Prescription Medications for Anxiety
The most common prescription for anxiety is a class of medications known as Benzodiazepines (Benzos for short). Medications in this class include Valium, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin and Librium. They work to reduce stress, control muscle spasms and induce sleep. They are also utilized for detoxification from alcohol.
Benzos are utilized in the detoxification of alcohol because they have a similar effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) as alcohol. Benzos are a CNS depressant. That is why they are also prescribed for anxiety. They work to lower blood pressure, heart rate and respirations. They allow the body to eliminate the toxins associated with alcohol withdrawal while reducing the risk of experiencing a "rebound effect." A rebound effect occurs when the vital signs (blood pressure, heart rate, etc.) shoot higher as a result of the CNS depressant being absent.
Benzos are highly addictive. Just like alcohol, a person develops a tolerance to these medications rather quickly. As a result, the individual must take more of the medication to obtain the same effect.
Like alcohol withdrawal, stopping Benzos can be dangerous. The rebound effect places a person at great risk for stroke, seizure and aneurism due to the sudden rise in vital signs. Never stop taking Benzos without the advice of a doctor.
Information courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse