The Pulse

Benzodiazepines and Rebound Anxiety

DANGER SCALE

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Unlikely
mortality risk
Highly likely
mortality risk

Benzodiazepines and Rebound Anxiety

Rebound anxiety is the result of consistent sedation from benzodiazepines. It is more common in short to intermediate acting meds like Xanax and Ativan but also occurs in patients taking Klonopin, a long-acting benzodiazepine. Research has proven time and time again that benzodiazepines worsen anxiety when taken daily for more than a month. Commonly people experience diminished effects from benzodiazepines leading to increased tolerance. As people take more medication to decrease anxiety, natural defenses, and coping for anxiety are degraded. Ultimately avoidance of anxiety makes people more vulnerable to distress. While providers prescribing these medications are often intending to alleviate symptoms, long-term patients are set up for failure. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, and alternative psychotropic medications are the most effective treatment for anxiety. Relief is slower with these treatments but the benefits and change is more lasting and less harmful.

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Other names?

Panic, Panic Attacks, Increased Anxiety, Benzodiazepine Withdrawals

How do people get it?

Research is clear that taking Benzodiazepines for as little as 2 to 4 weeks can produce increased anxiety. Most people are prescribed these medications from non-psychiatric providers like primary care providers or in emergency departments. People can also buy these types of medications off the street. Recently there has been an uptick in Xanax pills that are pressed with Fentanyl on the streets.

How is it dangerous?

Rebound anxiety and/or panic are a symptom of benzodiazepine withdrawals. In cases where individuals are physically dependent, withdrawals from benzodiazepines can be life threatening. Seizures and respiratory failure are the riskiest effects. Additionally, toxic levels of stress may lead to suicidal thoughts or other risky behaviors in people suffering from rebound anxiety.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, call Gallus at
(888) 306-3122.