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Is this an accurate diagnosis and recommendation?

I was diagnosed with social anxiety and generalized anxiety. I have trouble leaving my house and if I do I experience shaking, cold sweats, dizziness and nausea and vomiting. My psychiatrist recommended propanolol and Zoloft.
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Avatar universal
This may be accurate, but not for what you're describing.  What you're describing is called agoraphobia.  That's a condition of phobias that start spreading to more and more areas of our lives until, for some, they become afraid to leave the house.  GAD is when you're just anxious all the time and scared all the time.  Social anxiety is when you have a phobia to social situations, such as being with other people or going to events that other people are at.  But the label isn't as important as the realization you have an anxiety disorder.  There is a difference in treatment if you undergo therapy, which I would recommend, as the therapy for agoraphobia would be different than that for GAD or social anxiety, but there would also be some similarities.  With medication, the same ones are used for all three with the exception of the propanolol, which is only usually helpful for social anxiety or public speaking fears.  Because it affects the heart, if you do try it, make sure your psychiatrist explains it.  My own feeling is, when you're just starting medication, and I think with your condition having progressed this far you do probably need it to calm you down enough to go to therapy, the best thing is to try one first and see if just one works.  That one would be the Zoloft, which can be very effective.  If it works, you only have to deal with one medication.  If it works but not quite well enough, you can add something.  If it doesn't work at all, there's no reason to take it at all and you would taper off of it as slowly as you need to and try a different main medication, which would usually be an antidepressant like Zoloft.  
1 Comments
I also experience anxiety at home on regular days and at my “safe places”. This is the reason my psychiatrist also  added GAD. I’ve started the Zoloft and I am on my second day, I know it takes a few weeks to actually start working but right I am just experiencing drowsiness and a little nausea because of it. I took the propanolol before an outing and it helped A LOT because of the physical symptoms I experience.
973741 tn?1342346373
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that falls under general anxiety disorder. So GAD is at the top and agoraphobia is under it.  Most doctors do indeed treat for GAD if someone has agoraphobia and that is important because the point is to get you well.  A lot of people with agoraphobia also have panic disorder.  Here's information on it to read through that I think is helpful. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987  When I read things like this though, I also know that each person is different and have their own unique experience with the disorder as well as treatment.  

Probably one of the most important components to treating agoraphobia and panic is psychotherapy.  Do you see a good psychologist as well?

Zoloft and other antidepressants are often prescribed.  Since you just started it and already have anxiety, I know it is hard. But the thing to remember is that your body has to get used to the medication and that takes a little bit of time.  These types of drugs have 'start up' side effects. These come on early but then go away.  That's possibly the drowsiness or nausea you are mentioning.  Give it some time to see.  It takes about 6 to 8 weeks for Zoloft to work.  And Zoloft is a good drug but the thing about that one in particular is that there may be some trial time to get the right dose.  It does tend to take a higher dose for effectiveness than the starting dose.  Also (I keep thinking of things to add, lol) with antidepressants like Zoloft, it may help to start low and raise the dose slowly.  Tapering up.  You'd want to do this exact thing if you stop the medication, taper back down on the dose slowly.  Hopefully your doctor is guiding you appropriately.  But give this some time and hopefully the Zoloft will help.

Combining medications is very common for psychiatrists these days.  Propranolol is used for panic and anxiety.  It's a non selective beta blocker that prevents adrenaline from building in different body areas including the autonomic nervous system.  By blocking the effects of adrenaline on these receptors, the autonomic (physical) symptoms of anxiety/panic are typically reduced.  

I can't really read anything in what you've written to think you've been given bad medical advice and think those are two commonly used medications to treat what you've been diagnosed with.

7 Comments
This was very helpful! My psychiatrist recommended psychotherapy along with medication as it is severe. But yes I’ve realized that I am experiencing side effects of the drug and my body needs to take time to adjust to it. I started with 25mg of Zoloft.
That's a good starting dose for many.  They can try to make that even lower but you hopefully should be able to tolerate 25mg.  Then are they going to increase that slowly?  That's a very low dose and not probably going to fully do the trick for you.  I think the average dose is 100 mg a day or more. Talk to your doctor about that at your next visit.  And definitely get a referral if you haven't started psychotherapy to begin this.  It can be very valuable in the process of getting better. While there are some psychologists better than others, you will hopefully be referred to a good one your doctor has experience with.  It's important to remember you are NOT alone and this can get better.  hugs
This issue began to greatly affect my life around April/May and I lost a lot of weight because of that and my body cannot handle much medication anymore so that’s why we started at such a low dosage. I have to check with my doctor in three weeks to determine whether to increase the dosage or leave it as it is.
I think with meds like this, starting with a low dose is smart.  Titrating up slowly will help make you have the least amount of symptoms.  Everyone is different and what dose works for you and starting low as you did is good.  :>)
Don't know about that website y9u looked at Mom, but I've been under treatment for agoraphobia with both psychiatrists and psychologists for mearly 40 years now and it isn't in the slightest related to GAD, which I didn't have until my difficulties following stopping Paxil.  Nor is the treatment in therapy the same for the two things.  It may be this person has GAD and not agoraphobia, or has both, but Mayo Clinic aside, and it's a very reliable site, you're just going to have to trust me, I've got both of them and they are not at all the same thing.  GAD is miserable, because you're always anxious.  It just never stops.  With phobias, and the term agoraphobia refers to having a growing group of phobias and isn't applied only to those who are afraid to leave their homes.  I was never completely homebound.  The medications used to treat them are the same, that's true.  But the therapy is very different.  Agoraphobia is actually a colloquialism, it means from the Greek fear of the marketplace, I believe the actual diagnostic term is panic attack syndrome or something like that, but everyone in my treatment used the term agoraphobia, I guess it's just easier.  I wouldn't mention this except to note that actual treatment for those of us who have these things, and some who participate on these forums don't actually have the conditions being discussed so they haven't been through round after round of treatment for it, is what's important, not the label.  It doesn't make it go away to give it a name.  But the treatment is different for the two things, and they feel very different to those of us who have them.
I guess an example would be helpful here.  With GAD the therapist tries to get you to relax, but there's no specific activity to focus on.  With agoraphobia, at some point you have to face doing all the things you've built up a phobia about and try to do them over and over until you're no longer thinking of them as impossible to do.  So again, Mayo Clinic is a great site, but it's not my experience that these feel the same or are treated the same in therapy.  And I have both of them.  Peace, all.
Thank you!
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