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18 years positive/anxiety out of control

Jul 2, 2003

I tested positive in April 1985. I have been on a variety of HIV meds over the years with tremendous side effect reactions (neuropathy, pancreatitis, weekly kidney stones, nightmares, etc. I have now stopped all HIV medications and will not be going back on any of them. I am currently taking Klonopin 2 mg qd, Doxepin 100 mg qpm, Ambien qpm, Asacol tid (unspecified colitis), acyclovir bid (herpes), Immodeum qd, and Reglan qpm (gastroparesis). As of 6/03, my last CD4 count 283, viral load 66. I see a psychiatrist, infectious disease Dr., and psychotherapist weekly.

Problem: I have discussed my ever increasing anxiety with both medical doctors and therapist. They cannot offer me any more help. My Dr. went so far to say that he felt "incompetent" when it comes to this (not a jab at my doc at all). I feel like no one is taking me seriously. I have been seeing the same ID Dr. for the entire 18+ years. I have tried all the new anti-depressant meds (Paxil, Prozac, Trazadone, etc.) I found no relief from these meds and my stress level is extremely high. I have also tried self-hypnosis, meditation, yoga, etc.

Do you have any suggestions? I really don't want to have to go to another Dr. but I am becoming desperate.

Response from Mr. Shernoff

You certainly are doing everything correct in an attempt to take care of this crippling condition. But sometimes one needs to change their psychiatrist and or psychotherapist in order to jump start their treatment. I suggest that you shop for a new psychotherapist who is a psychiatrist so that you will only have to see one person for both your medication and talk therapy. This person clearly needs to be an expert in HIV/AIDS as well as general psychiatry. Ask your primary care doctor for some referrals and then comparison shop by scheduling consultations with two or three different people, being honest that you are shopping for a new mental health professional. I certainly understand how frustrating this has to be for you and feel badly that despite your best efforts you are still suffering so.

Michael Shernoff, MSW

Panic attacks at my ends here!!!

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