Antianxiety Medication Side Effects

The paradoxical side effects of antianxiety medication are dangerous. These symptoms are commonly seen in adolescents and young adults.

Anxiety is a mental condition when a person experiences uneasiness, distress, and a concern or worry about something. It can also be defined as a state of apprehension or fear of something. Anxiety is a symptom of nearly all psychological and personality disorders and phobias. In its mild form, it is commonly experienced by people. However, excess or prolonged anxiety can lead to disruption of normal life. In that case, people rely on medications to overcome anxiety symptoms.

Antianxiety Medications
As the name suggests, these medications are used to relieve a person of anxiety symptoms. As mentioned above, prolonged stress and anxiety can disrupt the normal functioning of life, and hence, many people opt for medications. These medications help in temporarily relieving the anxiety symptoms, but do not help in uprooting the underlying cause of anxiety. It should also be noted that medications provide quick and immediate relief, but they are addictive and there are serious side effects associated with them.
Side Effects
Benzodiazepine is the most popular and commonly used antianxiety drug. It is used as a sedative, as a muscle relaxant or for hypnotic effect. It can make people fall asleep or become uncoordinated even on a lower dosage. It has high chances of leading to dependency. As the person gets temporary relief from anxiety on taking these drugs, there is a high risk of the person being dependent on them. This is known as psychological addiction.
Common Side Effects
Following are the other possible side effects associated with antianxiety drugs:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Slow reflex actions
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Crying
  • Delirium

Paradoxical Side Effects

Sometimes the overdose of these drugs can make a person look and behave like a chronic drinker. On the other hand, one may even experience hangover like symptoms after taking these medications. There are also a few paradoxical reactions associated with antianxiety drugs. They include:

  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Hallucination
  • Mania
  • Euphoria
  • Claustrophobia
  • Anger

Serious Side Effects

Sometimes, one may also see adverse effects on the body or on the functions of the body. One should also remember that overdose of any of antianxiety drugs can be fatal. The following are the other severe side effects:

  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure/Low blood pressure
  • Changes in heart rate
  • Skin rash
  • Anterograde amnesia
  • Seizures
  • Blurred vision
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma

The severity of the side effects depends on the amount of medicine dose. It is believed that higher doses can lead to depressive and suicidal thoughts in people.

Antianxiety Medication Safety
It is recommended to have these drugs in small doses and only after consulting the doctor. They should be used in combination of other therapies to cure anxiety. One should remember that these drugs do NOT cure the cause of anxiety. It is also advisable to take these medications under the supervision of a doctor and never on your own.
Similarly, continuation and discontinuation of the medications should also be based on the doctor’s advice, as there are possible withdrawal side effects like increased anxiety, confusion, insomnia, etc., associated with these drugs. One should never abruptly discontinue the drug. Those below 18 years of age, above 65 years of age, alcoholics, etc., are at a high risk of suffering from antianxiety medication side effects, and hence are advised against having them.
Although drugs and medication provide relief, it is temporary and does not help in getting rid of the root cause of anxiety altogether. One can rather look for other ways to treat anxiety like making changes in lifestyle, going for therapy, etc. However, if you must insist on using medication, make sure you talk with your doctor, consider the side effects and withdrawal symptoms, etc., before proceeding.
As you have seen the numerous negative consequences, it is advisable to think twice before you take a decision of having this quickest way of overcoming anxiety.
Disclaimer: This PsycholoGenie article is for informative purposes only and does not, in any way, intend to replace the advice of a medical professional.