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Suffering from anxiety disorder. Will it be cured by prozac?

Answered by
Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar


Practicing since :2003

Answered : 2190 Questions

Posted on Mon, 7 Jan 2013 in Anxiety and Stress
Question: Hello,

It is just that my mind is filled with the same obsessive thought almost the entire time I am awake. I have been practicing the mindfulness exercises and reading the acceptance and committment theory book that was recommended and trying to move on with my life and find other things to do. But it is very difficult to do that because I immediately forget what I read or my mind drifts off listening to these imaginary conversations. I dont know how I will get anywhere with what I am supposed to do if I cant concentrate. I keep trying to read it over and over and I immediately forget what it is I am supposed to be practicing or focusing on.

The doctor in the report said I could take prozac for obsessions but in the same report it says that the medication may not work (it was written more clinically but I dont know exactly) I think because this is part of my personality it said and that I had been this way for decades. Is it true that medication will not work if it is part of my personality? Then why do they suggest it in the first place? How can I practice CBT or these self help books when I cant focus or remember what it is I am reading? Could this be from the OCD obsessions that are interrupting my thoughts and memory or could it be something else?
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 15 hours later
Hello again and thanks for your query.

I appreciate your determination to overcome your problems and difficulties, and I will be happy to assist you through my suggestions.

It's good to see that you are putting in sincere efforts to follow the psychological techniques which have been prescribed by your psychiatrist. I can understand very well that it can be quite difficult initially to focus and keep your mind from giving in to these obsessions / preoccupations. I always tell my patients this interesting fact - that if you are experiencing difficulty while attempting to implemet therapy, then it actually means that you are sincere in your efforts and that you are going to improve. Because, change is always difficult and if you are experiencing difficulty, it means that you have already started the process of change. So, don't worry, the difficulty and frustration which you are going through are normal for everyone in this stage, and every form of therapy or self-help techniques will indeed be difficult to implement in the initial stages.

Now, regarding the Prozac, my opinion is that it will still have a role in treatment, irrespective of the chronic duration of your symptoms or your clinical diagnosis. The reasons for my opinion are as follows.
- Firstly, it is not very easy to make a clear differentiation between a long-standing, chronic OCD (OCPD (Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder)
- Secondly, even if your obsessions are part of your personality, medication still have a role in treatment.
- Thridly, even though medication only may not be the one-off solution for your problem, still, even if it can provide a partial benefit, this can make it easier to implement psychotherapy techniques.

So, I think Prozac can help you at least to a certain extent in your situation.

Obsessions can often be intrusive and disturb normal thoughts. So, it likely that your obsessions are causing the difficulty in reading the self-help books and the following the techniques. Often, when a person has severe obsessive symptoms, psychological therapies are difficult to follow. In such cases, medication can be useful in reducing the severity of the symptoms, so that the person becomes more amenable for psychological therapies.

So, I would advise you to try Prozac, while simultaneously trying the self-help techniques also. Please be patient and persistent in your efforts because they require repeated practise and dedicated efforts. With continuous practise, you should be able learn to focus and apply these techniques.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 10 hours later
Thanks again, thank you for helping me figure this out. I do appreciate it.

How long would one normally have to take this medication for? Permanently or just temporally. Will I need it forever?

Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 10 hours later

The minimum duration of medication advised in such cases is about 6 months. However, since you have had chronic symptoms, you may need to take it for a longer time, but not necessarily on a permanent basis. The idea is that if the medication can give you some improvement and facilitate psychotherapy, then you can ride this wave and build-up long lasting improvements with the psychological and behavioural methods.

Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

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