I am not a Doctor and it is not my policy or place to advise on Medications for Anxiety or Depression, however this web site is about my own findings during my recovery period and so it is important to touch on the subject of medication, as it is relevant and to add comments on my own experience and feelings on the subject.
If we look at the facts, medications generally prescribed for Anxiety Disorders and Depression include Anti Depressants such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which need to be taken for the long term. You should not stop taking an Antidepressant suddenly as the side effects of withdrawal can be a replica of the symptoms of Depression and Anxiety that you are suffering with already. All tablets for any condition which are taken in the long term can give withdrawal symptoms, do not get hung up on this fact thinking that this only happens in anti depressants. Side effects in tablets usually feel like the symptoms that you were taking the medications for in the first place. Side effects do pass, however when weaning yourself off of tablets it is worth knowing that there may be some side effects, so that you are prepared to feel possible symptoms and know what is causing you to feel these symptoms. This helps you to continue with your withdrawal and also to cope better with any ill effects. Anti Depressants as a rule should be taken until you have been symptom free for over six months. I took Maximum dose for fifteen years and it took me less than a year to come off mine, however I did suffer symptoms and had to remain focused on my goal. I now take no medication and have not done for years. The whole way I see Anxiety and Depression is different now, as is the way I view medication.
Examples of SSRI'S include Fluoxetine, Citalopram and Sertraline, and Benzodiazepines.
I took an SNRI (A different class) before stopping slowly myself as I got to the point where I knew my tablets had never stopped me getting depressed. I had suffered a further three episodes of Depression and Anxiety whilst I was on them. I was at a good stage of recovery where I understood things more and was no longer at what I would call the desperate acute stage where I would have taken anything offered to me if there was a chance it would have made me well again.
Now I understand what is going on more and have a different view and approach to any Anxiety or low mood I feel. Personally I would not say I initially felt different off them to what I felt on them, just the same so I decided to stay off. I am not a believer in taking tablets for life unless you really have to as I don't believe that can be good for you long term.
In addition to my reasons I never wanted to stay in Depression and Anxiety once I had reached a level of recovery, I wanted to move on and not be reminded of it every single day by taking a pill. Personally this was a big reason to me, it felt time to move on and prove to myself that I could do it.
Can be given to help you to get to sleep and to stay asleep. Sleep deprivation can make Anxiety and Depression worse as when you feel exhausted it can exasperate symptoms. They would only be used in the short term while symptoms were acute.
I did not take sleeping tablets, I would not have felt comfortable taking them.
Diazepam Tranquillisers and sedatives (including Benzodiazepines) Such as Diazepam may be given to help you cope in the short term. They work by sedation and calm Panic symptoms down quickly inducing a sense of relaxation. They can be addictive though and so will not be given by choice by any Doctor over a longer period for this reason and Doctors use of this drug is monitored.
I do have experience of taking Diazepam to help me cope when my Anxiety was severe, they did help with the sudden and very regular Panic Attacks that I experienced in the early days of Panic Disorder. At that time I found the symptoms extremely bewildering and I was quite frankly scared to death, I reached out for anything that would give me a break in the way that I was feeling.
It was not the answer though, as I began to learn when my knowledge increased. Anxiety and Depression have to be dealt with at the root, where you act and talk to your body and mind in a way that it understands how to reverse the bigger cycle which is going on. By taking a sedative you are just making your symptoms feel better for a short while and that is in no way dealing with the bigger picture. All you are doing is relieving short term symptoms and making the longer term even harder to overcome. Your short term fear goes down but your long term fear goes up, they are a crutch that to be honest you don't need. To recover from this you must make the short term fear go up and feel your feelings to allow the longer term fear go down and your feelings to process.
In my experience it was the state of relaxation that I became addicted to, but that is just not real relaxation as its induced by a tablet, in reality I was dealing with nothing. I made the symptoms go for an hour or so but I would have needed more and more tablets as my body got used to them to induce the same calm. Can you see now what I am trying to say? I would have just stayed like that, dealing with daily symptoms in a false way without solving anything and that could have gone on years. It is just counterproductive and self defeating in the end, only serving to create another problem such as addiction to Diazepam. I didn't actually like the false feeling it gave me and I would not take it again.
If I ever had another episode of Anxiety or Depression I personally would not take medication again now. After many years of personal suffering and experience, I am not convinced of the effectiveness of tablets verses actually putting other knowledge and behaviours in place that can help you better, such as exercise or a good diet and changing your perceptions and beliefs.