Anxiolytics: The ABCs

What are anxiolytics?

Anxiolytics are quick drugs for the prevention or treatment of anxiety problems. They are adapted for a short-term use and are not choice drugs for people that have a history of addictions due to substance abuse. They have been found to induce the formation of habits that cannot be easily stopped.


How do anxiolytics work?

The center of operation of these drugs is the brain. In the brain, they interrupt the activities of certain chemicals by reducing their ability to cause unhealthy excitation. Commonly used anxiolytics belong to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines and they include; diazepam, clonazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, chlordiazepoxide etc.



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What are the uses of anxiolytics?

These medications are mainly used to treat symptoms associated with anxiety-related disorders especially the generalized ones and those related to social phobias. You are said to be suffering from social phobias if you start sweating uncontrollably or feel like vomiting when you hear that you have to do something in a social event where all eyes will have to be on you.  The thought of this can make you isolate yourself from people. A social phobia is a deep-seated fear of been seen in public places or actively participating in social events. Generalized anxiety problems can be recognized when you have been experiencing fears or worries that have lasted for over half a year.

They can be used secondarily as sedatives prior to the administration of an anesthesia meant for a surgical procedure.

These medications can be used to enhance the quality of your life particularly when you are having any form of anxiety disorders. These can be achieved when they are used in combination with therapies for cognitive behaviors.


Side effects of anxiolytics

Side effects associated with the use of these medications are;

  1. Drowsiness.
  2. Low blood pressure.
  3. Decreased rate of breathing.
  4. Memory-related disorders.

Using anxiolytics for a very long time will even worsen these side effects.



All drugs including anxiolytics must be taken based on the instructions given by the doctor. Learn to stick to prescriptions.  Abuse it and abuse your health – you will not like to find yourself in a psychiatric home, right?



Certain anxiolytics have been reported to induce the formation of addictive habits when taken for a very long time. Long-term usage will result in tolerance. Tolerance with drugs means for you to get the same result that you will usually get from normal dosage, more of the same drug will have to be taken for the same effect to be achieved.



These medications must not be stopped suddenly; they must be progressively (gradually) reduced for your safety. Suddenly stopping their use will result in symptoms called withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are not good for you. Seizures, for instance, have been associated with a sudden stopping of anxiolytics use.  If you must stop taking any anxiolytic drugs, notify your doctor beforehand so he can help map out how to go about it.



Do not be caught taking more than has been recommended for you by your doctor if you do not want to die untimely nor experience a coma.


Talk to your doctor

Anxiolytics can prevent or treat anxiety disorders. They are addictive in nature and are thus administered for short-term usage for anxiety-related problems only. Hence, adopting them for long-term use can result in life-threatening defects.

If you, therefore, have been using addictive substances, let your doctor know when you visit him in the hospital. It will better inform him on alternative treatments that he can adopt and prescribe for you.


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