Are Anxiety Medications Addictive?

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Anxiety affects many people across the U.S. Luckily, awareness about anxiety disorder is becoming more widespread. Prescription anxiety medications allow many people to find relief from their symptoms and live a normal life. But many people who may be considering taking anxiety medications may wonder if it is possible for them to get addicted to them.

Some anxiety medications can indeed be very addictive. As a result, these medications are often only intended for occasional use or short-term use. There are other medications used to treat anxiety that are not addictive and can be taken on a regular basis. It’s important that you always talk with your doctor to ensure that you fully understand the possible effects of any new medication you’re beginning to take.

At The Kimberly Center, we can help you find relief from anxiety without having to turn to substance misuse to cope.

Which Anxiety Medications Can Be Addictive?

Different types of anxiety medications work in different ways. This is why an individual’s specific needs and situation must always be considered when prescribing them. One drug class that can be used to treat anxiety is benzodiazepines. This is a medication that can be highly addictive.

This type of drug is used to relieve muscle tension and help you to feel more relaxed. This, in turn, helps ease symptoms of anxiety. Some common generic names for this drug are lorazepam, alprazolam, and diazepam.

Benzodiazepines are only used for short-term management of anxiety. For example, maybe someone typically doesn’t struggle with anxiety but is going through a particularly difficult or stressful time of life and just needs the help of this medication to get them through. This can be a good short-term solution for them.

Are There Anxiety Medications That Aren’t Addictive?

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are typically the most commonly prescribed medications used to treat anxiety. These medications are not addictive and are typically taken on a regular basis over an extended period of time. SSRIs work by preventing the brain from reabsorbing an important chemical in the brain called serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood, sleep, digestion, sexual desire, and other bodily processes.

When your brain has access to more serotonin, not only will your mood improve, but you’ll start feeling a lot better overall. Your symptoms of anxiety will typically ease up, and you’ll be able to feel more relaxed. Some of the most common generic names of SSRIs include sertraline, fluoxetine, citalopram, paroxetine, and escitalopram.

While SSRIs may not be addictive, it is still very important that you take them exactly as prescribed. Some people get to the point where they feel as if they no longer need to take their medication and try to quit cold turkey. This is incredibly dangerous for your mental and physical health and should not be attempted. Self-harm and suicide are some of the most serious concerns associated with quitting SRRIs cold turkey.

If you are currently taking anxiety medication and think that you no longer need to be on it, it is important to talk to your doctor. They can help determine if it is time for you to quit taking the drug, and they can help you to discontinue using it in a safe and healthy way. This is typically done by slowly tapering off the medication under the supervision of a doctor.

Besides Taking Anxiety Medications, What Else Can I Do to Find Relief?

Maybe you’ve been struggling with anxiety and have been put on medication to ease your symptoms but are not yet experiencing full relief. If this is your case, you may want to consider taking additional steps to improve your mental health while continuing to take your medication as directed. There are lots of simple things that you can do on your own on a regular basis to find relief.

Start with the basics and consider how you’re taking care of yourself physically. Are you eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated, and getting enough good quality sleep? Have you made an effort to incorporate some kind of exercise into your daily life? Remember that the better you take care of yourself physically, the better you will feel mentally.

Consider also how you’re spending your spare time. Do you sit and mindlessly scroll through social media or binge-watch television at the end of the day? If so, consider getting out into the sun and taking a walk or spending some quality time with a friend or family member.

Make sure that you’re also practicing good self-care. This could include taking aside as little as 15-30 minutes a day to focus on just yourself. You could spend this time reading a book, doing some journaling, listening to music, practicing yoga or some other form of meditation, or doing whatever makes you happy.

Some people who struggle with anxiety turn to substance misuse to cope. If this is your case, our team at The Kimberly Center can help.

Anxiety, when it is not properly addressed, can lead to major problems. It can dramatically affect your overall quality of life. It can become extremely frustrating when you try different methods to find relief and don’t get the results you were hoping for. This is why it is so important to reach out for professional help if you are struggling with your mental health. You do not have to struggle alone. Substance misuse is not the answer to finding relief from anxiety. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, reach out to our team at The Kimberly Center. Call (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about our services. 

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