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12Oct2012
Feeling Overwhelmed

Question:

Stressed Writes:

Hi Dr Raj, I’ve recently been feeling overwhelmed by the difficulties of work, school and family life. My doctor had me taking ambien and zoloft for quite some time but the ambien started to make me binge eat!! Weird right? Also I would have conversations on the phone after taking it and not remember what I said. Now he switched me to klonopin at night but I’m not sleeping… it just relaxes me? any suggestions

Answer:

Dear Stressed,

Being overwhelmed in our personal and/or professional life is not so uncommon; in fact, I think one can feel overwhelmed at times of challenge and growth (i.e. work, school and family life); with that said if one finds themselves experiencing significant mood symptoms such as depression and/or anxiety, it is important to understand it’s cause.

Remember that both the biology (our genetic predispositions) as well as our psychology (our internal belief systems, conscious and unconscious) are giving rise to our reality mentally and emotionally. Thus, it is critical to carefully explore one’s history in order to identify clues as to what the underlying cause is.

I think psychotherapy is an excellent modality to a detailed exploration and can be very supportive in resolving feelings of being overwhelmed; medications have their place as well and have been shown to be effective in treating a variety of anxiety and mood disorders. In reference to the Binge eating with the Ambien, it’s not listed as a side effect (which doesn’t mean it’s not possible) and is intended for short term use; you being confused about the contents of the conversations you had while taking the Ambien is not uncommon and is listed as a side effect; Klonopin is also habit forming and should be used with caution; I would suggest speaking to a Psychiatrist or a therapist to understand the exact nature of what the cause of your sleep disturbance is.

Also, look under categories “sleep problem” to view comments I had made about sleep to a different question on April 25th.

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