I blogged in June about reviewing my anxiety medication, specifically because during the first 4 weeks of coronavirus lockdown I had experienced a significant reduction in anxiety and an insight into how life could be.
I posted recently about my anxiety medication and my intention to ask the doctor to review it.
Today I telephoned the Doctors surgery to ask to for a non urgent appointment to discuss my medication. I was advised that, because of Covid-19, the GP was not reviewing medication at present. So having felt somewhat deflated, after plucking up the courage to telephone, I thought I would try writing to them instead.
I am struggling with my anxiety as usual. During the first 3- 4 weeks on lock down for coronavirus, my wife and I screened ourselves. I found that not being allowed to go out and not having any appointments to go to, resulted in my anxiety easing significantly and I was happy pottering around at home and working part time at home on my computer. Now some 12 weeks later I find my generalised anxiety back to where it was prior to lock-down and having seen how I can be during those first three weeks, I want to be more like that.
It has been sometime since my last blog post. I still struggle with and have been working on my anxiety and depression.
As usual time has passed – back in July I went and visited my GP for the first time in a long time. Since then I have been back to see him a couple of times. After my first appointment, we agreed that I would try out an additional medication, so I started on Sertraline at 50mg once a day for two weeks, then increased it to 100mg once a day. I have been on this dose now for 3 months. Here is a useful explanation of the medication Sertraline on Mind’s website.
I have decided to go to see my GP about my anxiety and depression, so thought it best I pull together a history of medication I have been prescribed over the past 9 years. Here is the medication I have been prescribed for anxiety and a link to a description on the Mind website:
Occasionally I miss a dose of Pregabalin, my mental health medication for my anxiety. I take 300mg of Pregabalin (Lyrica) twice a day and have been for about 18 months now. Saturday night I fell asleep early and forget to take my medication. Sunday I felt, well all I can really come up with is odd. I was more touchy and short tempered – sorry family. But what I really noticed was that I was so itchy.
I have been told about a really useful new App that has been available in Germany for some time and is now here in the UK
The App is called MyTherapy and is available to download for free to help manage medication and treatment, by reminding you to take medication and recording activity and other health information.
I searched for MyTherapy in the Apple App store and downloaded it easily and quickly. You have the option to register with your email address or just provide your date of birth and sex. I then used the barcode scan feature for my Pentasa tablets and entered the details manually for my Lyrica 300mg tablets.
I have managed to make an appointment with my GP for this afternoon and it is the doctor that we usually see for my wife, so she has a good idea of what Is going on.
I think it is time to review my medication, so I have been going through my old My Anxiety blog posts to see what I have been prescribed over the past 5 years. From what I can piece together I started on Citalopram, followed by Seroquel, then Duloxtine, being increased to 90mg a day, then Pregablin and Trazadone. But I found the side effects of Trazodone difficult, so ended up on 150mg Pregabalin twice a day. Which must have been for the past 2 years now. From my posts I read that I found the Trazadone good for my mind but not my body (aches) so came off it. Interestingly enough I would now say I would rather risk the aches to see how I get on with the medication as I seemed to find it helpful for my mental health.
Wow, it has been a month and quite a bit has happened.
A month ago, I blogged that I recognised I was stuck in a cycle with anxiety feeding IBS feeding anxiety, which was at the least hindering my recovery. So I have had a string of appointments over the past month, which included, GP, Psychiatrist, Gastroenterologist, and an Endoscopy.
Sorry everyone - bowel talk! So I have now worked out that my bowel control problems are not necessarily a symptom of my Ulcerative Colitis, (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and have now been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
So how did I get there?
I have been taking 150mg of Trazodone at night for a week now, the good news is my head / mental health seems to be a lot better, I feel less anxious and depressed.
BUT I am suffering with aching joints, particularly my knees and back, find it difficult to physically get out of bed because I ache and feel so 'heavy', to the point I am close to calling my wife to help me out of bed.
