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In simple terms, anxiety is a natural response to stress by our body or brain. It may be a result of a feeling of fear about what’s to come. Sources of anxiety include many events such as going to a job interview, the first day of school, giving a speech, etc. However, anxiety symptoms are unpleasant, but sometimes they may motivate you to work harder and to do a better job. Mild anxiety is a feeling that comes and goes but does not affect daily life routine.
In the case of depression or an anxiety disorder, the signs of fear may be with you all the time. Anxiety disorder can cause you to stop doing things you love. In severe cases, anxiety may prevent an individual from entering an elevator, leaving home, and crossing the streets.
This psychological disorder is the most common form of emotional disturbance and may affect anyone at any stage or age. In terms of the American Psychiatric Association, women are most likely than men to be diagnosed with social stress or anxiety disorder.
Types of anxiety disorder
- Phobia: excessive fear of a specific situation, activity, or object.
- Panic disorder: facing reoccurring panic attacks at unexpected times. An individual with panic disorder may live in fear of the next panic attack.
- Social anxiety disorder: extreme fear of being judged by others in social performances.
- Separation anxiety disorder: an intense fear of being away from loved ones or home.
- Obsessive–compulsive disorder: recurring irrational thoughts that lead to perform repeated, and specific behaviors.
- Illness anxiety disorder: anxiety related to health,
- PTSD (post–traumatic stress disorder: depression following a traumatic event.
Anti-anxiety drugs: Benzodiazepines
Anxiety medications help prevent the symptoms of anxiety or social phobias, such as panic attacks or worry or extreme fear. The most common anti-anxiety drugs are called Benzodiazepines.
Actually, they are a group of drugs that can help reduce anxiety and make it easier to sleep. Benzos are also used as a muscle relaxant, to induce sedation for surgery and other medical treatments, and in the management of alcohol withdrawal and seizures. They are also known as minor tranquilizers, hypnotics, and sedatives. Benzodiazepines are the most widely prescribed anti-anxiety drugs in the world.
The calming effects of such medications can often be achieved without drugs.
Several kinds of exercise, including running, walking, tai chi, and yoga, can help as can reducing the stress in your life and taking time for relaxing activities like reading a book, meditation, or having a warm bath. Some other activities can also help an individual to reduce symptoms of anxiety; activities include talking with a trusted friend, therapist, or family member and working out the problems that are irritating him. It is crucial to take these techniques before you use Benzodiazepines or any other anti-anxiety treatment. However, when non-medications approaches are not possible or do not help, benzos can provide relief.
When used as indicated, they are effective and safe drugs. Benzodiazepines do, however, the potential for abuse and can be addictive. And this is the reason why benzos are usually only recommended for short-term use.
Do I need Benzodiazepines?
A little amount of insomnia or anxiety is a normal reaction to what is happening in an individual’s life. In their healthy life or their daily life routine, People may feel stressed or worry, and sometimes these experiences can keep them up at night. Mostly, these conditions pass and do not cause any problem. However, these conditions can become a severe problem when they last longer. They may cause severe distress, affect your behavior, and make you feel physically ill. A challenging life accident may trigger this kind of stress, and it can also be a symptom of a psychological condition.
Many types of medical problems can interfere with your ability to sleep and to sleep through the whole night. And these medical problems include physical conditions that cause trouble breathing or pain, as well as mental health problems. And asleep disruption can also affect health on an individual.
While each situation is different and unique treatment approaches may be called for benzodiazepines can help to provide relief.
What do Benzodiazepines do?
Primarily, they enhance the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) – a chemical in the human brain that helps an individual to feel calm. Its effect also produces drowsiness, making it easier to fall asleep and sleep through the whole night.
Sometimes they can also produce some unwanted effects and can cause some mild to severe physical conditions. Their side effects can include the following problems.
Common side effects include –
- Loss of balance and
At higher amounts, side effects can consist of –
- Depression and
- Breathing difficulties, etc.
Other possible side effects, which are extremely rare, include nightmares and hallucinations. Reducing the amount of dose can help to minimize such side effects.
They can make it harder to learn and remember new information and do specific mental and physical tasks. These abilities return to normal when the effect of the medication wears off. Benzodiazepines can produce some hangover symptoms when used to get asleep. Hangover effects can include daytime or morning drowsiness.
Types of anti-anxiety (benzodiazepines) medications
Several types of Benzodiazepines are available in the world. All benzos work the same way; however, the duration and intensity of their effects vary.
Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications) most commonly used to prevent anxiety disorder include;
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Diazepam (Ativan)
Also used are Oxazepam (Serax), Bromazepam (Lectopam), and Clorazepate (Tranxene).
Benzodiazepines used for the management of insomnia include Lorazepam (Ativan), Oxazepam (Serax), Nitrazepam (Mogadon) and Triazolam (Halcion). Other medications used to prevent insomnia – Zopiclone (Imovane).
Benzodiazepine is available in the form of capsules and tablets, which you can take by mouth with or without food. Some benzos are also available as sublingual tablets, which are dissolved under the tongue or as an injection or solution.
Medications are identified in two terms – by their brand name and by their generic names. Both medication versions are available in the United States.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I safely use anti-anxiety medications?
Take such anti-anxiety medications as indicated by your doctor and never increase your dose without any recommendation. Users should take a prescription from their doctor before using benzodiazepines. They should read their drug guide very carefully and follow all necessary instructions.
Once an individual has slept well for two or three nights in a row, he or she should try to sleep without taking Anti-anxiety drugs.
A user who has been taking benzodiazepines regularly for a few weeks or more, he or she should talk a doctor before reducing or discontinuing the treatment.
How long should I take anti-anxiety medication (benzodiazepines)?
For most users, they are helpful only as a temporary measure, to be used only in the following ways:
- Regular use for up to a week, to treat anxiety symptoms while waiting for an anti-depressant or other alternatives to take effect.
- It will help you sleep, and when non-drug techniques cannot treat your anxiety.
Some users may continue to take benzos for longer, even months or years. Some of then do because they continue to find these medications helpful and have agreed with their prescribed doctor that the results of continuing to use them outweigh the risks. There is also some other user who take anti-anxiety drugs for longer because their doctor has not re-examined their continued treatment.
How do I cut down or stop using anti-anxiety medications?
Most often, anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines prescribed to help people through stressful events or to provide relief while waiting for other treatments to take effect. While using in this way, occasion, or daily for a few weeks, most users can stop taking them without any difficulty or withdrawal symptoms.
Drug discontinuation can be hard for some users, even when the use is short-term. Problems are most likely to occur when:
- No other drug or talk therapy has started
- The condition that caused the user to take these drugs in the first place has not yet been dealt with.
Users who want to stop using anti-anxiety medicines after using them regularly for longer will need to cut back their treatment gradually over an extended period of time. This technique reduces withdrawal symptoms and helps ensure success in stopping because the ideal method for cutting down varies depending on the medicines an individual takes the length of time, and the amount of drug he or she has been taking it. For more related information, kindly connect with your doctor.
Will anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines interact with other medicines?
Anti-anxiety medications may interact with other high-potential drugs. If your doctor or pharmacist prescribed any anti-anxiety medication, inform him or her about the medicines you already taking. Check with your doctor or your healthcare provider before using any over the counter (OTC) medication, including cold or allergy tablets, herbal products, and cough syrups.
When taken on their own, the risks of overdose with anti-anxiety medicines are low; however, mixing these drugs with other sedatives, including alcohol, codeine, or other narcotics, can cause overdose and possible death. Drug overdose symptoms can include severe drowsiness, slurred speech, weakness, slow heartbeat, unconsciousness, and breathing problems.
Is it safe to take anti-anxiety medicines (benzodiazepines) while breastfeeding or pregnant?
The risk of congenital disabilities from taking anti-anxiety medicines while pregnancy is not known, though it thought to be very small. If anti-anxiety medications used regularly close to the delivery time, the baby might be born drowsy.
Small quantities of benzodiazepines can be passed through breast milk and make baby drowsy.
So, if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, or if you are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the risks and advantages of continuing or stopping anxiety medicines.
Most Prescribed Benzodiazepines
There are several benzodiazepines used to treat anxiety disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety, and other mental conditions. Most of these anti-anxiety drugs are controlled substances and available on a prescription only.
Alprazolam is a commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medication used to manage anxiety and panic disorder. Since Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, it works by affecting Gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA receptors. It is a generic drug available in several forms and drug amounts.
Originally, Alprazolam is a triazole analog of the 1,4-benzodiazepine class of CNS active compounds. It is a light-colored or white crystalline powder, soluble in ethanol, or methanol but has no apparent solubility in the water at physiological pH.
Alprazolam oral tablets also contain certain inactive ingredients including corn starch, cellulose, lactose, docusate sodium, magnesium stearate, sodium benzoate and silicon dioxide.
In Addition, Alprazolam 1 mg tablets contain FD&C Blue No.2, and 0.5 mg tablets contain FD&C yellow No. 6.
This anti-anxiety drug was patented in 1971 and approved for medical use in the United States in the year 1981. This anti-anxiety drug is a schedule IV-controlled substance as it is a conventional medication of abuse.
Uses: They used for the treatment of anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and nausea due to therapy. It may also be used for other medical purposes not given in this drug guide.
An individual who has narrow-angle glaucoma or one who is allergic to benzos or any other anti-anxiety drugs – he/she should not use Alprazolam.
This medication can lead to congenital disabilities or life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn baby – pregnant or nursing ladies should avoid such anti-anxiety drugs.
It is a high-potent medication and may be habit-forming. Abuse or misuse of habit-forming drugs causes addiction, overdose, or death.
People should not drink alcohol while using Alprazolam. This anti-anxiety medication can increase the impacts of Alcohol. It may be habit-forming and should be used only on a prescription.
It is also a well-known anti-anxiety medication that occurs as a brand name version for generic drug Alprazolam. Mostly, Xanax produces similar effects as Alprazolam when used for anxiety or panic disorder. Sometimes, doctors prescribe Xanax also for the management of seizures.
Xanax is available in several forms and different amounts of Alprazolam. Now-a-days its tablet form is in great demand, accessible as BARS. Xanax bars occur in different colors and shapes because of their different manufacturers. This version of Alprazolam is also a prescribed medication and classified as a schedule IV-controlled drug substance.
It is dangerous to purchase Xanax from vendors outside in the United States. Products distributed from internet sales may contain life-threatening ingredients or may not be distributed by an authorized pharmacy.
People may take such medications by mouth with or without food, as indicated by their doctor or pharmacist. They should also take some necessary cautions while using such drugs.
Never crush, break, or chew a Xanax extended-release tablet. Swallow it whole at once. People should take medical attention while discontinuing the treatment.