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How To Know If You Need Anxiety Medication

How Can A Psychological Treatment Potentially Reduce Anxious Feelings

How to Tell If You Need Depression Medication

Pill-giving is a get-rid-of-that-feeling-without-listening-to-its-message approach. Psychotherapists, by contrast, help anxious clients to identify the underlying concerns triggering their anxiety. They then help them to map a plan of action to address these concerns.

Therapists sometimes quote the mantra “the best antidote for anxiety is information. Think, for instance, of when you have worried that you have a serious physical problem. Speaking to a physician who explains that your symptoms are benignor tells you what the problem is and how to handle itdissipates the anxious feelings.

Therapists also reduce anxiety with cognitive-behavioral approaches . These techniques clarify thought patterns, such as worrying and catastrophizing, that exacerbate anxious feelings. CBT therapists then teach new options to diminish the likelihood of future anxiety episodes.

Do I Need This Treatment

A certain amount of anxiety or insomnia is a normal reaction to what is happening in your life. You may worry or feel stressed, and sometimes these feelings can keep you up at night. Most often, these feelings pass and are not a problem. However, these feelings can become a problem when they continue over a longer term, cause severe distress, make you feel physically ill and affect your behaviour. This kind of anxiety may be triggered by a challenging life event. It can also be a symptom of a mental health problem.

The ability to fall asleep and to sleep through the night can be affected by many types of health problems. These include physical conditions that cause pain or trouble breathing, as well as mental health problems. When sleep is disrupted, health can be further affected.

While each situation is unique and different treatment approaches may be called for, benzodiazepines can help to provide relief.

Choosing The Right Medication For You

Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, and with the right type of medication, you can better manage your symptoms and get back to focusing on your life. Because there is no one-size-fits-all approach to anxiety medication, it is vital to work closely with your psychiatrist or doctor when determining what treatment options are best for you. A medical professional can, based on your medical history, help you find the right dose, treatment plan, and note any possible risks or complications of taking medication for anxiety. With the help of a psychiatrist or doctor, you may also need to try several medicines before finding the right one.

After you are prescribed the medication, some substances such as caffeine, cold medicines, illicit drugs, and herbal supplements can exacerbate your symptoms. Continue to work with your psychiatrist to learn more about what substances are safe and which to avoid. Additionally, a medical professional will be able to help you determine how and when a medication should be stopped, as some anxiety medications cannot be stopped abruptly. The key is work closely with your psychiatrist to monitor your anxiety medications effectiveness and continually explore effective therapies.

Also Check: How To Comfort People With Anxiety

Identification Education Treatment & Monitoring

Identify and communicate the diagnosis of GAD as early as possible to help people understand the disorder and start effective treatment promptly. Consider the diagnosis of GAD in people presenting with anxiety or significant worry, and in people who attend primary care frequently who:

  • have a chronic physical health problem or
  • do not have a physical health problem but are seeking reassurance about somatic symptoms or
  • are repeatedly worrying about a wide range of different issues.
  • provide education about the nature of GAD and the options for treatment, including the Understanding NICE guidance booklet
  • monitor the persons symptoms and functioning .

This is because education and active monitoring may improve less severe presentations and avoid the need for further interventions.

Each Medication Works In A Unique Way

Everything you need to know about anxiety medications ...

The most common types of medications that treat anxiety are benzodiazepines , beta blockers like propranolol and atenolol , and antidepressants (especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, which include brand names like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, Celexa, and others.

These medications all work in unique ways and have different effects on each individual, so there are no definitive answers for what type of medication will work best for a person our experts agree that its all about communicating with your doctor, whether youre starting medication or stopping it.

“A good general rule to know with psychiatric medications is that some medications take time to build up and work around the clock, and other medications, work on an as-needed basis,” psychiatrist Dr. Alex Dimitriu told INSIDER.

He added, “SSRIs, like Lexapro or Prozac, take weeks to start working, but generally improve mood and anxiety around the clock, once they work. Other medications, like beta blockers or benzodiazepines, work on an as-needed basis, and can often be habit forming. A good marker that anxiety is improving, is a reduced need to use these as needed medications.”

