What It Really Means When You Have Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder

We've all grappled with anxiety — however impactful — at some point in our lives. Anxiety disorder, on the other hand, is a bit different. Folks with an anxiety disorder experience severe fear and nervousness that last for long periods of time and have a serious impact on their daily life (via Mayo Clinic). There are different kinds of anxiety disorders, and more than 40 million American adults live with one version or another (via National Alliance on Mental Health).

Substance-induced anxiety disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that occurs as a result of using or withdrawing from a particular substance (via Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services). Alcohol, drugs, or toxins can cause substance-induced anxiety disorder, but it can also be caused by certain medications. In this case, it is often referred to as medication-induced anxiety disorder. Many different and commonly used medications could bring on this disorder, from insulin to antidepressants, and even anesthetics.

How to know if you have medication-induced anxiety disorder

If you are taking a medication that can impact the chemicals in your brain, it's possible that it has the power to cause changes to how you feel and think (via Tufts Medical Center Community Care). This is how medication-induced anxiety disorder can occur. When you experience new issues with your mental health, they can be more difficult to identify than issues with your physical health. If you feel that you are experiencing anxiety, there are some important symptoms for you to look out for. 

If you often find yourself feeling concerned, nervous, and uneasy and it's difficult for you to control your emotions, you're likely experiencing anxiety (via Mayo Clinic). You may also experience changes and difficulty in your breathing, gastrointestinal problems, and lethargy. If you find that focusing has become more difficult, you're having trouble falling or staying asleep, or you are becoming more inclined to avoid anxiety-inducing situations, these are red flags that you are experiencing anxiety disorder.

How to treat medication-induced anxiety disorder

If you're experiencing medication-induced anxiety disorder or any other kind of anxiety disorder, things can get better, and there are plenty of ways to help you feel less anxious. First, if you believe that a medication you're using is causing anxiety, resist the urge to stop cold turkey or adjust your dosage by yourself (via Tufts Medical Center Community Care). It can be tempting to immediately stop whatever is causing your discomfort, but this could do more harm than good. Make an appointment with your doctor so that they can help you determine the right next steps. Your doctor will want to ensure that your anxiety symptoms didn't predate the use of your medication before weaning you off of it (via Verywell Mind). 

Regardless of whether you stop the medication, therapy can greatly help with medication-induced anxiety disorder. Talking to a mental healthcare professional can equip you with tools to reduce your anxiety and get you on the path to a calmer, easier, and happier life.