Q: I notice that many of my friends are popping anti-anxiety pills more frequently. I am sure there are risks associated with such behavior but what are they and how do I know if my friends are in danger?
The number of prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications have certainly been on the rise over the last few decades. And the medication can relieve some of the symptoms of stress and anxiety, but the pills do not address the cause of the anxiety itself. Just like any medication, anti-anxiety drugs have side effects and safety concerns and people using them need to be careful.
Common side effects include: dizziness, light-headedness, day-time sleepiness, confusion, slow reflexes, poor coordination, stomach upset or nausea and depression. Anti-anxiety pills can also interact with other medications and should never be taken with alcohol, prescription painkillers or sleeping pills. If your friends are using anti-anxiety medication, they should make sure to follow the instructions of their doctors and read the drug information inserts. The medication can be used safely if under the care/direction of a health professional.