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Antidepressants and benzodiazipines

Posted by Jim on October 13, 1998, at 15:52:44

I am a 51 year old male who has been taking benzodiazepines for nearly 20 years for anxiety and panic disorder (from which my father also suffered). The benzodiazepines are the only medications that I have ever found to give me relief from anxiety/panic.

Over the last 10 years, I have also been diagnosed with major depression and have also been prescribed various antidepressants by multiple psychiatrists.

My experience with the antidepressants has been:

Wellbutrin - helped with depression, aggravated anxiety.
Prozac, Paxil, Effexor - helped with depression, shut me down sexually - and other nasty side effects.

I am currently NOT taking any antidepressant but take 1mg of Lorazepam/Ativan 3X a day for anxiety/panic.

I recently switched doctors and my current doctor wants to put me on Paxil and wean me off the benzodiazepines. (Every doctor that I visit gives me dirty looks when they find out that I take benzodiazapines, and, I nearly have to get down on my knees and beg for a prescription)!

My current doctor wants to start me on Paxil, again. Been there, done that! The side effect of shutting one down sexually is terrible, especially since I am finally in a decent relationship. Therefore, I plan on asking him if he would consider prescribing Serzone instead. I've read that Serzone has a lower incidence of this particular side effect.

Guess I have a couple of questions:

1. I have seen lots of positive comments about Serzone and Remeron in the Internet Newsgroups. Is this worth a try - rather than try to live again with the terrible side effects of Paxil?

2. Should I continue to feel like a drug addict because I take benzodiazepines? Seems to me that this is medication that controls my condition quite nicely - but - the medical community wants to keep taking it away from me. I'm not even sure that I can continue to get any more prescriptions!

3. Can Paxil or Serzone effectively treat both the Anxiety and Depression? I have read the drug inserts and Paxil seems to be the only antidepressant that is officially indicated for Panic Disorder as well as depression and OCD.

My life situation is such that depression symptoms are at a minimum and probably could do just fine on benzodiazepines alone - except - the doctors don't want to prescribe them and constantly try to switch me to antidepressants.

Your opinions and help are greatly appreciated.





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