Anti Anxiety Medication: Effects and Side Effects

16th October 2023

Anti-Anxiety Medication (minor tranquilizers)

Psychiatric Drugs-Types, Side Effects

Most of the medications used to treat anxiety or as a sleep aid are classed as benzodiazepines, which include drugs such as Xanax and Valium (diazepam), along with others.

Benzodiazepines are sometimes prescribed for those with bipolar disorder (manic depression) to help regulate sleep, to alleviate anxiety, and to help with extreme manic episodes.

Benzodiazepine medications all act to depress the central nervous system. Various medications in the family are used.

·  Treatment of Anxiety - but not the type of anxiety brought about by everyday stresses and strains

·  Insomnia treatment- short-term treatment only

·  Relieve or reduce muscle spasms

·  Alcohol withdrawal symptoms

·  Panic disorders

·  Epilepsy seizure treatment and other convulsive disorders

Above use list:

Anti Anxiety Medication:

Generic: meprobamate
Trade Name: Miltown, Equanil (rarely used today).

Generic: diazepam
Trade Name: Valium,

Generic: chlordiazepoxide Librium

Generic: flurazepam Dalmane

Generic: oxazepam Serax

Generic: clorazepate Tranxene

Generic: alprazolam Xanax

Generic: clonazepan Klonopin

Generic: triazolan Halcion

Generic: temazepan Restoril

Generic: lorazepan Ativan

Use: Nonpsychotic personality problems in which anxiety, tension or panic attacks are prominent features; also used as anticovulsants and as sleep-inducers (especially flurazepam, triazolan, and temazepan).

Effects and Side Effects:
Somewhat variable in achieving intended purpose of tension reduction. Used often to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Side effects include drowsiness and lethargy.

Recurrence rate is very high as one discontinues use of anti anxiety medication,
up to 80%.Benzodiazepines may be habit-forming, causing physical and/or mental dependence if taken over a long period of time or in high doses.

Withdrawal effects, especially if discontinued abruptly, can be severe. They may include:

Benzodiazepines may be habit-forming, causing physical and/or mental dependence if taken over a long period of time or in high doses. Withdrawal effects, especially if discontinued abruptly, can be severe. They may include:

Irritability; nervousness; trouble in sleeping (most common, even in slow withdrawal)
Abdominal or stomach cramps
Fast or pounding heartbeat
Increased sense of hearing
Increased sensitivity to touch and pain
Increased sensitivity to light (eyes)
Increased sweating
Loss of sense of reality
Muscle cramps
Nausea / vomiting
Tingling, burning, or prickly sensations
Trembling / shaking
Convulsions / seizures

Withdrawal symptoms can be minimized by tapering the medication off slowly.

New anxiolytics
buspirone - Buspar
Description: BuSpar (buspirone hydrochloride tablets, USP) is an anti anxiety agent that is not chemically or pharmacologically related to the benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or other sedative/anxiolytic drugs.

Use: Generalized anxiety disorder
Effects take 1-4 weeks to occur. Not useful in treating acute anxiety. Not addictive or sedating.

Barbiturates are used in treating symptoms of epilepsy and seizures, and in the past were used heavily for anxiety and sleep. They are still used at times for sleep. However, because of the high potential for addiction an overdoes, they are not used often for treating anxiety today.

Beta-blockers control some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling and sweating. Propranolol (Inderal) is a beta-blocker usually used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure. The medicine also helps people who have physical problems related to anxiety. For example, when a person with social phobia must face a stressful situation, such as giving a speech, or attending an important meeting, a doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker. Taking the medicine for a short period of time can help the person keep physical symptoms under control.

Hypnotic drugs are sleep medications. This prescription is used to treat several types of sleep problems - difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep, and waking up too early in the morning.

Some drugs in other categories, such as antidepressants, may also have a sedating effect.

Tranquilizers and How They Work - Potential Problems

Depressants decrease the rate of brain activity. Alcohol prevents some nerve cells from starting action potential. This calms some parts of the brain that sense fears, and relaxes the individual. Long-term use (of depressant drugs) can lead to problems. Depressant drugs reduce effects of natural inhibitors of these neurons (nerve cells). As a result, the user comes to depend on the drug to relieve the anxieties of every day life, which may seem unbearable without the drug. From the book, Biology, The Living Science, (2000). Miller, Levine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Anti Anxiety Medications References

1. Anti-Anxiety and Sedative Drugs. (Retrieved June 25, 2009).

2. Biology, The Living Science, (2000). Miller, Levine. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

3. Carson, C. C., Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S. (2000). Abnormal Psychology and Modern Life. Eleventh Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. p. 635.

4. Medications to treat anxiety. (June 15, 2009). NIMH.

Two books for overcoming anxiety with exercise

Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being Michael Otto Ph.D., Jasper A.J. Smits Ph.D.

Exercise has long been touted anecdotally as an effective tool for mood improvement, but only recently has rigorous science caught up with these claims. There is now overwhelming evidence that regular exercise can help relieve low mood-from feelings of stress and anxiety to full depressive episodes.

Conquering Depression and Anxiety Through Exercise Keith Johnsgard

Exercise has proven to be of benefit in self-help for depression and other mental health disorders. Regular exercise can help stabilize bipolar disorder, and relieve symptoms of ADHD and anxiety. This book endeavors to provide clinical proof that exercise is effective in treating depression and provides numerous case studies as well as clinical studies.