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Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

516 posts in this topic

The reason why you're still not ok is because of the klonopin. Once it goes paradoxical, no amount you take will work. It becomes stimulating rather than calming. The only way to move past it is to stop it. But even 1mg is too strong to CT from. The anxiety and racing heart will absolutely get worse as will your insomnia, loss of appetite and early morning revele. The only way I was able to get off it was a week in a treatment center with phenobarbital.

 

You do not need to have a heart problem or high bmoood pressure to take a low dose beta blocker. At very small doses it dramatically reduces rapid heart rates, anxiety, panic, shakiness and all the other symptoms associated with an overactive sympathetic nervous system. It is non addictive, and doesn't change your brain chemistry. However like any receptor based drug, you have to come off it slowly to give the adrenergic receptors a chance to down regulate.

 

Finally, if you really expect any improvement, a lifestyle change is absolutely necessary. If you're eating like crap, drinking, and generally treating your body like a dumping ground, nothing will change. Period. And anyone who tells you differently is lying. Not every symptom you have is withdrawal related. Many are, but it can't be used as a blanket excuse for everything that ails.

 

Bananas have a **** ton of sugar. Carbs become maltose, galactose and fructose. Yes, more sugar. And guess what that alcohol becomes? You guessed it... more sugar.

 

Rethink the diet, dump the booze and the crap and figure out a way to kill the klonopin. Talk to your doctor about atenolol to bridge the racing heart and anxiety gap. My guess is it will help.

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I have been waking up with anxiety however it gets progressively worse after 1pm it doesn't let up until after 8-9 pm.

Basically my wd symptom seem to get worse in the evenings.

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I get better as the day goes on, that is. Newbie. Can I edit my posts?

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Hi everybody this is my first reply on this website.

Been on Paxil 9 years and tried twice tapering ( last time with liquid but failed at 1.6mg down from 20mg over 2 years) that was 3 years ago. I didn't know WD causes these morning wakeup and I was fooled by my psychiatrist that it's a relapse.. 3 years later today I tapered again after being on 20mg 1 year and am at 3.5mg now and facing the same but when I up dose 0.2 or 0.1 it disappears so I know know it's WD.

 

So my strategy now is to try to decrease this WD symptom ( panic and the insomnia is the only one I get nothing else ) by trying vit C and 1.5MG per kg of aspirin before sleep to decrease the cortisol... this will take 1 week to start seeing the results as per studies on pub med.

 

I'm an oncology surgeon myself and am a victim of paxil.

 

I will let u guys know if it worked as I go down further in the coming weeks and hopefully of in the month to come ( slow taper)

 

Happy I found this website.

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I've never had anxiety or panic attacks until I tried getting on Celexa again. Now I'm a mess. For awhile the Buspirone helped, but once I tried Venlafaxine it was a huge mistake. Now today I woke up with a panic attack and have been fighting the anxiety, racing heart, and headaches all day. Even having bad thoughts today, so I'm sure it's WD symptoms.

 

Ate a cutie and will try to drink some OJ in a moment to see if it helps. Can't get tablets currently so it'll be a good chance to try food and drink first. Still taking the Buspirone until I can get stable enough to stop taking it.

 

So...what does "stable" feel like when going through all this?

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Same thing happened to me when I stopped taking the Lexapro and then tried to reinstate at full dosage 3 months later. I had begun experiencing intermittent, but escalating withdrawal panic which is what prompted me to attempt reinstating. Rather than calming and stabilizing, the Lexapro threw my sympathetic nervous system into overdrive. Like you, I made the mistake of trying to go right back to my original dose. Even when I tried to step it back down to 2.5mg so I could try to ramp up slowly, my body just wasn't having it. I couldn't get the heart rate under control, I had unrelenting diarrhea, agonizing insomnia, complete loss of appetite, a resurgence of latent agoraphobia, and a total disappearance of self empowerment. All of my symptoms were acutely visceral and not remotely psychological. I wasn't mentally anxious, I was overwhelmed by constant surges of adrenaline which kept me mobilized constantly but absolutely exhausted. Even reading or listening to music was impossible. (Music is still a problem early in the day - later on its fine.)

