Role of Anxiolytics in Anxiety Disorder and Their Side Effects

Q: I am a depressed patient. What medications should I take? I’m a medical student diagnosed to have depression and I don’t want to visit psychiatrist because I feel shy. So what medications should I take? I have been a very anxious person in my whole life, every time I want to take anxiolytic drug.
– By Bana

Reply:

It would not be proper to take any anxiolytic without proper prescription.

You are a medical student and so it’s easy for you to understand that anxiety disorders are of varied types. It can be generalized anxiety, a panic disorder, obsessive- compulsive types, depression, bipolar forms and many more.

Proper diagnosis is required for long term treatment. If you take a drug on your own, it may give you relief momentarily, but won’t be a proper treatment. Moreover, many anxiolytics are addictive. Why put yourself on such a risk as addiction?

Anxiolytics are of many types. They are given on the basis of what type of anxiety disorder a patient has, age, gender and any other associated illness. Also, a thorough physical exam is done prior to prescribing anything.

Commonly Used Anxiolytics

Benzodiazepines ( like alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam ) are very potent anxiolytics. They are fast acting, taken as needed. Usually, patient takes it an hour before any stressful event.

However, they have a few side effects. They can impair memory and also cause confusion. Also, they are addictive. If you start taking them on a regular basis, it becomes difficult to wean from them.

SSRIs ( sertraline, fluoxetine, paroxetine ) are another group of anxiety medicines. They can be used on a long-term basis as they are not addictive. However, they don’t act immediately. One has to take them for two weeks before they show any effect.

Beta blockers ( propranolol ) are used to treat anxiety due to performance. As you may be knowing, these are anti- hypertensive. So when taken, they block the outward features of anxiety- tremors, palpitations or shaky speech. They do nothing to soothe the internal feeling of anxiety. Also, the cardiorespiratory status of the patient needs to be assessed before prescribing them.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Role of Anxiolytics and Their Side Effects

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      Their metabolites excreted in urine are different, though similar looking. A crude urine test would detect them as same, however, a finer test would be able to differentiate them.

      Reply