Anxiety Medications: Know the Risks and Rewards

anxiety medication

Anxiety affects about one in five adults. Some of them need medicine to help them get better. There are many types of anxiety medication. You should know what is good and bad about each type before you take any new medication. In this article, we will discuss the various options for people suffering from anxiety including benzodiazepines, SSRIs, beta-blockers, and buspirone.

Role of Medicines In Anxiety Treatment

Role of Medicines In Anxiety Treatment

Anxiety medications help people suffering from anxiety disorders reduce their symptoms. Doctors often give these types of medication to people who have anxiety. You can get them with or without a prescription, or you can buy them illegally if other treatments haven’t helped. There are always risks when taking these medicines. People can abuse them and get an addiction to them which can cause problems later on in life. Mental illness is a problem for people. When they feel bad, they might use drugs or alcohol to make it better. This is because of how your brain changes when you stay anxious for a long time. Before starting any new medicine regime though, it is important to know the risks and benefits of each type.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine medications are one of the most common anxiety medications because they have been proven to work. Benzodiazepines work by changing the GABA neurotransmitter in your brain. This can help reduce feelings of anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, muscle tension, seizures (in cases where epilepsy is present), or hallucinations. Benzodiazepines have a lot of risks. They can be good for treating anxiety, but they can also lead to addiction. Because these drugs act on GABA receptors throughout your body, they can suppress brain activity which you will experience as drowsiness.

During important mental activities, when you are doing something that requires a fast reaction time, it is very dangerous when your reaction time slows down. If this happens during driving or operating heavy machinery, accidents are more likely to happen. Benzodiazepine medication for anxiety also comes with the risk of addiction. When you use them for a long time, it can be hard not to get addicted to them. They can be addictive even at low doses when tolerance sets in. Every day you go without using drugs, your withdrawal symptoms get worse until you end up needing them again to feel normal.

Dosage Of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are generally prescribed in low doses to start with and then gradually increased as needed until the person begins feeling better. If you take these drugs for too long or at high doses, they can become very addictive. That is why you should only take them when a doctor tells you to.

Side Effects of Benzodiazepines

Some of the most common side effects associated with benzodiazepine medications include:

Benzodiazepines

  • Tiredness/Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness (especially when standing up)
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory issues
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Muscle weakness/dizziness
  • Increased depression symptoms
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision or difficulty focusing eyesight clearly.

Benzodiazepines have a lot of side effects. People might have seizures, lose consciousness, or even die. If you find that you are experiencing any of these serious side effects, go to the doctor. If you stop taking your medicine suddenly, it will also come with its own set of withdrawal symptoms. It is rare for people to become addicted quickly. If they do, it can lead to a type of mental illness called psychosis.

Antidepressants

Antidepressant medications are often taken to treat depression and anxiety disorders. They also work for people who have anxiety symptoms by making them feel less anxious. These drugs change neurotransmitter activity in the brain. This starts a process that makes serotonin levels go up and dopamine and norepinephrine levels go down. Although some antidepressants might not be as good at treating problems like social phobia or PTSD. This is true because they do not touch GABA neurotransmitters. Studies show that they work equally as well at reducing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Antidepressants are more likely to cause side effects than benzodiazepines. They work on many different neurotransmitters at the same time, which can interfere with how your brain works if dosages are not adjusted properly.

Dosage Of Anti Depressants

When you start taking anxiety medication for the first time, your doctor will prescribe a low dosage. They then increase it until you feel better. Doctors want to make sure that you are taking enough of an antidepressant before they increase your dosage. Otherwise, your symptoms will still be there. They need to take at least one week before they work.

Side Effects of Anti Depressants

Some of the most common antidepressant side effects include:

Antidepressants

  • Tiredness/Drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness (especially when standing up)
  • Slurred speech or lack of coordination.
  • Memory issues
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision or difficulty focusing eyesight clearly
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased sweating
  • Shaking hands
  • Constipation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle weakness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure
  • Flushing

SSRI Withdrawal

SSRI Withdrawal

The symptoms of this drug are not as bad as those from benzos. But they can still cause anxiety, nausea, sleep problems, mood swings. They can also make you feel like you have a cold or the flu.

If you are not feeling better or if the side effects are too bad, talk to your doctor about changing your medication. No one knows what will help you so it is best to try different ones until you find one that works for you. Sometimes, when doctors help people with their pain, they need to try different medicines before finding one that works.

Doctors can give different kinds of medicine for anxiety. You should know the benefits and risks of all medicines because you want to make sure they work with other medicines.

Buspirone (BuSpar)

Buspirone is a drug that was approved by the FDA in 1987. It is like an SSRI because it does not affect GABA levels, but only serotonin. Moreover, this drug is good for reducing anxiety without making you tired. It can be taken every day and helps with symptoms of anxiety.

Dosage Of Buspirone (BuSpar)

Since Buspirone is a non-benzodiazepine drug, it doesn’t have the same risk of dependency that benzodiazepines do. Furthermore, doctors usually recommend taking 30-60 milligrams every day in divided doses. This will help you to avoid side effects like headaches and nausea that can happen when you take too much at once without giving your body time to adjust.

Side Effects Of Buspirone (BuSpar)

Although Buspirone is considered to be a safe and well-tolerated drug, there are some side effects that you should be aware of before taking any anxiety medication.

