MRI Anxiety

Another big thank you for the tips and experiences!

Re: Valium, I just requested something to relax. I didn’t know they still made Valium. Back in the 70s, I used to read about people popping it for anxiety, but years later I read it was addictive, so I assumed it went out of vogue.

Definitely planning to bring ear plugs as I_Love_Me_Vol… I suggest upthread.

I’ve read about open machines, but unless they’ve gotten new equipment in the past two years, don’t think that’s an option here.

And I will definitely pee before the MRI, hopefully in the bathroom. :slight_smile:

Do check with the facility for guidance on what you can bring with you. The basic no-no is anything metallic, and I would guess the foam earplugs are fine, but it’s better to check and know they are okay with it than to find out once you are there that they don’t want you wearing your ear plugs.

My mom once took a valium and slept for most of the rest of the week. She’s more sensitive than most people, but don’t plan anything that requires a lot of attention for a couple of days after, if you can avoid it.

Will do. Actually, will bring foam ear plugs and ask when I get there (well before test) if they’re OK. They’re small, and I can leave them in my purse. (They have secure lockers for patients’ stuff.)

I’ve had a couple MRIs done. The first time around they told me that I could have a sedative but if I did I’d have to have someone drive me home. I had no driver so I opted to not take the sedative. BIG mistake.

Last MRI was about a month ago. This time I asked for a sedative and I had a driver lined up. So they gave me two 5mg diazepam, spaced 1/2 hour apart prior to the scan. They did NOTHING to relieve the anxiety. I know I’m going to have to have another MRI in the next couple months. I will be asking for something much stronger than diazepam.

Any drug that immediately calms anxiety is addictive. Lorazepam just as much as Valium (which is still around). But you’re just taking a dose for an MRI, so leave it at that and you’re fine.

She has Valium.

I suspect you are thinking of Ambien, which would be a bad idea for this. I suppose it’s possible, but would be very unusual to have a doctor prescribe a nightly benzo – Ativan --which are highly addictive if used regularly.

For what it’s worth, I think Valium is pretty strong. Ativan, for me, was much, much weaker. Klonopin is a very good medium for me. This seems to vary for people in terms of which drug works best.

I take Ativan. Or rather, the generic version, Lorazepam. I take it as needed for anxiety and PTSD which, for me, tends to strike at night. I take it under the supervision of an excellent psychiatrist and I never let myself take more than 1mg per day. I can go months without it or I go through difficult periods where it helps me every night.

Of course, the more often I take it, the less effective it is. That alone throttles the use. This is the point where some people would just take more and more to get the same effect, but I don’t take more than 1mg per day, that’s my hard line. If the prescribed dosage doesn’t work, I’m shit out of luck.

Ah. I thought you were saying you took it every night. What you describe is different from what I thought you were saying, and totally in line with my own experience.

Yay! I survived! :slight_smile: I packed up ear plugs, printed out Spice_Weasel’s first post on the thread, and took a Valium right before walking out the door. Half way to the MRI place, I suddenly felt very relaxed. Then I realized I was weaving a little as I walked down the sidewalk. Huh. This must be what people who do day-drinking feel like. Can’t say I liked it, but I figure that’s a good thing. And it was a big help.

I not only had the same machine at the same facility but the same tech as last time. This time he gave me earplugs, so I didn’t need the ones I brought. They worked OK. I had to have that cage snapped over my head, but since I was told to keep my eyes closed (less eye movement to mess up MRI), that wasn’t bad. I remembered Spice_Weasel’s tips, and that helped. So did the Valium. It didn’t seem as loud this time, so maybe the last time was an anxiety attack. It was also a much longer stint back then.

Anyway, home and happy to have it over with. Thank you all SO much for all the help. Just knowing there were people who cared was heartening.

Yay! Glad you survived the test intact. Now just hope it yields good news.

Hooray! What a relief! I’m so glad we could help.


Glad it went well

The noise doesn’t bother me at all. I had a couple of MRIs and didn’t understand what the problem was. Piece of cake. Then I had to have a shoulder MRI. I’m pretty broad across the shoulders. Then they put this contraption around my shoulder. Then they squeezed me into the machine. I was touching on 3 sides and the top about an inch from my nose. Then I started to panic. I got through. The next time I needed one I was in the hospital and they said I would be in for 45 minutes. They tossed half a Xanax bar down my throat and I was fine. Now when I go I ask for Xanax and there hasn’t been an issue.

Yay! Hopefully if you need one in the future it’ll be even easier because you know what to do now!

Congrats! This mostly positive experience will also make the next one easier. Happy news all around.

Glad to hear you got through it OK.

I’ve had four or five MRI, one in the open machine, and two PET/CT scans, as week as a round of radiation therapy. While injections hurt and the radiation side effects suck, I found the actual scans and such fascinating. The interesting medical technology helped distract from any nervousness I might have had.

Congratulations! I didn’t want to say this ahead of time, but I’m one of those annoying people for whom the noise and enclosed space is not a problem. What I didn’t like is that both times there was a noticeable breeze through the tube and the flimsy gown didn’t provide much insulation so I was on the edge of shivering for most of the 40 to 50 minutes the scans lasted.

You’re basically me. I have 1mb Lorazepam doses in my master bath pharmacy, I’ll take one (or more likely half of one) when I can’t stand the anxiety on a bad day. But I know if I take them they get weaker so I try really hard not to take any. The last dose I took was probably 6-8 weeks ago, and I’ll usually just sit on the anxiety unless it gets unbearable and exercise etc just ain’t cutting it. Thank bog for my psychiatrist who gives me an ‘as needed’ prescription - he trusts me because I go through a month of Lorazepam in like a year, same with my “oh just knock me out now” insomnia med Temazepam, which I last took in I think September.

Just a word to anyone who’s using benzodiazepines but who isn’t really very familiar with how they work: ALL benzos are highly addictive, and kicking the habit can be extremely hellatious (and possibly dangerous). If you’re just using them sporadically or for a one-day MRI gig, no problem. If you find yourself using them often, or you find they are becoming less effective and you need more, that means there’s already trouble brewing.

Benzos work at different speeds, and take different lengths of time to clear out. The longer-lasting ones (Valium) are the least addictive. The fastest ones (Xanax) are the worst. Klonopin (Clonazepam) is in the middle.

Anyone who ever needs a benzo for an MRI should probably experiment with it beforehand to see how it affects you. Some benzos might knock you right out. Some might not do anything for you. Some benzos have paradoxical effects on some people – instead of calming you down, they make some people hyper and agitated. (Valium had me violently agitated!) Best to know before the big MRI day if it’s going to work for you.