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xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Will taking anxiety medicine help me be able to work at my job better?

Asked by xjustxxclaudiax (1963points) July 11th, 2011

I recently got a job and been working for about 4 months now, and one of the problems I’ve been having since then is anxiety. It has pretty much gotten difficult for me to enjoy my day away from work or to sleep. I have found it almost impossible for me to not think about my job and to be able to relax when I’m away. I’m always worrying about what’s to come. I’m really getting tired of it.
At work I’m in constant fear of getting into trouble, messing up, not finishing enough orders, forgetting something in an order, or asking stupid questions. And the more and more that I worry about it the more often I forget things and almost mess up, but I catch myself.
I’ve gone as far as buying myself a treadmill, changing my eating habits, and even practicing on my breathing..but none of it is helping. I’m becoming desperate, if anyone knows anything about anxiety medicine and how it works, would it work for me and help me be able to work at my job more comfortably?

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

Well, some people have a side effect of hampered memory when they take certain anti-anxiety medications. The benso’s like Xanax should help you feel much calmer though. Of course, it is very addictive, so you would not want to take it for a long time or if you have an addictive personality. If you feel desperate, and just need to get trough I tough time, I would try it, the drug is magical. Start with a very low dose .25, if you are prescribe .50 you can easily break them in half. It os very fast acting, so you can just take as needed, not regularly. Here’s the thing, remember, if you take it regularly, lets say 2 or three times a day, if you miss a dose you might feel more anxious, a rebound effect. I took it for just short of two months at one point many years ago when I was in a crisis mode, I don’t regret it for a second, but I am glad I stopped taking it also.

There are drugs like Buspar that are thought to not be addictive that can help with anxiety, but I know several people who don’t sleep well while taking it, but you can always stop anyway.

All these drugs always lower the dose if you want to stop, never stop cold turkey if you are taking it regularly.

tom_g's avatar

My (annoying) stock answer == start a meditation practice.

If you would like to try drugs to help you through a tough spell, I would highly recommend staying away from benzos (xanax, etc). As @JLeslie mentioned, they are highly addictive. Also, it’s really more of a band-aid for extreme cases. There are unpleasant side-effects from taking these meds that will occur if you take them periodically. For example, if you take a xanax one day to get you through a tough day, the next day many people will experience more anxiety.

I think Prozac (or other SSRIs) are a better option to help get you to a good space. The “always worrying” symptoms you describe sound a bit OCD to me. Prozac is often prescribed to help with OCD and anxiety. You can take something like this for six months at a low dose and gradually get yourself off of it when you have been able to develop a healthy lifestyle free from rumination.

JLeslie's avatar

Prozac causes a lot of people increased anxiety, many times it is prescribed with a benso initially. Although there are SSRI’s that have been shown to reduce anxiety. SSRI’s also take a few weeks to really kick in. Are you depressed?

CWOTUS's avatar

Maybe you just have the wrong job, or with the wrong company or people.

I enjoy my job, and it gives me no anxiety whatsoever to think about it in my time off or to discuss what I do with others. I even come here on Fluther and talk about construction and engineering from time to time.

At work there’s a certain amount of pressure to “produce” and “get it right” and “be accurate”, but it wouldn’t be a job without those features, would it? So I accept those requirements as part of the job. But I don’t overly stress about them, either. If I can’t get something done “in time” despite my best efforts, then that’s the way it is. It’s up to me to see that happening in advance, though, and let my boss know so that he can either shift some of my other work load or assign someone else to assist – and that’s how work gets done on time, or schedules and priorities shifted so that “the most important work gets done on time” at least.

If you’re afraid of making mistakes or afraid of asking “stupid question”, then those are two sides of the same coin: not asking elementary questions is going to leave you wide open to making mistakes that would be considered “stupid” (if you hadn’t asked the question or clarified what you were uncertain about). As far as “getting into trouble”, if you’re doing the job and not goofing off, ignoring work, mis-prioritizing work or not clarifying instructions, then “getting into trouble” is in your own head. I don’t think I’ve ever worked for an employer who would get me “in trouble” for doing my job, even if I wasn’t doing it up to their standards.