Buspirone (BuSpar)

  • Drowsiness/dizziness
  • Nausea or upset stomach (especially when taken on an empty stomach)
  • Lightheadedness or fainting spells if standing up too quickly or not drinking enough fluids while taking this medication
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
  • Blurred vision
  • Nervousness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • Weight gain
  • Impaired sexual function
  • Urinary retention
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Mania

Amitriptyline (Elavil)

This medicine is used to treat depression. Studies have found that it might help with panic attacks in people who have GAD or PTSD. There has not been a lot of research done yet, but there might be benefits and risks associated with this medication for anxiety.

Dosage For Amitriptyline (Elavil)

The recommended dose for Amitriptyline is usually between 50 and 150 milligrams per day. Some people might need more or less than that, depending on their symptoms. Moreover, if you have depression and anxiety, your doctor might prescribe a higher dosage of this medicine. This will help treat both conditions without causing too many side effects at once.

Amitriptyline (Elavil) Side Effects

Just like any other drug, Amitriptyline can cause some side effects which you should be aware of before taking it:

Amitriptyline (Elavil)

  • Drowsiness or dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Nausea or upset stomach (especially if consumed on an empty stomach)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Lightheadedness when standing up quickly
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nervousness
  • Changes in appetite
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Tremors
  • Confusion
  • Aggression
  • Mania
  • Palpitations
  • Heart attack
  • Seizures
  • Toxicity to the central nervous system
  • Pregnancy problems include low birth weight babies and miscarriages

Beta-blockers (Tenormin, Inderal)

This type of medicine is usually prescribed to people with high blood pressure or heart problems. Doctors might also use it to treat anxiety, even if it is not the right medicine. When you use beta-blockers, they can help. These drugs stop your pulse and blood pressure from speeding up. They are most effective at stopping panic attacks and chest pain during an anxiety attack.

Dosage Of Beta Blockers

Your doctor will tell you how many pills to take. But, most people are told to take the pills only when they need them instead of taking them every day because then they might not be able to feel their heart. Some common examples include:

  • Tenormin (Atenolol): The usual dose is 50 milligrams taken every day but only when needed. If you do not feel better, talk to your doctor. Your doctor will help you find the right amount of medicine that makes it so that your symptoms don’t happen anymore but without making you sick.
  • Inderal (Propranolol): This medication is available in two strengths, 60 milligrams or 80 milligrams. You can take the maximum dose of the medication each day, but your doctor will tell you how much. Doctors might prescribe more than one dose of medicine for your condition. They might prescribe an 80-milligram dosage of Inderal to take up to three times a day if you have high blood pressure or chest pain related to angina or a heart condition.

Beta-Blocker Side Effects  

Just like any other drug, beta-blockers can cause some side effects which you should be aware of before taking them:

beta blockers

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea or upset stomach (especially if consumed on an empty stomach)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sleep problems like insomnia and nightmares
  • Difficulty in urinating
  • Muscle aches or cramps, especially the calves at night.
  • Respiratory infection.
  • Heart attack.
  • Seizure due to decreased blood flow to the brain
  • Low heart rate even with exercise
  • Brisk reflexes cause tremors throughout the body when it’s exposed to cold temperatures
  • A slowed heartbeat may increase the risk of irregular heartbeat during periods of increased physical activity such as exercising or sex
  • Slow mental function/coordination caused by a beta-blocker buildup in the body

Other Tips To Follow Along With Anxiety Medications

If you’re taking beta-blockers for anxiety, it’s important that you take them exactly as your doctor prescribes and never stop using the medication on your own. when you do this without medical supervision, it can cause problems like anxiety symptoms or even seizures. If you don’t get treatment immediately, the problem will be harder to solve.

Doctors may prescribe drugs or supplements that you are already taking. Tell them about these. This will help avoid problems in the future.

  • Exercise – Exercise is an excellent anxiety reliever. Regular exercise has been proven to help with symptoms as effectively as medication.
  • Worry-busting strategies – You can train your brain so that you don’t worry as much. You can find ways to look at life in a more calm and balanced way.
  • Therapy Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn how to manage your anxiety, stop worrisome thoughts, and overcome concerns.
  • Yoga and tai chi – Yoga and tai chi are mind-body interventions that engage you with your feelings, your thoughts, and with God. Data has shown that they can help people who have anxiety.
  • Mindfulness and meditation – Mindfulness is a state of mind where you think about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It often makes people feel calm and relaxed.

Conclusion

It is important to note that all of the anxiety medications, including SSRIs, come with side effects. These can include drowsiness or insomnia which may affect your day-to-day functioning and make you feel even more anxious because you are not able to perform as well at work or home. If you feel like this is happening to you a lot, then it would be best to talk with your doctor about other options that are not medicine. One of those options is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The CBT treatment, which has been seen in studies and by many people who have used it, reduces symptoms with no negative side effects. Some people have anxiety. No treatment is perfect for them, but if one doesn’t work after 3 months, try something new.

A Word From Mantra Care

Your mental health — your psychological, emotional, and social well-being — has an impact on every aspect of your life. Positive mental health essentially allows you to effectively deal with life’s everyday challenges.

At Mantra Care, we have a team of therapists who provide affordable online therapy to assist you with issues such as depressionanxietystressrelationshipOCDLGBTQ, and PTSD. You can take our mental health test. You can also book a free therapy or download our free Android or iOS app.

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