Are anxiety drugs worse than depression drugs when it comes to side effects?

Your life is a vicious cycle of emotions. One day you’re as giddy as a school boy, the next you’re a bundle of nerves. When you have to give a presentation at work or a toast at a party—it takes everything you have to get out of bed because you’re scared to death. Growing up you just thought that you were unusually shy, but now that you’re an adult, you know that you have severe anxiety issues. Whenever you get stressed out, you uncontrollably hyperventilate, sweat, shake, and become extremely introverted. This is obviously not an ideal way to behave in front of family, let alone clients and strangers. You decided to do something about it and see your doctor.

During your visit, your physician concluded that you not only suffered from anxiety, but most likely depression as well. Although you told him you didn’t feel all that depressed, just anxious, he prescribed you both an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication. He told you that by taking both pills, your symptoms should subside, but if you forget to take the antidepressant, the anxiety pill could cause your depression to become worse.

With this in mind you are left wondering if it is all worth it. You’ve heard horror stories about antidepressants as well as anti-anxiety medicines—but taking them both together...is that a good idea?

Which has the worst side effects, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety medicine?

Anxiety Medications: Benefits and Risks

There has been a long running debate over the efficacy and dangers of mental stability medications. Some believe that any type of drug that can influence your brain is too risky to take. Others who suffer from mental and mood disorders on a daily basis believe them to be a godsend. Unfortunately, both groups have compelling arguments.

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can have a profound positive effect on sufferers, helping them to control and stabilize their moods and allow them the ability to function in society. However, the flip side of the coin is that, as with most drugs, there can be negative side effects, especially when it comes to anxiety medications.

Anti-anxiety medicines have the alarming potential of causing physiological and psychological dependence, more so than any other mood stabilizer—including antidepressants. For this reason alone, they could be considered “riskier” than antidepressants. Unfortunately, they have other potential side effects as well. These include:

  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Decreased sex drive
  • High potential for addiction
  • Lack of coordination
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression or suicidal thoughts
  • Unusual emotional dysfunction, including anger and violence
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty thinking
  • Decreased IQ
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Birth defects
  • Sudden death

Weighing The Risks With The Benefits

Although anti-anxiety medicines do pose risks, it is important to discuss with your doctor the important benefits they could have on your mental state. If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, or in many cases both, you shouldn’t be ashamed or scared to take the medications you need to get better. However, you should be cautious. Make sure you discuss both the benefits and the risks of the drugs your doctor or psychiatrist prescribes to you before taking them. You should also pay attention to any signs that your new medication may be causing adverse side effects once you begin.

Remember, your well-being is the most important thing. If you have doubts, express them. If you feel that you need medication, talk to your doctor. If you feel that your medication is causing you additional harm, don’t be afraid to speak up. Your health and state of mind is essential in order to live a full life, so make sure you have all the facts before making your decision to take, or not to take, mood stabilizing medications. We believe that everyone has the right to be happy and healthy, so get the facts, pay attention, and hopefully you’ll start to feel better.

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