How Valium Treats Panic Disorder
Valium impacts gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is connected to the regulation of sleep, relaxation, and anxiety. When influencing the GABA receptors, Valium slows down the central nervous system .
This action decreases your feelings of nervousness and agitation and produces a sense of calm and relaxation. In this way, Valium also helps lessen the intensity of panic attacks and other anxiety symptoms.
Valium is a fast-acting medication that quickly helps lower anxiety and other symptoms of panic disorder. Valium gets into your system rapidly, but can also build up over time, which can sometimes make it challenging to find the most effective and safe dose of Valium.
Benzodiazapines are sometimes prescribed in the initial phase of treatment for panic disorder, alongside psychotherapy and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors . SSRIs take some weeks to work, and efforts are then made to taper the benzodiazipines after the other treatments have decreased symptoms.
Ensuring Effective And Safe Use Of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines are not ideal drugs for treating anxiety disorders. Like other pharmacological agents, they have advantages and disadvantages, but the latter have been emphasised at the expense of the former. Considering that a need for pharmacological management of anxiety disorders is not likely to disappear, it is time to reappraise the role of benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety disorders and make recommendations for their effective and safe use .
BOX 6 Measures to ensure safe, effective use of benzodiazepines for anxiety disorders
Careful selection of patients who might benefit from benzodiazepines
Administration of benzodiazepines in clinical situations in which they are more likely to be useful
If possible, administration in a lower dose, for a short period of time, and in conjunction with an antidepressant
Careful monitoring and management of side-effects
Right timing for benzodiazepine cessation
Careful, gradual and individualised benzodiazepine taper to prevent or alleviate withdrawal symptoms
Second, the administration of benzodiazepines should be considered in clinical situations in which they are most likely to be useful. These include presence of severe symptoms of anxiety and tension, frequent and severe panic attacks, sleep disturbance, restlessness and agitation, especially when patients have great difficulty tolerating these symptoms and request immediate relief.
What Should I Avoid After Receiving Diazepam
Do not drink alcohol shortly after receiving diazepam injection. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Diazepam injection can cause extreme drowsiness that may last for several hours after you have received the medicine. Avoid driving or hazardous activity until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.
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Evaluation For Medical Disorders
Nonpsychiatric disorders must be ruled out before GAD can be diagnosed as the etiology of a patient’s complaint of anxiety. Neurologic and endocrine diseases, such as hyperthyroidism and Cushing’s disease, are the most frequently cited medical causes of anxiety.17 Other medical conditions commonly associated with anxiety include mitral valve prolapse, carcinoid syndrome and pheochromocytoma.17 It must be stressed that these conditions, although often cited, are clinically uncommon, and all patients who present with the complaint of anxiety do not require an extensive work-up to exclude these other medical conditions. Medications such as steroids, over-the-counter sympathomimetics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , digoxin, thyroxine and theophylline may cause anxiety.17 The physician should also inquire about the use of herbal products or vitamins. If possible, all exogenous substances should be removed before initiating treatment of patients with GAD.
Ssris And Benzodiazepines For General Anxiety Disorders
Feeling anxious, worried, and tense? You are not alone! Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US, and General Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults every year . When feeling overwhelmed with worries and tension, the first step many people take is to ask their doctors about medication. If you struggle with GAD, and are thinking about starting medication, here is some information about two of the most commonly prescribed types of medication: SSRIs and benzodiazepines.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors include medications such as Zoloft , Prozac , Celexa , and Lexapro . These medications work on serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that plays a role in feelings of well-being and happiness, as well as thinking, memory, sleep, digestion, and circulation. SSRIs are currently considered the first-line medication for many forms of anxiety. If you are considering starting an SSRI, here are some important things to consider:
Benzodiazepines include medications such as Xanax , Ativan , and Valium . These medications strengthen the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is the primary inhibitory signaler in the brain. GABA plays a role in sleep, feeling calm, muscle relaxation, and reduction in brain activity. If you are considering starting a benzodiazepine, here are some important things to consider:
Regardless of who you are or your thoughts on these medications, here are some essential things to know and do when taking medication:
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Medications To Assist In Withdrawal From Valium
Valium is often used as a replacement medication to assist in withdrawal from other benzodiazepines. Individuals with a physical dependence to some other benzodiazepine would be administered Valium instead of that benzodiazepine and then the physician would slowly taper down the dosage to allow the person to adjust accordingly. Once the dosage reaches a certain level, the medication is discontinued altogether, and the individual has managed to negotiate the withdrawal phase without experiencing serious effects. Likewise, physicians can initiate a tapering strategy for Valium for people who have a physical dependence on Valium. This may be the most effective strategy to negotiate withdrawal from a physical dependence on Valium.
Other medications that might be used include the following:
Other specific medications for nausea, headache, and so forth can be added at a physicians discretion.
Valium For Panic Disorder
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you have panic disorder, medication can be a useful part of your recovery plan. Valium is one type of anti-anxiety medication that’s used to treat panic disorder and other conditions.