As a new employee one of your primary functions, in fact, is “to learn”. Ask all the elementary questions you need to! If your boss or co-workers think that you’re “stupid” (or present that impression) for asking, then you’re definitely in the wrong place – and they’re the wrong people to be working with.

When I get overwhelmed with demands on my time, then I start to make lists (no, not “who should I kill first”!) of all of the various tasks and demands that are in front of me, and then I order the list: what’s most important (or closest to deadline), and so on. There are all kinds of ways to organize work; I’m not going to address them all here. But you need to find a way to “organize your work” and live within that – and within your abilities.

I would certainly not be looking at pharmacological solutions to your problems at this point. Absolutely not.

Learn how to work, first, and learn your particular job and how to prioritize and manage the processes. You should love or enjoy (or at least “not loathe and fear”) your work.

Cruiser's avatar

I second meditation and learn to belly breathe. Belly breathing takes the stress that is building up in your shoulders and brings that stress and excess energy out of your system.

JLeslie's avatar

Also, can you change jobs? I have decided that if a job makes me want to take drugs, time to quit the job.

marinelife's avatar

Yes, if you have a generalized anxiety problem, anti-anxiety medication will help. It just made me feel like myself only without the anxiety.

If you are opposed to taking medication or in the meantime, you may want to try taking two Calms Forte in the morning and two at night before bed. It is an all-herbal anti-anxiety formulation, available at most drug stores. Although it is marketed as a sleep aid, it does not make you sleepy (just calms you down so you can sleep).

Aethelflaed's avatar

Xanax was great for helping me be able to go to work. And get out of my apartment. I don’t know that I would have been able to do those things without Xanax. It didn’t make it worse the next day. I didn’t experience any side effects with it, ever. Yes, it’s a band-aid – but why is that so bad? We use actual band-aids on open wounds without making it a bad thing. Sometimes, you just need a little help getting to a place where you can deal with the larger issues. I really doubt I’d have been able to work through so many of my issues (and do basic things, like putting the rent check in the mailbox and buying groceries) without Xanax.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Well here’s the problem, I have been looking for another job but I don’t have much experience, and right now there aren’t really any job openings for me. I have no choice but to work at the place that I am at now, I need to pay the bills. I don’t really want to quit my job, I just want something that will calm me down. I do worry a lot, and no matter how much I try I can never get that “I’ll never be good enough” mentality out of my head no matter how hard I try. I get to work on time everyday. I double check, sometimes even tipple check my work in hopes of not messing up. But that slows me down real bad. And when I do end up making a mistake I feel as if I’ve lost a lot of respect from my boss. I don’t want to let anybody down and I don’t want anybody to think that I can’t do it. I’ve tried the breathing exercise, but that only calms me down for like 2 minutes and then my heart starts racing again. I’ve also been hospitalized for intense stomach pains and fast heart rate caused by stress a couple months ago. I don’t know how my coworkers do it, I don’t know how they’re able to handle the stress and I’m here practically killing myself. It sucks..I just want all this anxiety to go away…I want to be able to like my job. My coworkers are nice and everything, I don’t really talk to anybody, and my job doesn’t require much talking and I’m left alone most of the time. Which I like…It’s just the amount of work, the constant meetings and threats about getting written up for not meeting your goals or messing up..that’s all I think about all day..

Aethelflaed's avatar

@xjustxxclaudiax Sounds like you should talk to a doctor about figuring out exactly what’s going on, and what would be a good medication for you. Xanax was great for me, but it’s more about targeting panic attacks than chronic, constant anxiety (hence the 4–6 hour half-life). Klonapin is prescribed more as an everyday benzo, helping keep your general anxiety level down but not being as helpful with panic attacks, as it has a longer half-life. And Lexapro, an SSRI, has had really good results with not only helping depression but also lowering anxiety (but, it’s $100 for a month’s worth without insurance, so that’s a bummer).

