Anxiety and Medications

One of my best friends was recently involved in a car accident. In a moment of distraction, her car swerved, went into a ditch, and after over-correcting, ended up flipping over a few times before stopping on its head. All things considered, she escaped unscathed, aside from some minor bruises and cuts, thanks mostly to her seatbelt. She was really lucky. Her car, however, wasn’t. It was pretty much totaled and towed away somewhere.

Ever since this accident, she’s had heightened anxiety issues, and also what she describes as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. She’s had anxiety attacks since high school; they come a few times a month for at least 10-15 minutes. Lately, they’ve been coming on more and more, to the point that they’re getting in the way of her daily life. She got frustrated enough that she scheduled an appointment with her doctor to talk about all of it. Her doctor was really receptive and offered some suggestions for helping with the PTSD. Mainly, she recommended talking to someone, possibly a psychiatrist. For the anxiety, however, her doctor wants to try antidepressants, and a fairly high dose at that.

Now, I’m a pretty paranoid person, so I tend to oppose a lot of medications in general, because I just don’t want to mess with the natural state of my body. I think there are many things that the human body can handle on its own, given enough time. But I feel like people are so ready to just self-medicate their problems away these days, and that shouldn’t be the case. There’s also a freaking pill for everything, which doesn’t help at all. I’m not saying my friend is one of those people or that she shouldn’t try the antidepressants. But this is a pretty big step, and I wonder whether or not the anxiety was exacerbated by the accident. To have anxiety attacks since early high school and yet not try to do something about them until now, several years later, makes me think that the accident is some type of catalyst for her heightened anxiety.

I’m not a medical professional, I know. But she is one of my best friends. And I just worry about medications and how they will interact with her body, because she’s also on birth control. And birth control, despite all the good things it does, has longlasting and un-researched effects on the body. It is just one more thing that is unknown, and adding in another medication just feels very scary to me. But she, as the patient, should have say in what she wants to do. And it’s her body, so if she’s willing to take that risk, if it’s worth it to her, then she should do it. I know she’s conflicted about it, as she should be. It’s not an easy choice to make.

The other thing I know she will eventually have to face is the financial burden of these pills (and possibly psychiatrist visits). As a working college student, she’s focused on paying off her school bill and keeping up with her loans. And that’s how it should be. But this will only add to her list of financial concerns, and ultimately, cause more stress. More stress = more anxiety = more problems.

There are just so many sides to this, and I probably haven’t covered them all in this post, but it just goes to show the magnitude of the issue. Also…she’s only 21…how are we expected to grow up so fast?

Maybe I’m just overly paranoid about the whole medication thing. That’s fine. I’m okay with that. But it’s just really scary to me how quickly things can change, and I guess how easy it is these days for medications to be the answer to so many things.