Anxiety Medications – Benzodiazepines and Buspirone

You are on your way to the doctor’s office to hopefully find answers about your every increasing struggle with anxiety. As you get closer to your doctors office your heart starts to race, you are having trouble remembering what time you are scheduled, you feel a little lightheaded and swallowing seems more difficult than usual. You attribute some of these symptoms to your lack of food but then the realization hits; you are having another anxiety attack. 

Anti-anxiety medications

In our discussion we will be focusing on two commonly prescribed groups of medications used to treat anxiety: Benzodiazepines and Buspirone (BuSpar). Barbiturates, such as phenobarbital, were once a very common treatment for anxiety, but because of their highly addictive and dangerous nature, their usage is now limited to extreme cases. 

*Benzodiazepines fall under the umbrella of tranquilizers and promote sleep and relax muscles by increasing the effects of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that inhibits the responsiveness of the central nervous system. These are serious drugs and must be monitored because from time to time there usage can lead to dependency (both physical and psychological). The risk of overdosing is a concern but not as great a concern as with barbiturates. However, benzodiazepines still can be deadly when used simultaneously with alcohol or barbiturates. One of the advantages of this type of minor tranquilizer is the speed at which they take effect. A person will generally start to feel the effects anywhere from thirty minutes to four hours after taking them.

Side effects: Among the more commonly experienced side effects are drowsiness, decreased mental function, and decreased coordination. Usage should never be stopped abruptly. Doing so may lead to withdrawal symptoms, such as difficulty sleeping, nervousness, depression, ringing in the ears, headaches and sensory confusion. It is probably obvious but should be reiterated that a person should always consult their doctor before stopping usage.

Common benzodiazepines: Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, Mitran, Libritabs, Tranxene, Dalmane, Paxipam, Ativan, Serax, Doral, Restoril, and Centrax.

*Buspirone (BuSpar) is an atypical antianxiety medication. Atypical antianxiety medications work by decreasing anxiety levels without inducing sleep and muscle relaxation, as do barbiturates and benzodiazepines. While research has yet to determine how these antianxiety medications work some experts suggest that neurotransmitter activity is the reason, specifically serotonin and dopamine. One reason many doctors favor Buspirone over benzodiazepines is that they aren’t physically or psychologically addictive. Additionally, they pose little danger of overdose and have few interactions with other medications. One of the drawbacks is that they are somewhat slow acting, taking three to six weeks to see results. 

Side effects: headaches and dizziness.

In summary, most prescription medications can be helpful if the situation and dosage are appropriate. On the other hand they always come with some potential side effects. For this reason many natural health minded individuals are finding relief from mild to moderate anxiety in the form herbal anxiety remedies. These safe and affordable alternative treatments have shown to an effective way to support emotional wellness and health. If you have been searching for a natural treatment option for mild to moderate anxiety herbal remedies for anxiety are worth considering. As always consult your doctor before changing treatment plans.


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