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Being In A Confined Space For Some Produces Anxiety Symptoms And Possibly Panic Fortunately Treatment Can Help Anyone Overcome By Claustrophobic Fears
“Forty-fourth floor?!?” An elevator can be a source of stress for anyone with claustrophobia.
Have you ever felt panic attack symptoms brought on simply by being in an enclosed spacean airplane, a train heading into a tunnel, even the back seat of a car? If so, then you may already know that claustrophobia is a specific type of anxiety disorder. For some people, its triggered when confined in a small space. For others, the mere thought of being in a tight space can produce anxiety symptoms.
People with claustrophobia arent necessarily fearful of the space itself, but rather, what may happen to them if theyre unable to exit the space. Claustrophobia sufferers often report feeling that they cannot breathe or that they feel trapped.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Diazepam
All medicines have benefits but also the risk of side effects. Diazepam helps most people with anxiety but some people have side effects.
The most common side effects include:
- difficulties in breathing
- serious sleep disturbances
In general, diazepam should be used only for short periods, around 2 to 4 weeks, unless advised by your doctor. If used over a long period, you can become dependent on diazepam.
This is not a full list of side effects for diazepam. For more information about diazepam, speak to your doctor or pharmacist. You can also read the Consumer Medicines Information leaflet about diazepam.
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Precautions Associated With Valium
You should always store your medications in a safe place and out of the reach of children. You should never use Valium if youre sensitive to benzodiazepines or have the condition acute narrow-angle glaucoma. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, you should avoid using Valium due to a high potential of fetal harm. Valium is passed through breastmilk, so mothers should not nurse when using the medication.
Can You Mistake Other Types Of Heart Palpitations For Anxiety Heart Palpitations
If heart palpitations dont go away within a few minutes or happen frequently, they may not be related to anxiety. Less commonly, heart palpitations result from a health condition or disorder, including:
- Lifestyle, including your alcohol and caffeine intake, as both can cause palpitations.
- Medical history.
Your provider may suggest a blood test to check for anemia or low potassium. Theyll also look for a thyroid problem or other health issues that could cause heart palpitations.
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Rebound Anxiety Is Possible
A person taking Valium for anxiety long-term can encounter problems if they end their use. One of them is rebound anxiety, which is worse than the anxiety that led to Valium treatment in the first place.
According to the Food and Drug Administration s information sheet on the drug, rebound anxiety can bring in enhanced mood changes and restlessness.
If you want to end your Valium use for any reason after longtime use, you should do so gradually under the care of a medical professional who understands and can perform a gradual tapering process so the effects of coming off Valium wont be so intense or uncomfortable.
Rebound symptoms can be difficult to deal with on ones own. If you are experiencing rebound anxiety, reach out to a medical professional who can help you find a long-term solution for you.
Drug Interactions Of Valium Vs Xanax
All benzodiazepines, including Valium and Xanax, have the ability to worsen the respiratory depression caused by opioids. The concomitant use of Valium or Xanax with opioids such as hydrocodone or morphine may cause severe respiratory depression and sedation leading to coma or death. Patients should be monitored closely if this combination becomes medically necessary, and the combination should be used for the shortest duration possible.
The CNS depression caused by Valium and Xanax can enhance or be enhanced by other medications which also cause CNS depression, such as anticonvulsants, alcohol, and other psychotropic medications. The use of more than one CNS depressive medication should be monitored closely.
Valium and Xanax are both processed by the liver, and certain medications may speed up or slow down their metabolism when taken at the same time. Enzyme inhibitors will increase benzodiazepine levels by slowing metabolism, and some examples include fluoxetine, ketoconazole, and omeprazole. Enzyme inducers, such as carbamazepine, will speed up metabolism.
This may not be a complete list of all drug interactions. Please consult a doctor or pharmacist for a complete list and additional information.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Heart Palpitations And Anxiety
Symptoms of heart palpitations include:
- Fluttering: Some people sense a flapping or fluttery feeling in the chest. Your heart may feel like its flipping.
- Irregular heartbeat: You might feel like your heart skips a beat or beats out of rhythm. You may become aware of your heart rate speeding up and slowing down. You may also feel as if your heart pauses for a second or two.
- Pounding: Your heart might beat forcefully or very strongly. Some people say they can feel their heart beating in their ears.
Valium Anxiety Medication Dosage And Risks
Valium is a benzodiazepine used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and short-term anxiety relief. In conjunction with other medications, it may also be prescribed to control muscle spasms and spasticity caused by certain neurological disorders such as cerebral palsy, paraplegia , and athetosis . Valium is also used along with other medications to control seizures.
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Coverage And Cost Comparison Of Valium Vs Xanax
Valium is available generically as diazepam and is generally covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of Valium is about $215 for 30 5mg tablets. With a SingleCare coupon, that price drops as low as $6-$8.
