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
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.