Using Vistaril for Anxiety

Doctors sometimes prescribe Vistaril for anxiety. Vistaril has the effect of slowing down the central nervous system.  By doing so it can make you feel calmer.  As you can imagine this means that if you are taking vistaril for anxiety you may need to restrict driving or other activities that require quick reaction times or quick thinking. Of course if you are drinking alcohol or plan to, or if you are taking other medications that also slow down the nervous system taking this type of medication could be dangerous.

Are you a person is is super anxious at the dentist?  Dentists also use vistaril for anxiety in patients who are fearful of dental procedures.  It is fast acting and effective.  If you are a person who avoids getting treatments or cleaning done due to high levels of anxiety, the fact that calming drugs such as this are available may make all the difference in the world for you. 


Not Physically Addictive

One of the biggest advantages of Vistaril is that it is generally thought to have none of the highly physically addictive properties of some other anti-anxiety prescription drugs such as those in the benzodiazapine family. It is actually a drug that acts as an antihistamine as well and is used to treat allergies and also to prevent or reduce nausea following surgery. It is also used for motion sickness.

There are some physical diseases that produce feelings of general anxiety as part of the disease process.  Once the disease has been diagnosed, there are various ways a doctor can help to alleviate this.  There are several self help methods that can be used such as meditation, or some doctors will prescribe drugs such as Vistaril to treat anxiety in these cases.

Risks of Using Vistaril for Anxiety

Using Vistaril for anxiety is not without its risks. If you are pregnant, expecting to become pregnant, taking anti-depressants, have had seizures, drink alcohol or are elderly taking Vistaril is not advised.  Always mention any other medications you are taking to your doctor and ask your pharmacist about the possibility of drug interactions or side effects.  Vistaril has not been adequately tested in the elderly.

Warning - Vistaril has been associated with the development of tardive dyskinesia when taken over the long term.  Some studies have shown "milder" symptoms of this developing in people who have been on a regular dose of the drug for less than 8 months!  Involuntary head rolling and lip licking were among the mild symptoms that can develop. For more information about this side effect, read this article.

Interesting Vistaril Facts

The chemical name for Vistaril is hydroxyzine. 

Other brand names for hydroxyzine include Atarax.

Vistaril is effective in treating anxiety, allergies, nausea, alcohol withdrawal and motion sickness.

It has been shown to decrease the phenomenon of "learned helplessness" in rats!

Should You Take Vistaril For Anxiety?

Taking Vistaril for anxiety can be very effective for situations where an individual has feelings of anxiety that are caused by an underlying disease such as a heart condition or cancer.  However, there are other methods to treat this that do not involve prescription drugs.

It is also very useful for intense situations of fear such as medical or dental procedures. 

Taking Vistaril short term for other types of anxiety such as phobias or panic attacks can be helpful for some people.  However, keep in mind that to actually cure something you need to treat the underlying mechanism that is causing you to feel anxious in the first place.  Medications such as Vistaril simply reduce the symptoms. 

References and Related Reading

Porsolt, Roger D.; P. Martin, A.Lenégre, S. Fromage, C. E. Giurgea (1989). "Prevention of "learned helplessness" in the rat by hydroxyzine". Drug Development Research 17 (3): 227–236. doi:10.1002/ddr.430170306