Anxiety w/nursing school!!!!

  1. Okay I am in my last semester of my 1st year of nursing school to be an RN. I LOVE it and I am making very good grades. The workload I don't have to say is HUGE!!! I'm not crying or unable to do my work with lecture or clinicals. I have ONE year to go and now this week--ANXIETY-- over load!! :imbar I had a panic attack last monday & tuesday. I have had mild/consistant anxiety every since last week. I got some PRN med from my doctor and have taken then PRN this week, however since my symptoms are still present (except a full blown attack) my doctor wants me to start Paxil (a mild dose) to see if that helps and limits/controls my attacks. The anxiety/panic attacks run in my family so he seems to think just b/c of my family situation, my stress load with school and then everyday life I need to start the Paxil. I am very apprehensive about starting the Paxil. I have never taken anything near like that and I am worried from the "bad" side effects I have heard from some past users. I do know some people that take it Qd and are fine with it. I guess if I need it I have to take it. My question is: is this an indication that maybe I can't Handle nursing? should I consider a change in careers? Or do you think this may be a bump in the road? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    Last edit by prenurse on Mar 8, '04
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   heatherbless
    Quote from prenurse
    Okay I am in my last semester of my 1st year of nursing school to be an RN. I LOVE it and I am making very good grades. The workload I don't have to say is HUGE!!! I'm not crying or unable to do my work with lecture or clinicals. I have ONE year to go and now this week--ANXIETY-- over load!! :imbar I had a panic attack last monday & tuesday. I have had mild/consistant anxiety every since last week. I got some PRN med from my doctor and have taken then PRN this week, however since my symptoms are still present (except a full blown attack) my doctor wants me to start Paxil (a mild dose) to see if that helps and limits/controls my attacks. The anxiety/panic attacks run in my family so he seems to think just b/c of my family situation, my stress load with school and then everyday life I need to start the Paxil. I am very apprehensive about starting the Paxil. I have never taken anything near like that and I am worried from the "bad" side effects I have heard from some past users. I do know some people that take it Qd and are fine with it. I guess if I need it I have to take it. My question is: is this an indication that maybe I can't Handle nursing? should I consider a change in careers? Or do you think this may be a bump in the road? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
    hey, just take one day at a time and know that you are half way there...if all nurses gave up when they were overwhelmed--we would not have any. Where do you go to school in VA? best to you, hty/
  4. by   Agnus
    Sounds like you are also having anxiety over your antianxiety med.

    Take the med. Stay under close supervision of your MD. Then see if you have side effects.

    Worrying that you might have side effects is not a valid reason to not start the med. EVERY MED HAS SIDE EFFECTS. That is no indication that everyone experiences them. In some cases side effects are beneficial. You do not know if you will have any side effect until you are taking it. So take it.
  5. by   Euphrosyne7
    Hi there!

    I can completely empathize with you with regards to panic disorder. Ever since my ex husband and I divorced (about 8 yrs ago), I have suffered from panic/anxiety. For the first few years, I just "fought" through it and didn't take any medication. Finally, I ended up taking Serzone for about 1 1/2 yrs. and then went off of that with no panic attacks, etc. for about 2 years. Just recently I started taking my first two nursing classes, and I suddenly started having pretty severe panic attacks in class (thank god we are not in clinicals yet!)

    I have started Paxil about two weeks ago, and it seems to be making a big difference! Although I still have some slight anxiety, for the most part, I am am not having full blown panic attacks. I have noticed as far as side effects go for me, I am actually less hungry (so no weight gain yet) and am now having insomnia issues (which will hopefully subside). It is different for everyone though. I am taking paxil CR 25 mg per day right now and the starting dose is 12.5 mg per day. For the first 4 days, I noticed it gave me a bit more anxiety but now things are fine.

    Since it is supposed to be stress overload that brings on anxiety and panic, and if you are predisposed to it (as I am since it also runs in my family) you are probably just overstressed with everything you have going on, and I doubt it is an indication that nursing is not for you. It may also be the stress you are putting on yourself with regards to the anticipation of actually being a nurse and being put in such a responsible position once you graduate rather than the field itself.

    The fastest way to stop the panic attacks/anxiety is to probably try taking some medication and maybe taking up yoga (good for proper breathing techniques) if you have time, and hang in there! Good luck and you can pm me if you want to.

