Before even kicking off this article I must start with a disclaimer, all changes in medication must be verified and approved by a doctor, this is not something you want to do on your own as you can end up causing more harm than good to yourself if you are not careful.
As anyone who has ever been prescribed anxiety medication will tell you, all of them have side effects that can list from a few things to the length of your arm. With each one it can be a bit of an experiment to find the right dosage or even to see if it is going to work for you.
In December 2020, after 9 months of covid restrictions and isolation like I’ve never known before, I started taking anxiety medication. At the time it certainly was helpful and better than the side effects of anxiety. It allowed me to sleep and get through each day without feeling like I was trudging through molasses.
In April 2021, shortly after getting married, I did what you really should never do without consulting a doctor first, I stopped taking my medication because I felt great and didn’t notice much of a difference on it to when I was off of it. After a couple of months and an especially stressful June my anxiety seemed to be back in full force.
I started back on the original medication I was on (after talking to the doctor) but this time it definitely was not as effective and I still kept getting heart flutters, which is a very physical symptom I get with my anxiety. After a couple of weeks I spoke to my doctor who said to give it another couple of weeks and see if the symptoms subsided because sometime when you stop a medication and then restart it you can end up having more side effects during the adjustment period.
Well, unfortunately this time the side effects did not subside and if anything my symptoms were getting worse including another trip to the ER with major overheating and palpitations. After the hospital visit and getting the all clear on my heart and my bloodwork the ER said to follow up with my doctor and possibly explore a different anxiety medication.
2 weeks ago after consulting my doctor I stopped my old medication and made a switch to something new. The difference was felt almost immediately and I’ve felt like I have my energy back.
The biggest test of when to change anxiety medication is what is feeling worse, the side effects of the medication or the fear you experience with anxiety? Changes need to be made under medical supervision and often a decent length of time to allow for your body to adjust.
Also note, dietary and weight changes can also cause different reactions to medication. That’s two of the main things that the doctor believes caused my adverse reaction to the medication I had taken before; my diet is significantly cleaner and my weight is down 15lb from when I first took it. Both can radically change body chemistry and therefore side effects.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are concerned talk about it with your doctor and a mental health professional. It’s ok to need some help and you can have all the knowledge in the world and be using numerous coping strategies and still need some medication to help. Trust me, I’ve been there and I use a list of different coping strategies but sometimes my body freaks out because I’m human just like you.
If you ever have any questions about anxiety don’t hesitate to ask. I’ll share openly about my own experiences and offer support where I can.
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