I have found a number of discussions and acknowledgments of the problem of joint ache whilst taking Trazodone, but no one seems to be talking about what they or the doctor did about it. I would be reluctant to stop taking Trazodone because I feel so much better mentally. Anyone else got any experience of how they dealt with the pain?
14th January 2013
The medication I take of Trazodone, Pregabalin and Asacol Mesalazine tablets are working for me so I will continue with them
I am attending Solution Focused Brief Therapy every two weeks and find that very helpful; I always come away feeling more positive, happy and motivated.
I am spending a lot of time developing My Anxiety website, which is giving me focus and purpose. I am now considering establishing it as a charity so watch this space
I have had my bicycle repaired and want to start using it more. Physical activity helps both Ulcerative Colitis and depression and anxiety.
I am getting things done in our home, many things have been left like fitting the skirting board to the lounge and dining area and repairing the shower. I am not doing it myself I hasten to add, but have had builders into quote and one of them starts next week on the skirting board.
2013 has started well, I feel I have a purpose and a plan, which accommodates my mental health as it is, so I don’t have to think if only…. All of this is helped by knowing I have not got to prove that I am ill by attending a DWP ESA Medical until March 2014. I feel that they are leaving me alone for a bit.
11th January 2013
I have been on Trazodone 150mg for a week now.
Firstly Trazodone has stopped the awful side effects I was getting from Duloxetine withdrawal – which is great because the nightmares, dizziness, brain zaps and sleep problems where getting to much. So lesson learnt is always do what the doctor tells you...............
Secondly the Trazodone seems to be alleviating my anxiety and depressive moods. I sleep 8 hours a night and have no recollection of any nightmares in the morning.
Thirdly, whilst my head is better the physical effect on my body is significant, getting up is hard work and my whole body aches and is difficult to get started. During the day my joints ache and are slightly ceased, I suspect I am walking like an older man and have to be careful on the stairs. Hopefully this will pass once my body is used to the Trazodone
Trazodone is an older drug and part of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) group. I assume from the fact it stopped my withdrawal from Duloxetine that it is managing my serotonin levels, but in a slightly different way
So other than the fact my body aches and getting out of bed is so hard, the Trazodone is working. Given the choice between how my head was mentally before and the current physical difficulties, I would opt for taking the Trazodone any day.
Another benefit to me is I have a sense of purpose again, hence all the activity on My Anxiety website and establishing all the social media accounts
11th January 2013
I don’t know whether I am making a big mistake but I am trying to come off Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I have not taken Duloxetine for 5 days now, having slowly reduced my dosage over three weeks.............
Following a recent visit to the GP, I think I have a slightly better understanding of how care operates in the NHS, UK........
Medication for Anxiety & Depression seems to fall into 2 groups:
My Medication for anxiety and depression is considered below, click on the image for more information from NHS UK about the drug ........
Citalopram was initially prescribed and my dose was slowly increased to 40 mg per day. My health got worse, whether this was eased or exacerbated by the Citalopram is unknown, this prescription was changed after 18 months. I found it had no side effects on me.
Seroquel (Quetiapine) as prescribed for about 6 months, I did not get on with the drug as I was knocked out most of the time, so it was changed.
I have been taking Pregabalin (Lyrica) for 18 months, between 200 and 300 mg twice a day, initially this drug made me light headed and dizzy but now I am comfortable with it. I still take this medication
My Duloxetine (Cymbalta) pescripition has been 60 or 90mg. I currently take 90mg once day. I am currently on 90mg with 200 mg of Pregabalin. I have found no noticeable side effects
I have also had a prescription for 5mg tablets of Diazepam which i take when i am struggling greatly with anxiety. I find Diazepam acts as a sedative for me.
The general principle of treatment seems to be that medication will help you on the road to recovery whilst therapy and/or time will actually enable the recovery; well this is the case for anxiety and depression so they say. I am told to use the analogy of a broken leg, the medication is the plaster cast and pain killers and the time and physiotherapy exercise after the removal of the cast is the therapy. My only observation is that three and a half years is a blasted long time to mend a broken leg!
Below I consider the therapy and medication treatment I have accessed .......