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severe anxiety during pregnancy... 
29th-Dec-2010 04:22 pm [anxiety disorders]
due in may
hi all,

i think i've posted once before about anxiety during pregnancy, a long time ago. but now it's out of control. i am 21 weeks/6 days.

i was put on lexapro 10mg about a month ago and suddenly, the past few days, the anxiety has been at an all-time high. i cry for hours each day, i'm terrified for no reason at all and i make myself sick from crying so much.

i keep reading on different sites that a lot of pregnant women have taken low doses of meds like xanax, ativan, klonopin...with no harm to their babies. their OBs prescribed it for them. my doctor said NO WAY to that last time i asked. however, i've had severe anxiety for my whole life and i have always been on an antidepressant as well as one of those for anxiety because the antidepressant never helped the anxiety on its own.

my husband was going to call the doctor for me today to ask what to do because i'm too upset to call and i don't believe they will be able to do anything for me, anyway.

are any of you also going through something similar? or, have any of you been through something similar? if so, what do you/did you do? how did you get through? the thought of 5 more months of this is terrifying to me.
29th-Dec-2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
thanks. :) i go to that site a lot. i don't do anything my doctor doesn't tell me to do. i just need some help to get through this somehow...
30th-Dec-2010 12:49 am (UTC)
Well this part is important too:

"Potential benefits may warrant use in pregnant women despite potential risks (e.g. life threatening situations or serious illness)"
30th-Dec-2010 04:03 am (UTC)
My doctor told me from day one that while some things aren't ideal during pregnancy, one of the most important things to remember is "healthy mom, healthy baby."
29th-Dec-2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Have you thought about trying other things like hypnosis therapy? I know it works for some people..just curious.
29th-Dec-2010 10:44 pm (UTC)
i have thought about it, but it's not covered by my insurance. it's so expensive!
29th-Dec-2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
There is some newer research that suggest low-dose, sporadic use of benzos like Xanax or Ativan is safe during pregnancy, especially once you are past the first trimester. However, it is next to impossible to get a prescription for it since it is at the moment still a D risk for pregnancy.

I went through the same thing when I first found out I was pregnant- in addition to some nominal bad timing, my father was just diagnosed with cancer, my three year old won't stop nursing, we had to get a second credit card to buy food, and I have a hole in my floor. So, you know, I've got a lot to worry about.

I started taking a tincture that's safe for pregnancy. It's for sleep, but it also works for acute panic attacks for me. http://www.herbsetc.com/Deep-Sleep-1-oz_p_63.html

Good luck!
29th-Dec-2010 10:55 pm (UTC)
A combination of therapy and Lexapro really helped me overcome my postpartum anxiety. Would seeing a therapist be possible at all?

Also, while I was pregnant my doctor suggested taking Benadryl to help with anxiety attacks since I could no longer take Xanax. (I always took Xanax as an occasional use drug to treat the symptoms of an anxiety attack.) My friend Benadryl helped me get to sleep many nights when I was too anxious to sleep.
31st-Dec-2010 12:47 am (UTC)
how much benadryl did you take? just the regular 2 tablets?

i saw a therapist for most of my life and it always ended up with them saying "you just have a chemical imbalance, you need meds". :/
31st-Dec-2010 05:51 am (UTC)
I just took the regular dose which helped me sleep.

I am so sorry that you have had such terrible experiences with therapy. Yes, you have a chemical imbalance. However, a good therapist should be helping you to find various "tools" to help you deal with your anxiety and keep it under control.
29th-Dec-2010 11:15 pm (UTC)
Im also 21 weeks and 6 days and I've delt with a lot of anxiety issues as well. I'm taking Buspar and I've definitely seen an improvement in my anxiety (although my depression has been awful so I'll be looking into an anti-depressant soon.) I believe Buspar is a category B and is very safe for pregnancy. I also have a script for a low dose of Ativan for severe panic attacks but I haven't had to use it since getting on Buspar (and also using Unisom to sleep.) My OB isn't psyched on the Ativan but my psychiatrist is close to a harvard medical researcher (the name eludes me now) who's done research on different meds and pregnancy and he says Ativan (more than Xanax) is pretty safe for pregnancy.
29th-Dec-2010 11:19 pm (UTC)
i did ask my doctor about ativan and she said NO WAY! but i just read a bit about buspar and it does sound pretty good. i will have to ask her about that one, thank you for sharing!
29th-Dec-2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
Jumping in to say Buspar is worth looking into. My psychiatrist used it frequently in addition to Celexa (in the same family as Lexapro) as Buspar augments the anti-anxiety effects of Celexa.
29th-Dec-2010 11:18 pm (UTC)
At this point it may be good to see a psychiatrist rather than your OB for anxiety meds and treatment. In addition to seeing a psychiatrist for medication management I would recommend seeing a therapist for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). If things are this bad now I would be concerned that the anxiety will continue or get worse after birth. It would be good to start in with a psychiatrist and therapist sooner than later so you already have a relationship.
I wish you all the best.
29th-Dec-2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
i will be looking into a psychiatrist soon, hopefully i can find one that is comfortable with treating pregnant women. i expect the anxiety to continue as i have dealt with it for my entire life. it was manageable without medication for the first few months of pregnancy but has recently become too hard to handle.

