Beta Blockers for Anxiety?
October 28, 2009 7:06 AM Subscribe
Looking for information and anecdotes about your experience and knowledge of beta blockers for anxiety.
posted by Wroksie to Health & Fitness (5 answers total)
I was diagnosed ages ago with Generalized Anxiey Disorder, which I am usually able to handle with exercise and CBT techniques, but not always. I recently went to the GP for a short-term (less than a month) prescription to deal with some intense anxiety-inducing circumstances in my life- I was expecting a few weeks worth of low-dosage Xanax, which is what I got from my doctor in the US a few years ago in similar circumstances - but I now live in the UK and apparently Xanax is not available on the NHS. I wasn't really comfortable with the diazepam (aka valium) the GP offered to prescribe, nor was I comfortable with his second offer of anti-depressants (I don't remember which ones). So he suggested a beta blocker, specifically one 80 mg sustained-release propranolol caplet per day. I filled the prescription this morning but i haven't taken one yet
I'd really like to hear other people's experiences of beta-blockers for anxiety - does it work, and if so, how? I've read that it's long been a well-known secret among performers to curb stage fright, but my anxiety doesn't feel like panic or active fear - it just feels like a kind of constant, low-grade dread with intense spikes when I have to deal directly with my current unpleasant circumstances. Will the beta blocker help with this? Will it make me feel spacey or disconnected or narcotised, like the xanax sometimes did?
I'm also interested in the side effects - including reactions to alcohol. Google says I probably should avoid it, but I can't find any specific effect that it will have - i.e., does it cause an additional, unpleasant effect, or does alcohol just cause the beta blocker not to work as well? The GP didn't mention this contraindiction at all - he just told me that I might have cold hands and feet and vivid dreams.
Finally, as I don't want to take this indefinitely, what will happen when I stop taking it? I know I need to step down the dose and not quit all at once, but will I have a rebound effect with my anxiety where it's more intense for a period of time?
Sorry for all the mini-questions within this larger question, if you can only speak to a small part of what I've asked, please answer anyway - I'm pretty desperate for information!