once before it worked well for me.

@mostlybill, did you end up taking any medicine for anxiety, or going a different treatment route altogether?

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@mostlybill

I have had several drugs prescribed for anxiety over the years. I have taken exactly one pill of each, and had an awful side effect. The Buspar I tried caused an incident of uncontrolled rage. Fortunately I was alone at the time. With Lexipro, one pill caused horrible, bloody hallucinations and I did not sleep for four days. My cognitive function was pretty bad for a week. Welbutrin caused increased anxiety, as do antihistamines. I have two friends who had similar issues with anti anxiety meds–either vivid hallucinations or extreme personality changes including paranoia and anger. Drugs seem to cause more problems than they solve.

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I have issues with Anxiety meds … trying Buspar for almost 2 weeks … creates more anxiety.. told my Psychiatrist.. response just keep taking it .. takes about 6 weeks .. just can’t … I have had the testing … cannot take SSRI or SNRI…. yet they still push them … at my wits ends

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@lisalucier

Hi @mostlybill – just curious about for how long you tried the bupropion (Wellbutrin)? I'm asking cause I have been on it for years, and I recall that the start of it was a very bumpy ride. I had increased anxiety, too, and was pretty worried about that. I was close to telling my doctor I'd like another antidepressant when a pharmacist told me I'd need to give it quite a bit longer — I think 2-3 months for things to all level out and feel the maximum positive effect and less side effects from the medication. That proved to be true in my case, and things all leveled out in a couple or three months and it was really helpful for my depression.

Will you share more about what your experience with this medication was like?

Jump to this post

Trying Buspar 2 weeks now… not helping … side effects .., bloating stomach ache …. I have had the testing .. no SSRI or SNRI but they just keep pushing them … I told my PSYCHIATRIST was told just keep taking them give them a little longer .. then on to another one … at my wits end …. Mental healthcare I have is not the best .. rural South Dakota

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@lisalucier

Hi @mostlybill – just curious about for how long you tried the bupropion (Wellbutrin)? I'm asking cause I have been on it for years, and I recall that the start of it was a very bumpy ride. I had increased anxiety, too, and was pretty worried about that. I was close to telling my doctor I'd like another antidepressant when a pharmacist told me I'd need to give it quite a bit longer — I think 2-3 months for things to all level out and feel the maximum positive effect and less side effects from the medication. That proved to be true in my case, and things all leveled out in a couple or three months and it was really helpful for my depression.

Will you share more about what your experience with this medication was like?

Jump to this post

Lexapro has kept me on an even keel for several years, but I stopped taking it because when I learned that SSRI's can contribute to dementia. There is a strong history of Alzheimers in my family, and I am already having some memory issues. I am looking for an anti-anxiety med that is not associated with dementia. Someone told me SNRI's are good for older people. Does anyone have research about those?

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@sears

I just started Prozac. I’ve been on a few other the last 30 years. They all start out bumpy! And yes do try to ride out the storm. They can take several months to adjust. Most people jump off because of side effects and don’t give them time to work. I will say Prozac has been the easiest to adjust to. Although my anxiety has ramped up. Doc says it should diminish. I’ll be tapering a benzo when the Prozac kicks in. I’m 67 with an extreme anxiety disorder. We’ll see what happens. I’m too old for this crap! LOL!

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Sears, I’m older too and anxiety started 3 years ago for me. It’s as if something disconnected in the brain-gut axis. I was just switched from Lexapro to Prozac to see if it works better for me. It’s hard to be patient for months until the drug takes full effect, but I’ll do anything to reclaim my good days. Anxiety is as much a disease as any other. I’m also using herbal supplements — ashwagandha, chamomile teas — as well. Am trying hypnosis and acupuncture next.
Geeeez!

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@annedodrill44

Sears, I’m older too and anxiety started 3 years ago for me. It’s as if something disconnected in the brain-gut axis. I was just switched from Lexapro to Prozac to see if it works better for me. It’s hard to be patient for months until the drug takes full effect, but I’ll do anything to reclaim my good days. Anxiety is as much a disease as any other. I’m also using herbal supplements — ashwagandha, chamomile teas — as well. Am trying hypnosis and acupuncture next.
Geeeez!

