There is no doubt that medications can help in treating mental illnesses. They cannot cure the disorder but they can help people feel better so that they can function normally, which in turn can help them get better. Although the better option will always be the kind of help that you can get by browsing through a list of private treatment providers, medications can also help in its own way. But what is important to know is that there are side effects of anxiety medications too; in particular medications that are to be taken for a longer duration, such as those for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder etc.
Factors that affect side effects of anxiety medications
We know that different medications can have different side effects of medications; but strangely, the same medications don’t seem to affect everyone equally or indeed at all. Various factors are responsible:
The age, sex, body mass index and weight of a person as well as their genetic predisposition could determine how their system reacts to the medication.
A person’s lifestyle, food habits and other habits that they may have (smoking, drinking, drug use) can also impact how side effects happen.
Side effects could also depend upon overall health, immunity and existence of any chronic conditions. If the person is on any other medications or supplements, these could also interact with and cause side effects of anxiety medications.
Anxiety medications need to be taken as they are prescribed –the dose, frequency and duration of the medicines should be as prescribed or they could cause avoidable side effects.
Side effects of anxiety medications (tranquilizers or benzodiazepines)
The most common anti anxiety drugs prescribed are valium or diazepam, xanax or alprazolam, ativan or lorazepam, klonopin or clonazepam and so on. These are prescribed due to their fast acting nature and efficacy for controlling anxiety episodes, panic attacks and so on.
The side effects of these drugs are an extension of the way that they work. They help to calm the brain by reducing brain activity and in the process could also make a person feel over-sedated. The person could feel sleepy, uncoordinated and could make a person feel drunk.
Studying, driving and other concentrated activities could become problems and productivity at work and school could suffer. This class of drugs tend to build up in the system and if taken over the long term.
Other side effects of anxiety medications could include memory loss or forgetfulness and confusion and disorientation. There could even be problems such as blurred vision or slurred speech. There may be lack of energy and even stomach upset, nausea and digestive problems. In some cases, there could be hallucinations, rage, aggression and hostility.