    Carla
  6. by   phyrenrain
    Ask any nurse (what you're doing--good!) and they will tell you nursing school is probably one of the single most stressful events of their lives! Your anxiety and panic attacks are NOT indicators of not being cut out to be a nurse, rather, making it through by persisting is comparable to paying your dues to actually join the club! You do what you must to triumph in the end! Keep your chin up and keep plugging along. If taking a daily dose of Paxil is what helps you cope with the pressures of nursing school, then it's really a small price to pay to maintain your sanity in your high-anxiety period of your life. I've been on Paxil before, and I don't twitch or have seizures, or have any lasting side effects. Just make sure that you don't abruptly stop taking it. It's a med you must taper off rather than just d/c'ing it. Best of luck to you! Hang in there!!!





    Quote from prenurse
    Okay I am in my last semester of my 1st year of nursing school to be an RN. I LOVE it and I am making very good grades. The workload I don't have to say is HUGE!!! I'm not crying or unable to do my work with lecture or clinicals. I have ONE year to go and now this week--ANXIETY-- over load!! :imbar I had a panic attack last monday & tuesday. I have had mild/consistant anxiety every since last week. I got some PRN med from my doctor and have taken then PRN this week, however since my symptoms are still present (except a full blown attack) my doctor wants me to start Paxil (a mild dose) to see if that helps and limits/controls my attacks. The anxiety/panic attacks run in my family so he seems to think just b/c of my family situation, my stress load with school and then everyday life I need to start the Paxil. I am very apprehensive about starting the Paxil. I have never taken anything near like that and I am worried from the "bad" side effects I have heard from some past users. I do know some people that take it Qd and are fine with it. I guess if I need it I have to take it. My question is: is this an indication that maybe I can't Handle nursing? should I consider a change in careers? Or do you think this may be a bump in the road? Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  7. by   Tweety
    Good advice here. I'm not one to resort to taking meds, but why suffer. If you're under the supervision of an MD, are experiencing symptoms, it might be time to take the prn.

    It's quite normal to experience anxiety in nursing school. The workload, coupled with our responsibilities in life can be overwhelming at times.

    Good luck!
  8. by   RNKITTY04
    I've taken Effexor since the first month of Nursing School .I don't think I could have made it this far without it. Do whatever it takes to get through this time of stress. I totally agree with the other poster's in that (hopefully) this is the most amount of stress for such an extended period of time we will have to experience.

    Hang in there!
  9. by   grumpynurse
    I just discontinued Paxil after three years. You definitely must taper the dose when you are ready to come off of it. I had some side effects (nausea, dizziness even when tapering), but the Paxil saved my life three years ago when I was suffering from severe anxiety and depression. The benefits outweigh the risks, but be forewarned....I did slowly gain weight (documented side effect) but who really can say whether it was the Paxil or my love of food that caused the gain. Nursing school is ultra stressful and Lord knows life doesn't stop just because you are in it. If you feel that overwhelmed give it a shot, butinsist on the lowest dose to begin with and you should begin to feel the effects in a few weeks. Since there is help available, take advantage. I never wanted to have to take meds to help my mental health, but I'm really glad I did. It got me through an incredibly difficult time. Best of Luck!!!
  10. by   prenurse
    I am VERY GRATEFUL for the good responses I've gotten from you all. Thanks so much for taking time out to help me.

    Your responses make me feel like I'm "normal" and it's not just me. It helps to know that other's have been thru it. You all seem like strong willed people. It's hard to tell co-students what you are going thru - they are all going thru the same as me - but don't need med help. So it's a little belittling telling them what I'm going thru. And I hate to blame my anxiety just on nursing school, it almost seems like a cop-out. In the last year and 1/2 I have had a rough time dealing with the loss of father, unexpectedly, and my best friend (and neighbor) both of whom I saw daily, and were big supports in my nursing. My best friend died of cancer, the dx and the death within in 6mths.

    After reading your responses and talking with my husband and my friends and having the desire to get better and to get thru nursing school I did get the prescribtion filled for the Paxil. I start it today. So maybe in a few weeks I'll be back to my ole' self. I'll have to let you know how I'm doing!