 

You ask what stable feels like when you're going through this. Stable feels like you felt when the drug was working. Every person is different, but it took me two years to get past the worst of the physical symptoms. Many of them were exacerbated by food choices which I detailed in an earlier post. Sugar and carbs are the absolute enemy. Ditto for alcohol or caffeine.

 

The only supplements worth considering are Taurine and Magnesium. And in moderate doses. (There are multiple threads on the site about this - but there are excellent published studies that you can find on external resources that will provide a plethora of great info so you can make an informed decision.) Stick to information sources that have peer reviewed data and are based on clinical evidence. PubMed is good, the NIH.gov based sites are great.

 

Avoid megadoses of Vitamin C. It will just rip at your stomach and your body won't store it so it has little value except in small doses that would be found naturally in food. You may see recommendations for aspirin. Steer clear. Again, it will just rip at your stomach (because that's where it's absorbed), it will certainly thin your blood (which isn't a great idea) and its mechanism of action has no impact on the sympathetic nervous system so any touted benefits stem from desperate attempts at relief.

 

The best thing you can do is eat clean and be PATIENT. Try to get exercise if you can tolerate it. Start with stretching to relax everything down a bit. This process is a long drawn out drag, but it is temporary -- Although I know that in the moment - it seems endless and tortuous.

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Lexhex,

 

Thank you for your insight and the information you provided. Today I had a window and tried doing things around the house, which was rather difficult with dizziness and the endless throat tightness that makes me feel like I'm going to freak out or hyperventilate. It's more annoying than anything.

 

The last month has been hard to have a good diet since I've been spending the holidays with my mother (she can't really afford much and is disabled, long complicated story) but I should be going back to a good diet soon when I go back to my own house.

 

Alcohol and caffeine have never been a problem, as I despise the flavor of both (except things like green tea and the like), but sugar will be difficult to give up as well as carbs. I'll do my best to give them up, do you have any recommendations or advice on healthy eating, like which foods are best to eat or avoid (certain fruits or vegetables, is soy milk okay???)

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Because you are relatively young, the soy milk should be fine, although IMHO, almond milk is a better choice. (no phytoestrogens to impact the hormones)

 

As far as nutritional advice, the best advice I can offer is this: if it comes in a box AND they make commercials for it - don't eat it. Stick to whole foods. Berries are great. Cheese sticks. Hard boiled eggs as snacks. Lean turkey slices. Carrots and celery with a bit of ranch dressing. Sliced apples.

 

If you like veggies, boil them just enough to get the hardness out, then sautee them in olive oil with salt and parmesan. (Great for broccoli and green beans) If you like brussels, add BACON. Nothing with bacon ever tastes bad. Lol. Toss them in a bowl and just pick.

 

Lean proteins are best. Chicken, turkey, fish, maybe 2 ounces at a time. How you cook it isn't important.

 

Carbs: Nothing refined. No bread, cookies, pasta, crackers, cake, cereal.

 

Instead try: rice (white), quinoa, sweet potatoes, very small white potatoes, smashed cauliflower (with parmesan and butter)

 

Graze. Avoid heavy, big meals at one time. Do nothing to overload the system or make it work harder. No more than 200 calories at a time worked for me to keep my body from being angry. I ate 6 times a day, but I had far fewer digestive and cardiac issues than when I tried to do the breakfast/lunch/dinner thing.

 

This is just off the top of my head. You should notice an immediate calming of your body once the sugar and carbs are out.

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Wow, such great advice! Most of the foods you listed to eat are things I love! Was definitely worried about rice, as it's a large part of my diet, being interested in the Japanese culture and frequently finding recipes to make.

 

Thank you so much for your input. It makes me feel more confident already. Do you think yogurts could help fight anxiety as well or are dairy products just a no go? Do you have issues with those?

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I tend to get lactose intolerant with milk - but yogurt is fine. Fage is a good choice. Plain - and throw in some fresh fruit - if you need sweet, pick up packets of Stevia in the raw. No foods will eliminate the anxiety - but avoiding certain foods will dramatically reduce it.

