Inside an anxious mind:
Voice 1: You have the big day of exam coming
Voice 2: I must do well.
Voice 1: Well, you hardly know anything. You are going to fail.
Voice 2: Oh my God! If I fail, what would happen to my career? What would Mom say?
Voice 1: Well, just face it, Natalie. You will lose it all. Everyone would spit on your face.
Voice 2: I can’t fail. I can’t fail. I must do something.
Voice 1: Your Doom’s day is nearing!!
So you feel you are frightened but can’t help it? Feel those butterflies flying in your stomach? You know you are about to die of heart attack, but doc assures you are perfectly alright? Chances are that you are one among millions in the world going through the dreadful disorder called ‘Anxiety.’ As a patient myself, I know it is debilitating. It is so hard when you feel you just can’t get enough breath of peace and tranquillity. It is a place you would want to escape most of the times and trade it for anything. So here comes a doctor who is all happy to prescribe you an anxiolytic. Should you really take it?
Prescription drugs: what do you know about?
Anti-anxiety pills, especially benzodiazepines are some of the most prescribed drugs. They work brilliantly. One pop and there you go! All deep in the head you are cleared of worries, phobias, negativity and other related medical terminologies. However, it is alarming that little does the public knows of the addictive potential of the drugs.
Many recreational users have called it the ‘Mother of addictions.’ An addiction with Heroin, Cocaine, and Meth has a major difference compared to a Benzo addiction. Benzodiazepines work on GABA receptors and reduce all the excitement and worries. However, with continuous use, the body starts adjusting to benzos and starts craving for it.
Prescription drugs addiction symptoms and effects
Dependence starts at both mental and physical level. You crave for that clear head, for the pleasant rosy sensations across the body, which leads you to an awaiting problem, the next ‘Tolerance.’ You pop 30 mg Oxazepam on Day 1, and within few weeks or months, you take 60mg Oxazepam for the same effect. With increasing dose and more craving, a vicious cycle builds, which takes you on a roller coaster ride down to hell. A Catch-22!! You can’t drop off a benzo, so you continue taking, and you are more and more hooked and awaiting a greater disaster.
Once a person is hooked on to benzodiazepine, the withdrawal can be frustrating. One should not stop benzo abruptly. This is called as ‘Cold Turkey.’ A gradual tapering procedure is the best option to come off the drug. Even with the taper, one can expect a myriad of harsh withdrawal symptoms, click here to read more on Oxazepam Withdrawal.
Withdrawal period follows an acute phase of 4 weeks when the symptoms are most intense. With time, one recovers gradually through the withdrawal in few months or sometimes years. Life is very challenging during a withdrawal, but patience does pay off as one would ultimately recover.
On the other hand, you have your big day of liver operation. You just want to sleep off the whole process and come out smiling. Pop in a benzo, it will do the trick. Oxazepams are very effective pills against anxiety for short term use but need to be used cautiously with prescription. Benzos can give you good sleep, which doesn’t mean you abuse it as a sleeping aid.
A caution should also be taken that many doctors do not hesitate to prescribe you more and more of Benzo if you keep reporting anxiety problems on each visit. It is disheartening to find that the addiction potential of this drug is not properly understood, even at the Doctor’s end. Thousands of lives have been harmed, and in some cases, people have died due to abrupt stoppage of Benzos.
So, I have anxiety and now what do I do?
There are many good alternatives to Benzos. Sure you treat acute anxiety through benzos, but prolonged anxiety is an issue. One good suggestion often heard is face your fears. See the devil in the face! Well, that is easier said than done but trust me it is a killer tool against anxiety. Eastern practices such as yoga and meditation have been known to reduce mental irritants and stimulate natural body healing and wellness.
One can practice such techniques through a master or a guiding audio tape. Exercises such as swimming and running would help you combat the bad vibes of anxiety. One can also look into counselling to see the distorted thinking during anxiety or panic attack. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is regarded as one of the best forms of therapies to identify the root cause in thoughts and thus change thinking and behaviour.
Technology is almost touching every aspect of our lives, and anxiety is no exception. In this section, some apps people with anxiety can use are proposed.
Founded in 2014, Pacifica is a self-help app that can be used for managing stress, anxiety, and depression. The app is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) along with wellness and relaxation techniques that are aimed at breaking the negative thoughts and emotions cycle caused by stress, anxiety, and depression.
Worry Watch is an anxiety journal app that enables you to record your feelings by writing down what is actually bothering you or if it is just a hypothetical scenario. After recording your information, and your worries diminish, you can note down if what you felt turned bad as your worries. This app will generate charts that would enable you to view your anxiety trends and patterns. Finally, you get to have statistics based on which you might notice that most of your worries may be unfounded.
This is an interesting app which enables you to learn how to control your worry and get relief from anxiety. You will simply put your worries in the worry box! For instance, you can use a cognitive diary to help you in how to cope with worry. You can list the steps you need to perform to manage your worry if it is mangeable. Otherwise, you have the option to choose from a list of coping statements that will help you think about your worry differently. In addition to more features you can find in the app.