Concern About Anxiety Medication Side-Effects
Probably the most common questions asked about anxiety disorders medication on online forums are about side-effects of anxiety medications. People ask about side-effects before starting medication for anxiety because they want to choose medications that cause the least side-effects. People taking anxiety medication and experiencing side-effects want to know if anyone else has experienced the same.
While it's completely understandable that people would want to compare notes in this way, it can also lead to misinformation and misunderstanding about anxiety medication and side-effects. I'm often surprised that people use peer information as their only research on medication. Peer information should be used as a supplement to research and physician information. Online support groups should be the last place consulted for medication information, after you've read as much as possible and consulted with your doctor.
There are three important facts to remember concerning anxiety medication side-effects:
- Side-effects generally are not permanent. They often last only a couple of weeks (although they may return if your dosage is increased).
- Side-effects may be reduced and even avoided by starting on a low dosage and gradually increasing it.
- Side-effects vary from person-to-person and medication-to-medication. Even medications in the same class (such as SSRI's) will not produce the same side-effects in an individual.
Your prescribing doctor should be knowledgeable of these three facts and sensitive to your concerns about side-effects. Most particularly, she should be willing to start at low dosages and she should give you tips for managing different side-effects. I cannot understand why some doctors are so insensitive to complaints about side-effects. If your doctor is insensitive, consider changing doctors.
Some side-effects either do not go away or are too severe to handle. In those cases, you and your doctor can discuss trying a different medication. Usually, after some trial and error, most everyone can find a medication without side-effects.
Concern about addiction usually focuses on the benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, Ativan, etc.). However, there are people concerned about addiction with any psychiatric medication. There is much misinformation and misunderstanding about the differences between addiction and medical dependence. Unfortunately, some of this misinformation is perpetuated by doctors, even when research to the contrary is available.
If you are concerned about addiction and benzodiazepines, I urge you to read more about it before making your decision.
Staff, H. (2008, October 18). Concern About Anxiety Medication Side-Effects, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2022, July 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/concern-about-anxiety-medication-side-effects