The benefits of medications proven to relieve symptoms of anxiety come at a premium with the side effects taking a toll on the body. Anti-anxiety drugs provide temporary relief when taken in mild dosages under the supervision of a trained physician.
The growing trend in the usage of anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs can be traced to the instant relief it provides when taken in high dosages.
Anxiety Drugs : Safety Concerns And The Underlying Risk Factors
People often resort to taking anti-depressants and anti-anxiety drugs when the increasing levels of stress and anxiety hamper their ability to function normally in their daily lives. Anti-anxiety drugs, commonly known as tranquilizers have a calming effect as they act by slowing don the central nervous system. Tranquilizers also double up as sleeping pills and musle relaxants.
Benzodiazipines are a commonly used variety of anti-anxiety drugs that induce relief within thirty minutes to one hour depending on the dosage. Xanax, Valium, Klonopin and Ativan are some commonly taken benzodiazepines that are effective when taken during a panic attack or a recurring anxiety episode. The unwanted side effects follow the prolonged usage of anti-anxiety drugs like benzodiazepines. The medications even in low dosages tend to make individuals foggy and unable to co-ordinate everyday activities like school, work or commuting. A prolonged dependence on benzodiazepines has been found to increase the risk of severe depression and suicidal tendencies.
Anti- depressants are usually preferred over other forms of anti-anxiety drugs for the less severe psychological dependence. Drugs like Prozac, Paxlil and Celexa are commonly used anti-depressants that regulate the serotonin levels in the brain and have an elevating effect on the mood of a person. The common side effects of anti-depressants include nausea, headaches, sleepiness and weight gain. Although the effects of anti-depressants take effect after a period of 4 –6 weeks, a sudden discontinuation may trigger withdrawal symptoms such as extreme depression and fatigue often induced by insomnia.
Drug Dependence and Withdrawal
Benzodiazipines have been known to lose their therapeutic effect after a period of 4 to 6 months of continuous usage. Drug tolerance and dependence follows the continuous usage of anti-anxiety drugs as the dosage is eventually increased to get a sense of relief that matches the initial effects. This physical dependence on the drugs like benzodiazepines makes it difficult for individuals to discontinue its usage all of a sudden. It may take months or even a short few weeks to get addicted to anti-anxiety drugs as the psychological dependence on the drugs impairs a person’s natural ability to deal with the daily aspects of their life.
A person may have become addicted to benzodiazepines if they experience unusual symptoms while trying to cut down on their usage. A gradual increase in dosage followed by total ineffectiveness of the drug may increase the alcohol intake in individuals who rely solely on it to find relief from anxiety. The pills are always kept in stock and popped in the very instant a feeling of adversity crosses the mind of an addicted individual.
The withdrawal symptoms commonly observed in persons addicted to anti-anxiety drugs range from increased anxiety, insomnia, confusion to even more depression. The withdrawal symptoms are often mistaken as a relapse into the original problem only to be followed by more medication. The gradual tapering off by reducing the dosage under medical supervision is crucial for a person to get rehabilitated to a normal life. Therapy that focuses on the underlying issues behind an disorder may help in finding a long term solution without any side effects.