A few people have been asking me about this and I think that for most people using psychoactive drugs are probably a very bad idea. During my anxiety, depression, and insomnia, I was put on all sorts of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications. After the experience, I strongly advise against them except for the most extreme circumstances. For one thing, they are so physically and mentally addictive. If you have been following this blog, I am all about finding peace and freedom. Being addicted to medications robs you of peace and freedom.
When you are addicted to medications, you lose a lot of your peace of mind. For myself, it mostly made me unable to function. Yes, they do work for sleep and periodic anxiety, but only for SYMPTOMS, not for the underlying causes. For example, during very stressful periods, like when I was in a job where I found my anxiety driving me nuts, I could not fall asleep readily. So a visit to my doctor, who was double boarded in Internal Medicine and Psychiatry resulted in my being given Clonazepm (Klonopin) and then Seroquel for sleep.
Going on medications is very deceptive. At first, it does help with sleep very well. In fact, at the time, I thought it was a godsend. I slept like a baby and felt so relaxed. But I later realized it only resulted in my symptoms being glossed over. It did not result in any problems being solved. I was only putting a band-aid on the problem. After a short while, I became hopelessly addicted to the sleep aids. So much so that I felt so much anxiety at the thought of not being without the medications. Whenever I would go to sleep, I would instinctively reach for the medications as if my very life depended on them.
After a time though, my sleep problems only became worse. When I switched doctors and had to go without the medications, I found myself in sheer agony. I found horrible withdrawal symptoms like rebound anxiety and intense insomnia. In fact, the It was then that I found out that the drugs were worse than I could have imagined. I could not sleep for days and my anxiety went through the roof.
I realized that the big pharmaceutical companies were in fact the biggest drug dealers of them all. I found out later that those “legal” drugs were in fact more addictive than the illegal drugs. And because the drugs hide themselves behind “legality”, it makes them so much more dangerous. People who become addicted do not think of themselves as drug addicts, even though they are. And innocent people do not think of the side effects like dependency and withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms were so utterly painful and I felt as if I truly had entered hell on earth.
I think the first thing to do when addicted to those supposed anxiety busted drugs are to first remove whatever it is in your life that is causing you the anxiety. If it is your job, it is paramount to realize that if your job is so stressful that it is causing you to lose sleep, it is more important to quit that job BEFORE you think about medications. If it is your relationship, it is time to leave that relationship BEFORE you think about medications.
Medications are in my opinion a very last resort…
Big drug companies (and many doctors) unfortunately want you to stay addicted because it means so much money for them. They have no desire to see you come off the medications.
First, it is critical to WEAN yourself off the medications once you find yourself addicted to them. Going cold turkey (quitting the meds suddenly) is a very bad idea. You need to cut the dosages slowly bit by bit. If sleep is your problem, you can use another less powerful medication to wean yourself off.
If you are on a high dose of Seroquel or Klonopin for sleep (for example), you can start on a schedule of cutting the pills into smaller doses over time. On top of that, you can “piggyback” a weaker sleep aid like Trazadone or Benadryl. You can supplement that with good sleep hygiene, and a good exercise regimen. More on this later…