My Anxiety Answer Might Have Been There All Along
Now, I don’t want to jinx it here, but I think I might have found out something life-changing (for me anyway). You all have heard all the lovely details about my struggles with anxiety lately. Well, I was doing some research on the internet, and found out that anxiety is one of the side effects of the pills I’ve been taking for my excess stomach acid for the past few years. In case anyone finds it useful, the drug is called omeprazole and it is a proton pump inhibitor that basically stops your stomach from producing too much acid.
Well, it is listed as a rare side effect in the little pamphlet they give you about the drug, but I haven’t thought much of it until now. I did some research, apparently there are quite a few people out there who have taken the drug and developed crippling anxiety and panic attacks. I understand that the people who go on those “rate my medication” websites are usually the ones who want to complain about it so it isn’t representative, but I found tons of people of all ages, genders, and who have been on the drug for varying amounts of time. Oddly, almost all of them on there spoke about anxiety being a huge issue all of a sudden.
This particular pill is supposed to be taken only for a few weeks at a time. For some reason, though, whenever I asked my doctors if I should still be on it, they all gave me an answer like “well if it’s working for you, why change it?” From what I’ve seen in credible studies, the longer you’re on the drug, the more likely you are to get terrible anxiety. The problem is that most of the people who take this pill are older (sometimes 30, but often 55+) so there isn’t a lot of evidence that it causes anxiety in younger patients. And another problem is that I’ve been taking it since I was about 15, so I don’t know if my panic attacks are from the drug over time, or if my anxiety has just been increasing over the past few years and came to a head when I moved away from home.
Regardless, I haven’t been taking the drug for a few days and I feel… calm. Oddly calm. I can’t remember the last time I was this calm for several days in a row. I still have small bouts of anxious thoughts, but they are way easier to handle. The downside is that without those pills, I have really bad heartburn. Then again, heartburn is annoying, but anxiety is debilitating. If this is the choice I have to make, I’ll never take another of those pills ever again.
Either way, I think I’m going to go see my doctor in a couple of weeks once I know how not being on the pill is affecting me. For now, fingers crossed that the worst of my anxiety problems is behind me.