Tag Archives: anxiety after taking cipro

Overcoming the Fear that Comes with Fluoroquinolone Toxicity

Having your body fall apart is terrifying. Losing your mental capacity is even scarier. Hearing stories of people who have had their lives devastated by Cipro, Levaquin, Avelox or Floxin, when you are experiencing an adverse reaction to one of them, can be devastatingly frightening. Delayed reactions are scary. The connections between fluoroquionolone toxicity and autoimmune diseases are scary. This whole mess is scary and it’s completely understandable and normal for you to be afraid.

Try not to be though.

I know that it’s easier said than done to not be terrified, to calm down, and to know that you will be okay, and I’m not trying to minimize the legitimate fear at all, but, unfortunately, fear isn’t helpful–it’s actually harmful, and it needs to be nipped in the bud as quickly as possible.

Your symptoms are real, and they’re not in your head. But fear and anxiety can amplify all of your fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms and make them worse. You want to get better, not worse, and I wholeheartedly believe that getting fear and anxiety under control are necessary for healing.

It’s okay to have a freak-out period. Most of us do. Forgive yourself for freaking out, but move on to less fear-based reactions as quickly as possible.

Tell yourself that you will be okay. Try to believe it. Try to believe that you will recover. Full recoveries are possible. I have fully recovered, and so have many others. Your body will heal. It will. I don’t know what your timeline will be, or whether or not you will make a full recovery, but I do know that each of us has a huge amount of resiliency and strength and that healing and recovery are both possible.

Take some deep breaths. Feel the air go in and out of your body and try to appreciate the beauty of being alive–it’s pretty amazing when you think about it. These horrible drugs knocked you down and hurt you, but they didn’t kill you. You’re still alive and breathing. With every breath comes healing. Breathe deeply–it helps, it really does.

I took a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class early in my floxing. It helped immensely and I recommend it to everyone. It helped to calm me down and dissipate some of the fear I was experiencing.

I encourage you to get away from anything that increases your fear. The information about fluoroquinolone toxicity that you can find on the internet is incredibly valuable, but reading about the horrible things that fluoroquinolones can do can induce fear and anxiety. I encourage you to get off the internet (including this site). Do something that is enjoyable that takes your mind off of fluoroquinolone toxicity – take a bath, or a walk, or watch a funny movie, or hug a loved one, or meditate, or anything else that is enjoyable and anxiety-reducing. See if you feel better after doing an anxiety-reducing activity, and if you do, stick with it.

Have hope, my friends. You can get through this. You WILL get through this. It’s a difficult hurdle, and a horrible time in your life. I understand and appreciate that. But it will change, it will get better. Try to believe it. Try to have hope.

Hang in there.

I wrote these “attitude tips” when I wrote my recovery story. I still think they’re helpful:

Try not to compare yourself to how you used to be.  I used to hike 20 miles in a day.  I can’t do that anymore, but I can hike 3 miles today and I couldn’t do that when I first got floxed. Compare yourself to how you were yesterday, not to how you were before you got floxed.

Do something – anything – to work toward healing, every day.  Walk a little further than you did yesterday.  Meditate.  Take an Epsom Salt bath.  Get an acupuncture treatment.  Do a puzzle.  Whatever makes you feel good – do it.  Every little step helps.

Don’t kill yourself.  Have hope.  You will get better.

You’re not crazy.  You’re sick.  Have hope.  You will get better.

You’re not stupid.  You’re sick.  Have hope.  You will get better.

Try not to identify yourself as sick.  The mind is a powerful thing so try to stay positive. It’s hard, I know.  But try, because it’s worth it.

You will have bad days.  They will pass.  This all will pass.  It is not permanent.  You are strong –  present tense.  You were knocked down, but you weren’t killed.  You will get better.

Don’t quit your job.  Try to maintain as much normalcy in your life as you can.

It is not your fault.  Even if you knew better, even if you demanded the most powerful drug possible from your doctor, even if you self-medicated, even if you coerced your doctor into giving you the fluoroquinolone antibiotic, even if the infection that you were treating was something that you got because of doing something stupid, or from sex, even if you continued to take it after you started to get sick, even if you floxed your child/parent or other loved one – IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.  You are sick.  You are poisoned.  You are not to blame for your sickness or for the fact that you are poisoned.  Who to blame is a discussion that I don’t want to get into because I want this to be positive, but it is not you.  You are not to blame.  You are a victim.  It is not your fault.

Please don’t fall too deeply into the pit of fear and despair. Being scared and angry and anxious are all normal and appropriate reactions, but they’re destructive, so the sooner you can get past them, the better.

Know that the fear will pass. Know that everything you are going through right now will pass. Each breath is a new one–a new beginning. Breathe deeply, and try to breathe out some of the fear.

You will be okay. Try to believe it.

Hugs,

Lisa

 

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Treating Fluoroquinolone Anxiety

Free-floating, often severe, anxiety is a common symptom of fluoroquinolone toxicity.

Fluoroquinolones thoroughly mess up GABA neurotransmitters, and GABA “plays the principal role in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.”  Here are a few articles that describe how fluoroquinolones negatively affect GABA – Article 1, Article 2, Article 3.

To put what fluoroquinolones do to GABA neurotransmitters into a framework, they basically throw people into protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal.  People who have gone through benzodiazepine withdrawal at any time in life should NEVER take a fluoroquinolone.  See “Benzodiazepine tolerance, dependency, and withdrawal syndromes and interactions with fluoroquinolone antimicrobials” for more information about how fluoroquinolones affect people who have a history of benzodiazepine use and withdrawal.

