MEDICATION AND ANXIETY
Did you know that some medications can be a contributing factor in your anxiety?
Jordan Peterson PhD is a world renowned psychologist. In his recent book, Beyond Order, 12 more rules for life, he talks about his struggle with anxiety. While experiencing increased feelings of anxiousness related to stress, he was prescribed an anti-anxiety medication. This was followed by the complications of withdrawal that occurred as he attempted to get off his anti-anxiety medication.
The story he tells of the severity of his symptoms and the lengths that he went to try and treat his symptoms and get off his medication was amazing to read. His openness reminded me to respect the use of medication, but also that anxiety is a common struggle, affecting those of us that help others too.
Anxiety as a Side Effect
Look for physical and/or environmental reasons that could be contributing to your anxiety. While poor sleep can be a large underlying contributor to anxiety, check for other factors. Medications that increase your cortisol or stress hormone, like caffeine, should be evaluated. Other medications that increase heart rate such as steroids can play a role in your anxious symptoms. Check out this link for a list of medications to be aware of.
Other substances to be aware of are alcohol and other recreational drugs. Sometimes anxiety can occur during withdrawal from alcohol and medications.
Substance-Medication Induced Anxiety Disorder
In Colorado we may spend a lot of time outdoors but due to the harsh sun we tend to cover up and put on sunscreen. Vitamin D deficiencies are incredibly common in our state. During winter the weather in northern states and Canada can also lead to a decrease in our Vitamin D. Seasonal Affective Disorder and suicide have been reduced through Canada's government mandating full spectrum light bulbs across the entire country in federal facilities.
Take 2000 IU Vitamin D daily for a week and see if this improves your overall mood. If you are curious about how a treatment or exercise is working, do only one thing at a time. Change one thing and then review a week or a month later to see if what you changed is helping. I have taken this one step further by stopping a treatment and seeing if anything changes. Personal experience has validated how Vitamin D has affected my life. Through measurable blood work changes as well as how I fell with and without Vitamin D.
A tip on supplements. Making sure the company is not putting additives or other ingredients that may be harmful into the supplement can be checked. You can also look for certifications of 3rd party companies that test these supplements for safety. Here is a link on navigating how to pick a better product through the example of curcumin.
For more on understanding anxiety check this link out.
Reviewed by Robert Vogt MD
Dr. Vogt specializes in family practice and general surgery with over 35 years of clinical practice.
The Family Practice, Colorado Springs, Colorado
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