Since i was 18 i've occasionally used propranolol, on occasions it feels like i'm depending upon it, which i'm not sure is a good thing in that it's arguably effectively covering up a problem. Life also feels a bit less real when 'under the influence' of propranolol but it certainly has helped me in certain situations. However I don't think as quickly, life feels more slowed down, feels a bit of derealization, is that the correct saying? Anyway...life doesn't feel as real as it should be doing, when under the influence of propranolol...
I haven't explored other avenues, i.e. is there anything 'natural' or more natural (than propranolol) that can or could ease anxiety and the likelihood of a panic attack coming to fruition? I've been using this beta-blocker for almost 5 years now and i'm coming to increasingly think and consider the long-term effects such usage has, may have, on the body and mind. This is something i should really have explored by now, my lifestyle (diet and exercise-wise) is healthy and to an extent, my lifestyle is geared towards reducing symptoms of anxiety etc....but i'm increasingly coming to feel as though i'm somewhat cheating on certain occasions when using propranolol. In an ideal world i'd be drug-free and it'd be nicer if i was more in this 'ideal world'...
any alternatives? herbal remedies....? I use very little propranolol when i feel i need to, it's not like i'm taking 2-3 tablets at a time, it acts as a reassurance and feels too much of a dependancy at times. I know about CBT, breathing techniques and all that jazz, but are there any natural herbs or whatever, that can been proven, to at least some extent, to reduce anxiety et al...? Helping to take away what can be a horrible edge to certain situations..
First, I get the feeling you're looking for a quick fix. Have you ever tried CBT? A 'herbal' option wouldn't be any less 'cheating' than propranolol. They both chemically alter your mental state to be able to help you cope, and if you consider that cheating, they they both are. Personally, I don't consider it cheating - if you need them, you need them. I don't need them, but does that mean I'm cheating by having a fortunate brain chemistry that means I don't?
Anyhow, onto the whole herbal thing. To be honest, I've never understood people's fascination with 'alternative' herbal remedies. Alternative is generally a euphemism for 'rejected by mainstream medicine because it doesn't work/has more side effects than other options'. The second an alternative remedy is shown to be safe and effective, with fewer side effects than conventional medication options, it ceases to be alternative and becomes mainstream medicine. Take Senna laxatives, for instance: they're herbal, but are mainstream medicine rather than alternative medicine, as they work and are safe.
Other herbal medicines, however, have not been tested to the same extent as normal medicines: they haven't gone through tests to ensure they work better than placebo; not as much research has gone into potentially dangerous interactions with other medication; the long-term safety is unknown. Legally, they don't have to be subjected to such testing, as they're made from plants. So, really, when you take a herbal medication, you're taking part in a drug trial. At best it will have a placebo effect; at worst, it could make you quite ill or have potential consequences in later life. Just because it's from a plant, it doesn't mean its safe - there are plenty of dangerous plants out there.... As I said above, if it was better than placebo and was safe, it would be conventional medicine, not alternative, and you would be able to get it prescribed by your GP.
So, are there any herbal options? Ask your GP. I suspect, though, that your occasional propranolol usage is the safest bet. If you ask a herbalist, they'll probably give you something, but who knows whether it's safe or effective - they're trying to sell you something, after all.
Ok, cheating is the wrong word and description. I'd just like to feel as though i was existing in a more natural sense. I almost feel like a robot when using propranolol, emotionally-dumbed to an extent. But of course, the reason why i've been using propranolol is because the pros outweigh the cons, considerably. I have been prescribed propranolol, it's not something i've self-subscribed, and i'm not using it in a 'quick-fix' sense. I've read about CBT and various coping techniques/strategies, i don't feel i need to consult a professional body. I highly doubt i'd gain anything new from it. I know my personality pretty well, i know my problems very well etc. I'm simply curious about alternative remedies people take for anxiety and panic attack issues, how they've helped, if they've helped at all.
(Original post by Anonymous)
I almost feel like a robot when using propranolol, emotionally-dumbed to an extent.
Anything which targets anxiety will have that effect, herbal or otherwise. For instance, marijuana apparently can help with anxiety - I wouldn't advise it for a second, but people who are stoned are fairly emotionally numb.
...i'm not using it in a 'quick-fix' sense. I've read about CBT and various coping techniques/strategies, i don't feel i need to consult a professional body. I highly doubt i'd gain anything new from it. I know my personality pretty well, i know my problems very well etc.
Well, okay, you don't want the medication because you think it's a quick-fix, you want the medication because you don't want therapy. Do we agree on that?
Now, my next question is why don't you want therapy? You have expressed doubts about it working, but these are based on the assumption that you know yourself. However, what is likely the case is that you think you know yourself, but in reality you do not. This is true of everyone, to more or less of an extent. Part of the reason that talking therapies work is that they help people see themselves differently: they don't tell you how you really work, they help you realise it for yourself. Then, empowered with this new knowledge, you will be able to manage your problems better .
As a little example of this, in the previous paragraph I challenged a belief you held about yourself; i.e. that you know how you work. What reaction did that elicit? On the one hand, you might just think 'he's so full of it' - fair enough . However, if I managed to be at all persuasive, has another reason for not wanting it cropped up in its place? If so, then this serves as an example: before, you thought the reason you didn't want to go was because you thought you knew yourself and hence it would be ineffective; now, something else. If what I said has the capacity to change what you think your reason for not wanting it is (i.e. how you think about yourself), then did you really know yourself in the first place?