04 June 2011

Medication changes

I'm faced with being required to take a year off from my current university, because I was already on strict probation and didn't get my GPA up far enough (it actually went down this past semester).

There is an appeal process. As one would expect, one of the questions I have to answer is what has changed that will make my next semester successful.

I met with both my social worker and my psychiatrist this past week. My social worker and I are working on mindfulness. The eventual goal is that when faced with a situation like a classroom I'm afraid of, I can intercept that feeling and calm myself down instead of letting learned emotional responses take over. It's been a struggle getting started, trying to fit meditation into my daily life, but I'm working hard on it.

My psychiatrist, who also teaches medical school classes, suggested a medication change from sertraline to venlafaxine, also known as Effexor. It's said to have much the same effect as sertraline, but also improve concentration (especially for students). Sounds good to me- I'm willing to trust a doctor who is also a professor- so I went for it.  I suppose I could make some comment about being on yet another drug-- if you look around in online forums, you'll see plenty of Veterans accuse the VA of pushing pills.  I went for the switch because honestly, I couldn't concentrate on shit this past semester and I need to do something different.

So, I'm transitioning from the sertraline to the venlafaxine over the next few days, which hopefully won't be at all interesting. Trying to keep track of how much I'm taking of each is the hard part. Hopefully, the combination of the new drug and the mindfulness work will produce good benefits. After this past semester, I need all the help I can get.

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