Anti-anxiety drugs can offer temporary relief from concerns and worries. Most people experience anxiety as a temporary condition and one that can be managed. Medications are not a ‘cure all’, however when anxiety is severe medications may be prescribed.
If your doctor prescribes anti-anxiety medications, there are some things you should know. Below are the highlights of the different type of anti-anxiety medications and the things the experts may not share with you.
Tranquilizers or Benzodiazepines
The first types of prescribed anti-anxiety medication are the tranquilizers or benzodiazepines. There are under the brand names of Ativan, Klonopin, Valium and Xanax. These medications work quickly and offer relief for patients.
But with all the good things comes a list of very unpleasant side effects that many patients may not be aware of while taking them.
Tranquilizers may cause
- excessive fatigue,
- slowed reflexes,
- judgment and thinking impaired,
- speech issues,
- dementia symptoms,
- digestive issues,
- depression (just what you are trying to avoid!),
- and even vision issues
Sometimes the side effects are much worse than the actual ailment. Tranquilizers can even have the opposite effect on patients and cause aggression, mania, rage and even hallucination.
This type of medication can be addictive.
Antidepressants are prescribed for anxiety too. These come under the name brands of Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. These can cause digestive issues, nervousness (not good for getting rid of anxiety!), headaches, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and insomnia.
One of the worst side effects, ironically, is the increased suicide risk, because instead of helping the person feel better they move deeper into depression and anxiety. BuSpar or Buspirone is one of the newest anti-anxiety drugs prescribed.
BuSpar is a mild tranquilizer and works to boost the production of serotonin levels in the brain. BuSpar differs from the other tranquilizer because instead of being a fast action medication, it is slow. It takes longer for the effects to happen.
The good benefits of this are it is not as addictive and has fewer withdrawals as the others. The side effects of BuSpar include digestive issues more than anything else, along with fatigue, dry mouth, dizziness, and headaches.
Beta blockers are prescribed for hypertension and in the treatment of cardio issues, however it is also prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication too. Name brands are Inderal and Tenormin. They work by blocking the stress hormone norepinephrine, and one of the side effects are calm nerves. It mainly helps to curb rapid heart rate and the sensations that cause blood pressure to rise.
They particularly help to get rid of anxiety from phobias. It is a means of calming the nerves. Fatigue, digestive issues, slow pulse and dizziness are some of the side effects Those at greatest risk for anti-anxiety drugs are the elderly (over 65 years old), pregnant women, and those susceptible to drug abuse.
Try Alternatives First
If you have not tried alternative approaches, it is important to consider that option before trying these more risky medications.
Lifestyle changes, slowing down, eating good foods, and being active can result in less stress.