The Risks of Taking Anti-Anxiety Medication During a SHTF Scenario

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The Risks of Taking Anti-Anxiety Medication During a SHTF Scenario


Anti-anxiety medications are a popular and effective way to treat periodic bouts with anxiety.  However, they also come with side-effects that can impair judgment, drive and clear-thinking.  These are all things that are essential to making good decisions and taking appropriate action during a crisis.

Are Side-effects Worth the Risk?

Many benzodiazepines or sedatives work by suppressing the nervous system through altering chemical reactions in the brain.  While this helps to calm nerves and make people feel relaxed during periods of stress, they also can cause impairments.  Reduced coordination, dazed-euphoria, sleepiness, clouded thoughts, dizziness, forgetfulness and confusion are common side-effects when taking these types of medications.

They also promote deeper sleep which is hard to wake up from, and grogginess can carry over into the next day.  Consequently, the benefits of these medications to help calm us down may end up doing more harm than good.

Their Addictive-Potential is Concerning

It is very easy to become addicted to these types of medications, which is why they are supposed to be regulated by a psychiatrist.  While general practitioners have historically been able to prescribe them in small amounts to patients to deal with short-term problems, the government has cracked down on abuse.  Consequently, they are becoming harder to get without establishing a therapeutic relationship with a shrink.  This is intended to reduce the occurrences of abuse by tracking doctors and patients who do not go through “normal” channels to get them.

Since they are so addictive, being cut-off from supplies after long-term use can cause severe withdrawal symptoms.  Symptoms can range from a lack of motivation and irritability to severe depression, uncontrolled anxiety and even suicide.  Extended periods of sleeplessness, wild mood swings and a sense of hopeless are also common.  Severe symptoms are the last thing that people need to deal with during a crisis.

They Accumulate in the Body

Anti-anxiety medications often metabolize slowly, which means they accumulate in the body over time before being neutralized.  Consequently, people who habitually or consistently use these medications build up a tolerance which requires higher doses to produce the same effects.  This buildup can also lead to depression and an actual worsening of anxiety over time.  This is a double-blow that can create more problems over the long-term.

It can take months for the brain to go back to normal after long-term users taper off the medication and start to find other ways of coping with chronic anxiety.  Consequently, the withdrawal symptoms mentioned earlier as well as alterations in the brain’s chemistry can have significant impacts in the aftermath of a crisis.

While these medications, for the most part, are an excellent way to calm down and get some rest during a crisis, they should not be relied on for long-term use.  Being under the influence of these drugs can have unintended consequences that can make a situation that is already difficult much more risky.  You need to be on top of your game and able to use all of your senses to work through a survival situation, and these medications can seriously inhibit your ability to do so.

On the other hand, there are plenty of people who need these medications as well, so I’m not suggesting by any means that everyone avoid taking them.  Just be smart and honest about whether or not they are the best solution to help cope with the stresses of a long-term survival situation.  The last thing that anyone needs is to contend with withdrawals or a lack of access to refills when the SHTF.  This is on top of the side-effects that can impair judgment and good decision-making during crises as well.