Anxiety is the feeling of uneasiness and nervousness, we experience when we are apprehensive of an outcome. Anxiety today has taken the form of a worldwide plague.
The World Health Organization reports, that anxiety disorders are amongst the most common disorders across the globe. One in thirteen people today suffer from anxiety, globally. Anxiety can take the form of a specific phobia, excessive depressive disorders, and different types of social phobia. The scenario regarding the treatment of anxiety is largely gloomy as almost 75% of the affected people remain untreated in developing countries.
The symptoms related to anxiety include a pounding heart, sweaty and shivering hands, irregular pulse, nervous stomach, and severe nausea. For medically-ill people, anxiety can increase pain and can make recovery slow and incomplete.
SEDATIVES AND STRESS RELIEVING
Sedatives are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. These medications can slow down the brain-functions leading to drowsiness and relaxation. Different types of sedation treatments, such as IV sedation, oral sedation, and general anesthesia, help calm the nerves of anxious medical patients.
Most sedatives put you in a tranquil state by managing the amount of neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) inside your brain. GABA decreases brain activity. Every sedative produces a soothing effect through GABA.
Barbiturate sedatives viz. mephobarbital (Mebaral) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal) help in coping with tension, and sleep orders. Benzodiazepines are traditional anti-anxiety drugs. Benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax work efficiently in treating acute stress symptoms and panic attacks.
IS SEDATION BENEFICIAL?
Generally, Dentists are the ones who after performing a thorough scan on the dental x-ray machine, choose among the types of sedation to give to their patients for operations.
But, Nowadays studies suggest that sedation is extremely beneficial for people suffering from excessive anxiety. Their contribution to making medical procedures easier and faster is praiseworthy. They can put the patient in a dreamy state which helps in completing numerous painful procedures.
Although the possible benefits of sedatives to calm the nerves are many, their impact on health and overall well-being is highly debatable. This can be extremely injurious. The immediate impacts of these drugs include slurred speech, poor coordination, and confusion.
The impact of these anti-anxiety drugs depreciates with regular usage as the body develops a tolerance to the drug. This can lead to substance abuse as patients often try to induce the same amount of sedation with higher doses. If an individual withdraws from the usage of these drugs without any consultation, then it can be life-threatening. The brain’s normal functions can rebound and go out of control, consequently leading to seizures. At severely high doses these drugs can cause prolonged unconsciousness and even death.
Overdose symptoms include stupor, shallow breathing, and eventual death. A person using sedative drugs for a prolonged period could experience memory loss, faulty judgment, blurred vision, and memory problems. Furthermore, according to the FDA, benzodiazepines can significantly worsen pre-existing depression.
These anti-anxiety drugs give a troubled person an instant sensation of relaxation and calm. Due to this, many patients become over-dependent on these drugs. Withdrawing from these drugs can be hard, as individuals might experience insomnia, pounding heart, delirium, and hallucinations.
All these side effects make sedatives a dangerous option to resolve anxiety issues. Besides, they are not a cure too. The American Academy of Family Physicians asserts, that these drugs lose their anti-anxiety effect after 4-5 months.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?
According to MD Gayatri Devi, our body itself has a built-in nerve-calming system. She believes that by tapping into our Vagus nerve, we can achieve mental, and physical health, and can strike the perfect balance between relaxation and stress.
The vagus nerve is a far-reaching nerve that expands to nearly every organ of our body. This nerve can slow down the heart rate and resolve the issue of irregular breathing. This is the reason it is popularly called, ‘the wandering protector of our body’.
The best way to enhance the functions of the vagus nerve is meditation. Most of us try to multitask our way through life. Uni-tasking is an excellent way to unwind and relax. Simple tasks like taking a casual walk, or not using your phone while eating can achieve better stimulation of the vagus nerve. Proper sleep and touch are other ways to achieve this state. A hug or a smile can do wonders for your nerves.
Another way to reduce anxiety is by understanding the effect anxiety has on your body. Most people can cope with their anxiety once they understand its implication. There are many ways to cope with medical, or any other type of anxiety. These include talking to other people about your concerns, distracting yourself through reading or writing or by simple relaxation exercises like slow and deep breathing and yoga. Listening to music also helps.
In hospitals, there should be counselors, or volunteers to support the patients suffering from severe anxiety. Doctors should reassure the patient by talking to him. An assurance by a professional has a greater impact on an anxious individual. Massage, acupuncture, aromatherapy, or hypnosis are other possible ways to help reduce anxiety.
Anxiety has become a global epidemic. It affects millions of people, and many people go untreated, worldwide. There are many ways to cope with anxiety. Sedatives reduce brain activity; thereby, providing a calmness to the nerves. But sedatives have a potential for abuse and over-dependence. They can lead to serious ailments like insomnia, irregular heartbeat, and even death. Always ensure that you do not take sedatives without prescription. You can try other ways like meditation, yoga to calm your nerves.