seek and ye shall find
October 30, 2013 4:47 AM Subscribe
How do I ask my new doctor for tranquilizers without seeming like a crazy drug addict?
posted by mittens to health & fitness (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Tomorrow I go for my first appointment with my new GP. If the world were simple and fair, and if I could ever stop overthinking and worrying, here's how it would go: I would ask for a prescription for my blood pressure med, and a benzodiazepine for occasional panic. But that second one is a problem.
I used to work for pain and sickle cell clinics, and I got an earful about patients with 'drug-seeking behavior.' The term has burned itself into my consciousness, because doctors treat you differently if they think you're just going to them for recreation. I am seeking a particular class of drug, but I don't know how to ask for it without sounding like an addict, since even knowing the names and classes of the drugs (let alone their half-lives and how that affects which ones might work best) seems to cause docs to become suspicious of you.
I do have a bottle from my last prescription of Ativan, so I can prove that it was actually prescribed to me by my former doc, but I see myself stumbling through the request for it and somehow being talked into going on a pill I don't want or need.
From about 1992 to 2002, I suffered debilitating panic disorder. I went through over a dozen meds in widely varying dosages and combinations, before slowly getting better. I was unable to keep down a job, couldn't maintain relationships or friendships, and was basically house-bound for much of that time.
I really don't want to go back there. These days I have a very fulfilling career, a family, and some carefully constrained, safe socializing. It's not ideal, but I have managed to accommodate my residual anxieties without letting them totally ruin my life.
I'm only interested in meds that I can take as needed for anxiety. I do not want an antidepressant, since I've never found one that effectively treats anxiety without (a) life-altering side effects and (b) suddenly ceasing to work. I have been on a variety of mood stabilizers and antipsychotics as well; the whole gamut served to make me sleepy, dull, and fat, but without really dealing with the anxiety other than throwing a heavy blanket over it.
Either because of the anxiety, or possibly as a cause of some of it, I am extraordinarily bad at communicating with people. I consistently misjudge their intentions, thoughts and emotions. I mean, I'm not the world's worst person-reader, but seriously, it's like trying to pick up a second language. Worse, I tend to check out during conversations, especially when people are saying something I already know, and so I end up being a really distracted-seeming conversationalist.
So the questions--because I guess I'm really asking a couple--are:
* If I know the name of the benzodiazepine I want, and the dosage that is effective, would there be any reason for the doctor to assume I'm just there for Happy Drug Time? Or am I worried over nothing?
* What is the best way to ask for something specific, while politely refusing SSRIs or other drugs, in a way that isn't totally offputting?
* Will my case be worsened by the fact that I can't talk to people the way normal people do? I can't really do a lot of sustained eye-contact, my posture is atrocious with strangers, and I keep finding myself making weird faces or hand-flappy gestures that I don't think other people understand.
These kind of concerns have kept me from finding consistent medical help for a while, so if I can just nail this visit tomorrow, I am hoping this will be a doctor I can keep.