SolveYourProblem Article Series: Stress, Anxiety & Panic
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Beta Blockers for Anxiety - The Debate

Beta blockers for anxiety are used to keep the adrenaline a person feels from having such a great impact on the body. During an anxiety attack, physical symptoms can present which include fast breathing, rapid heart rate and shaking or trembling.

This class of medication blocks the way and prevents receptors from getting certain signals. These physical symptoms of an anxiety attack or anxiety disorder can be managed when the medication is used correctly.

There is some debate in the medical community about the use of this drug during normal bouts of anxiety such as when preparing for a public appearance or getting interviewed for a job.

Beta blockers should never be used for normal anxiety since one of the purposes of the drug is to slow down the heart rate. Once normal anxiety has passed and the heart rate returns to the proper beats per minute, the risk of the heart beating too slow can become a problem. Only people with current, ongoing, chronic anxiety should consider taking a beta blocker to manage the stress to the body.

When the doctor says hes prescribing beta blockers for anxiety, what hes saying is hes going to give you a medication that will prevent the body from reacting to the anxiety. Much like a football player blocks a play by performing a tackle on his opponent, this medication keeps the adrenaline from scoring a reaction. Before you get on medication to treat your anxiety, make sure you understand the type of anxiety you have and how taking a blocker can help.

Once you are on this type of medication, keep a watchful eye on how it affects your blood pressure. If you take high blood pressure medicine, taking a beta blocker too can cause your blood pressure to drop too low since these are also used to manage that condition as well.

Most side effects of a beta blocker are very mild and people tolerate them well. If you must take the medication long term, never suddenly stop taking it on your own since they must be stopped gradually to minimize the stress to the heart.

The upside of using a blocker over other anxiety medications is that the long term effects are good and you can start out on a low dosage. Plus, they bring some added health benefits to the body.

One of the benefits is that they work to help protect the heart. There are different types of beta blockers for anxiety and your doctor should work with you to find the pill that works for you.

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