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Medication, Does It Prolong The Pain

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I have a question for some of the health care professionals. My physician has prescribed an anti anxiety med (lorasapam) and a anti-depression med (Effexor XR). I am very cauious about using them, but I do believe that my crying episodes are much less when I do take the lorasapam. Am I just prolonging the grieving process by taking these? I was told once by a friend that was a NP that after you go off of them you are still going to have to go through the emotions and feelings. Just wondering anyone else's take on this subject.



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Guest Nicholas

Though not a health professional, I know quite a lot about all these kinds of medications, having been treated both in the UK and US for migraines and stress, depression and anxiety and done my own research: all medications carry some form of risk; Lorazepam, in particular, can be highly addictive and should only be used for short periods of time. But you have to weigh up the benefits and disadvantages - if they allow you to get on with your life better, then there MAY be a case for taking them on a long term basis, in consultation with your physician. But withdrawal from them can be very difficult. I withdrew easily from Lorazepam (Ativan), but many can't. I have since been taking a different member of the same family (Oxazepam) and couldn't survive without it, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I have also taken Effexor (Venlafaxine) which I didn't find very effective and was easy to withdraw from, but again, I must stress that withdrawal should only be undertaken under strict consultation with your GP.

As for them prolonging the pain, I have no experience of that. Perhaps others on here will have their own personal experiences, though, of course, what applies to one patient, doesn't necessarily apply to another. I presume your GP knows your state of mind and so his (or her) prescriptions hopefully are a result of his/her considered opinion.

Good luck.


PS: I wouldn't recommend an internet search as you will often end up on non medical sites full of scare stories.

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I am no professional but I can give you my thoughts as I have been down that road with previous issues in my life requiring those types of meds., I am currently on an anti-anxiety med as well I'm on Clonazapam very much like your lorazapam they both function the same they just have different life spans in our bodies and the clonazapam is less addicting than lorazapam but both are if abused...I have been on a 1 mg dose as needed twice daily, it does help with the panic attacks and stress as well as easing the tears most days, I do not think it has prolonged any stages of grief as I have pretty much gone thru and go thru what everyone else does on a daily basis, it has helped for sure as I find myself requiring it less often as more time passes and I grow the new me, my Dr. wanted to add the anti-depressant but I refused as I had been on Paxil and Effexor XR after my divorce, they did not seem to have any major effect in my mood, emotions or outlook on things in fact it may have delayed my recovery as I went thru major withdraw when I was taken off Effexor, even on the gradual reduction....we each have to decide for ourselves, if they help and you have no side effects we need to find a comfort zone in managing this major change just be aware of any changes and be cautious....I have found that meditation, reflection and prayer work wonders and have no side effects except for positive feelings....also finding someone to share your feelings with, here, in person or a support group also works well....I am very Blessed that I have someone such as my friend Brenda to share all the same feelings with, as her Husband passed in 8/09, this is rare that we find someone to go thru this with and I truly thank God daily for her being in my life....


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Hi there, as a Rn I know that meds can be benficial for some and not for others.....I have found them not good for me, but recommend them for others! I do caution you to not go through your md but to followuo with a Psychiatrist, for I believe that a family doctor doesnt possess the knowledge appropriate to prescribe such..TAKE CARE! dave

p.s. after this horroble experience in my life have found, that my spelling and typing has gone to heck...guess the least of my worries....

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Well, I have some experience with these - both as a health professional (neuropsychologist) and as a fellow griever.

From what I know, lorazepam is one of the strongest tranquilizers and very easy to get addicted to. I would reconsider taking them if I were you. Most physicians recommend oxazepam instead because it's milder and less addictive as long as you take it over a relatively short period of time (no more than 4-5 months). I took Oxazepam about three times a day to begin with. I was in such despair I was nearly hysterical. I don't think I would have made it through those first few months without something to calm me down enough to get through the day and to help me so I could make some necessary decisions.

That being said - I recently found it a little difficult to get off the oxazepam, even though I was taking only 10 mg once a day the last few months. I had some withdrawal symptoms - with physical anxiety (that stomach clenching feeling you get when you're anxious) and some stomach problems. But I did not feel any greater grief once off them than when I was on them - and did not cry any more or with more intensity than when I was taking them. That's what you were asking about. If anything, I feel a little more balanced now that I've stopped. I think this is because I was becoming addicted, and my body was craving a higher dose.

You may want to ask your doctor about Buspar - which is an anti-anxiety drug that apparently is not addictive, though I'm sure there are some withdrawal symptoms involved. It may be better for you than a tranquilizer.

About the antidepressants: I come from a family with depressive tendencies, so I've been on and off antidepressants for years. I found one that worked for me - Lexapro. If you truly are depressed, then antidepressants will help you through some tough times. There will be withdrawal symptoms when you quit them again, but you have to weight that up against the depression.

Grief is not depression - though a lot of the symptoms are similar. You have to distinguish between them. The antidepressants won't remove your grief. That will still be there. But you will probably feel a little more emotionally subdued on the medication. They give antidepressants to brain injured patients because brain injuries will sometimes remove that emotional brake that we all have - that keeps us from expressing all our emotions all over the place, all the time. Brain injured patients will often cry at the drop of a hat, and the antidepressants help to put the emotional brakes back on. Maybe that's why your doctor prescribed the antidepressants. Effexor works by inhibiting the reuptake of several neurotransmitters instead of just one. Lexapro works only on the reuptake of serotonin, while Effexor works on the reuptake of serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. So theoretically it is supposed to be a more effective antidepressant. However, the withdrawal symptoms can be very nasty, making it difficult to quit them. Just so you know.

My two cents.


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Becky, dear, in addition to the wise advice you're receiving from our members, you may find these articles of interest:

Interview: Are We Medicating Normal Grief?