CWOTUS's avatar

What exactly is your job, anyway?

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

I’m a data processor for a preservation company that helps preserve foreclosed homes in california, oregon, and soon nevada, for Bank of America….Bank of America is not my friend. EVERYTHING needs to be perfect, and if I forget to bid for something as simple as trimming ONE tree, they can send my workers to go cut the grass, trim the trees, and remove debris at our own cost. Which is not good. And right now we’re on the processes of expanding to another office and hiring more people because of the amount of work that’s being piled on top of us at the moment.
They want perfection. They want to know where what is, the height and width. How long it’ll take complete. If its in the way of grass cut or not. How many inches and so on..Very specific..and its hard. Right now we have about 3000+ orders due this thursday..and on a 13 hour day we complete about 300….so they’re pushing us right now and I’m feeling the stress as we speak….I work with 15 other coworkers…and that’s it.

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

15 other data processors. I don’t cut the grass or anything. Our contractors do that..

CWOTUS's avatar

Forgive me, but what you said doesn’t make sense. If you’re not the contractor, but working for the outfit paying for the work to be done, then you’re not “bidding” to trim trees. You may be “requesting quotations”, but you’re not bidding. And again, if you’re not the contractor, then “they” (whoever “they” are) won’t be sending “your” workers to do things. The contractor sends his workers. I fully get that if you need work done that the contractor hasn’t bid, then the work is done at whatever the “extra work” rates are in the contract. (Generally, for work that’s fairly specialized, there will be “lawn cutting”, “tree trimming”, “trash pickup” and other specialized rates. In our business we’d request rates for various pipe diameters and thicknesses, for example, and we’d get a “per foot” rate of installing pipe beyond what had been specified in the original RFQ.)

I can understand a contractor wanting to know specifics about the job in hand: the size of the yard, obstacles, slopes, the cut that’s desired, gates that need to be opened and closed, and all of that. They need information about the yard and trees to be cared for so that they don’t underbid. “How long it will take” is their lookout, not yours. Your job, apparently, is “to describe the job to the contractor” so that he can accurately bid it, and not end up doing T&M (time and material) work at a much higher rate than the bid rate. (It seems like a failure of contracting to allow work to be done on unbid work: If you don’t describe a tree to be trimmed, for example, then the tree should not be trimmed. If “trash pickup” wasn’t included in the contract, that’s different, I suppose, because generally trash has to be picked up before the lawn can be mowed. But unless the place has really gone to hell in a hurry, how much trash will there be between one mowing and the next?)

So what you’re saying is that 15 – 16 people have to describe approximately 20 yards (jobs) apiece per day for contractors to bid, correct?

Then the question is (and it’s a rhetorical question): What are the tools that you’re given to write up the bid package? If all you have, for example, is two-year-old photos on Google Earth, or a deed description, then it’s great if you can write up anything at all.

JLeslie's avatar

Has a doctor offered you the medication? And, you are deciding whether to take it or not? Someone above suggested Klonapin, which doctors seem to like better than Xanax, but they are both still addictive, bith benso’s. For me Klonapin makes me a little sleepy, while Xanax did nothing but remove my anxiety symptoms. But, everyone is different. How old are you?

I think you should take the bensos for a few weeks, maybe go to some therapy sessions so you can talk through your anxieties. It sounds to me like you are a perfectionist and the OCD behavior that can come with that can be very anxiety provoking. But, it also seems like maybe it is just the specific job you are in makes you have to be a perfectionist. However, mentioning you get to work on time every day to me is some sort of tip off about your personality, or possibly that this is one of your first jobs in the work force?

If you are not detail oriented, it really might be the wrong job for you, a bad fit? You might like the people at work, but you will probably make new friends at a new job too. It can be very very hard to jump of the treadmill, to do something less stressful, that is very common.

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