The things that help people through protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal may be helpful for floxies too.  GABA neurotransmitters and receptors have been iatrogenically damaged by both drugs, and they need to heal.  From what I understand, the Ashton Manual has a lot of good information in it about healing from benzodiazepine withdrawal.  Support sites like www.benzobuddies.org may also be helpful.

A very interesting review of supplements to treat anxiety (specifically benzodiazepine induced anxiety, but the advice is applicable to floxies too) can be found through this link –

http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/54028-treating-anxiety-safely-effectively/

Additionally, Ruth has researched and written extensively about fluoroquinolone induced anxiety and I suggest reading her story – https://floxiehope.com/ruths-story-cipro-toxicity/ and listening to her podcast – https://floxiehope.com/2015/01/07/the-floxie-hope-podcast-episode-6-ruth-young/.  She also wrote some very interesting and insightful comments on my story starting about June 9, 2015 – https://floxiehope.com/lisas-recovery-story-cipro-toxicity/comment-page-13/#comments.

Ruth mentions supplementing uridine in her story:

I also have found that uridine works really well when I get that horrible insomnia and nothing else is helping. Uridine has it’s own receptors in the brain, so maybe it is a way floxies can bypass GABA receptor damage. I cannot prevent a relapse with it. I take it after the relapse starts, 500-750 mg with a fish oil capsule to help it work better. It’s something to have in reserve for those times you just want to crawl out of your own skin and you need to get some rest. Taking it every day did nothing for me. It has to be timed just right, at the moment that every time I’m starting to fall asleep symptoms are getting more intense and now I’m standing there by my bed with my skin just burning, knowing I am not going to sleep. A couple uridine and I’m out within thirty minutes.

It has recently come to my attention that uridine helps to reduce epileptic seizures and that increases free GABA, thus it has a calming influence. I have found it to be useful.

The things that helped me to get through cipro-induced anxiety are: 1. Acupuncture, 2. Meditation, 3. Stress reduction – especially flox related stress – that meant getting off the internet.

I went through a recent period of pain that induced anxiety. Kava helped me a lot. The longecity article recommends against kava, and I think that their concerns are valid. It is only for short-term use and it probably isn’t best for people who have had a history of benzo withdrawal. Personally, I’ve never had a benzo and I only needed to use kava for a short period of time.  It was a life-saver during the time I used it. Be careful with it though.

There is a vicious cycle when it comes to fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms and anxiety.  Fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms lead to stress and anxiety (it’s a pretty reasonable to be stressed and anxious when you’re suddenly in pain, you can’t move but when you do you tear tendons, you lose your memory, and suffer from chronic insomnia – to name just a few symptoms of fluoroquinolone toxicity), stress and anxiety negatively affect the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and lead to dysautonomia, ANS damage leads to more fluoroquinolone toxicity symptoms, which leads to more stress, and so on, and so on.

I don’t think that fluoroquinolone toxicity is “just” anxiety, but I do think that anxiety makes every symptom of fluoroquinolone toxicity worse.  I also think that there is nothing to be trivialized about anxiety.  It’s not a choice.  It’s the central and autonomic nervous systems going completely hay-wire, and both stress and anxiety can lead to serious health problems.

I know that anxiety makes you not want to do these things, but I also suggest trying really hard to do the simple things that make you healthy and happy. Sleep plenty. Enjoy your food. Laugh a lot. Be social. Hang out with a pet and/or children. Those things are healthy and they are healing. They’re easier said than done, but they’re certainly worth a try.

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In my opinion, it’s imperative for floxies to get stress and anxiety symptoms under control.  Neither stress nor anxiety are easy things to control, and, like I said earlier, it’s not a choice – it’s GABA neurotransmitter damage – but anything that can be done to reduce stress and anxiety will help the GABA neurotransmitters to heal, and will help the ANS and CNS to normalize.

Fluoroquinolone induced anxiety can be crawl-out-of-your-skin horrible, but it does get better.  Hang in there, my friends.

 

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FDA Petitioned to Add Psychiatric Side Effects to Black Box Warning for Fluoroquinolones

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In a survey of 94 people who experienced adverse reactions to Levaquin/levofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, 72% reported experiencing anxiety, 62% reported depression, 48% reported insomnia, 37% reported panic attacks, 33% reported brain fog and/or cognitive impairment, 29% reported depersonalization and/or derealization, 24% reported thoughts of suicide and 22% reported psychosis.

Psychiatric side-effects of fluoroquinolones are common.  Though many of the psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are listed on the warning label, they are buried in the “Central Nervous System Effects” section.  Dr. Charles Bennett of the Southern Network on Adverse Reactions (SONAR), has submitted a petition to the FDA requesting that a black box warning about serious psychiatric adverse events be added to the Levaquin/levofloxacin warning label.

More information about the serious psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones can be found in this post –

PSYCHIATRIC SIDE EFFECTS OF FLUOROQUINOLONE ANTIBIOTICS

Please spread the word about the psychiatric problems that fluoroquinolones can cause.  The serious psychiatric adverse effects of fluoroquinolones are under-recognized.

People are suffering because they are not adequately warned about the dangers of fluoroquinolones.

Thank you for reading and sharing the post!

 

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