 

What meds are you currently still on?

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Currently still on Buspirone 5mg twice daily. Trying to stabilize myself until I can wean off of it. Still fighting the problems from previous antidepressants.

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Does it help?

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I believe so? Hard to tell because of going off Venlafaxine. The panic does seem better today so I think the Venlafaxine is wearing off, but still have that weird throat tightness of panic.

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Effexor (venlafaxine) is VERY stimulating. No wonder you were stuck to the ceiling. It should be out now though. Drink plenty of water to keep things moving along. Besides the intrusive thoughts, what's the most troublesome symptom - the one you want gone.

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Besides the intrusive thoughts, I'd say the panic/anxiety/rapid heart beat. They're all kinda going hand in hand and it's scary and frustrating because when I try to be somewhat physical then the throat tightening starts which tries to send me into a panic.

 

Derealization can come next in line after those.

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The rapid heartbeat was my biggest issue. I experienced every symptom you have and in the same order. Lost 20 pounds in just a couple of months, no appetite, no sleep, and that racing heart that drove me INSANE. I spent so much time in the ER they knew me by name.

 

The Taurine helped me turn the corner. The beta blocker was the real game changer however. I take a very low dose of Atenolol. (12.5mg a day). No more racing heart. No more physical symptoms of anxiety. Back in control. Almost nonexistent side effects because of low dose. I don't care if I have to take it the rest of my life. I'd rather have peace.

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I also lost a lot of weight and barely have an appetite. I'm scared of taking any other med and worried the Buspirone isn't working anymore, even just after a month of using it. I'm practically scared of everything and I was never like this until trying Celexa again. I'm nearly convinced I'll never get better.

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I have been using Vitamin C over the past 3 months to help with morning anxiety.   I feel it has helped quite a bit thought I have added more things as I have been able.  I space it out over the day so that I take it in increments so that I can absorb it, 50mgs up to 4,000mgs per day.   I also have started an adrenal support supplement and increased my Vitamin D after a blood test showed my levels were low.  

 

All throughout my wd I have taken L-Theanine for rebound anxiety.   Intially I took 200mgs 3 x a day but now as needed.   When I make a cut, which I recently did, I take it at night so that it can support me in terms of any residual anxiety.   

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Hibari,

 

I will look into the L-Theanine as well. I know I tried oranges and orange juice first but wow, my stomach didn't like that! Hour anything else I try won't be too bad and add more.

 

I'm glad you find comfort somehow and hope you continue to get better!

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Asprin taken at night was proven by multiple studies to decrease cortisol spikes especially in the morning.

Take coated ones... if you go by the review that coated doesn't matter then a littlw vit C protects the stomach from any Asprin irritation.. again my stomach ain't senti site to aspirin but to vit C a bit growling yeah.

 

Aspirin 1.5mg per kilo ( so the 100mg for an average person) shows benefit only if taken at bedtime and for results take 1 week to show.

 

Istarted yesterday ..ill try it and see.

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Hibari,

 

I will look into the L-Theanine as well. I know I tried oranges and orange juice first but wow, my stomach didn't like that! Hour anything else I try won't be too bad and add more.

 

I'm glad you find comfort somehow and hope you continue to get better!

Here is a link to the L-Theanine discussion in the Symptoms and Self-Care Forum.    http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1032-l-theanine-for-anxiety-insomnia/page-2

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Asprin taken at night was proven by multiple studies to decrease cortisol spikes especially in the morning.

Take coated ones... if you go by the review that coated doesn't matter then a littlw vit C protects the stomach from any Asprin irritation.. again my stomach ain't senti site to aspirin but to vit C a bit growling yeah.

Aspirin 1.5mg per kilo ( so the 100mg for an average person) shows benefit only if taken at bedtime and for results take 1 week to show.

Istarted yesterday ..ill try it and see.

Have you had any luck with the aspirin in the past weej?

