Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Medicine

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Question
I have had panic attacks since I was 12, for 20 years now. I have also had mild depression on and off, but nothing bad. I am taking xanax .5mg four times a day and paxil 20mg twice a day. This has been my medicine regimen for the past 6 years.

Questions: My depression has gotten worse in the last 8-10 months, the worst its been since I can remember. After all this time, would it be a good idea to ask my Doctor about switching to Zoloft or something else? If I do, will I still have the paxil withdrawls symptoms since they are both ssri's? Also, how long is too long to take xanax, paxil, and zoloft? Some say a year max, some say you can take them all your life if needed.

Thanks so much. James

Answer
After all this time, would it be a good idea to ask my Doctor about switching to Zoloft or something else? I would ask about a medication change, but there are various things to do, like increasing the Paxil further, or adding a mood stabilizer like Trileptal.  I would definitely discuss this with your doctor.
If I do, will I still have the paxil withdrawls symptoms since they are both ssri's? Mp
Also, how long is too long to take xanax, paxil, and zoloft? Many people take them for life without problems.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Daniel S. Harrop, M.D.

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Dr. Daniel S. Harrop received his B.A. and his M.D., both from Brown, and his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. Board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry, he is a past president of the R.I. Psychiatric Society and a member of the Committee on Medical Quality of the American Psychiatric Association and the Committee on Continuing Medical Education of the R.I Medical Society. He serves as a consultant to four of the top five major medical management companies, including OptumHealth/United Healthcare, Magellan Behavioral Health Services, ValueOptions and APS Healthcare, and maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I. He also serves as chief psychiatric consultant on the Medical Advisory Board at the R.I. Workers Compensation Court. He was formerly on the faculty at the medical schools at both Brown University and Harvard University.

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