    THANKS again -
    Last edit by prenurse on Mar 9, '04
  11. by   Purple Princess
    Reading this gave me courage to share my story. I have been able to deal with life and all of it's ups and downs. But after college started I tend to become more stressed, anxious, and ultimately depressed. It got to the point my mom had to pry me off the couch cause all I wanted to do was sleep. I've been taking prozac for about six months. Nursing school has not helped let me tell ya. And that is a long story in itself. I still get nervous, suffer anxiety, and depression on top of it. I'm beginning to think I'm going insane. I can't concentrate and get distracted especially when I'm in the clinical setting. I don't want to make a mistake but so much needs done.
  12. by   Gompers
    Prenurse - take the Paxil. It works. Definitely taper the dosage when you're coming off it (and you will eventually!) with your doc's advice becuase you can't stop it cold turkey! If you're sexually active, ask your doctor about adding a very small dose of Welbutrin, as this counteracts the sexual side effects of Paxil. Many nursing students have anxiety, especially in clinical and during tests. You are totally normal, and if anxiety runs in your family (as it does in mine) you are just more prone to problems. Be thankful that there are so many advances in psychiatric medications! Sure, you could take a Valium every time you get anxious, but as a nurse you really can't spend your life in a haze like that!!! Paxil is a much better choice, as it will help you get through things without being sedated.

    Purple Princess - talk to your doctor. It might be that you need your dosage changed, or to add or switch medications. Not everyone responds perfectly to the same meds or doses. Are you also getting counseling? When I was on meds, my doctor wanted me to take the meds for 4-6 months and THEN start to talk things out in therapy. Really really helped.

    ONE MORE THING ABOUT PAXIL - do NOT take any decongestants while on it!!! I didn't know this was a problem, and one day I took a sudafed allergy/decongestant pill. OH MY GOSH!!! I think it's called parasthesia, what I had. It was like I couldn't keep still, I wasn't itchy but I felt like every nerve in my body was firing and tickling! I kept kicking my legs and shuddering, trying ot get rid of the feeling. I called Walgreens and the pharmacist told me it happens a lot with meds like Paxil and decongestants. Lasted about 8 hours, then I was fine.
  13. by   Purple Princess
    I think I will have to talk to my doctor about the medication. Maybe something else will work better. I will be attending counseling soon to talk it out. Thank you for the advice. I think anxiety and depression both run in our family but I'm the only one getting treatment. My brother gets anxiety real bad and has been taking paxil. But he's getting better. Thank you( grazie)

    Quote from Gompers
    Prenurse - take the Paxil. It works. Definitely taper the dosage when you're coming off it (and you will eventually!) with your doc's advice becuase you can't stop it cold turkey! If you're sexually active, ask your doctor about adding a very small dose of Welbutrin, as this counteracts the sexual side effects of Paxil. Many nursing students have anxiety, especially in clinical and during tests. You are totally normal, and if anxiety runs in your family (as it does in mine) you are just more prone to problems. Be thankful that there are so many advances in psychiatric medications! Sure, you could take a Valium every time you get anxious, but as a nurse you really can't spend your life in a haze like that!!! Paxil is a much better choice, as it will help you get through things without being sedated.

    Purple Princess - talk to your doctor. It might be that you need your dosage changed, or to add or switch medications. Not everyone responds perfectly to the same meds or doses. Are you also getting counseling? When I was on meds, my doctor wanted me to take the meds for 4-6 months and THEN start to talk things out in therapy. Really really helped.

    ONE MORE THING ABOUT PAXIL - do NOT take any decongestants while on it!!! I didn't know this was a problem, and one day I took a sudafed allergy/decongestant pill. OH MY GOSH!!! I think it's called parasthesia, what I had. It was like I couldn't keep still, I wasn't itchy but I felt like every nerve in my body was firing and tickling! I kept kicking my legs and shuddering, trying ot get rid of the feeling. I called Walgreens and the pharmacist told me it happens a lot with meds like Paxil and decongestants. Lasted about 8 hours, then I was fine.
  14. by   thuynwin
    hi there...I just recently signed up to this website with a lot on my mind. So I'm almost done with all my pre-reqs and I'm starting to feel major anxiety as time comes closer. My main concern is not only if I am able to pass the program, but after that? What if I make an idiotic mistake that puts someone's life at risk? And what if death comes upon them due to the mistake? I can't live with that fact. As much as it is rewarding as I've heard the job is, I also have this nervousness of the overbearing risk.

    So...the question is...if anyone have the same feelings...how do you overcome it?

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