Buspar Treatment for Anxiety: Is Buspar Addictive?

Many drug rehabs and addiction treatment facilities will not allow their patients to be prescribed benzodiazepines for anxiety symptoms. So, there are many effective non-benzodiazepine options for addicts and alcoholics in drug rehab. 

One drug that is most often used by addiction treatment centers to treat anxiety is BuSpar. This particular drug, also known as buspirone, is a psychoactive drug that works on the serotonin neurotransmitter as opposed to benzodiazepine, which interacts with the GABA receptors.

Benzo Alternatives: About Beta Blockers

Beta blockers work to slow an individual’s heartbeat and lower the blood pressure. They’re helpful because they do not cause emotional effects in a person’s life. That is to say, after taking a beta blocker, the person does not “feel” the drug’s effects.

Often, people use beta blockers to help them experience calming effects when faced with anxiety-producing situations. For example, these medications are usually helpful for performers and people who struggle with intense stage fright. They help to calm some of the symptoms of anxiety, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Sweaty palms
  • Increased respiration
  • Increased heart rate

Many addiction psychiatrists and addiction medicine specialists use beta blockers or BuSpar treatment as a way to help with anxiety-related symptoms and management of anxiety disorders. 

Defining and Discussing Buspirone

So, what exactly is buspirone, or BuSpar? Why do many individuals opt for using this medication in order to treat the symptoms of anxiety, rather than using benzodiazepines?

Well, buspirone is a medication that is used to treat anxiety disorders. Those who use this medication may do so in order to treat the uncomfortable and sometimes debilitating symptoms that come with anxiety. 

The anxiety medication, BuSpar, is used for treating generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which the National Alliance on Mental Illness defines as a disorder in which people experience excessive anxiety or worry for at least six months or more. Some other symptoms include restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbance.

According to an article published in the Western Journal of Medicine, among those who have generalized anxiety disorder and take BuSpar, 54% show signs of significant clinical improvement. It is effective when taken regularly and has few adverse effects (headache, nausea, and dizziness).

Benzodiazepines Vs. BuSpar: What’s the Difference?

Earlier, we mentioned one of the main differences between these two medications. Again, the buspirone interacts with the serotonin neurotransmitter within the brain while benzodiazepines interact with the GABA receptors. So, they tend to affect the body in different ways.

Also, unlike benzodiazepines, BuSpar doesn’t impair memory or cognitive performance or driving skills. In many cases, people who use benzos experience heavy sedative effects. But, buspirone is not a sedative, so it doesn’t cause individuals to feel the same sedating effects of benzos. Still, despite the fact that the sedative aspect does not occur with BuSpar use, people who use this medication will still experience a calming effect, which can help to alleviate the impact of anxiety in their lives.

Although buspirone is chemically different from benzodiazepines, many are still concerned with the question: is it possible to have a BuSpar addiction? The good news is that buspirone treatment has been proven effective for treating anxiety and does not run the risk of dependency among its users.

This is not necessarily to say that this drug has no potential for dependence, withdrawal symptoms, or rebound anxiety after drug withdrawal. After all, individuals can become physically or emotionally dependent on many substances, even the ones that are meant to help them and not hurt them. So, it’s important to speak with a medical professional before using any medication, including BuSpar.

Although it’s highly unlikely that an individual will develop a BuSpar addiction, professional and medical guidance is important for those who are using this drug to treat anxiety in their lives. The best way to avoid BuSpar addiction or any other kind of addiction for that matter is to get help from those who understand your needs.

Dual Diagnosis: The Relationship Between Anxiety Disorder and Addiction 

Frequently, those suffering from addiction also have an anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, that anxiety can exacerbate (or even cause) addiction to develop. As a result, many individuals begin to experience intense feelings of shame, fear, or worthlessness.

Sadly, many people find themselves feeling this way. It can be difficult to work through or overcome addiction when the effects of a mental health disorder remain in place. This challenge often leaves people feeling as though there is no hope for them.

Those who suffer from addiction often struggle to find a way to break free from the effects of this serious problem. It can be extremely challenging for those who are also dealing with a co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety. When a person is suffering from a substance use problem as well as another mental health disorder, this is called a dual diagnosis

Individuals who have a dual diagnosis should seek professional help from a treatment program that works to deal with both problems. In other words, it’s important to find a treatment center that will treat the addiction problem and help the individual cope with the effects of his or her mental health concerns. This will enable people to overcome substance abuse in their lives and develop the skills they need in order to cope with their mental illnesses in a healthy, addiction-free way. 

You Can Get the Help You Need Today

Here at Northbound Treatment Services, we help treat anxiety and addiction in Orange County, putting the sufferer on the path to a full and lasting recovery.

The first step in treating an anxiety disorder is to understand it. Individuals suffering from generalized anxiety disorder don’t need to be ashamed. Oftentimes, anxiety is caused by a preexisting biological condition that has been made worse by drugs and/or alcohol. For instance, a person who takes Xanax every time he or she feels uncomfortable is on the path to developing severe anxiety alongside an addiction.

At Northbound, our message is that those suffering from anxiety can live more engaged and fulfilling lives. Therapy and medication are the two important components of our effective treatment program. This is not to say that we see medication as the answer. Rather, taking medication for anxiety, under the direction of a psychiatrist, is like taking cholesterol meds that prevent heart attack; diet and exercise habits also need to change.

So, if you are suffering from anxiety and addiction, please call (855) 858-6803 to begin your journey to recovery.

References:

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/Types-of-Medication/Buspirone-(BuSpar) 

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a688005.html 

https://www.medicinenet.com/buspirone_vs_xanax/article.htm 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/buspirone-oral-route/precautions/drg-20062457 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522 

Reviewed by Paul Alexander

Paul AlexanderPaul Alexander is the founder and CEO of Northbound Treatment. He received his Certified Addiction Treatment Specialist training at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, CA, and was awarded Outstanding Alumni Service Award in 2002. Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Criminology, Law and Society, Summa Cum Laude, from University of California, Irvine, and a Juris Doctorate degree from Loyola Law School of Los Angeles. He believes wholeheartedly in transformational leadership, organizational health and effective, fully integrated substance use disorder treatment.

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