The American Psychological Association reported in 2020 that there was a spike in the damnd for depression and anxiety treatment. This comes out following a poll released by the American Psychiatric Association, which stated that 40% of Americans are anxious about becoming severely ill or dying from COVID-19. In comparison, 62% are constantly worried for their loved ones. They do not include those who have been diagnosed with the disease. 

Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Skyrocketed

Studies have seen a spike in the rates of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and post-traumatic stress disorder at the height of the pandemic, creating what experts would refer to as "an endemic within a pandemic." 

Some people are unaware that anxiety medications like benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) are short-term management and that prolonged use can cause dependence or tolerance. Withdrawal problems are highly possible with benzodiazepines. If intake is not monitored and tapered, it may lead to a seizure disorder or even death.

How Anxiety Medications Work

Anti-anxiety drugs like alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and lorazepam (Ativan) take effect within 30-60 minutes. They make for immediate relief for a panic attack or an overwhelming anxiety onset by slowing down the nervous system.

Side Effects Of Anxiety Medications

The effects and side effects of medications get stronger with increasing doses. In general, they cause sleepiness and lack of motor coordination even on low doses and interfere with daily activities. On the same note, the side effects can last until the following day.

The most common side effects of anxiety medications include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Poor balance
  • Poor motor coordination
  • An upset stomach

How To Go About Being Prescribed With Anti-Anxiety Medicine

The above information does not discourage the use of anxiety drugs as they do help manage the mental state of those with the condition. However, they should be taken with precaution and in moderation. Here are some important things to keep in mind when a need for benzodiazepine is inevitable:

  • Follow your prescription. Do not go over or under the dosage and duration indicated.
  • Do not mix it with alcohol or drugs, no matter what social media says.
  • Keep in mind that anti-anxiety medications are not for long-term use. If you're starting to experience signs and symptoms of dependence, report them immediately to your doctor.  These may take the form of:
    • Fatigue and weakness
    • Drowsiness
    • Feeling like you constantly need to take the pills
    • Blurred vision
    • Poor judgment
    • Mood changes
    • Craving for risky or dangerous activities
    • Mixing the pills with drugs or alcohol
  • Don’t take it with painkillers or sleeping pills as the mixture can lead to a fatal overdose.
  • Anxiety medications create a synergistic effect with antihistamines or anti-allergy medicine. They can cause over-sedation.
  • Consult your doctor before taking this medicine with antidepressants like Prozac or Zoloft. The combination in wrong proportions is toxic. Tranquilizers are also known to worsen pre-existing depression.

Talk To An Anxiety Psychiatrist Today

Before following social media trends on anxiety and depression, see an anxiety psychiatrist. It would be better to have a licensed professional endorse a product than a paid influencer. Telehealth consultations are now more prevalent encouraging sustainable solutions to care for your mental health. 

Mental health practices like Luminous Vitality Behavioral Health offer psychotherapy and psychopharmacological treatments to adult patients. Book an appointment at Luminous Vitality’s website or via our request form to know more about your options.

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