Xanax is available generically as alprazolam and is generally covered by Medicare and most insurance plans. The average retail cost of 60 Xanax 1mg can be over $500, but you can get it for as low as $53 with a SingleCare coupon.
What Are Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of medications that have been around since the 1950s. They are used to treat anxiety, among other medical conditions, but can cause serious problems like abuse and addiction. They work by stimulating brain cells that communicate using a natural chemical called GABA . When stimulated, these brain cells calm or reduce the activity of other brain systems.
Benzos are commonly prescribed for anxiety. About 5% of people in the United States have been given a prescription for a benzodiazepine.
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How To Take Valium
Valium is available as a tablet, a solution, and as a concentrate to take by mouth. Typically, it’s taken one to four times a day, and it may be taken with or without food. Daily doses of Valium can vary. If you are taking Valium for social anxiety disorder , for instance, your doctor should initially prescribe a low dose for a limited period of time and then follow up with an evaluation of its effectiveness, side effects, and dosage adjustment.
History And Current Use Of Benzodiazepines
Benzodiazepines the prototypical anxiolytics were introduced in the early 1960s. They quickly became very popular for a variety of reasons. The most succinct explanation for their rise was the societal need for substances with calming effects. Over the centuries this need has been met mainly with alcohol. In the decade prior to the introduction of benzodiazepines, barbiturates and meprobamate were often used to alleviate anxiety and distress. However, these medications were associated with dependence, and barbiturates were lethal in overdose. Being much safer than barbiturates and meprobamate, benzodiazepines were described as one of the twentieth centurys greatest inventions . Small wonder, then, that in the mid-1970s they became the most widely prescribed group of psychotropic medications in the world .
What caused the subsequent fall in enthusiasm for benzodiazepines? It is undoubtedly the fact that they are associated with pharmacological dependence and that difficulties in ceasing the drugs after long-term use are common. One inquiry into this matter concluded that addiction should be differentiated from non-addictive or therapeutic dependence, and that benzodiazepines were more associated with the latter, not the former . Unfortunately, this nuanced approach to benzodiazepine-induced dependence was quickly lost in the noise produced by the more vocal and influential benzodiazepine opponents.
BOX 1 Reasons for benzodiazepine use in anxiety disorders
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Side Effects And Warnings
Xanax has many of the same side effects as alcohol, including mental and physical impairment, sleepiness, slower reaction times, balance and coordination problems, dizziness, and light-headedness. Other common reactions include memory problems, slurred speech, trouble concentrating, confusion, upset stomach, headache, and blurred vision.
You should not take Xanax if you have shown sensitivity to other benzos such as Valium and Ativan, have narrow-angle glaucoma, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Alert your health care provider if you have liver problems, as there is a risk that Xanax may build up in your system and lead to overdose or heavy sedation. Xanax has not been shown to be effective for adolescents and teens under age 18 so using it in this population is considered off label.
Xanax also may be habit-forming. The risk of addiction is about two 2%, Dr. McGee says, but that risk is higher, he adds, among people who are already addicted to alcohol or opioids. He also worries that Xanax and drugs like it may prevent some from learning how to manage anxiety. People have a tough time learning to cope without meds once you put them on them, so the real problem is dependence, Dr. McGee continues. Over many years Xanax can increase risk of falls, motor vehicle accidents, dementia, and urinary incontinence, he adds.
How Common Are Heart Palpitations Caused By Anxiety
Anxiety is the most common cause of palpitations that are not related to a heart problem. Its very common to have moments of anxiety, especially during stressful situations. These situations may include job interviews, public speaking or airplane flights. Most times, these anxious feelings and heart palpitations come and go quickly.
If you have feelings of anxiety often or for long periods, talk to your healthcare provider. You may have an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder. Treatment with medication, therapy or both can help relieve your symptoms.
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Get Help For Anxiety Today
Vista Pines Health, located in Pembroke Pines, Florida, can guide you to anxiety treatment that can help you manage your mental and emotional health.
We create individualized treatment plans to help people recover from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder , and other mental health disorders.
Written by: Elysia Richardson
About Vista Pines Health: Vista Pines Health is a mental health treatment program that is dedicated to providing quality care to those who are suffering from mental disorders. Conveniently located in sunny Pembroke Pines, Florida, we help clients, from all over the country, find healing from conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Our programs are designed to put the client first every step of the way, helping them conquer the struggles they deal with on a daily basis.
What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Receiving Diazepam
You should not be treated with diazepam if you are allergic to it. You may not be able to receive a diazepam injection if you have glaucoma.
If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you’ve ever had:
- mental illness, depression, or suicidal thoughts or behavior
- heart disease or
- if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or opioid medications.
Diazepam may harm an unborn baby, and generally should not be used during pregnancy. However, status epilepticus is a life-threatening condition and the benefit of receiving this medicine to treat it may outweigh any risk to the unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant.
Ask a doctor if it is safe to breastfeed while using this medicine.
If possible during an emergency, tell your medical caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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