By: Annabelle Clarke
May 13, 2021
Along with their intended effects, medications used to treat anxiety like the benzodiazepine class have the potential to cause side effects. Although anxiety medication can cause side effects, not every person experiences them.
The most commonly experienced side effect among the benzodiazepine group is sleepiness, which is generally in keeping with the therapeutic effects of these medicines. Other common anxiety medication side effects include:
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy – if you feel dizzy, make sure you change positions slowly to avoid vertigo. Sometimes, lying down until the dizziness passes may be the best option.
- Loss of coordination (ataxia) – avoid caffeine and alcohol if you experience this side effect. If symptoms do not improve after a few days, try taking a lower dose.
- Muscle weakness – make sure you get enough rest if you experience muscle weakness. This side effect usually improves over the course of treatment.
Other side effects include blurred vision, dry mouth, nausea, weight gain, loss of libido, a shift in blood pressure, trouble sleeping or an upset stomach. Keep in mind that these side effects only affect about 10% of people, and most people only experience one or two of them. Nevertheless, side effects should be taken seriously and if you have prolonged symptoms, you should consider an updated dosage or change in medication.
Anxiety Medication Weight Gain
Anxiety medication works by slowing down activity in the central nervous system. As a result, these medications cause the organs in the body to function slower than usual. If the digestive system has slowed down, this can affect the metabolism, potentially leading to weight gain. It is important to note, however, that not everyone experiences weight gain. In fact, this side effect is considered rare and only affects a relatively small percentage of people.
Anxiety medication side effects are also linked to the anxiety medication dosage and duration of treatment. When taken in the short term, some benzodiazepine medications are more likely to induce weight gain. In contrast, long-term treatment has been associated with reduced appetite and weight loss. In addition, factors like genetics and the presence of underlying health conditions can influence the likelihood of weight gain.
There is a simple solution to weight gain but simple does not always mean easy. It is advisable to go the tried-and-true method of simply exercising regularly, cutting calories, and eating a more balanced diet. Physicians often recommend regular exercise as it can help a person maintain a healthy weight. In addition, it improves the overall mental and physical wellbeing of a person.
Anxiety Medication and Alcohol
Typically, you should never mix any anxiety treatment with alcohol. Benzodiazepines in particular should never be mixed with alcohol or related substances. According to the UK National Health Services website, it can be extremely dangerous, as alcohol has been proven to magnify feelings of depression. It can also raise the risk of side effects as it potentiates the effects of these medicines.
The effects of consuming alcohol while on anti-anxiety medication can have particularly nasty side effects and the combination can result in a loss of consciousness. Anti-anxiety medication and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants and combing them will enhance the intoxicating effects of each substance. Always be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions and usage guidelines, should you be in a situation where you know you will be consuming alcohol.
Anxiety Medication Withdrawal Symptoms
If the anxiety treatment has been used longer than 2 to 4 weeks, coming off this medication or lowering the dosage can have noticeable effects. This is due to the manner in which these medications affect brain chemistry.
The time to onset of withdrawal symptoms can vary from one medication to another. The reason for this is that the half-life of a particular treatment will influence when withdrawal symptoms are likely to happen. In general, medications with a longer half-life will take longer to be removed from the body, resulting in withdrawal symptoms at a later stage after discontinuing treatment.
Withdrawal symptoms include headache, insomnia, decreased libido, trouble sleeping, or a loss of sense of one’s self. You should not discontinue treatment without slowly tapering off the dosage. Discontinuing treatment abruptly could result in extreme discomfort or a relapse of symptoms due to the sudden removal of the anxiety medication from your system.
Often, clinicians recommend a prolonged discontinuation schedule, particularly when treatment has been long term and at high doses. There are three fundamental approaches to tapering off benzodiazepine medications, which include the following:
- Use the same medication to slowly discontinue treatment.
- Change the medication to a long-acting benzodiazepine treatment like diazepam to lessen withdrawal symptoms.
- Use an adjunctive medication like pregabalin at the end of treatment to help prevent benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.
The initial reduction of benzodiazepines at the end of treatment usually ranges from 5 to 25% of the starting dose. The dosage can be reduced by a further 5 to 25% every one to four weeks, depending on how well this is tolerated.
Long Term Effects of Anxiety Medication
We live in an age of modern medicine. Fortunately, modern medication for the treatment of anxiety does not typically have the same side effects associated with older treatments like barbiturates. In clinical studies, many physicians have found that long-term use of benzodiazepines is generally safe.
However, treatment on consecutive days is generally not recommended for longer than four weeks. Many specialists recommend using these medications occasionally rather than every day as this can reduce your risk of tolerance and dependence considerably.
Should someone taking benzodiazepines also be on another treatment such as blood thinners or anti-clotting agents, they should take appropriate steps to ensure that that there are no interactions. Using other substances simultaneously can prevent medications for anxiety from working as expected. Interactions can also increase the risk of anxiety medication side effects.
Therefore, if you are wondering how to get anxiety medication, you can simply visit an accredited online pharmacy and place an order today. These medications allow those who use it to live their lives free from the affliction brought on by various anxiety disorders. Anxiety medication side effects are generally manageable so the benefits of treatment usually outweighs the risks. Buy anxiety medication in the UK today at affordable online prices to treat anxiety, safely and effectively.
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