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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Severe Anxiety, Depression: Can`t Take Exams

04/24/2008

Question:

Dear Doctor: I have severe anxiety that prevents me from having a regular job. If I go for interviews, I am always rejected. I went to college for teaching, but when it comes time for the interviews, my anxiety level is so high, I never pass them. I cannot take exams because I literally forget. I want to return to the seminary for the priesthood, but my mind wanders during lectures and I cannot pass exams because of my high level of anxiety. It affects my concentratrion. My doctor gave me Strattera 100mg and it has NO EFFECT. He has given me Klonopin and Vistaril for anxiety--this helps, but when it comes to taking exams, my mind is blank. WHat am I suppose to do. I cannot go back to school because I know I won`t pass the exams, I can`t go back to the seminary because of my concentration. So the Straterra really has NOT helped. He has me on PROVIGIL 400 to stay awake during the--this helps. So, I am mentally paralized and unable to work. Thank you for your time and God bless you.

Answer:

It sounds like you have been working with your doctor and trying a lot of different medications.  I can't tell from your note if you are also receiving counseling or therapy.  If you are not, I strongly encourage you to do so.  Studies have shown that anxiety disorders of all kinds improve the most when medications AND therapy are used together.  Probably the most commonly kind of therapy studied is cognitive behavioral therapy (or thinking and acting therapy).  I encourage you to find a therapist to work with you and add this to your regimen of medications. 

Treatment for chronic anxiety disorders is rarely quick, but there is a high rate of success for those who persevere and work with their doctors and therapists to find the right combination of medication and therapy and stick with them!!

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati