View Full Version : Benzos during college?


psychological1
04-01-14, 07:58 PM
I am a freshman in college this year, and I've been on Vyvanse for 2 months now. With the stress of all of these changing things in my life, I have developed intense anxiety. My college atmosphere is incredibly competitive with academics and even socially, and I can't control my worry. The Vyvanse is definitely not the cause, as this has been going on longer than I've been on Vyvanse.

I see a psychiatrist in a week, and I would prefer to be more knowledgeable about the effects of anti-anxiety meds. I know that first-line treatment for anxiety nowadays seems to be SSRI's, but my dad has had great success on Ativan. I see so many of my dad's same symptoms in myself, so I'm wondering if this would be reasonable.

My biggest reservation with any benzo, however, is memory impairment pertaining to academics. Is it even reasonable for students to take benzos for anxiety? The quick onset and fickle nature of my anxious spells makes me think a benzo would be better than an SSRI, but not if it's at the expense of my academics.

Lastly, I would like to shift from Vyvanse to Adderall. My psychologist thinks that Adderall would be better for me because I am often unmotivated and lethargic to initiate tasks. If my psychiatrist agrees to this, would that greatly reduce him treating my anxiety at this point? Or worse yet, would he refuse to treat my ADD until my anxiety is under control? I really want this to be fixed as soon as possible, as the semester is winding down, and my hair is shedding like hell. Which causes more anxiety, which causes more shedding. It's a dangerous positive feedback loop!

Thanks for any and all help.

BellaVita
04-01-14, 08:38 PM
I took Clonazepam when in school, it didn't seem to have any memory impairment.

It's really all up to your doctor, and they are a professional so it's best to trust what they're doing.

(and of course if they suck, get a new doctor)

Anxiety can be a pain.

I've found great success with Clonazepam but also Lexapro helped my OCD and Social Anxiety to a degree.

psychological1
04-01-14, 08:54 PM
I took Clonazepam when in school, it didn't seem to have any memory impairment.

It's really all up to your doctor, and they are a professional so it's best to trust what they're doing.

(and of course if they suck, get a new doctor)

Anxiety can be a pain.

I've found great success with Clonazepam but also Lexapro helped my OCD and Social Anxiety to a degree.

That's good to hear. Yes, anxiety can really get in the way of things.

My dad also had some success with Lexapro, so maybe an SSRI would be a better place to start. We'll see what he has to say.

BellaVita
04-01-14, 08:57 PM
That's good to hear. Yes, anxiety can really get in the way of things.

My dad also had some success with Lexapro, so maybe an SSRI would be a better place to start. We'll see what he has to say.

I wanted to add: In fact, you may find your memory to work BETTER because there's not so much anxiety blocking it.

The anxiety clearing definitely helps my thinking.

Oh good, some success for him may mean some success for you, too.

I was also skeptical of SSRIs but I gave it a go and was surprised with the results.

(I'm off of everything right now, and I can't wait to get on meds again.)

glennquagmire
04-26-14, 04:15 PM
I wanted to add: In fact, you may find your memory to work BETTER because there's not so much anxiety blocking it.

The anxiety clearing definitely helps my thinking.



i've noticed that too. when i take small doses of benzos it relaxes me just enough to function better and not be all drugged up

sarahsweets
04-27-14, 07:01 AM
anxiety is tricky business because you have to decide if its a short term or long term (ie diagnosed) condition, so I would see what the doctor says about that. Either way, benzos. when taking as prescribed are not the big bad wolf that people make them out to be. They can be used long term (me, 9 years, no dose change, not everyday) and they can be good for the short term. Some people like to say that benzos cancel out the benefits of stimulants, I guess thats possible but it hasnt been the case with me. If taken in a low dose( i mean lowest efeective dose) and EXACTLY as prescribed by your doctor they can and do work.

adhd_could_be
10-25-14, 03:03 PM
If your main goal is to do academically well in school, and your anxiety isn't so overwhelming as to completily prevent you from succeeding at all, I would avoid benzos at all costs, they're grossly memory impairing, period, especially ativan, which is also extremely sedative... i won't even mention how addictive benzos are, after a few months you wont be able to go 3-4 days without a tablet.... try atenolol or a beta blocker, even an ssri... even meditation, exercise, take a reduced course load (you're still considered full time with 3-4 units of course weight instead of 5 if you have ADHD)... get special accomodations for ADHD (you know you can get a note taker?? time and a half for exams... free access to school psychologist!!) having these accomodations also helps to take away some of the stress

to put this into context, I had a 3.99 GPA first 3 years university, and had to take a benzo last year of university because of neuro (non-psych) treatment, and my last years GPA was 3.4, which I know is good, but I probably worked harder than in first 3 years, at times I'd just be sitting at a test, know I knew the answer, and just couldn't recall it at the time. it worked out for me because my first 3 years gpa were enough to get me into program i wanted, but man, being on a diff neuro med felt like this fog was lifted from me, which you stop noticing after a period because the fog just seems normal.

Laserbeak
12-10-14, 12:14 AM
They are great for getting rid of anxiety, but they do interfere with the creation of long-term memory, so therefore could be a big problem when going to lectures or trying to study. So tread with care and take the least amount required.

Lizzie80
07-21-15, 01:25 AM
I am a freshman in college this year, and I've been on Vyvanse for 2 months now. With the stress of all of these changing things in my life, I have developed intense anxiety. My college atmosphere is incredibly competitive with academics and even socially, and I can't control my worry. The Vyvanse is definitely not the cause, as this has been going on longer than I've been on Vyvanse.

I see a psychiatrist in a week, and I would prefer to be more knowledgeable about the effects of anti-anxiety meds. I know that first-line treatment for anxiety nowadays seems to be SSRI's, but my dad has had great success on Ativan. I see so many of my dad's same symptoms in myself, so I'm wondering if this would be reasonable.

My biggest reservation with any benzo, however, is memory impairment pertaining to academics. Is it even reasonable for students to take benzos for anxiety? The quick onset and fickle nature of my anxious spells makes me think a benzo would be better than an SSRI, but not if it's at the expense of my academics.

Lastly, I would like to shift from Vyvanse to Adderall. My psychologist thinks that Adderall would be better for me because I am often unmotivated and lethargic to initiate tasks. If my psychiatrist agrees to this, would that greatly reduce him treating my anxiety at this point? Or worse yet, would he refuse to treat my ADD until my anxiety is under control? I really want this to be fixed as soon as possible, as the semester is winding down, and my hair is shedding like hell. Which causes more anxiety, which causes more shedding. It's a dangerous positive feedback loop!

Thanks for any and all help.

I've taken prescribed Valium to treat GAD for years, long before I was diagnosed with Inattentive ADD. I had a 4.0 GPA in my first semester of college, at the ripe old age of 32 and at that time, still living with undiagnosed ADD. I got diagnosed with Inattentive ADD and started Vyvanse early in my second semester of college. I'm an Honors student with fairly heavy demands at school and at home. I've gone off of Valium a few times (always my choice...often because I'm just freaking lazy and didn't pick up my script) while I've been in college, with disastrous results on both my grades and my personality. I vowed never to do that to myself again. Five semesters in, taking both meds (most of the time), I have a 3.5 GPA and have all my Honors classes required done.

Yeah, Vyvanse is terrific for focus in things like mathematics, but without taking my anti-anxiety medication, that focus was ruined by bad nerves. I couldn't direct that focus into good places and be productive. IMHO, living with ever-present anxiety is a true disorder that is likely to come around in one's life repeatedly. Great as the stimulant class is for treating ADD, they unfortunately will make any pre-existing anxiety disorder worse for quite a few people. It is far worse for me personally to go off of anti-anxiety medication than to be on it. I'd actually drop the Vyvanse before I'd drop the Valium, either in terms of my grades and memory or just my life in general. This is only speaking for myself, but the anxiety I feel without Valium, anxiety only worsened by stimulant medication, is worse on the working memory than a small dosage of the correct medication for the anxiety. Vyvanse does not help working memory all that much for me in anything but math or science, although it helps with focus a bit in classes, too. However, all benefits of that are wiped out if my anxiety's out of control.

I take Valium and Vyvanse together without issue, but then I have one of those tough Germanic constitutions that can handle just about anything. SSRIs and SNRIs are an exception to that rule for me. For example, Cymbalta made me suicidal and gave me night terrors, which I assure is not at all my normal state of mind. One person's pleasure is another person's poison, so YMMV. Those black box warnings on drugs should always be reviewed. I personally think that the preference for SSRI/SNRI drugs over benzos in anxiety treatment is based on many factors totally unrelated to what is best for patients overall...but I'll refrain from getting into that. Benzos aren't necessarily safer, but for anxiety without depression AND when the benzo is taken in reasonable prescribed doses, they seem to have less side effects (like weight gain) in the short-term than some of the antidepressants. Be cautious with any drug class, and go into taking any of them with knowledge of the side effects and potential withdrawal issues.