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This seems to be a very common symptom of withdrawal syndrome. Many people report waking up with a surge of panic or anxiety, or a feeling of anxiety early in the morning. A lot of times, people are waking around 4:30 a.m. or closer to dawn. The first glimmers of morning light signal the nervous system to start the morning cycle with a jump in cortisol. At normal levels, cortisol gives you energy. At elevated levels, cortisol gives you a feeling of unease, anxiety, panic, or depression. When you have withdrawal syndrome, your system is on "high alert" all the time. The normal morning peak of cortisol gets exaggerated and what you would normally feel as "wake up" becomes a surge of panic, anxiety, or dread in the early morning.

For myself, in 1977, it was a sign of my becoming ill.  Sometimes even awakening from a deep sleep and startled at 2 am.

 

"Early waking with anxiety" was often described as one of the symptoms of clinical depression then.  Still is?

 

I was not withdrawing from anything - I had not been on any medication whatsoever, apart from the odd couple of paracetamol a few times a year and anti-histamine for annual hay fever. 

 

I was cracking up after 12 years of shift work and 2 relocations..

 

Indeed, 40 years later I am still unwell, on antidepressants, but have not had those particular symptoms since before I became ill, and then when I weaned off the benzo ativan, given to treat my illness. (c1977-85-ish.)

 

All still survivable, though, having kept a responsible job position until I was 57 and having raised 3 children and paid for house.

 

Carry on, carrying on and hope for some light now and again, folks.

 

 

Love & Best wishes all.

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I've definitely experienced the morning jitters/anxiety too. It lasted less than a month, but once I began to stabilize at my current dose, it stopped. Every once in a while I'll wake with a bit of anxiousness, or that just want to lay in bed all day feeling...but I use my CBT and realize that whatever negative thought or worry is making me feel that way is usually just a normal thought that everyone experiences at some point, and that helps me overcome the negative feelings and the anxiousness/un-motivation. 

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God Bless Peng! Thanks for the glimpse of reality and hope!!!!

 

Ben 

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Double blind clinical trial on aspirin. No effect on decreasing cortisol response. 

 

http://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/115783

 

Controlled clinical trials are the only way to determine whether or not a treatment is working. The anticoagulant effects of aspirin and its effects on the stomach (buffered or not) far outweigh any perceived benefit. Aspirin is always absorbed in the stomach lining, whether it is coated or uncoated. Make informed decisions using legitimate scientific resources to avoid doing more harm than good, especially when your bodies are already so hypersensitive to chemicals when you are in withdrawal.

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Hello All,

 

This is a long thread. I was just wondering if there's any consensus regarding what might actually work for morning time anxiety?

 

I generally wake up feeling anxious. Sometimes very anxious. I find that by evening/night time the anxiety has settled completely though. I have tried vitamin C at bedtime as was suggested by a previous poster. It didn't seem to work though.

 

Taking 5mg (or 10mg) valium occasionally really has no effect on my anxiety levels either. I am thinking now that I should avoid benzos altogether because they are having no effect and are harmful in the long term in themselves!

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Peace,

Blazes.

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Hi Blazes, 

 

It's a lot to read. :) "Consensus" is tricky in withdrawal, because what works for one person might not work for someone else -- unfortunately! 

 

For me, the best thing has been highly upping my magnesium and taking it throughout the day. But some people have problems with magnesium. I also know that before I was treated for a sleep disorder, I woke up with my heart pounding and an adrenaline rush all the time. It's definitely our body sending us a message, most likely "what are you doing to me with taking this drug away???" 

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This is one of the symptoms I'm having. It seems like the moment any sunlight hits my room, I wake up fully alert and go straight into a panic attack every morning. It's very disturbing on top of the other withdrawal symptoms im having which i could fill up a page with. I was still sleeping around 6 hours a night but I'm in a pattern of falling asleep later and later and waking up earlier. I'm going to try blacking out my window to see if it makes a difference. Thanks

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I am waking at 4 or 5 in the morning just now despite having thick bedroom curtains.  Anxiety sets in, but, clearly, I am not in as serious a way as it can be.

 

Based on my 40 years of ups and downs with these medications, I will be taking this as a signal that I am heading for slightly worsening depression if the symptoms persist.

