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Those of you who suffer from anxiety issues (medicated or NOT), how do you know when it's time to seek out some medical assistance?

The reason why I ask is because lately I've been seriously contemplating whether or not I actually need to see a therapist and get prescribed a light dose of medication for anxiety.

A little about me...
I've pretty much had anxiety (slight panic attacks, heart palpitations, general "uneasy" feeling in the pit of my stomach, butterflies in my tummy, fear of death, fear of sickness or bad health, etc) for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was 6 years old I would say.

While my symptoms were never really chronic or lasting long enough to feel the need to get "help" for this, lately I feel as though my symptoms have become a lot worse (more encompassing, more frequent) over the past few years and I don't know why. :( I find that whereas in the past I would rarely get heart palpitations, now I tend to get them every week....sometimes every day! In addition, I find that I just feel generally uneasy at times even when (imo) there's nothing "stressful" going on at the moment. For example, just last night I woke up twice in the middle of the night with my heart racing! I jumped and hopped out of my bed and my heart was just racing. I walked back to my bed and went back to sleep, but still! I don't even remember if it was a bad dream or what....

I also find that I sometimes get heart palpitations or even anxiety/dizziness while running on the treadmill. Most of this I know is due to a surge of adrenaline and it doesn't happen all of the time, so I usually just ignore it. But one time at the gym recently, I had to get off the treadmill because I had the WORST panic attack EVER! My heart was racing for a good 20 minutes. I was sitting there for 20minutes trying to calm my heart down. I felt shaky, anxious, panicky, etc. I just don't ever remember having anxiety this bad in the past! Certainly not in a gym!

Usually I prefer to use more [B]NATURAL [/B]means to heal myself (ie. counseling therapy, deep breathing exercises, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, changes in diet, regular exercise, massage, sleeping earlier, cammomile tea, avoiding caffeine, etc), but with the fact that these symptoms have gotten worse over the years, I'm wondering if maybe I need to seek medical assistance?

Just FYI, I have been to counseling before. About 7 or 8 years ago I sought out the assistance of a couseling therapist because of low-grade depression I was feeling due to a bad breakup/heartbreak and a death in the family all around the same time. I never addressed any anxiety issues (mainly because it wasn't that much of a problem back then), but I found the counseling for the depression was [B]EXTREMELY [/B] effective. :) I didn't even need any medication. I got better as the time went on and after about 6 months I was able to stop the therapy. I feel like that time (bad relationship/heartbreak) of my life started a downward cycle of anxiety and slight depression ever since... I used to be so carefree before that bad time in my life. Now I feel like I OVER think and over analyze EVERYTHING! I know I need SOME type of assistance...

I'm scared about medication though.... I feel like I've given up if I can't handle anxiety on my own. :( Not only that, but back in college I took ritalin for about a week to help me focus on studying for exams, and while it DID help with my slight ADD, I had to stop taking it because when the medicine would wear off, I would get the [B]WORST [/B]anxiety attacks!!! WORSE than normal without ritalin! One attack even sent me to the emergency room for a racing heart. :dizzy: Smh....

[B]Ugh...sorry this post is so long... If you're still reading lol...I guess my main question is: [/B] How do you know when you actually [B]NEED [/B]to take medicine for anxiety? :confused: I wouldn't say that the anxiety is interfereing w/my I can still go to work, I don't avoid social situations, and I don't stay trapped in my house. I have a pretty active social life. But I DO feel anxious inside MOST of the time now. Not everyday...some days I'm perfectly FINE! But other days I feel "on edge"..... Nobody can look at me and tell that I feel anxious, but[B][I] I[/I][/B] can tell.

Any advice??

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