Anxiety Medication Side Effects

Anxiety medication side effects can range from very mild to very serious. Only you can decide whether the relief they give is worth it to you. Are you at the point where anxiety has ruined your life enough that you are seriously considering whether or not you should take medications for it?

Listed below are the most commonly prescribed classes of drugs for anxiety as well as anxiety medication side effects for each of them. Take a look at these to be sure you are aware of what the potential risks are.

bottle of anxiety medication pills

Before you decide to start medications, be sure to get to know the all potential issues so that you can make an educated choice about taking medications or choosing an alternative treatment method. Only you can decide what is right for you!

Be aware that medications do not cure anxiety- they just provide you with temporary relief from anxiety symptoms while you are taking them.

Learn about possible anxiety medication side effects - before you take them!

You know the drill - read the information page inside your prescription box or the lengthy sheet your pharmacist gives you! It lists all kinds of possible reactions they have uncovered for the medication you are about to take.

Too scary sometimes - it seems that almost every drug, ointment, or salve can be potentially fatal! Sometimes we feel so nervous about this we barely read the insert and warnings or just toss it aside and hope for the best!

But if you are considering using medications to treat your anxiety, you should know about some pretty common side effects experienced by most people - so you can get an idea about what the risks are.

Let's take a look at what these are.

Common Anxiety Medication Side Effects

Anxiety medication side effects vary with the type of medication taken and range from minor issues such as light headedness, dry mouth and occasional nausea, to more severe problems such as excessive weight gain and suicidal thoughts.

Common anxiety medication side effects for all classes of drugs can include:

  • Headaches
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Stomach upset
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Dizziness
  • Light headedness
  • Weight gain

If you are pregnant, over the age of 65, have pre-existing health concerns or drug alcohol dependency issues you should be especially cautious.


Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed type of anti-anxiety drug.

You have probably heard of them. They include drugs such as Valium, Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin. They are actually tranquillizers.

They have the added side effect of being extremely addictive, as well as producing feelings of distance and drowsiness in addition to the common anxiety medication side effects mentioned above.

What do benzodiazepines feel like?

These drugs are very fast acting and offer almost instant temporary relief from anxiety. Within less than a half an hour, you can feel relief from anxiety!

This is the great attraction of drugs in the tranquilizer family - they provide instant relief. For this reason they are often prescribed to people suffering from extreme panic attacks.

They replace feelings of intense anxiety with feelings of drowsiness, and a sort of disconnection from things. You feel like you don't really care too much about what is or what might happen around you.

Ever seen those wildlife films where they shoot a wild lion with a tranquillizer gun?

The wild animal becomes sleepy and very slow moving and allows itself to be handled in ways that would normally be terrifying for it.

Benzodiazapines do the same kind of thing to manage anxiety in humans.

But of course you don't want to be totally knocked out - so the dosage is carefully monitored to find that perfect balance between reducing anxiety symptoms and excessive drowsiness.

Still many people don't really like the feeling of distance, disconnection and slowness that these drugs cause.

The biggest danger of drugs in the benzodiazapine family is that they are extremely addictive and if you take them for long enough you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

For this reason be sure that if you decide to stop this medication you manage it with your doctor - don't just stop on your own!

A milder and slower acting tranquilizer that is relatively new on the market is called BuSpar. It takes several weeks to take effect and is not usually addictive. However the effectiveness of this drug against severe anxiety is not as high.

Anti-depressants for Anxiety

Who would think that anti-depressants would be effective in treating anxiety? But they seem to provide many anxiety sufferers with relief.

Anti-depressants such as Prozac and Cymbalta are now also being prescribed for anxiety. They take several weeks to act, and do not have the instant intense effect of other anti-anxiety drugs.

Side effects can include nausea, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, weight gain or loss of appetite.

Many people on anti-depressants report that they seem to work by muting your feelings so that you do not experience the highs and lows.

The allure of effortless relief from anxiety!

When you suffer from anxiety, you want to get your life back to normal and start feeling better! You don't want to waste another day suffering!

Medications offer relief from symptoms without the need for any work or effort on our part. That is part of the allure - the instant effortless fix!

Your anxiety symptoms will be reduced or even eliminated.

But the actual root problem that causes your anxiety is still there. Relief will last only as long as you continue to take the medication.

Talk to your Doctor

Be sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not you need to consider medications and review all anxiety medication side effects and precautions in detail.

He or she can help you decide what course of action is appropriate for you.

The option of treatment with prescription drugs is always there, and a doctor is the only one who can provide them for you.

However, please realize that there are many other things you need to do to actually cure your anxiety issues so that it does not limit your life - regardless of whether or not you choose to take medicine for it.

Anxiety Medications Don`t Cure Anxiety

Anxiety medications don't "cure" anxiety - but they do put it `on hold` and temporarily shield you from the symptoms.

Sometimes you might really need this.

There are situations where anxiety is so overwhelming that you just need a break from it to sort things out and get on the road to recovery! Don't feel bad if you feel this way.

Many others have also been there before!

But please also be aware that whether or not you choose to take medications, there are other things you absolutely need to do to - in addition to or instead of taking meds- that will actually solve your anxiety problem - not just address the symptoms.

You want to live your life feeling and experiencing things fully.

(Just without the excessive anxiety!)

There are many very effective anti-anxiety strategies out there that will help you fix the problem - not just the symptoms.

I urge you to look further into various other anxiety treatment options that do not involve medications.

These include cognitive behavior therapy, meditation, herbal remedies , lifestyle modification , meditation, self hypnosis and self help programs.

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