Starting Anxiety Medication? Here’s What to Expect

starting anxiety medication

Starting an anxiety medication should not cause a patient more anxiety. Knowing what is an anxiety attack and what is an anxiety disorder and what to expect when starting anxiety medication, however, can make the process less intimidating and help patients achieve the best possible treatment outcomes.

7 Considerations When Starting Anxiety Medication

  1. Do not get discouraged if you don’t get the results you want right away. Some anxiety medications can take up to eight weeks before a patient really begins to see results. Be patient and stay in touch with your healthcare providers until you achieve positive results.
  2. Every person’s body metabolizes medicine differently. As a result, patient outcomes on various anxiety medications vary. Sometimes it takes trying several different types of medications or combinations of medications, in addition to therapy, before a patient experiences the desired treatment outcome.
  3. Different anxiety medications come with different side effects. Potential side effects of anxiety medications include nausea, restlessness, nervousness, decreased libido, insomnia, drowsiness, weight fluctuations, dry mouth, headache, dizziness, blurred vision, confusion and even worsened anxiety. Side effects depend on the type of anxiety medication your doctor prescribes. Before starting a new medication, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects and what you should do if you notice any unusual changes after beginning your new medication.
  4. Side effects from certain anxiety medications might force you to limit other activities. Talk to your doctor about medication side effects. Think about whether or not you need to drive or operate equipment for work and how your lifestyle might change as a result of potential side effects.
  5. You should also ask your doctor and pharmacist about potential drug reactions or interactions with other medications or supplements you take. Bring a complete list of everything you use from other prescriptions and over the counter medications to vitamins and natural supplements.
  6. One serious side effect of anxiety medications is that they can sometimes worsen anxiety symptoms, doing the opposite of what is intended. When starting a new medication be particularly vigilant about your feelings. Tell a trusted friend or relative about your new treatment, and ask that he or she also pay close attention to your behavior during the first few weeks.
  7. Patients can become resistant to anxiety medications, meaning a dosage increase might be necessary after using a particular medication for a long period of time. Even if you have been feeling well, it’s important to stay in contact with your doctor and check in with your own feelings regularly, too.
  8. When starting an anxiety medication, you should have an open conversation with your doctor about the potential for addiction. Some anxiety medications are considered highly addictive. Be honest with your doctor, if you have a history or family history of substance abuse.
  9. Although some individuals might remain on anxiety medication for a long time, these medicines are most effective when used as short-term treatment tools. Patients experience the most desirable results when participating in a variety of treatments including medication, psychotherapy, self-help and personal care strategies.

When starting any new medication, it is extremely important to take the medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. Following your prescription instructions and being sure never to miss a dose will ensure your new medication has the best chance of working as intended. Also, here are some best practices to learn how to take anxiety disorder medication.