Drugs Q & A

How Good Is Hydroxyzine For Anxiety? (Reviews)

What is hydroxyzine?

Hydroxyzine is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by blocking the action of histamine a substance in the body that causes allergic symptoms. It also works by decreasing activity in the brain. Hydroxyzine is used in adults and children to relieve itching caused by allergic skin reactions. It is also used alone or with other medications in adults and children to relieve anxiety and tension.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. One-third of people will experience an anxiety disorder during their lifetime, they report. However, they remind people that there are effective treatments and that research is developing new ones. They urge people who think they might have an anxiety disorder to seek treatment and information immediately.

Anxiety disorders can bring many biological and psychological symptoms that affect your general health. However, the right treatment combined with regular exercise, a healthy diet, and stress reduction techniques can help you regain your sense of well-being. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that for most people, both symptoms and quality of life improve once they get treatment.

Why do doctors prescribe antihistamines for anxiety?

Doctors prescribe hydroxyzine for anxiety because of its unique effect on serotonin, a brain chemical that is thought to regulate anxiety, happiness, and mood. Low levels of the chemical have been associated with depression, and increased serotonin levels brought on by medication are thought to decrease arousal. While hydroxyzine can be used to treat many different types of anxiety disorders, it is used most often for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), especially when it is associated with insomnia which also explains why hydroxyzine is used to produce sleep before surgery.

Hydroxyzine also comes as oral tablets, capsules, syrup, and a solution that’s given by injection. Hydroxyzine hydrochloride is found in oral tablets. Other types of hydroxyzine are found in other forms of the drug.

For treating anxiety, your doctor will usually start you on a total daily dosage of 50 mg to 100 mg, which should be taken in divided doses. This implies that you’ll take 12.5-mg to 25-mg doses two to four times per day this will help control anxiety and tension caused by nervous and emotional conditions.

The maximum dosage for adults is 100 mg, taken up to four times per day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take hydroxyzine exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Most people taking hydroxyzine for anxiety will start to feel it kick in within 30 minutes and will feel its maximum effect at around 2 hours. While it’s great that it gets to work quickly, keep in mind that you can also expect to feel many of its potential side effects quickly, as well.

Hydroxyzine for anxiety reviews

This hydroxyzine for anxiety reviews presents the experience of several people who have used medication for anxiety and how it turned out:

A user paintballjord wrote  “I have been on this for about a month. It is just a strong antihistamine. It literally sucks the life out of me. It helps my anxiety simply by the fact I’m not thinking about my anxiety because of how miserably tired I am all day. I’d rather have 6 attacks a day, simply walking to the bathroom makes me need to sit and catch my breath (I am 6’2′ and 160 lbs, I keep in good shape, simply breathing and walking should not make me need to catch my breath). I loathe this medication and am only taking it to appease my counselor. When I meet again with him I will absolutely be telling him to stop prescribing sleeping pills for anxiety. I’m getting upset just talking about it. This stuff should ONLY be used for sleeping disorders, or if you’re just trying to ruin people’s lives.”

Another user Sleepymama had this to say “The short version of my review: I love this medication. I was prescribed Atarax at 35 weeks pregnant for insomnia and panic attacks/GAD. I was having crazy nightmares before I started taking it as well. The first few times I took it, it made me very tired but eventually, that stopped happening- it makes it easy for me to fall asleep but not overly tired, and I’m not groggy in the morning. I have had to take it during the day for extreme anxiety or panic attacks and sometimes it slows me down a little but nothing crazy. I’m in recovery from drug addiction, so narcotic anxiety meds were not an option for me. I am so thankful I found this medication because it really helps me but doesn’t really give me any side effects. The one thing that I don’t like is that it makes me dizzy if I take it on an empty stomach, but usually, I’ll just take it with a granola bar or yogurt and that’s enough to keep the dizziness at bay.”

Manny said… “This does little if nothing for me. Causes severe dry mouth which can lead to tooth decay. I have never in my sixty years on earth bought a drug from the streets. The low-dose prescription Klonopin I took for many years with no issues. The government has made it a hassle for doctors to prescribe benzos. They will throw everything else at you despite the side effects and lack of it actually working. For persons with serious anxiety, BuSpar, visteral, Lexapro do not work. I have tried them all. Benzos are a drug used in the treatment of anxiety for a decade and for most used safely. It is not the drug that is the problem they are safe and effective if used properly. As long as there are people wanting to abuse drugs, there will be addiction problems. Great if visteral worked but it does not for me.”

Lastly, Ann expressed her experience with hydroxyzine for anxiety as follows “I went into full-blown psychosis because of a side effect of this medication hydroxyzine. I saw, heard, and felt demons. It starts with them in dreams and then eventually having these experiences while awake but only in the dark. Was hospitalized for a week because of this before the docs realized it was causing the psychosis. (Prescribed before and continued during hospitalization). I tried it again a few years later, being semi-unsure of it caused my psychosis, and sure enough, it started happening again. Thankfully I recognized it and was able to stop immediately. Took less than three doses. It seems so crazy that this type of medication can cause a psychotic event but I’m telling you it definitely does do that to me.”

How can I tell if hydroxyzine isn’t working for my anxiety?

Naturally, when you start taking hydroxyzine for anxiety, you hope that everything will start getting better soon. While many patients find relief with hydroxyzine for anxiety, some people do not have such luck on the first try. Some patients actually have worsening symptoms once they start the medication. If you notice that your previous symptoms get worse or you start developing new symptoms, call your doctor and book an appointment as soon as possible. You should do the same if you have any suicidal ideation while taking hydroxyzine for anxiety. Signs that hydroxyzine might not be working include:

•          You feel more or the same amount of sadness, anxiety, or irritability after several weeks or months of taking the medication.

•          You feel slightly better, but still feel that your anxiety is affecting your ability to function.

•          You are having trouble sleeping.

•          You are experiencing negative side effects that are interfering with your quality of life, such as headaches, nausea, constipation, excessive weight gain, or sexual dysfunction.

•          You are feeling suicidal.

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