Medications for Depression/Anxiety/Stress & other mental health problems.

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llorona
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Joined: Sun Sep 23, 2012 11:44 pm
Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Medications for Depression/Anxiety/Stress & other mental health problems.

Post by llorona » Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:29 pm

For situational anxiety, nothing you put into your body, whether "natural" supplements or prescription drugs, is going to address the root cause of your symptoms. As others suggested, you might want to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or starting an exercise regimen. Exercise, especially cardio, can be a very powerful antidote against anxiety!

I come from the perspective of someone who has taken SSRIs for 20 years for major depression. The drugs have been a godsend in that they've allowed me to live a normal life. Without them, it's very likely that I would have offed myself by now. This said, there's a little bit of poison in every pill. The benefits far outweigh the risks for me, but I would caution others to carefully weigh the pros and cons of taking meds and only resort to them in circumstances where mental health symptoms cause significant impairment.

Ponderosa
Posts: 23
Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:46 pm

Re: Medications for Depression/Anxiety/Stress & other mental health problems.

Post by Ponderosa » Wed Jul 25, 2018 10:32 pm

I used to be strongly against medication in almost every case.

I am not so sure anymore. I have PTSD. I began taking SSRI and it felt like the lights were coming back on. Life is much different now.

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Lemur
Posts: 109
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 1:40 am

Re: Medications for Depression/Anxiety/Stress & other mental health problems.

Post by Lemur » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:41 am

llorona wrote:
Sat Jul 21, 2018 8:29 pm
For situational anxiety, nothing you put into your body, whether "natural" supplements or prescription drugs, is going to address the root cause of your symptoms. As others suggested, you might want to try Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or starting an exercise regimen. Exercise, especially cardio, can be a very powerful antidote against anxiety!

I come from the perspective of someone who has taken SSRIs for 20 years for major depression. The drugs have been a godsend in that they've allowed me to live a normal life. Without them, it's very likely that I would have offed myself by now. This said, there's a little bit of poison in every pill. The benefits far outweigh the risks for me, but I would caution others to carefully weigh the pros and cons of taking meds and only resort to them in circumstances where mental health symptoms cause significant impairment.
Thanks IIorona. After reading this thread and doing some further research, I've pretty much arrived at the same conclusions. While I am still not against medication, I believe based on my past history with dealing with some mental roadblocks, I am much better off exhausting all options first. Medication is not required for my particular problems. Being that I am not depressed or anything like that and since my anxiety is largely situational, I should be able to target exactly what the problem is. The problem boils down to situational anxiety / public speaking anxiety / performance ; basically whenever I am being watched/judged (to say idgaf what anyone else thinks would certainly be a lie otherwise I would not have this problem lol).

Anyhow I had a presentation today that went a lot better. As per usual, I was nervous at the beginning with some jitters but I was much calmer then last time. I had no drugs/supps either; I did have a lot more sleep because the presentation came as a surprise and I only had 30 minutes to prepare. This actually worked a lot better because the anticipation did not drive me insane.

In any case, I am developing an action plan that I think would help a lot.

1.) Start exercising again. I used to be an avid runner. In fact, I remember one time in my early 20s I started running a lot after a bad-breakup and it went a long way towards helping with my short-term depression.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632802/

2.) Exposure Therapy. This is part of CBT - if I have to overcome my issues, I simply need to be exposed to the situations that cause me anxiety more often. My job naturally induces this (especially a lot lately; they're trying to groove me into management or something ugh); however, there are many meetings/calls where I am just a participant. I am usually quite during these; however, I believe that by getting involved in these deliberately (speaking up); I can practice my skill in essentially a non-consequence environment.

Short story: Psychologists meets a young girl who is afraid of cars for whatever reason. He practices what you call "flood exposure." He takes the girl, puts her in a car, and drives around for 9 hours. She is terrified, screaming, crying, etc. for the first 30-45 minutes or so....but then she realizes that nothing bad is happening and her fear is completely irrational.

Side thought: Could virtual reality (like in a VR headset used for gaming) in front of 1000 people in a virtual public speaking environment / speech expose someone enough to help in real life? Can Virtual reality be used in CBT?

3.) Addressing physical symptoms and being in the present moment. I read some really good advice that stuck - Even if you appear nervous in a meeting; nobody cares. They are there for the message, not you, so stop thinking about yourself too much! Separate yourself. Instead of me presenting to a group of people think of yourself as an entity, a replaceable screw in the system, as just doing its part in the system. Also whenever I catch myself thinking about the future (part of my nature is to always plan) I really have to draw myself back in the present moment. A big part of anxiety is anticipation of a fear.

I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened - Mark Twain.

Bad: "Can they notice my hands are shaking? Oh god, I'm really shaking (anxiety induces more).
Good: "Its okay to be a little nervous. Happens to everyone. Focus on your message'.

What has been shown to help:
- Cold water on your face. Can't find resource on this one
- Breathing techniques to calm nervous system. 3 seconds in, hold, 3 seconds exhale. I did this for 5 minutes before my call today and it really helped
- Mental imaging. My younger bro told me about this one. He says that athletes sometimes use it while working out or performing (imaging yourself benching the weight or scoring that goal). It also helps to mental image the worst possible scenario and realize, even still, afterwards- you're okay!

4.) Good nights sleep, healthy diet, consider green-tea which has natural levels of Theanine (shown to reduce anxiety in some studies)

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