Do Beta-blockers Help Anxiety?

Do Beta-blockers Help Anxiety?

Beta-blockers are commonly used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. Do you know that aside from these, beta-bloc

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Beta-blockers are commonly used to treat heart failure, high blood pressure, and an irregular heartbeat. Do you know that aside from these, beta-blockers can also help in treating symptoms of anxiety? But these are usually prescribed off-label. In this article, we will determine whether or not beta-blockers can help anxiety by understanding how beta-blockers work for people with anxiety, how to take these drugs for anxiety, and who are prohibited to take beta-blockers.

How Beta-blockers Help with Anxiety

Sometimes, anxiety is just normal. It is also an indication that you are emotionally healthy. But high levels of anxiety may be a sign of mental disorder, which can lead to excessive fear, worry, apprehension, and nervousness. And this can change how a person behaves and processes emotions. Mild anxiety might be manageable, but severe anxiety can be detrimental to your everyday activities.

People with anxiety usually experience restlessness, increased irritability, concentration difficulties, uncontrollable feelings of worry, and sleep difficulties. There are also various causes of anxiety such as genetics, environmental stressors, medical factors, brain chemistry, and withdrawal from an illicit substance.

anxious man worrying and thinking

Beta-blockers, on the other hand, can treat the symptoms of anxiety, not its causes. Anxiety can make you experience a shaky voice and hands, a fast heart rate, dizziness, and sweating. These are just a few physical reactions in your body during anxiety.

If your physical reactions are reduced during stress, you will less likely to feel anxious during these times. Usually, beta-blockers are effective in managing short-term anxiety, for instance, you take these drugs prior to your appearance before the public, if that is something that triggers your anxiety.

A study has shown that taking beta-blockers or benzodiazepines have the same effect of treating the physical symptoms of anxiety. Benzodiazepines are used in treating panic disorders and anxiety. But the main difference is that these drugs have several side effects, including dependence on this kind of drug.

But then, some people reported that beta-blockers are not effective to treat social phobias. Experts explained that there are instances when others respond to medications differently. And this is true especially in treating mental issues such as anxiety. Other people might need another treatment aside from beta-blockers to reduce or even get rid of anxiety. 

How to Take Beta-blockers for Anxiety

The number of beta-blockers may depend upon various factors such as the type of beta-blocker prescribed to you and your medical history. The effects of beta-blockers may be felt an hour or two after these drugs are taken, but you will soon notice the results if it is your first time to take these drugs.

If beta-blockers reach their full effect, you will notice a decrease in your heart rate, and this will make you feel more relaxed. Beta-blockers should be prescribed by your doctor. It is a must to follow your doctor’s instructions, especially its dosage.

Beta-blockers may be taken regularly or occasionally, depending on the symptoms of anxiety you are manifesting. Aside from beta-blockers, your doctor will most likely prescribe you to make lifestyle changes, undergo therapy, and add other medications.

Who are Prohibited to Take Beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers are prescribed to millions of Americans, especially those who are suffering from hypertension. These drugs are typically considered safe, but there are certain individuals who are prohibited to take them. People with low blood sugar, asthma, in the final stage of heart failure, a very slow heart rate, and very low blood pressure are not recommended to take beta-blockers, especially if these are treating the symptoms of anxiety. Although they can take beta-blockers, your doctor will most likely discuss the risks and benefits of the said drugs.

Furthermore, beta-blockers have interactions with other medications, such as those which are used to treat various heart-related problems and antidepressants. That is the reason why for you to get the utmost benefits of beta-blockers when it comes to anxiety, it is important to disclose the supplements, medications, or vitamins you are currently taking.

When to Consider Beta-blockers for Anxiety?

white pill bottles and tablets

There are many kinds of anxiety and beta-blockers are usually prescribed for performance anxiety. This means that other kinds of anxiety, such as social and generalized anxiety, may not find beta-blockers as effective.

Social anxiety is considered a mental illness that makes a person experience fear of social situations involving social interaction. On the other hand, generalized anxiety is the exaggerated and excessive worry about daily life activities without any clear reason for the anxiety. This is also a kind of mental illness that cannot be treated by beta-blockers.

This could be explained by the fact that beta-blockers are only useful to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety. Other kinds of anxiety may be more on the mental aspects which cannot be cured by beta-blockers.

Beta-blockers are made specifically for treating various heart-related conditions. These drugs might have serious side effects such as difficulty breathing, dizziness, and tiredness. Besides, these cannot be bought without your doctor’s prescription. Before you should think about taking beta-blockers, you need to think about the mentioned considerations.

Conclusion

Beta-blockers are drugs that can help in treating various heart-related conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, angina, atrial fibrillation, and heart attack. But doctors sometimes recommend a person who has performance anxiety to take beta-blockers off-label. Beta-blockers are said to treat the physical symptoms of anxiety such as a fast heart rate, a shaky voice and hands, sweating, and dizziness. Remember that not all kinds of anxiety can be treated by beta-blockers, especially if anxiety is caused by mental aspects.

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