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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First of all, hi :) . I have a somewhat odd situation (or so I think), so I'll go over it before getting to my questions (besides the one in the subject). You can skip the next three paragraphs and just read the recap if you like.

I've had issues with depression for a while, and spent a couple years on meds (Prozac didn't work, Remeron didn't work, Zoloft was the charm and I stayed on it for over a year). Was fine for a couple years, and have been going downhill for a few years. I plan to call my doctor in the morning, hopefully to get a same-day appointment to go back on Zoloft (presumably, since it worked before).

In the week or so that I've been contemplating going back on meds for depression, I realized how nervous and anxious I get about pretty simple things. I'm a graduate student, and classes are hell.. if I get called on, I get so terrified that I can't speak, my heart races, I feel sick, and I start blushing. And then the professor calls on someone else and assumes I haven't been paying attention, when really I'm just too anxious to respond. And I look like an idiot in front of everyone. When they go around the class getting answers/opinions, I spend the time until my turn doing all of the same. I find myself wishing I had skipped class because anything is preferable to the anxiety and downright fear I experience.

Gee, I wonder if I have a *gasp* anxiety problem. Figured I'd mention it to my doc when I talk to him, then I looked at Zoloft's website to see if it treats anxiety, and I looked at the Social Anxiety Disorder checklist.. every single one of them applies to me. Oh. Obviously an internet checklist does not constitute a clinical diagnosis, but 15/15 is pretty high.


A recap if you skipped all that: History of depression, going to doctor about going back on Zoloft for depression, realized apparently have anxiety problems.

So my questions:
1. How effective is Zoloft for anxiety? I saw a thing about it somewhere on this site, and it wasn't rated very favorably.. Does it seem to make a difference if you've been on other anti-anxiety meds? As in, you don't know how bad something is until you've had something better.
2. How long does it take Zoloft to work for anxiety? I seem to remember it kicking in fairly quickly for depression (2-3 weeks). Anyone know if it works differently for anxiety? Ideally, I'd like the anxiety to go away immediately, as it's distressing and really interfering with my life.
3. If it does take a while to kick in, would it be possible to get something else for the interim? Like Valium or Xanax (reading here indicates the latter may be hard to get), for a few weeks until the Zoloft starts working, assuming it does.
4. If I were to get Valium or something, would it generally be taken every day or only as needed? I only have class three days a week, so that's when I'd really really really need it. Although having more general anxiety knocked out 24/7 would be pretty sweet.. and make it much more easy to get stuff accomplished.

I apologize for the novel, this whole thing is very new to me. I'd like to have an idea of how this stuff works before I go to the doc so I know what to ask for.

Thanks to anyone who read this and may be able to offer some advice :) .
 

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My experience was it starts doing something after 6-8 weeks. Terribly though that something had little to do with relieving anxiety. Hopefully it will work for you.
 

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It should begin to help you within 2-4 weeks, full effects after about 8 weeks.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that. Try an MAOI.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hm, so it sounds like if it is going to work, it'll take a while. Hopefully I can get my doctor to give me something else in the meantime, because I really really need to get out of this. It's funny, not even a week ago I just thought this was my normal.. it honestly never even occurred to me that my anxiety is excessive--until I was sitting in class waiting to have to speak and was contemplating ducking out of my seat and leaving to avoid it. Now, I can't wait to see about getting on meds to reduce it. Please oh please let my doctor have an opening tomorrow!!

How hard is it to get a scrip for Valium or something similar?
 

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Like everyone says, definitely without a doubt do not take into account your opinions of looking for the positive effects of any SSRI type drug for a minimum of 4-6 weeks. You can often feel better much sooner, and many times you can often feel MUCH WORSE in the beginning. But once 4 weeks hits it gradually gets better and better. After about 8 weeks and a possible dose increase the effects if the med works for you though not for everyone obviously, but when I did it the effects were outstanding. Extraordinary.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you're depressed, you might want to give a shot, but if your primary problem is anxiety, ask your doctor about a benzo or beta blocker. These won't cure your anxiety or necessarily make you more social, but will mitigate symptoms.

As for the Valium - yeah, bring a crowbar. It's easier to get drugs like this by breaking into a pharmacy, honestly. I just didn't have the stamina to bother asking for them.
Yeah, depression is the problem I've had for a while. Zoloft worked for me before, so it makes sense to try it first this time around. I don't mind it taking a while to work for depression, but the anxiety sucks.

Why is it so hard to get meds like Valium? Do people abuse them? Sell them on the street? Are they excessively dangerous? I know nothing about drugs and it wouldn't occur to me that a doc might not prescribe a useful med.

Are there any effective, fast-working anxiety meds that aren't impossible to get? The "fast-working" thing is pretty crucial. To make a long story short, anxiety is seriously affecting my school performance and feeding the depression (which I'm sure feeds the anxiety). The semester is half over, and I pretty much have a solid semester's work to do.. not gonna happen if I have to wait 8 weeks for Zoloft to kick in.

My appointment is for Tuesday. I have to do a presentation for my most anxiety inducing class on Monday. Fabulous :roll . Maybe if I pass out and/or throw up it'll give my doc extra motivation to give me something good.
 

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Good luck. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I <3333 my doctor so much. I must've talked to him for like half an hour. He asked me what I wanted, and I said Zoloft and something for anxiety in the short term. So he gave me scrips for Zoloft and Ativan :boogie . I'm so excited! The next time I have to present for class, I will hopefully be able to speak! Coherently! Without feeling like the world is going to end!!
 

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My tip: Test the Ativan before giving the presentation so you get the dose right (calm, but not sleepy).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
They're 1mg pills, and my doc said to take half of one about two hours beforehand. If I'm still feeling anxious an hour or an hour and a half later, to take the other half. I do want to play with it a little bit before, though.. you're definitely right, don't want to be too anxious or too sleepy! I'll probably experiment on Thursday, since I have some anxiety-inducing events going on.
 

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Why is it so hard to get meds like Valium? Do people abuse them? Sell them on the street? Are they excessively dangerous? I know nothing about drugs and it wouldn't occur to me that a doc might not prescribe a useful med.
Yes, they are very commonly abused and sold illegally. Not excessively dangerous by themselves (you would need to take a very high dose to OD and die) but when combined with alcohol the danger multiplies greatly.

I have tried benzos and they just make me feel flat and empty. They also negate pretty much all the effects I get from other meds I am on while taking the benzo. I also experience fairly nasty withdrawals even after just taking one .5 dose.

Don't be afraid to try the other SSRI's or SNRI's if you find that zoloft still isn't giving you as much help with your anxiety as you would like. It personally increased mine; likely due to its action on dopamine.
 
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