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  • Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

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    Old 08-26-2004, 12:03 AM   #1
    Rizzano's Avatar
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    Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    Hello, I stumbled upon this site during one of my attacks (combination Panic and Acid Reflux attack) and found hope in maybe some queries of mine can be qualmed.

    First let me briefly explain my situation.

    7 years ago, during my "party" days I became stricken with Panic Anxiety Disorder, seemingly triggered by too much marijuana. Since then, I have been on a steady dose of 1 MG of Clonazepam 2xday. 5 years passed by with no attacks, the medication controlling. Then I became affected by GERD (more commmonly known as Acid Reflux) which was immediatley solved (or I thought) with Zantac.

    Now recently, I have had major stress issues arise in my life, and I know both Panic Anxiety and GERD's symptoms can be worsened with stress.

    Anyway, to make a long story short, 2 weeks ago, I had my first Panic Anxiety attack in 7 years, most likely due to the muscle relaxer I was on (which made me feel "high" due to a sprained neck.) and I had to go to the ER by way of Ambulance.

    Since then, at the same time, my GERD has worsened to where instead of being on Zantac and still being okay with eating anything I want, now I am down to fat free this and fat free that.

    My real question is is there any connection between Panic Anxiety and GERD attacks? I notice that when I have a GERD attack (spasms, etc) that a panic attack seems to follow right behind it.

    Also, what can I do to convinve my psychiatrist that lowering my clonazepam dosage (from 1MG 2xday to .5mg 2xday) is effecting me. I sit here now having taken an extra dose of .5mg and calming down as I type this, but my doctor, even though I know he is not lying about the addiction part of the medication, seems to think that it is all in my head. (Technically it is isn't it? Since it is a chemical imbalance in the brain) but besides that, if I tell my doctor what he is doing is not helping, are they not supposed to make you feel more at ease.

    I guess I feel desperation rolling along, because for the past 7 years, I feel my life has been pretty normal, but for the past 2 weeks, I am constantly fighting off panic, trying to relax, but I have not been able to just sit and relax for 2 weeks, I feel out of touch with reality and seriously on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Add to that the fact I am trying to single handedly raise a son (the mother selfishly left him and myself behind for a man she met on the net over 1000 miles away) and Social Security is trying to take away my benefits, and I am trying to find my wife to get my divorce, stress is at it's worst for me, and I feel like if something does not give soon, I will (mentally) and end up in a pschiatric hospital.

    Any advice for a nervous father?
    Thanks for any advice.

    Last edited by Rizzano; 08-26-2004 at 12:03 AM.

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    Old 08-26-2004, 02:54 AM   #2
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    Re: Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    Sorry to hear about all that you are going thru. Seems your recent family and financial problems are kickstarting your gerd and panic attacks. In my case both Gerd and panic attacks went hand in hand. Once i started treatment for panic attacks, Gerd automatically resolved itself.

    Panic attacks induce acidity and acidity induces feelings of anxiety and sometimes mimics a heart attack which takes the panic attacks to anoither level. Hence its a vicious circle. But the treatment is in treating the panic attacks and not the acidity. Zanatac can give temporary relief but the cure is in curing the panic attacks.

    Take care of yourself and try not to think about too much. The why me syndrome is the worst thing you can get right now. Your son needs you.

    Old 08-26-2004, 11:58 AM   #3
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    Re: Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    That makes a lot of sense then why I keep having this circle of panic/GERD episodes. I am looking into temporary relief through relaxation music, etc, but I guess I will have to try to convince my doctor that since I have been on Clonazepam for 7 years, and it has worked, at 1mg2xDAYm and he lowered it down to .5 which with all the stress I am going through, has made everything worse.

    Old 08-26-2004, 12:09 PM   #4
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    Re: Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    I would not be surprised if your attacks are actually being caused by the withdrawal of the meds you are on. It's been documented that withdrawal from any benzo can actually be worse than the anxiety that made it necessary to go on the meds in the first place. If he really wants to start weaning you off the meds, he went about it the WRONG way. I'm not real familiar with it myself, but I've been on these boards long enough to realize that cutting your dose basically in half is way to big of a cut way too fast. I think the eqution is something like 10% cuts every couple of weeks or something. He might be on to something, but he's just going about it in a terrible way. I think there is something called the Ashton Manual that details a healthy, non withdrawal inducing step-down proceedure for weaning off benzo's. Sounds like your doc may need to read it.

    Old 08-26-2004, 06:16 PM   #5
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    Re: Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    Hi rizzano

    I doubt the reduction of clonazepam is causing problems but why not go back to the old dose just for a while

    yes GERD and panic attacks are closely related and often happen together, a med called carfate is often recommended

    in general panic attacks shouldnt be treated as an emergency, all you need is a large dose of any benzos, disolved under the tongue or injected works fastest, then wait a while

    panic attacks dont send anyone mad or cause a nervous breakdown, you really do need to learn CBT, relaxation and stress managment to help you cope better

    Old 08-26-2004, 07:10 PM   #6
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    Re: Coping with Anxiety and Acid Reflux

    welcome Rizzano,

    I'm not a doctor, but I'd echo what hry33 recommended and go back to your original dose of clonazepam for the meantime. From there you can begin tapering at a reasonable rate. Going from 2mg to 1mg is a big leap.

    A few months ago I was put on a 1.5mg/day clonazepam regimen due to panic attacks. It worked, but I have been experiencing unwanted cognitive impairment, so at my next visit with my doc I told him that I wanted to drop down to 1mg/day. He advised against making a big jump as that, and told me to decrease my dosage to 1.25 mg/day. So I've been cutting one of the .5mg pills in half.
    Despite only a 17% decrease I've noticed that some of the anxitey has crept back - its managable, but nevertheless I did notice a difference when I stepped down.

    Best of luck!

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