When Medication Can Help Anxiety
Do you startle easily? Worry about things before they’ve even happened? Always imagine that the worst case scenario in any situation will be the one that happens? Or perhaps your home life isn’t as stable as you’d like it to be, and you constantly worry about arguments that can break out about anything, with anybody.
If one or more of these situations sounds familiar, it’s likely that you have some type of anxiety disorder. And if you have any one of the many anxiety disorders that exist, chances are that you would benefit from some type of anti-anxiety medication.
Everyone Gets Anxious, But…
Almost everyone has anxious moments in their lives. Maybe you are waiting to see if you are on the list of employees who are slated to be laid off. Maybe you are walking through a dangerous neighborhood at night, all alone. Or maybe the prom is coming up and you just got invited by your dream boat.
These are all different types of anxieties that are very real, but the one thing they have in common is that they are also each tied to a specific situation. When those events are over, the anxiety will subside and life will go back to normal.
For someone with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety or Panic Disorder, however, anxiety seems to appear for no reason, and the person suffering from it tends to get even more anxious because they have no idea when it will subside.
When Is It Time to Try Medication?
Often people will be encouraged to try relaxation techniques, such as meditation or mindfulness, to calm an agitated mind. Some may try talk therapy. But when someone runs out of what are referred to as natural, or homeopathic treatments for their anxiety, then it is time to see if an anti-anxiety medication can help.
Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed medications for anxiety, because they take effect quickly, and are meant to be used on a short-term basis, and can be taken on an “as needed” basis, instead of on a regular schedule. Benzodiazepines help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, and relieve the intensity of panic attacks, extreme fear and worry. Some of the more popular brand names of benzodiazepines are Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Klonopin.
As most other medications do, anti-anxiety medications for stress may cause side effects. Some of these side effects and risks are serious. The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Problems with coordination
- Difficulty thinking or remembering
- Increased saliva
- Muscle or joint pain
- Frequent urination
- Blurred vision
- Changes in sex drive or ability
Do They Work?
Generally, people respond well to benzodiazepines and other anti-anxiety drugs. But if they are taken over a longer period of time, a patient will build up a tolerance to the drug, needing to take more of it to achieve the same calming effect it originally produced. This can lead to one or more problems. First, a person can easily become dependent on stress drugs, fearing they cannot function without them. Another problem crops up when a person decides to stop taking benzodiazepines cold turkey. If they do not taper off the medicine with the help of a doctor, they can easily start having withdrawal symptoms.