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Only 3 Years? I’m so jealous! Yes it is a disease. A very debilitating one and not a lot out there to address this. Does your doc say it’s alright to take herbs with the Prozac? I haven’t brought this up to mine yet.

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@Liane1

Lexapro has kept me on an even keel for several years, but I stopped taking it because when I learned that SSRI's can contribute to dementia. There is a strong history of Alzheimers in my family, and I am already having some memory issues. I am looking for an anti-anxiety med that is not associated with dementia. Someone told me SNRI's are good for older people. Does anyone have research about those?

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Hi, @Liane1 – this Mayo Clinic Connect thread on switching from SSRIs to SNRIs might be of interest https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/switching-from-ssri-to-snri/

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I have tried a bunch of different anti depressants and other meds over the years, some aimed at anxiety, some not, with varied results. Prozac was good for me to a certain degree, but didn't address the anxiety. Buspar was awesome, but I was dizzy for hours with each dose, so discontinued. Wellbutrin made me hostile (to put it mildly), which is especially bad for me because my anxiety comes out as agitation, irritability, and feeling like I'm possessed by a rage demon. So that was a no go. Lithium did nothing for me at all. Depakote didn't help my mood, and I gained 100 pounds. Tegratol- rash. Lexapro- kind of worked, but not well enough. I'm sure there were more, but that's what I remember off the top of my head. The real game changer for me? Effexor. It is tough to get on or off of (have to ramp up and taper off very planfully), but it isn't an exaggeration that if I'd found it 30 years ago, my life would have taken a very different path in many ways. It pairs well with my adderall as well, and I haven't had any side effects after my body adjusted to it (took a few weeks). Once it did, I swear it was like clouds parted and the choirs sang and I realized what it was like to not feel crazy/on edge/etc and could actually THINK, learn and implement new skills and tools, and move forward in my life and relationships. Everyone is so different that it's hard to tell what direction to go in, but I would strongly encourage you to advocate for yourself in finding the right med/combo of meds. Don't stop searching until you find a med/combo/dosage that is just right for you. "I feel better than I did" is a START, not the finish line. Good luck!

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@mnmom

I have tried a bunch of different anti depressants and other meds over the years, some aimed at anxiety, some not, with varied results. Prozac was good for me to a certain degree, but didn't address the anxiety. Buspar was awesome, but I was dizzy for hours with each dose, so discontinued. Wellbutrin made me hostile (to put it mildly), which is especially bad for me because my anxiety comes out as agitation, irritability, and feeling like I'm possessed by a rage demon. So that was a no go. Lithium did nothing for me at all. Depakote didn't help my mood, and I gained 100 pounds. Tegratol- rash. Lexapro- kind of worked, but not well enough. I'm sure there were more, but that's what I remember off the top of my head. The real game changer for me? Effexor. It is tough to get on or off of (have to ramp up and taper off very planfully), but it isn't an exaggeration that if I'd found it 30 years ago, my life would have taken a very different path in many ways. It pairs well with my adderall as well, and I haven't had any side effects after my body adjusted to it (took a few weeks). Once it did, I swear it was like clouds parted and the choirs sang and I realized what it was like to not feel crazy/on edge/etc and could actually THINK, learn and implement new skills and tools, and move forward in my life and relationships. Everyone is so different that it's hard to tell what direction to go in, but I would strongly encourage you to advocate for yourself in finding the right med/combo of meds. Don't stop searching until you find a med/combo/dosage that is just right for you. "I feel better than I did" is a START, not the finish line. Good luck!

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Hi, @mnmom – sounds like you've had a variety of experiences with different antidepressants over the years, and you've experienced some ups and downs in this process.

You might be interested in looking at and contributing to Mayo Clinic Connect discussions on some of the medications you've tried for depression, such as:

-On fluoxetine (Prozac) https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/all-about-prozac/

– On escitalopram (Lexapro) side effects https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/horrible-lexapro-side-effects-not-going-away/

-On starting (buproprion) Wellbutrin https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/starting-wellbutrin/

For what condition do you take dextroamphetamine-amphetamine (Adderall)?

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