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Question
Posted by: Kitty | 2019/07/18

Anxiety treatment option

Hi Doc. I just want your quick opinion on something. Bases on your experience over the years, If one has like a genaral anxiety thing going on, but it's always there. Sometimes no anxiety, most times light anxiety far in the background but enough to become burdensome. Would you recommend (besides thereapy) taking anxiety meds like urbanol for only when it's a bad day, or must one consider going on a anti depressant tike venlafaxine long term, and then how efficient is an anti depressant for someting like general anxiety in the absence of actual depression? I've always managed my anxiety, and have declined anti depression options due to fear of effects of long term use. Now i'm starting to reconsider. Like today i'm a bit anxiuous and thinking about long term treatments, but then tomorrow i'll be fine and then feel silly for even considering. I have kids and most anxiety is worrying about them, which becomes a bit irrational sometimes i do admit, and went for therapy for this, but stopped because i felt better. I'm not blind to the fact that more long term sessions might be needed. Your opinion would greatly assist me in deciding a way forward here. I never though it would come to anti depressants, i've always been able to cope with life and always managed to think/debate myself out of a rut, but now I don't know anymore.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink
- 2019/07/18

Hi Kitty,
Some thoughts.  "Antidepressants" are a group of drugs that were originally identified and developed when they were found to be helpful with depression. But they're not specific to depression.  They do certain chemical things that can be useful in depression, but which are also useful in severe chronic anxiety : just as they can be useful in treating some serious pain problems.  And they help in anxiety where there's no obvious depression, and in pain where there's similarly no obvious depression.
There are significant risks to using benzodiazepines, and Urbanol type drugs in significant doses, daily, for more than a couple of months, especially the development of dependence, and troubles stemming from side-effects like concentration and memory problems.  There's been quite a bit of experience of people taking antidepressants long-term, as some folks need that to control and avoid recurrent episodes of depression.
An alternative approach, which SA psychiatrists seem oddly uninterested in, yet which has been supported by good quality research,  is CBT ( Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy and closely similar counseling / psychotherapy techniques, which may be as effective as drugs, and concentrate on giving you more personal ability to avoid and cope with, stress and anxiety.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Kitty | 2019/08/05

Thanks doc, you answered me very clearly, and I'm convinced to do the therapy thing when things get weird, currently i'm okay. but long term anti depressant might be better for my health in the long run rather than getting hooked on benzo's. THank you so much, I have more clarity now.

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