The Dangers of Anxiety Meds

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

woman leaning anxiously over balcony

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 40 million adults in the United States suffer from an anxiety disorder every year. Although only 36% of those adults receive professional treatment, many use over-the-counter medication or take medication that was not prescribed to them. Anxiety medication can be very dangerous and addicting; therefore, it’s so important to know what you are taking and how much you should be taking.

The most common form of anxiety medications are benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Ativan – all of which work quickly and are not recommended for long-term use. The quickness of anxiety medications can help greatly with panic attacks, but many have unwanted side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, slurred speech, trouble concentrating, memory problems, headaches, and more. If a person becomes dependent, the withdrawal symptoms can include increased anxiety, insomnia, confusion, stomach pain, depression, panic attacks, pounding heart, and more. If a person takes medication that is not prescribed to them, they are at increased risk for dependency and damage to the body.

Antidepressants are another form of medication typically prescribed, such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. Dependency may take a little longer with these types of medication, but there can still be unwanted withdrawal symptoms such as extreme depression, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, flu-like symptoms, and insomnia. Some antidepressants can make the depression worse for some people – putting them at higher risk for suicide, hospitalization, and more. If a person is experiencing hostility, restlessness, extreme agitation, or panic attacks while taking their antidepressant, they should see a doctor immediately.

Anxiety medications directly affect the central nervous system, and while they may relieve short-term physiological concerns, there are alternative methods to treat anxiety.  Some people wish to combine their medical treatment with these other types, and some wish to utilize holistic methods strictly. Exercise, psychotherapy, yoga and tai chi, mindfulness and meditation are just a few excellent ways to reduce anxiety and depressive thoughts in a safe, holistic manner.

Closely monitoring your medicine usage and symptoms with regular doctor check-ups is a fantastic way to ensure that you do not become dependent or addicted to anxiety medications. Utilizing holistic, therapeutic methods of treatment are also great ways to ensure that you are working through your stress and anxiety in a healthy manner. Consulting with a doctor and therapist to discuss these options may help you determine which path is most effective for you.


When you’re making a decision to change your life, you need a program you can trust. Avalon Malibu provides trusted results. Offering both primary mental health and substance use treatment, our full continuum of care seeks to heal mind, body, and spirit. For a confidential assessment and more information, call us today: 888-958-7511

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