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Beta Blockers vs. drugs like Xanax?

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Posted

I didn't even realize beta-blockers could be used for anxiety. Why do they not seem to be as popular as other types of anxiety drugs, like Xanax and Klonopin?

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Posted

I have both Xanax and a beta blocker. The beta blocker is more subtle, not as strong. Happily it doesn't have any sedating effect, nor does it cloud my thinking. It just occurred to me to perhaps describe it as "a cup of coffee in reverse". heh.

It physically calms me. After I take it I tend to forget about it, then later realize that I'm physically relaxed, not so shaky from my lithium and focused outward rather than inward. My pdoc was really pushing me to take it on schedule every day for anxiety, though I did not do so very much out of concerns for exacerbating my asthma and allergies.

The beta blockers have a pretty low side effect problems, and they are short acting so if you do have problems they clear out fast. Its worth discussing with your pdoc.

a.m.

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Posted

You may not believe this, but Xanax and Ativan induced panic attacks for me. My atypical reaction to these made my pdoc go for beta-blockers. They sometimes give propranolol to people with social anxiety or PTSD--keeps your heart from racing, inhibits epinephrine. My experience was positive, though I felt perhaps some fatigue. No carefree attitude (disinhibition) some report feeling from benzos. It had more of a subtle "safeguard" effect.

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Posted

The beta blocker is more subtle, not as strong. Happily it doesn't have any sedating effect, nor does it cloud my thinking. It just occurred to me to perhaps describe it as "a cup of coffee in reverse". heh.

It physically calms me.

Sorry to cross-post. I agree.

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Posted

I take beta-blockers and I have vast experience with benzo's. They are two completely different drugs. The beta-blocker will be there for you in a physical way (keep your heart rate and blood pressure down) when you get anxious and benzo's will be there in a mental way. Benzo's are a drug that you will actually feel a mind altering calming effect because they are hitting your GABA receptors in your brain. That's why they are a controlled substance and beta-blockers are not. You will not feel anything mind altering from a beta-blocker (atleast I don't!).

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Posted

Beta blockers are used, but have many side effects. SSRI's like lexapro and combination drugs like Effexor are become more and more poular for anxiety disorders due to low side effects. Beta blockers can cause constipation and sexual dysfunction like anorgasm or erectile dysfunction in men. Benzodiazapines should really only be used as needed in conjunction with a maintence drug like an SSRI, and in my own opinion :) psychotherapy. ;)

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Posted

My personal experience with beta-blockers (clonidine/Catapres and propranolol/Inderol) is that they leave me feeling stoned... like as in "I just took a big bong rip and have become that stoned chick on the couch who will be there for the next six hours doing nothing except blinking and telling you how I can feel my hair grow and my teeth feel warm".

Not that I objected to the experience because I was MELLLLLOOOOOOWWWW for about the first time in six years. However, just not a functional drug for me. Constant cotton mouth, dry eyes, no driving heavy machinery, no operating dangerous hand tools, etc.

I currently take up to 4 mg of lorazepam a day. This is about mid range from where I've been (high of 7mg--holy CRAP! and a low of 1 mg as needed). I don't like taking this much, but I have to say it does help me with my physiological anxiety.

I also highly second the opinion that therapy... actually cognitive behavioral or even just straight up behavioral training is really useful (even though it feels completely innane... it's like dog training for humans).

Peace,

Wooster

PS--getting off caffeine and sugar have also been very helpful, as is regular exercise, in reducing my anxiety (30 minutes most days, whatever makes you sweat is a good guideline)

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