Also Check: What Is The Fastest Acting Anxiety Medication

What Is Anxiety Disorder

There is a multitude of anxiety disorders that cause anxiety, worry, and stress due to social interactions, personal health, work, or a particular phobia. Types of anxiety disorders include:

Given that anxiety is one of the most prevalent disorders in the United States there have been several medications developed to assist with treatment. Lifestyle and environmental factors can increase the risk of having anxiety, including increased stress factors caused by health conditions, sleep disorders, work situations, financial troubles, relationship problems, and death of loved ones. In addition, genetics, major depressive disorders, and family trauma may also trigger the onset of anxiety. Given the wide complexity of these issues, different medications aim to address some of the more common symptoms. Individuals are advised to use medication in combination with therapy for the most effective treatment. But what are some of the more common anti-anxiety medications? They can include:

Why You Should Speak With Your Doctor Before Stopping Anti

Say you’ve been taking anti-anxiety medication for a year when you decide that you’re ready to go without. If you think you can just stop the medication cold turkey, think again. Whether you wish to go off the meds because you plan to become pregnant or you feel you’re in a better head space whatever the reason may be we can’t stress enough the importance of consulting with your doctor first. Your doctor will likely help you ween off of the medication gradually over the course of weeks or even months, minimizing the impact of any nasty withdrawal symptoms, according to the National Association for Mental Illness.

And what are some of these possible withdrawal symptoms that it’s best to avoid? They include headaches, nausea, vomiting, sweating, tremors, rapid heartbeat, and muscle tension and they even have the potential to be life-threatening. According to Harvard Health Publishing, what’s tricky is that it’s sometimes difficult to tell whether what you may be experiencing is a symptom of withdrawal or the presence of anxiety that has returned from being off the meds. Oh geez.

Also Check: Can I Get Disability For Anxiety And Panic Attacks

Do Anxiety Medications Have Any Serious Risks Or Side Effects

Of all the medications described here, benzodiazepines have the highest risk for side effects. Its possible to become dependent on them and build tolerance to them. Over time, you may need higher doses to experience the same effects.

These effects can happen to anyone. This is because of the way benzodiazepines work in the brain.

Withdrawal symptoms can develop if benzodiazepines are suddenly stopped after being used for a while. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, its recommended to gradually lower your dose. Your healthcare provider can help you with this. But because of these potential side effects, benzodiazepines arent recommended as first-choice medications.

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are a serious side effect associated with antidepressants. You should talk to your healthcare provider right away if you experience this while taking an antidepressant.

The Risks Of Coming Off Mental Health Medication During Pregnancy

Depression: What You Need to Know About Medications

The other side of the coin is often forgotten about, says Hamish.

There is some evidence that untreated depression and anxiety in mothers while pregnant can have a negative impact on their child years into the future.

This may be reduced if the mother has effective treatment so that they remain well during pregnancy, he adds.

Hamish references a large study from Denmark found that seven-year-old children born to mothers who took antidepressants had less hyperactivity, conduct and peer problems or emotional symptoms, that those children born to mothers who had untreated depression during pregnancy.

This may be reduced if the mother has effective treatment so that they remain well during pregnancy, he explains.

In addition to this, coming off medication for depression also carries the risk of having an impact in the form of a woman being able to care of her own personal needs and and her pregnancy needs .

According to Lesley: This can lead to babies with low birth weight and/or intra-uterine growth retardation, as well as problems with bonding between mother and baby.

She adds that: Symptoms of depression are likely to worsen as the pregnancy progresses and increased maternal stress can not only negatively affect the development of the unborn baby, but it may also influence the childs behaviour and emotional well-being later on in life.

Read Also: How Do I Manage Stress And Anxiety

Serotonin And Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors

If SSRIs don’t help ease your anxiety, you may be prescribed a different type of antidepressant known as a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor .

This type of medicine increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in your brain.

Examples of SNRIs you may be prescribed include:

  • insomnia
  • sweating

SNRIs can also increase your blood pressure, so your blood pressure will be monitored regularly during treatment.

As with SSRIs, some of the side effects are more common in the first 1 or 2 weeks of treatment, but these usually settle as your body adjusts to the medication.

You Feel Immobilized With Fear

Certain anxiety disorders can cause you to feel paralyzed by the fear of certain situations or experiences.

Social anxiety disorder, for example, may stop you from going out to public places.

