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Hey Brandon, I take Zoloft for Panic and anxiety disorder. At first it made my anxiety a little worse but I had about 3 panic attacks around the start of the med which is good for me cause I'd have them for 2 hours at a time a couple times a day before I started. Then 2 weeks went by and my panic attacks stopped but my anxiety stayed for about 6 weeks total and got less and less toward the end of that 6 weeks. After about 2 months on it I felt great, could drive again, get out and be social, normal, etc.. After about 4 months I had a very mild panic attack (i'd say bordered between bad anxiety and a mini panic attack) but it turns out that it was the very day before my period and this has been the pattern for me so far except the attacks are very mild now and last for a couple hours the day b4 my period so, I guess it's a woman/hormonal thing.

I have a bad concept of time but I think I've been on zoloft now for close to a year with very good results. I have a normal life again with the exception of a few mild bad days here and there. By the way, the day after I have any alochol drinks (except for beer or wine for some reason) I'll have anxiety for a day or 2. It's been a learning experience through trial and error but now, I know my body, I know what I can do, how far I can push it and so on which is good because I know I am in control of how I feel.

You asked, why ssri's instead of xanax, etc., and I feel the reason is that with ssri's, you are treating the problem and not just medicating it temporarly.
With SSRI's as time goes by and panic and anxiety fade away, the "fears" begin to fade away and you retrian your neural path ways. A neural pathway is the nerve path between thought and action and is a bunch of nerves that connect to the part of your brain that makes your body react to things. The more you think of something the clearer that neural path becomes which makes it harded to forget, the less you think of something the less you react/compute it.

For example; a neural path is like this.... Let's say there is tall grass between your new summer home and the lake area in back and the only way to get to the lake is to go through the tall grass which you've never been through b4 so, you walk through it and eventualy get there but the path which you walked is still not worn down enough to be a clear path to and from the lake house but after a many trips through the tall grass, the path gets worn down and cleared out more because you've went there again and again so, it's easy to know your way. Our thoughts are the same. The more you think of something, the stronger your "neural path" becomes in connecting the 2 such as panic, anxiety, negative thinking, or anything in life, much like the tall grass. If you stopped making trips to the lake behind the house then the grass would over time, grow tall again and the path would be less clear to you and same is such for your thoughts. I got that from a great book I picked up recently called, "Neural Path Therapy" and there is very clear and exact understanding of this pattern which has very much helped me to understand the whole procces of what's going on between my mind and body. Just knowing exactly how this all works has been a great help for me not to get trapped into "thinking" too much about these things that trigger my bad feelings or just bad/negative thinking in general. It's like a light went off in my head after I read the book. I just wish I had it when all of this started a few years ago so I would not have been so affraid of all the weird and bad feelings my mind and body went through. (i am not connected with anything to do with this book... It just helped me a lot which is why I am mentioning it)

If you'd have asked me a year ago, I'd have convinced you I was going to die any second. But I'm over it now because I understand it all and believe me, I did my research but never got it before I read that book.

With xanax and all benzo's they DO help a lot in making anxiety go away and can often make panic attacks go away but the results are temporary. When the drug fades out of your system, the symptoms often return and this process hurts people because of the mental trauma it puts us through which trains our thoughts (neural paths) to be instantly in a bad place cause the path becomes clearer and clearer over time.

With SSRI's, for most people, it's calms their anxiety, panic, depression, etc., and getting a break from feeling that way eventually for most of us lessens the thought process of worry, when will the next attack come, where are the exits, how will I make it through this or that.... The less we think of these things, the better because those neural paths (like the tall grass I mentioned above) can have a chance to fade away while we get our life back.

Some people may or may not need to be on some form of medication to help them through this for life because it really can be that harmful. This is why SSRI's over Benzo's such as xanax are (or so I feel) a better way to go. Then you have people who metabolize medicines differently. There are a few catagories which every person can fall into one of. You can find out more on that through a search on the net for the words, "DNA Drug Reaction Test". To make it short, some people will have success with ssri's and some wont.
Benzo's are addictive. From what I read, xanax is the most and if on it regular then you come off suddenly, you can have seizures because it lowers the convulsive thresh hold in your body which is why people must taper off it slowly. I also, read that if you have taken xanax on a regular basis for even 5 days that you should taper off slowly. So, benzo's are way more addictive that SSRI's. BUT, Dr's will say that SSRI's are not addictive. They are wrong. I myself have felt the withdrawl symptoms which can make you manic. You can find more on this subject here on the boards if you do a search for, "SSRI withdrawl". So we must taper off our ssri's slowly as well.

I started zoloft on 12.5 MG because I'm only 105 pounds and then went up slowly over 2 months to 25mg and then after seeing that my anxeity was still slightly there, went up to 50mg daily. I'm comfortable where I'm at and it's been close to a year. This is different for every person because of the whole metabolizing situation due to DNA which is unique and different for every person.

I have my trusty xanax by my side which "comforts me" during my times of trial, travel and so on, though I rarely ever need it (like about 5 or 6 times over the last year) so, for me, I'm very happy I went with the SSRI's down this long road to recovery because it gave me a one pill a day brake away from the state of who I had become and in turn gave ME the chance to fade those things out and retrain my thought process which I didn't even know I was doing till I read that book. It's a nice cap on things because now, I know why it happened, how it happened and I know without effort or much thought what to do if it trys to creep back in even in the most trying of times.
Good luck to you all, I hope you find peace and a happy life.

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