• 5 months ago

    Anyone tried Lexapro for anxiety?

    A couple of weeks ago I started having shortness of breath. I went to my doctor and he said it was anxiety. After this, I started having periods where I was really anxious and nervous for seemingly no reason. Other times I just feel really depressed and it becomes hard to find anything to cheer me up (I’ve been watching a lot of sitcoms and listening to a lot of comedy youtube videos). My doctor prescribed me Lexapro, but I’m really hesitant to take this drug. I’ve read that it makes you really drowsy. My doctor says I have to take it for 6 months and there are some pretty severe side effects if I stop it early. I don’t want to get to the point where I have to take this indefinitely. Has anyone taken Lexapro? Is this all just in my head? Are there any over the counter products I can take? Could it just be that me worrying about this situation is making my anxiety worse?

Responses

  • 5 months ago

    RE: Anyone tried Lexapro for anxiety?

    1000mg of Epa omega-3 daily.
    My doctor's advice for depression.
  • 5 months ago

    RE: Anyone tried Lexapro for anxiety?

    Welcome, and I'm sorry to hear you haven't been feeling yourself as of late.

    From what I understand, the major depressive episodes have been recurring for some time now, but you haven't really had any other symptoms aside those that come with the territory of depression (e.g. headache, sleep disturbance, etc.) until a couple of weeks ago, when you visited your doctor due to the shortness of breath, as a symptom of anxiety.

    The short answer is, yes, you do have anxiety. A better, and more informative answer, however, is that a period of feeling "really anxious and nervous for seemingly no reason," when combined with physiological symptoms (i.e. shortness of breath) is better known as a panic/anxiety attack.

    Lexapro can help in the long-term, but it won't stop an attack, nor will it help you symptomatically by calming the sudden onset of paroxysmal anxiety. You need a second medication to stop a panic attack as it's happening, under a classification of drug known as "benzodiazepines."

    - Xanax (alprazolam): probably the most widely-recognized name in the benzodiazepine class. It's remarkably fast-acting and, unlike some drugs which remain in the body for days or weeks, Xanax is fully-metabolized and excreted within about half a day.

    - Klonopin (clonazepam): a longer-lasting benzodiazepine. Although it doesn't act quite as quickly as does alprazolam, its mechanism of action is essentially the same, but it tends to be a better fit for the management of symptoms in patients with constant levels of high anxiety, particularly where there is marked diminution in quality of life.

    Lexapro, as with any SSRI, takes about 4-6 weeks before a therapeutic effect can be expected. It's indicated for Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, among else, and it's prescribed by general practice because they learned in medical school that it's a relatively new second-generation antidepressant that performed well in clinical trials; has anxiolytic properties; is inexpensive; isn't associated with weight gain; and it has remarkably few side effects you're likely to find out about.

    Start with a half of a 10mg or 20mg tablet (depending on your script) for the first week; then, if you're tolerating it well, you can move up to the full dose as prescribed. If you take it in the morning and it makes you unbearably tired all day long, take it at night instead and use it to help you sleep. It might make you feel jittery/wired for the first few days, and some "brain fog" is not uncommon, either, but it should self-resolve.

    Things to stay away from: grapefruit (yes, I'm serious) and St. John's Wort. And, finally, alcohol and Lexapro don't mix.

    Things to look out for: serotonin syndrome—intoxication from an abundance of serotonin in the brain. Blurry vision; tunnel vision; pupillary dilation; confusion; vertigo; headache; nausea; loss of appetite; arrhythmia; difficulty breathing; weight loss; agitation/akathisia; dysarthria, etc. If it happens, you'll know, and it'll self-resolve in about 24 hours as long as you discontinue the medication immediately. Hydrate, don't fall, sleep it off, and make sure your doctor is aware of the adverse reaction that occurred.

    The most important takeaway is: be safe. You know your body better than anyone, and your doctor won't judge you for having questions or feeling uneasy. If you'd feel more comfortable with a psychiatrist's consultation/referral, just ask.

    I say: gotta start somewhere, and it might as well be Lexapro. Worst case scenario, you're intolerant to it, in which case you just have to find one of the scores of antidepressants/anxiolytics out there that works for you.

    Best of luck. Let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing how things play out!
      • 5 months ago
        Thanks for your feedback. This helps a lot. What are your thoughts on the benefits of taking medication (like Lexapro) vs. therapy/seeing a psychiatrist for anxiety?
  • RE: Anyone tried Lexapro for anxiety?

    Hey, picard88-

    I think Lucas is jumping to conclusions to say that you are having panic attacks. Also, while benzodiazepines can make a contribution to reducing anxious symptoms, many physicians are no longer willing to prescribe them because of issues of dependency.

    To your most recent question about medications versus therapy… It doesn't have to be a "versus." Lots of people like you benefit from a combination of medication and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). If you have an option to work with a specialist who treats anxiety and depression, I would recommend that you act on that. For instance, we are very clear now about relatively straightforward self-help skills that can be easily taught and be effective at reducing anxious symptoms like your shortness of breath. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) offers a searchable list of its professional members. You could see if there someone listed who works near your community. https://anxietydepressionassoc.site-ym.com/?page=FATMain
      • 4 months ago
        Thanks! I’ll look into this.
      • 4 months ago
        I also think therapy would be my first choice, meds my last, but what's missing here is something you can do without cost which is keeping a diary of what and when these attacks come, looking for patterns and giving yourself permission to either avoid or change situations in your life in a very real way to correct the fear or frustration that is making you so anxious. Often making your health a priority with sleep, diet, hydration and exercise will often help your mental state. If you are in a bad relationship, job, school or other situation, consider changing the situation. Always remember you are free to choose how you react to events. Regain your confidence and self-worth but exercising your voice to say, "no", leave or speak up for yourself instead or allowing life to eat at you afterwards for not expressing yourself.
  • 4 months ago

    RE: Anyone tried Lexapro for anxiety?

    Hi there, I had to reread the story you wrote about Lexapro to make sure I didn't write it & forget. The exact same thing (shortness of breath, doc think it's anxiety) happened to me. It was so bad that I went to the ER because I thought I was dying. They kept me over night because my blood pressure was 213/89 and they had to get it down. They used IV fluids because I was dehydrated.

    While I was there they took a chest x-ray and did a CT scan of my chest. It was all normal except I couldn't breath and still can't. They gave me Lexapro for my anxiety and I can't take antidepressants. I just took my 1st pill today so I'll have to let you know what happens in a few days. I've never been able to take anti for more then 4days because they would make me suicidal.

    Worrying about anxiety does make it worse. It's a vicious circle. I don't know why mine started. I wasn't worried about anything and I don't feel upset now. But I took the pill today because I can't stand not being
    able to breath right.

    Try taking them for a week or so to see if it helps your anxiety. If it works, that will be great and if the side effects are too bad, stop taking it. You don't have to take that kind of med for 6mo. If it's not helping you, stop taking it. I'll keep you informed with how it's working on me. Good luck to us both.

    Luke

    p.s. I also was watching a lot of sitcoms and listening to Jim Gaffigan on YouTube. Anything to keep my mind occupied.