Does Anxiety Medication Actually Work? Side Effects You Should Notice

If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, you already know how unpleasant it can be. Increased heart rate, sleepless nights, or the uncontrollable urge to cry are just the tip of the iceberg. After a while of suffering these symptoms, you may seek professional help.

Besides therapy which shows remarkable results in anxious patients, some also get prescribed medication. But does anxiety medication actually work?

Why Are Some People Prescribed Anxiety Medication?

Medication is often prescribed to you if you don’t want or can’t attend therapy or if you’ve tried professional mental help but haven’t noticed an improvement.

The former reason is more frequent than the latter, as most people lack the time or money for therapy. Medication will treat your physical and psychological symptoms, that is, abnormal heart rate, insomnia, intrusive thoughts, and more.

Right Medication and Dosage

As you may imagine, there are dozens of anxiety medication types, and not all of them will work on you. You can find diazepam (Valium), SSRI antidepressants, alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam, etc.

The positive (or negative) effect will depend on your age, weight, if you suffer from other conditions, etc. Maybe you experience depression besides anxiety – then some antidepressants may help with both problems.

Anyway, you should never self-medicate. As most drugs are regulated and require a prescription, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist to find the right medication for you. They will control dosage and side effects and decide if you need to switch medications.

Some drugs may work for you, while others may not. If your doctor finds the right balance and combination, you’ll probably notice a boost in your mood.

Side Effects

The side effects will vary depending on the medication. The most common ones include:

  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Nervousness

Besides these more inoffensive side effects, you can find that medication like benzodiazepines may cause poor coordination. It may result in a higher risk of falling and accidents. Please be careful when driving or operating machinery if you’re on benzodiazepines.

It’s also worth noting that SSRI antidepressants may increase depression and suicidal thoughts. Let your doctor know if you suffer from depression, as it may be a key factor for avoiding certain medications.

Other Solutions

Anxiety medication is not for everyone, and it won’t magically solve your problems if the root lies in an unhealthy relationship or financial issues, to give an example.

It’s easy to seek the instant relief substances can provide, but the effects aren’t long-term. Once you stop taking them, your anxiety will come back. Even worse, you may end up relying on the pills when your anxiety problem could’ve had a different solution.

Most people benefit from therapy and other lifestyle changes that lead to an anxiety-free life, and some of them don’t need a chemical substance to calm down.

Whether you fit in one category or the other, let’s review what other solutions exist to reduce anxiety levels.

  • Mindfulness. You may think that mindfulness is dull and won’t benefit you, but there’s a good reason it gained so much popularity. Only 5-10 minutes a day of focusing on your breathing and the present moment can boost your well-being. Try to leave your mind blank, but accept feelings and thoughts as they come.
  • Nutritious food. You are what you eat, and healthy meals will nourish your body and provide optimal energy levels. If you consume too much sugar or caffeine, you may notice anxiety and stress spikes.
  • Exercise. Although most of us don’t like exercising because it’s tough, we love the feeling afterward. Studies show that regular workouts routines can ease anxiety symptoms as effectively as medication.
  • Yoga and other relaxing exercises. These workouts combine the best of exercise and meditation, resulting in activities that boost your emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being.
  • Emotional support. Having close friends that listen to you and with whom you can hang out is key. Laughing and having a good time will make you feel much better. Healthy friendships boost your confidence, self-esteem, and mood!

Can Anxiety Go Away on its Own?

Anxiety may go away on its own, but it’s common for most people to need help. Note that occasional anxiety and anxiety disorders are not the same. We all feel anxious sometimes, and that’s okay. It becomes a problem when you can’t control it and becomes a burden in your day-to-day life.

If you experience high levels of stress, to the point you can’t get a good night’s rest, you should seek help. Waiting for anxiety to vanish may aggravate the problem, so don’t hesitate to take the first step towards a better life!