Probably will steady at the 137.5mg Venlafaxine for as long as it takes.  This is the lowest dose of that stuff I have been on for 11 years, I note.

Dropped 150mg two weeks ago.

 

As I indicated in post #493, early waking then acute anxiety attack, sweating, heart racing, etc. used to be regarded as a sign of going into depression.

I hope the "cortisol spike" euphemism (?) will not belittle the nature of the warning one's body is giving out, so that some of you become more ill.

 

Just my personal view, but based on vivid memories of what happened to me over a generation ago.

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Hi SkyBlue,

 

Thanks for your reply. For the time being, the anxiety seems to have abated a little. However, if it comes back, and I am sure that it will, I may take your advice and try some additional magnesium. I take some in the mornings already.

 

Actually, I made another cut to my Effexor 9 days ago. So far so good. I am now on the lowest dose of Effexor for many years which is great. There has been no major withdrawal so far thankfully.

 

All the best,

Blazes.

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Hi everybody this is my first reply on this website.

Been on Paxil 9 years and tried twice tapering ( last time with liquid but failed at 1.6mg down from 20mg over 2 years) that was 3 years ago. I didn't know WD causes these morning wakeup and I was fooled by my psychiatrist that it's a relapse.. 3 years later today I tapered again after being on 20mg 1 year and am at 3.5mg now and facing the same but when I up dose 0.2 or 0.1 it disappears so I know know it's WD.

 

So my strategy now is to try to decrease this WD symptom ( panic and the insomnia is the only one I get nothing else ) by trying vit C and 1.5MG per kg of aspirin before sleep to decrease the cortisol... this will take 1 week to start seeing the results as per studies on pub med.

 

I'm an oncology surgeon myself and am a victim of paxil.

 

I will let u guys know if it worked as I go down further in the coming weeks and hopefully of in the month to come ( slow taper)

 

Happy I found this website.

 

When I got off Paxil, I did so in large jumps: from 20 to 10mg; from 10 to 5mg, and from 5mg to nothing. I suffered with anxiety I'd never had before in my life, commonly sleeping four hours or less, then tossing and turning the rest of the night. I'd awake that first time with my heart racing, feeling like I was on fire, and irrationally obsessing over work. I could not calm down. During the day, my anxiety bordered on paranoia. I began to have occasional panic attacks. This lasted a year, followed by a few months of calm. However, I am waking up after four hours again. This time, I know what's happening, and I immediately perform breathing exercises to calm myself—but it's not easy! When I attempt the slow exhale, I struggle against a tightness in my chest that does not want to let me go.

 

I just gave up coffee, which was easier than giving up Paxil!

 

I'll have to look at the vitamin C and aspirin thing. Is that 1.5 mg per kg of body weight?

 

I'm interested in the relationship between cortisol spikes and sugar intake.

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Hi Blazes,

 

I used to have morning anxiety and dread but it is almost completely gone.  Here is what I did during that time.

1. Used an eye mask every night.  Now I don't use one.

2. Had my curtains shut very tightly.  Now if there is a little light coming through, it doesn't bother me.

3. Took 100mgs or 200mgs of L-Theanine nightly.  Sometimes I took it when I woke up at 3Am to use the bathroom to get it into my system.  Now, I use it occasionally for sleep.

4. Increased my Vitamin C to 3,000 mgs per day.  I'm still taking that amount for my adrenals.

4. Added in Vitamin D during the day, which helped me tremendously with achy stiff joints.  Someone shared this article with me and I found it helpful.  Only sharing it as a resource not as advice. http://drgominak.com/vitamin-d-hormone.html

 

What I learned on this site is that our nervous systems are so sensitive due to medication and withdrawal.  I just kept trying to work on calming my nervous system down, which was over reacting to the first glimpse of light in the morning.

 

Wishing you continued healing.

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Just got 1000mg vitamin c. Starting with half a tablet time release so I make sure it doesn't hit me too hard. Will probably try full 1000mg before bed. Hopefully this helps with mood and morning cortisol.

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