28 May Anti-anxiety drugs are being prescribed for long-term use despite well-documented risks
A recent study out of The University of B.C. has found that anti-anxiety medications of the Benzodiazepine family, such as Xanax and Ativan are being prescribed to Canadians for long term use to treat anxiety despite strong evidence indicating that long-term use of these medications often adversely affect patients. Among the known risks are dependence, rebound effect (i.e., increased anxiety), sleep problems, nausea, mental “fog” and more. Millions of people in Canada and the U.S. as well as in other countries around the world suffer from anxiety disorders. Anxiety can be extremely unpleasant, bothersome, scary and debilitating. There is definitely a good reason to treat anxiety when it negatively affects a person’s sense of well-being and functioning. The good news is, that there are highly effetive ways to treat anxiety and relieve a person of their anxiety symptoms quite quickly. One example is Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of therapy, which incorporates behavior modification techniques as well as cognitive restructuring (i.e., changing thought patterns which are anxiety provoking). CBT can equip a client with a tool kit which may last them for life. To get the best results, it is important to work with a therapist who is well-trained in this model of therapy, such as a registered psychologist, a marriage and family therapist or a registered counsellor who has had formal training in this type of therapy.
There are many other ways to get relief from anxiety, such as: acupuncture, some supplements (e.g., GABA and 5-HTP) and some homeopathic medication. The main thing is to be aware that there ARE ways to treat anxiety OTHER than with medication, which do not have any side effects or cause dependency. It is important to know all of the choices and to work with a professional that has the knowledge and open-mindedness to advise you appropriately.
This post was written in collaboration with Dr. Eyal Lebel, Doctor of TCM and Master Herbalist of Vancouver, B.C.