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Question
Posted by: Susan | 2012-10-14

Anxiety / Nervousness - Advise Please

Good day Cybershrink. I have been diagnosed by my doctor as suffering from what seems to be anxiety/nervousness. My symptomps differ day to day, but are as follow: Sweaty hands and feet, tingling feeling and sometimes numbness in my one arm or side of my face, heart palputations, feeling dizzy (like i wanna pass out) nausea, feelings that i am going to either die or go insane. They have done bloodwork ,tested my liver and kidney function, platelet count, colesterol, thyroid, etc, and all came back normal. They now want to put me on cilift 20mg (an anti depressant). I am terified at taking this medication as i have heard so many negative things about anti depressants. The other alternative i got to use then is 5htp (as this does the same as the cilift). I spoke to doctor Cecile Gericke, President of the south africa hypnosis association (she herself is a clinical hypnotherapost. She said that she can almost with certainty say that my condition is emotional build up that is now popping up. Please could you advise me on the medication i received as well as your thoughts on what the doctor said? Currently i am using ativan SL 1mg to just keep me calm during the day in order to function. Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Thank you and much love, Susan

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

This does sound like an anxiety disorder. The tingling can be due to the way some of us, when we get anxious, hyperventilate - we breathe faster and deeper than we need to, and this shifts the chemical balance in our blood, making us feel tingling and maybe faintness - when this happens, apart from trying deliberately to breathe a bit slower and less deeply, with less sighing, it can be helpful to breath into and out of a paper bag for a whort while, as this increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the air we're then breathing in, and this can help to correct the chemical shift we caused by the deep breathing !
All the symptoms you mention are typical of anxiety, and as one is already anxious, we tend to feel fearful of the symptoms our original, anxiety was causing. Other symptoms include such things as some trembling of the hands.
5HTP is NOT anywhere near as helpful as a properly chosen antidepressant used properly on the advice of a good doctor, and used in the proper doses, these should not cause serious problems at all.
Ativan is one of a family of drugs called Benzos, which are sedative tranquillizers. They act quickly, so one may feel some relief soon after taking one ( they're similar in some ways to taking a stiff drink of alcohol ) - but they don't solve the basic problem of anxiety, only provide some relief from the symptoms. Its not usually recommended that one take them in significant doses for more than a couple of months, as they can thern cause dependency, and it can be hard for some people to come off these benzo drugs.
Similarly, there are heart drugs called beta-blockers which can be used which don't touch the psychological sense of anxiety, but may calm many of the physical symptoms.
Antidepressants are effecgive in reducing the chemical imbalances underlying anxiety, and may help one to recover from the disorder. But they work more gradually, so it can be a couple of weeks before one starts to notice the effects. It'd be worthwhile trying this approach
I do not recommend hypnotherapy on its own for anything at all, and there's remarkably little good evidence that its useful for anything much ; used ONLY by a psychiatrist or psychologist as PART of a mixed plan of treatment, it could be a useful part of the solution. "Hypnotherapy " is not a formally recognized speciality ( except of course recognized by the hypnotherapists themselves !).
Another treatment method which HAS got lots of good sc ientific evidence that it works with lasting benefits, is a particular method of counselling called CBT ( COgnitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which helps you to unlearn the habits of getting and staying anxious, and to learn to avoid the triggers that set off the anxiety, and to reduce the anxiety deliberately when the symptoms start to arise. I like the way this method puts you back in control of yourself and your emotions. Many good psychologists are not able to offer this treatment.
Let us know, back here on the forum, in fresh messages, how you get on.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Susan | 2012-10-16

Hi Sharon, this is so so nice to speak to someone that feels the way i do. How do you find dr cecile as I am going for my first apoointment tomorrow. i just keep having this nervous feeling and i am struggling to eat. I have been given cilift but am so unsure of how it works and if it will work, although a pregnant friend of mine is taking it due to anxiety, so i guess it cvould not be that bad then? at the moment i am only using Ativan SL 1mg to keep me calm and to cope at work. What symptoms have you experienced if you dont mind me asking?

Reply to Susan
Posted by: Sharon | 2012-10-16

Hi Susan

I''ve also been seeing Dr Cecile and it sound like what I''ve been going through - trying to deal with old issue I kept under the carpet for years, now I am learning to make peace with it and I still get the panic attacks (I take 0.25mg alzam) for this or Khali Phos tissue salts - but the alzam works far better if it is a strong panic attack. I am slowly learning how to change my mindset and focus on the positive part of my life and that I survived a knife weilding assailant in my home yesterday so Praising God for sparing me.

Reply to Sharon
Posted by: Susan | 2012-10-15

Dear Cybershrink, thank you for you answer. It helps me understand better of what is happening to me.
Could you perhaps tell me what sid eeffects i can expect from using cilift. According to my doctor nothing, but i have spoken to some people that have used it and they had some side affects, some said it even made them feel more anxious the first week or 2 in. i have also read the paper in the box but this scared the living daylights out of me. i dont understand where this is coming from as i have never had this before. I am not struggling to sleep, but am struggling to eat and concentrate and I have that it is changing me in this way.

Reply to Susan
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012-10-14

This does sound like an anxiety disorder. The tingling can be due to the way some of us, when we get anxious, hyperventilate - we breathe faster and deeper than we need to, and this shifts the chemical balance in our blood, making us feel tingling and maybe faintness - when this happens, apart from trying deliberately to breathe a bit slower and less deeply, with less sighing, it can be helpful to breath into and out of a paper bag for a whort while, as this increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the air we're then breathing in, and this can help to correct the chemical shift we caused by the deep breathing !
All the symptoms you mention are typical of anxiety, and as one is already anxious, we tend to feel fearful of the symptoms our original, anxiety was causing. Other symptoms include such things as some trembling of the hands.
5HTP is NOT anywhere near as helpful as a properly chosen antidepressant used properly on the advice of a good doctor, and used in the proper doses, these should not cause serious problems at all.
Ativan is one of a family of drugs called Benzos, which are sedative tranquillizers. They act quickly, so one may feel some relief soon after taking one ( they're similar in some ways to taking a stiff drink of alcohol ) - but they don't solve the basic problem of anxiety, only provide some relief from the symptoms. Its not usually recommended that one take them in significant doses for more than a couple of months, as they can thern cause dependency, and it can be hard for some people to come off these benzo drugs.
Similarly, there are heart drugs called beta-blockers which can be used which don't touch the psychological sense of anxiety, but may calm many of the physical symptoms.
Antidepressants are effecgive in reducing the chemical imbalances underlying anxiety, and may help one to recover from the disorder. But they work more gradually, so it can be a couple of weeks before one starts to notice the effects. It'd be worthwhile trying this approach
I do not recommend hypnotherapy on its own for anything at all, and there's remarkably little good evidence that its useful for anything much ; used ONLY by a psychiatrist or psychologist as PART of a mixed plan of treatment, it could be a useful part of the solution. "Hypnotherapy " is not a formally recognized speciality ( except of course recognized by the hypnotherapists themselves !).
Another treatment method which HAS got lots of good sc ientific evidence that it works with lasting benefits, is a particular method of counselling called CBT ( COgnitive-Behaviour Therapy ) which helps you to unlearn the habits of getting and staying anxious, and to learn to avoid the triggers that set off the anxiety, and to reduce the anxiety deliberately when the symptoms start to arise. I like the way this method puts you back in control of yourself and your emotions. Many good psychologists are not able to offer this treatment.
Let us know, back here on the forum, in fresh messages, how you get on.

Reply to cybershrink

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