HEALTH ENCYCLOPEDIA

Diseases & Conditions A - Z
powered by Talix

About Anxiolytics

Anxiolytics Overview

Anxiolytics are a type of prescription medication used to treat symptoms of acute anxiety.

These medications tend to work rather quickly. However, they can be habit-forming and are usually prescribed for short-term use. Anxiolytics are not recommended for people with a history of substance abuse.

See your doctor if you think you have an anxiety disorder. He or she will check for underlying medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. Specific medications will be chosen based on your symptoms and overall health.

Side effects from anxiolytic medication may include drowsiness and dizziness. Be sure to follow dosage and usage instructions carefully. Overdose can cause coma or death. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if medication is stopped abruptly.

Your doctor may also refer you to a psychiatrist or other therapist.

Anxiolytics are also called anti-anxiety medications.

Purpose of Anxiolytics

Extreme worry or fear that lasts more than six months is called generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

Social phobia is one type of anxiety disorder. This is when someone is overly anxious in social situations. Social phobia can even cause physical symptoms like profuse sweating and nausea.

Over time, this type of disorder can be paralyzing and lead to social isolation.

Anxiolytics are used to treat symptoms of a variety of anxiety disorders. They work by targeting key neurotransmitters in the brain and decreasing abnormal excitability.

These medications are often combined with psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Together, they can help improve quality of life for people with anxiety disorders.

Anxiolytics Description

Some anxiolytics come in liquid or dissolvable tablet form. Most of the time, they are dispensed in pill form. A prescription from a doctor or psychiatrist is required.

Some of the more frequently prescribed anxiolytics are benzodiazepines. These include:

  • alprazolam (Niravam, Xanax)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • diazepam (Valium)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)

Risks and Side Effects

These medications may cause drowsiness or dizziness. Other side effects include lowered blood pressure, slowed breathing, and problems with memory. Long-term use can make side effects worse.

These drugs can be habit-forming. People who take them for an extended period can develop a tolerance. This requires dosage increases to achieve the same effectiveness. Tell your doctor if you have a history of substance abuse.

Check with your doctor before you stop taking these drugs. If you stop taking anti-anxiety medications suddenly, you may develop withdrawal symptoms, including seizures. Your doctor can help you taper off slowly and safely.

Anxiety may return when medication is discontinued.

Do not take more than prescribed. Overdose can result in coma or death.

Anti-anxiety medications may interact with other medications. Be sure to tell your doctor about all of your over-the-counter and prescription medication use. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects. Request information about drug interactions and foods or dietary supplements which must be avoided.

Do not share your prescription medications. High doses of benzodiazepines can result in a feeling of euphoria. According to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), abuse of these drugs (one of the many street names: downers) is sometimes associated with teens and young adults. Heroin and cocaine addicts are also known to abuse these drugs (DEA). 


Content licensed from:

Written by: Ann Pietrangelo
Medically reviewed on: Nov 07, 2016: Zara Risoldi Cochrane, PharmD, MS, FASCP

This feature is for informational purposes only and should not be used to replace the care and information received from your health care provider. Please consult a health care professional with any health concerns you may have.
health
TOOLS
Symptom Search
Enter your symptoms in our Symptom Checker to find out possible causes of your symptoms. Go.
Drug Interaction Checker
Enter any list of prescription drugs and see how they interact with each other and with other substances. Go.
Pill Identifier
Enter its color and shape information, and this tool helps you identify it. Go.
Drugs A-Z
Find information on drug interactions, side effects, and more. Go.
Advertisement

 

 

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits AT&T Wireless Cell Phone

Members save 10% on the monthly service charge of qualified AT&T wireless plans.

Member Benefit AARP Regal 2

Members pay $9.50 for Regal ePremiere Tickets purchased online.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members earn points on select Walgreens-brand health and wellness products.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Advertisement