Anxiety medications, much like any other drug, can relieve symptoms a patient is suffering from but only when used properly. It can calm you in moments when you need it but it can also be dangerous when you become dependent on it or worse when you develop an addiction.
As published in Psychology Today and Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 36-40% of the population who consumes prescription anxiety medications have a high probability of dying which makes anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications dangerous when used uncontrollably or without proper diagnosis. Among the most popular medications for panic attacks and generalized anxiety that are widely used now are Ativan, Valium, and Xanax.
General Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attack
Two of the most common conditions that anxiety medications treat are general anxiety and panic attacks.
General Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder occurs when an individual experience exaggerated or excessive worry about an incident or daily life events for no apparent reason. People suffering from GAD are commonly characterized by severe anxiety and always expecting the worst case scenario which eventually hinders them to function normally.
- Unrealistic worry
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty focusing
- Sweating and nausea
- Trouble sleeping
Panic attacks are characterized by sudden intense anxiety and fear. This causes an individual to think that they are having a heart attack or completely losing control over their body. Panic attacks can happen with no apparent cause and can be very alarming.
Some people experience panic attacks just a few times in their whole life while there are others, especially those who are diagnosed with panic disorder, suffer from it constantly.
- Rapid increase in heart rate
- Hot flashes
- Headache or dizziness
- Chest pain
- Fear of death
When Prescription Anxiety Medications Are Used Excessively
Anti-anxiety meds used improperly may cause what most would call serotonin syndrome. It is a condition wherein an individual’s serotonin levels significantly increase due to high dosage of medications, affecting the body’s neurotransmitters.
- Rapid increase in heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Muscle rigidity and loss of muscle coordination
- Dilated pupils
- Heavy sweating
- High fever
When you start experiencing two or more of the mentioned signs and symptoms, it is best to seek medical assistance as soon as possible to prevent further complications.
Signs of Anxiety Medication Addiction
Like any illness, knowing the signs and symptoms of addiction is vital. You cannot possibly ask for proper health assistance if you don’t recognize and acknowledge that you need help.Here are the signs and symptoms that you need to observe:
- Slurred speech
- Breathing problems
- Impaired judgment
In some cases, especially those who are trying to do away with anxiety medications on their own, withdrawal symptoms may be experienced. Symptoms include heightened anxiety, insomnia and lack of appetite. Addiction can also cause an inability to function normally wherein it is difficult to focus on tasks and do normal daily activities.
Prevention and Treatment
Addiction to prescription anxiety medication may sometimes be caused by a patient’s fear that the symptoms and anxiety attacks might recur. If you are still in this phase wherein you can still control your medication intake, there are things you can do to prevent dependency and addiction. However, if you have already observed some of the signs and symptoms of anxiety medication addiction, it’s best to have yourself diagnosed by a medical professional. They can help you create a treatment plan that will suit your needs.
Here are some of the things that may help you in dealing with prescription anxiety medication dependency and addiction:
Consumption of anti-anxiety medications is done to alleviate symptoms. To avoid drug dependence that may lead to addiction, it is best to also look into natural remedies for anxiety. There is no specific natural treatment for it but developing healthy habits can be significantly helpful especially in regulating stress hormones such as:
ask for proper health assistance if you don’t recognize and acknowledge that you need help.Here are the signs and symptoms that you need to observe:
- Getting enough quality sleep
- Regular physical exercise
- Breathing exercises
- Proper hydration
- Eating more fruits and vegetables
- Consuming foods rich in magnesium, vitamin B6, and glycine
- Chamomile tea
Individuals who are suffering from addiction can benefit greatly in cognitive behavior counseling because it will help them focus and identify the factors that contributed to their addiction and how their behavior can be changed. It can be done through a series of sessions coupled with a peer support program. A combination of methods can significantly help in full recovery.
Counseling supplemented with other special activities devised by health professionals may be done as an outpatient. However, if you think you need a more intensive approach, there are rehabilitation facilities that can help you with your treatment.