Anxiety Pills Addictive, Have Few Benefits
In our opinion, anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medications are grossly over prescribed (these type of medications are the 5th and 6th highest selling medications in the world, and tranquilizers are the number one selling medication in the USA). While these type of medications do have a place in the treatment of SOME anxiety conditions, they should NOT be considered as a cure.
As well, current research has shown that these types of medications provide very little benefit (less than 25 percent of those who take these types of medications actually experience a benefit). It's also our experience that these types of medications often complicate anxiety and recovery.
To frequently these medications are prescribed as the first and ONLY form of anxiety treatment, without the individual being told the short and long-term ramifications of medication therapy. While some medications can provide temporary symptom relief for some people, unless the underlying reasons for anxiety are addressed anxiety as a condition generally remains, which can cause a high incidence of prolonged medication use and future disorder episodes.
To attain lasting normal and medication-free health, our experience has shown that anxiety disorder sufferers must understand anxiety AND address the underlying reasons associated with their anxiety. Understanding anxiety and addressing the underlying factors associated with anxiety are important keys to anxiety disorder resolution.
This can be accomplished with the help of good self-help information, anxiety therapy, and on-going support during recovery.
Before you consider medication therapy, or if you are already on medication:
- Fully investigate the medication(s) you are taking and be fully aware of the implications of its short and long-term use.
- Seek good self-help materials (the member's area of our website contains a wealth of good self-help information).
- Seek the help of an experienced anxiety therapist (preferably from someone who has experienced anxiety first-hand) if you aren't making progress or feel you are stuck in your progress back to normal and lasting health.
- Continue to look for the help you require until you have fully recovered. Many settle for partial recovery when full recovery is achievable.
With the right information and help you can return to lasting normal and medication-free health. You don't have to suffer needlessly.
I (Jim Folk) was on long term medication, too, so I know the challenges medication can cause. For further information, you can read the article below:
Anxiety pills addictive, yet have few benefits
Benzodiazepine medications, such as Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium, are potentially addictive tranquillizers commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep problems.
Benzos act like sedatives, which depress brain function. They are intended for short-term use only because of their highly addictive tendency - the body can set up a chemical dependency in as little as four weeks. Once dependency has occurred, coming off of benzos can be a very bumpy ride.
“These drugs are habituating, it's known they tend to lose their effectiveness if used regularly, and you don't want someone to become dependent on them, because in that setting it can be extremely difficult to stop," says Dr. James Wright, director of the Therapeutics Initiative.
"People who start these drugs are often not warned that, when they do stop, they can expect to have withdrawal effects," including insomnia, anxiety, tremors, and confusion. These symptoms can last for weeks or months, Wright says.
Because of their highly addictive quality, the recommended usage for benzos is no more than 100 pills per year. In 2005, however, University of British Columbia researchers found that approximately 170,000 people in B.C. (4.2 per cent of the B.C. population) received more than 100 pills in 2002, and of that number, 10,000 were prescribed more than 1,000 pills that year–ten times higher than recommended. As a result, 84 million benzos were prescribed in B.C. in 2002–nearly 400,000 people in B.C. received at least one prescription for benzos in 2002.
“The overall benefits and harms from this drug exposure in B.C. is unknown," said the researchers’ report in the Therapeutics Letter, a bi-monthly publication produced by the Therapeutics Initiative, a world-renowned drug research group based at the university.
Even though women and the elderly are the biggest users of benzos–these two groups are the most vulnerable to side effects, benzos were also prescribed to children and toddlers under the age of four, even though they were not licensed for use in children.
Researchers believe benzos were used even more prominently in other parts of Canada because B.C.’s population typically takes fewer prescription drugs than other provinces.
Despite the potential harm and the “scant” evidence that benzos provide any meaningful benefit, 14 million prescriptions were filled by Canadian retail drug stores in 2004, says IMS Health Canada, a prescription-drug tracking firm.
If you are taking, or are considering taking any of these types of medications, you should discuss their addictive qualities with your doctor and pharmacist.
Here is a listing of common anxiety symptoms.
NOTE: We highly recommend that you have a complete medical evaluation done anytime you have a medical concern. Medical professionals are well trained to identify serious medical conditions. It's recommended that you fully describe your symptoms to your doctor, then work with her/him through to the correct diagnosis.
While there are many anxiety-like medical conditions, most conditions have uniquely identifiable symptoms UNCOMMON to anxiety. If you have seen your doctor and he/she has ruled out this anxiety-like medical condition, you can feel confident that their diagnosis is correct. If, however, you feel he/she has missed something, you should persist with your doctor until you are satisfied. You may also want to get second and even third opinions if you are still unsatisfied.
Because it is common for anxiety sufferers to 'over worry' about their symptoms (since so many conditions produce anxiety-like symptoms we often scare ourselves when we look at all of the conditions we COULD have), having a thorough medical evaluation completed will most often alleviate these fears.
The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder coach, counselor, or therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.
For more information about our Anxiety Counseling option; our Available Anxiety Therapists; to Book An Appointment with one of our anxiety therapists; common Anxiety Signs and Symptoms; common Anxiety Attack Symptoms; the symptoms of panic attack disorder; anxiety Recovery Support area; information about Anxiety; and our Anxiety 101 section; or click on the appropriate link or graphic below:
Authors: Jim Folk, Marilyn Folk, BScN. Last updated September 3, 2018.