Friday, December 12, 2008

Drama Bomb Alert!

You can just skip this post if you don't feel like learning about some of my neuroses.

I think I need to get on Paxil. For those of you in my section of the blogosphere, you're about the only people I don't feel anxious about socializing with right now. I've been on accutane to knock out my acne, which is supposed to have side effects with depression, but if it did anything at all, I imagine it might have amplified some problems.

Been working on a master's degree, and I've been getting more more and more nervous about talking with professors, and declined going to a party without my dad, who has some similarities in his background and could help cover me in conversations. It's a mix of knowing enough to know that I still have a lot to learn, as well as a bit of being in the self esteem craze where everyone praised their kids for being smart. I don't like to people to watch me work because working implies that I didn't just naturally figure everything out in my head or know it already.

Was taking it light this semester, since I'm nearing the end, with only one course to cover some background. I'm a big ball of nerves about my grade right now, though thankfully spilling all this out to my mother at midnight helped. Especially since she stated her commitment to us all having a nice Decemberween, regardless of grades. I haven't been doing much, since my job's out of work for me, and I haven't had a regular schedule for a while.

Anyway, going to meet with a counselor of ours who's been doing some useful stuff with medication. Pretty much my turn to have a crisis and resolve it.

So anyway, I figure I've got some readers who might know a thing or two about good science about these sorts of medications, as opposed to woos who seem to like saying all pills are evil. Anything I should know about Paxil and other social anxiety medications?


Dunc said...

Haven't taken paroxetine (or any other SSRI) myself, but I do know plenty of people who have. Take the warnings about potential withdrawal seriously - don't try and quit it suddenly. (Admittedly, just everyone I know who was using SSRIs was also using various illegal stimulants too, which probably didn't help.)

On a slightly different tack, I'd recommend Gillian Butler's Overcomming Social Anxiety. It's not the usual self-help bollocks - it's a proper guide to useful cognitive behavioural techniques, which have good clinical evidence of effectiveness. I've found self-guided CBT quite useful, although it isn't easy and requires ongoing effort. But hey, you already know that anything that promises a quick and easy fix doesn't work, right?

Mike ... said...

A co-worker completed a masters degree in Computer Science last year and I was invited to his thesis defense.

The whole thing was completely different than I expected. It was just a bunch of people sitting around and talking. In fact I think I asked more questions than the professors did.

So don't sweat it - remember the professors are there to get you your degree, they're not there to get in the way.

Infophile said...

I tried Paxil myself a while back, so I do know a few things about this. The first thing to note is that you should remember that the same pill won't work for everyone, much unlike antibiotics. This type of pill is more of a crapshoot with whether it will work or not, so don't be concerned if the first pill you try doesn't work. For instance, Paxil did absolutely nothing for me. I didn't even suffer withdrawal when I went off of it. That doesn't mean it won't work for others of course.

Another thing to note is that there's some science which says many behavioral pills may simply be placebos, or at least use the placebo effect for a large portion of their efficacy. This isn't confirmed, though, and the same reports which said this did say that there still is solid evidence for helping out in more extreme cases.

One warning specific to Paxil: It has been known to actually cause thoughts of suicide in some people. So be warned, in case this hits you. If you're aware of this potential, you'll be able to handle it better.

Anonymous said...

It can also cause nausea. So... enjoy! It can work though, and it did to a certain extent for me. Also, possibly Wellbutrin if you find with the Paxil that you're not anxious, but also kind of lethargic.

Really though, exposure therapy is probably more effective than the drugs alone. Judging by your degree of applied intelligence, CBT probably won't be that wonderful for you, since you probably know all that stuff about yourself anyway.