Wednesday, March 21, 2018

*Life Alert voice*: "Help Me! I'm addicted to Xanax... And I've fallen and I can't get up!!!!"

When thinking of treating certain anxiety disorders, medications quickly come to mind. Medication have been proven to improve symptoms of anxiety and help patients live as if their anxiety doesn’t exist. Whilst it is very effect, especially when paired with another type of treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, it comes along with many side effects, most of which may even outweigh the anxiety symptoms themselves. Benzodiazepines, which include drugs like Valium and Xanax, are often the medication of choice prescribed to patients suffering from anxiety or insomnia. They are often effective, but known to cause dizziness, weakness, drowsiness, confusion, and memory impairment. Most importantly, benzodiazepines cause physical dependence, which ultimately make weaning off medication incredibly difficult.  Image result for anxiety pills
            The dependence on these benzodiazepines have been shown to create more and more problems as the individual gets older. These drugs have negative effects when taken with other medications or alcohol, and this has been proven problematic especially in the elderly. Those who have been diagnosed with anxiety at an early age have been taking these addictive medications for most of their lives and. surprise: it becomes extremely hard for to stop! Another surprise: The elderly are known taking many medications! There have been findings that with every year that goes by that there are more and more overdoses from the consumption of the combination of medications. But this problem goes beyond the mortality rate. As an individual gets older, the body changes and the 20mg pill you used to take once a day may start to become more sensitive as you get into your older years. This means, the normal glass of wine you have every night with dinner suddenly starts to hit you hardr as you enter your 60s, making you more light leaded and more prone to a fall, which will most likely lead to another injury with another medication.
                                 Image result for help i've fallen

            It may seem as though there is a simple solution to this problem: stop taking the pills. But as you can imagine, convincing an older stubborn man to stop the medication that’s been effectively treating his extreme anxiety is a little difficult. An alternative to taking the medications are different types of therapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy which exposes the patient while trying to change their thought processing, but again trying to convince patients to change their ways to this is unlikely especially since results take longer to achieve. The only way to avoid more patients to follow this pattern is for psychiatrists to limit the number of patients they’re prescribing these dangerous medications to, as they are overprescribing.

-Katherine Patota (2)


  1. I found this article very interesting, I'm curious if the alternative behavior therapies provide the level of benefit of the other therapies. I wonder if there are programs to implement a system of slowly weaning people of the medication and increasing behavior therapies. I wonder if the companies would have to relook at their medications in trials of older people to get their use approved.

    Zane Ruehrwein (3)

    1. As I've learned in my other psychology classes, behavior therapies and medications provide the best effects when combined with one another, versus only one of each. I also feel like the combination of the two is the best option because another therapy would mean less medication overall would need to be taken.
      -Katherine Patota (2)

  2. When you think about people who take xanax in a party scene, they usually take it with alcohol to feel it's extreme effects. As college students we're part of a weird group that enjoys feeling these extreme effects, but as an older person that can become extremely dangerous and is not desirable.
    -Katherine Patota(2)


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