Should you take Medication?

In certain cases medication can be very helpful in the treatment of panic disorder.

However, can I suggest that BEFORE you take medication try the techniques outlined in this book for a few weeks or see a Cognitive Therapist.

If you feel an improvement great – if not then by all means consider medication to help you engage with the CBT.

Make SURE that you have a supportive doctor who wants to help you change cognitively and behaviourally while using medication as a helpful tool rather than a crutch.

People can get anxious about taking medication. It is wise to be cautious but don’t totally reject it either.

Medication can help you engage with CBT and there are far fewer side effects nowadays than years ago.

If you are already on Medication?

If you are already taking medication and are finding it helpful there is no reason to discontinue its use until you feel you are ready to do so.

The only problem you may face when combining CBT with medication is that when you start to feel better you won’t feel sure which treatment is helping you. So you may then fear that if you stop the medication the symptoms will return.

If you are worried about your medication for any reason talk to your doctor.

There is a lot of good information online about the various types of medication used to treat anxiety and panic attacks. For example:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/anxiety-medication.htm

http://www.medicines.org.uk

Coming OFF Medication

If you want to come off medication the most EFFECTIVE way is to DO IT VERY GRADUALLY – lowering your dosage over several months is much preferable to stopping too quickly and going through withdrawal symptoms

You need to work out a withdrawal plan with your doctor. As you reduce medication you will be on high alert for the return of symptoms. This ‘anticipatory anxiety’ can then lead to fight or flight being more easily triggered.

You may then MISTAKENLY think that the symptoms ARE back BECAUSE you are coming off your medication. You can then become caught in another cycle of fear.

If you stay mindful of this it will be easier to restructure should it happen. This is why it is SO important to reduce GRADUALLY. Then you can say to yourself “this much of a reduction can hardly be having a huge effect”

If you reduced too much too soon your mind would be saying “I’ve reduced too much – I’m BOUND to feel anxious”

GRADUAL REDUCTION takes longer but is far more likely to work

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