Phobias can cause you to go out of your way even at your personal expense to avoid people, places, or things that cause you to feel anxiety.

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Side Effects Of Anxiety Medications

Just as it is important to know about how the different types of medications can help, it is also important to be aware of possible side effects.

All medications have some side effects, although not all people have difficulty taking medications. Some may not feel side effects at all, others may have only mild side effects, and some may find the side effects disappear after a few weeks. You will need to weight the benefits of taking the medication to the potential for side effects.

Some of the common side effects of benzodiazepines:

  • Drowsiness

  • Clumsiness and inability to react quickly

  • Dizziness

  • Forgetfulness, loss of memory, impaired judgment, confusion

  • Nausea

Some of the common side effects of beta-blockers:

  • Nausea

  • Light-headedness or dizziness

  • Sleepiness

Again, each person may experience side effects differently and each type of medication may have many different side effects. Do some research on the medication you have been prescribed so you know what to expect.

Accidents May Be More Likely With Long

How to Get Anxiety Medication: Everything You Need to Know ...

Accidents may be more likely with ongoing use of anti-anxiety medication. A Psychiatric Times article stated that “the use of benzodiazepines is associated with a 60% to 80% increase in the risk of traffic accidents.” And, according to American Family Physician, driving after having taken anti-anxiety medication “is about the same as the risk of driving with a blood alcohol level between 0.050% and 0.079%.”

Auto accidents are not the only type of accident that can be more likely while taking anti-anxiety medication. American Family Physician shared that hip fractures are more likely in older adults who take benzos, with one study showing an increased risk of hip fracture by 50 percent or more. This is presumably because of how the medication affects motor coordination, making falling more likely. It should also be noted that older adults, in general, are more at risk of these more serious side effects.

Although anti-anxiety medication does not affect all people in this way, it’s super important to be careful when taking it.

Also Check: How To Know You Have Anxiety Test

What Are The Warnings/precautions/side Effects Of Anti



  • Benzodiazepines should not be abruptly stopped because of the risk of seizures and other serious side effects. It is dangerous to combine benzodiazepines with other central nervous system depressants, including alcohol. Doing so may cause profound drowsiness and/or impair breathing. Those who have breathing difficulties such as sleep apnea or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should not use benzodiazepines.
  • Benzodiazepines frequently cause drowsiness therefore, care should be taken when operating machinery or motor vehicles.
  • Side effects of antihistamines include drowsiness and dry mouth.



  • Beta-blockers should not be withdrawn suddenly because severe cardiac problems, including heart attacks, may occur. Beta-blockers also should not be used in patients with certain breathing disorders, including bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Beta-blockers can mask signs and symptoms of hypoglycemia and overactive thyroid disease. Dizziness and drowsiness can occur with beta-blockers.


  • The alpha-blocker prazosin can cause dizziness and lightheadedness, both common side effects. Early in treatment, fainting can occur, especially when standing up.
  • The alpha-blockers clonidine and guanfacine may cause dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, constipation, sedation, and weakness.


You May Develop Difficulty Concentrating With Long

A Psychiatric Times article suggested that focus and concentration is another possible cognitive effect of long-term anti-anxiety medication use. Research shows that ongoing use of the meds can impact cognitive function when compared with individuals who do not use anti-anxiety medication. Research also shows that long-term benzo users did show improvement when it comes to focus and concentration after withdrawing from the medication, but they still showed some cognitive impairment compared with the control group. There’s no need for alarm, though, because when it comes to daily functioning, the effects of the medication may be minimal.

Other good news is that there’s evidence to suggest that these long-term side effects can be reversed after going without the medication for a long period of time, according to American Addiction Centers. So, it’s good to know that this possible damage is not long-lasting.

Read Also: Who To Talk To About Anxiety And Depression

Ssri Antidepressants For Anxiety

Many medications originally approved for the treatment of depression are also prescribed for anxiety. In comparison to benzodiazepines, the risk for dependency and abuse is smaller. However, antidepressants take up to 4 to 6 weeks to begin relieving anxiety symptoms, so they cant be taken as needed. Their use is limited to chronic anxiety problems that require ongoing treatment.

The antidepressants most widely prescribed for anxiety are SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. SSRIs have been used to treat generalized anxiety disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Common side effects of SSRIs include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased sweating

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