Grief vs. Depression

What to Do (On and Off the Web) While You're Waiting for Your Antidepressants to Kick In

See also these threads:

Grief or Depression?

Medications and Stuff

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I am not a professional in this matter beyond being a Pharmacy Technician/Diabetes Trainer and Educator. As well as my own personal experience with being treated with medication for clinical depression and post traumatic stress disorder.

I did experience a sense of being totally numbed out when I was on medication and void of any feeling at all. In my case though I probably needed to be numbed out or I would not have survived those first few years as had become suicidal myself. So for me I think yes the medication delayed my grieving process but I don't believe it was to my detriment at all. I was put on an SSRI (selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor) for my diagnosed clinical depression and also prescribed a benzodiazepine on an as needed basis for anxiety and panic. Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs usually the first line of choice to treat anxiety; such as lorazepam, alprazolam, diazepam, oxazepam to name a few; essentially any drug that ends with the last three letters "pam" is a benzodiazepine. This class of drug is habit forming and one may find themselves becoming addicted and needing a continual increase in dose to achieve the same therapeutic effect. I am now not on any medication and am now finding that I am getting flashbacks to those first three years and am able to regulate my emotion, remain present, not feel panic. I now control my anxiety/fear/panic with prayer, mild exercise, cd's from the www.healthjourneys.com, proper breathing, aromatherapy, my rocks, my journalling, my painting, my writing, and volunteering.

I would also like to point out that there are aniti-depressants that treat both depression and anxiety and the risk of dependancy is removed.

I think the key points are that we all have our own unique needs in so far as navigating through loss and whatever that ends up being is just fine. I really would like to stress the benefits and importance of titrating up slowly to a therapeutic dose of any med and when the choice is made to come off to titrate off slowly too. This will minimize side effects and withdrawal symptoms. I also think that it important to work with your doctor, pharmacist, and therapist/counselor if you have one.

Blessings and Courage, Carol Ann

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I am on Buspar (Buspirone) for anxiety, and would have to take it grieving or not as I have been diagnosed with GAD (General Anxiety Disorder). It is non-addictive and doesn't have any problematic side effects for me other than slight weight gain, which I battle anyway...the trade off is worth it to me. It doesn't make me not feel, it just takes enough of the edge off that I can cope. One of the things I like about it is that it doesn't make me sleepy, which is important to me with commuting (no local jobs, everything is at least 50 miles away).

If it isn't doing the job for you, please talk to your doctor about it. Also have him address any concerns you may have. I know that Valium (Diazepam) takes 2 1/2 times to get out of your system as you've been on it. It also makes you incredibly tired. It did nothing to alleviate my anxiety although it may work for others.

I'm not familiar with the two drugs you've cited, but why not google them and read about their side effects, etc. from several sites? There are usually blogs you can read where others cite their experience with them too.

I wouldn't want to be on anything strong enough to prolong my grief, but if a person IS on something like that, they'll know, they'll feel like a zombie, it's something you're aware of. I had a friend that was on Prozac and she went off of it because she said it left her unable to feel. Another person I know is on it and it made her normal for the first time in years! So just be aware of how drugs seem to affect YOU and talk over your concerns with your doctor. If you've already started on it, don't take yourself off of it without his guidance and care, some can be dangerous to suddenly stop taking.

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I do not believe that it prolongs the healing. Just today I was at the pain management, and the APN suggested that I should be on an anti depressant. She said it stop your grieving but it helps you cope better day by day. I think I should try it. This is the second time I have been told I should go on one. I do not see any harm in trying one. She also told me it takes about six weeks before you see them working. When you are depressed your body is not making the chemical you need to function more like you should be.


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I am chiming in here also. I am a professional (Licensed Clinical Social Worker in practice for a ton of years). Bill was a clinical psychologist on the staff of 3 hospitals so I come with some expertise here as we had a practice together for many years. I support all that has been said. Lorazepam is basically a muscle relaxer and IS highly addictive. If you see yourself increasing the amount you are taking, I would get to your MD and discuss options.

I agree that general practitioners are not necessarily trained in these kinds of drugs and yet feel free to prescribe them. Seeing a psychiatrist for a med eval is well worth it if you opt to use drugs right now. As for the antidepressant, I agree that there is a difference between grief and depression. Effexor XR is prescribed more for anxiety and more effective with men for some reason. I have suggested Lexapro to many clients over the years with few side effects.

As to whether you need or decide to use them, it is so unique to each person's emotional make up and chemistry that you must work with an MD or a PhD Psychologist who has obtained the additional certificate to prescribe drugs. Do not read all the stuff that is on line...it will just confuse you and lots of it is not valid. mfh

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I took 50-100mg of trazadone at night to help me sleep. I was told it was not addictive. It is considered a mild antidepressant but in low doses it helps you relax. My brain just would not shut down at night. I feel it was the most beneficial decision I made. I took it for a year and a half and just recently stopped. I never had a side effect or withdrawl of any kind. My doctor said that it was safe enough to prescribe to pregnant women. Sleep depervation was really hard on me. Once I started sleeping better my depression eased and my coping skills got much better. I highly recommend asking your doctor about it.

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My doctor prescribed it for me too, I never took it during the week because of my long commute and early start, but when you've been sleep deprived for several days, it sure helps to get a good night's sleep on the weekend!

My doctor told me it's what he takes and he also said it's non-addictive. Caution, no alcohol with it!

50 mg makes me relax but 100 mg puts me out.

I never took a sleeping pill when George died, but then I didn't get much sleep either...fortunately I had a local job at the time so didn't have to commute, but looking back, I wish I'd just made it easier on myself and taken something esp. that first summer.

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