i'm not sure about therapy, i have been in therapy most of my life and all my therapists have always ended up saying "you just have a chemical imbalance, you just need medication". i guess we'll see how that goes.
30th-Dec-2010 06:51 am (UTC)
You definitely need to talk to a psychiatrist about it. Your OB isn't an expert at psychiatric problems, he or she may really not understand how badly it's affecting your life. I'm guessing that it's a lot easier for a psychiatrist to keep track of which meds are OK for pregnancy than it is for an OB to accurately diagnose and prescribe psych meds.
29th-Dec-2010 11:22 pm (UTC)
Lexapro messed me up last year when I wasn't even pregnant, I'm the reason for the warnings on that one lol I have anxiety as well and at times since I've found out that I'm pregnant I find it hard to cope, especially as a cashier at walmart >.< How I do it, I don't know. But since before I even knew I've been set on taking care of it naturally, Make sure you're still taking your prenatals, do things that help you relax, let your feelings out don't hold them in. I've been trying to find more things to make me laugh and think good thoughts, that tends to help too. Laughter really is great medicine. I'm always so nervous to take anything myself which is why I'm suggesting other ways. I know everyone is different though and I wish you the best of luck <3
29th-Dec-2010 11:33 pm (UTC)
I am 20w5d and for the past week I had a crazy fit of anxiety. For me it worked to figure out why (I had several things to do at the same time), prioritize them and work on them, and shove things too far ahead in the future/out of my control into a far back corner of my mind. So now I got several tasks accomplished and start feeling much better.
30th-Dec-2010 12:44 am (UTC)
My midwives mentioned that they had seen patients through entire pregnancies on Ativan. This was when I was stressing about taking some just for a flight. Anecdotal, I know, but it is done.

Most drugs that aren't class D are a risk-benefit analysis. You can't go on like this, love.
30th-Dec-2010 12:46 am (UTC)
yeah, i definitely can't go on like this. it's horrible and i'm quite miserable. just can't get my doc to okay a med like ativan. guess maybe i'll try to ask about the buspar.
30th-Dec-2010 12:51 am (UTC)
Does she recommend alternatives for 2nd trimester and beyond?
30th-Dec-2010 12:53 am (UTC)
she hasn't yet. i'll be 22 weeks tomorrow and all they are recommending is antidepressants. they said only a few are safe at that. i'm hoping if i get a psychiatrist they might give me something?
30th-Dec-2010 01:01 am (UTC)
It is worth a try. Anxiety like this is debilitating. Something needs to be done.
30th-Dec-2010 01:02 am (UTC)
thanks. it helps to know someone else understands. i feel so lost and i have no idea what to do.
30th-Dec-2010 03:32 am (UTC)
I'm 34 weeks, and I've had terrible anxiety for the majority of my pregnancy. At least once a week I'm crying inconsolably over SOMETHING, convinced that I've harmed my baby, that I'm a terrible mother, that something horrible is going to happen. It's brutal. It's like my brain needs something to panic about, and when there's nothing legitimate, it will find something ridiculous.

For me, the main thing that has helped has been therapy. I haven't tried medication, but I think that for me it would do more harm than good (i.e. it would make me worry that the meds were hurting my baby). Seeing a therapist for an hour once a week really has made a difference.

I'm really hoping that my anxiety will calm down once the baby is born.
30th-Dec-2010 03:33 am (UTC)
I am 25 weeks and have been on 150 mgs of wellbutrin for most of my pregnancy (we tried to wean down to nothing but my issues would not have it). When I tried to be off of it I just got too emotionally frazzled. I know that's not an anti anxiety drug but I really wanted to wean off of it for my pregnancy but in the end the benefits outweighed the risk, maybe you just need to take a much more stern approch with your doctor. explain that this is not just anxiety but it's completely controlling your life right now and making your pregnancy far more stressful than you can stand.

good luck, I really think something can be done for you, it's just a matter of making sure that your doctor understands the severity of your situation.
(Deleted comment)
31st-Dec-2010 11:46 am (UTC)
Just quietly - Rescue Remedy isn't herbal, it's homeopathic.
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