• Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter Log In with Google      Sign In    
  • Create Account
  LongeCity
              Advocacy & Research for Unlimited Lifespans

Photo
- - - - -

Beta Blockers for Anxiety


  • Please log in to reply
14 replies to this topic

#1 steelsky

  • Guest
  • 412 posts
  • 2

Posted 12 December 2009 - 10:39 AM


I've been reading here a lot about beta-blockers as anxiolytic.
I was wondering which substances or brands I should check out such as in reference to most popular, least risky, availability online, etc.

I should mention that I am on Prozac (but I prefer dropping it if there is something that helps me with anxiety and might interact with it), and Ritalin/Modafinil (cycling).

#2 focus83

  • Guest
  • 216 posts
  • 21

Posted 12 December 2009 - 12:21 PM

I've been reading here a lot about beta-blockers as anxiolytic.
I was wondering which substances or brands I should check out such as in reference to most popular, least risky, availability online, etc.

I should mention that I am on Prozac (but I prefer dropping it if there is something that helps me with anxiety and might interact with it), and Ritalin/Modafinil (cycling).


For me Propranolol (Inderal) was the only medication ever that could suppress the symptoms of my social phobia. I take 40mg (which is plenty) prior to situations I'm afraid of. While on Propranolol I could master almost any situation without people noticing that I was anxious. Heart beat stays normal, no blushing, not trembling...
I even took 3x40mg daily for several years to control my essential tremor while I was still in school. It literally saved my life, but I'm pretty sure it's the Propranolol which also caused the depressions I'm now suffering from for years. However, taking it ocassionally should be pretty safe.

The only other beta blocker I tried was Atenolol which IMO isn't nearly as strong as Propranolol in suppressing anxiety symptoms. That being said, I haven't ever tested it in a really challenging situation.

I should also note that the effects of Ritalin are hardly noticable for me while on Propranolol.

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Click HERE to rent this advertising spot for BRAIN HEALTH to support LongeCity (this will replace the google ad above).

#3 steelsky

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 412 posts
  • 2

Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:14 PM

I've been reading here a lot about beta-blockers as anxiolytic.
I was wondering which substances or brands I should check out such as in reference to most popular, least risky, availability online, etc.

I should mention that I am on Prozac (but I prefer dropping it if there is something that helps me with anxiety and might interact with it), and Ritalin/Modafinil (cycling).


For me Propranolol (Inderal) was the only medication ever that could suppress the symptoms of my social phobia. I take 40mg (which is plenty) prior to situations I'm afraid of. While on Propranolol I could master almost any situation without people noticing that I was anxious. Heart beat stays normal, no blushing, not trembling...
I even took 3x40mg daily for several years to control my essential tremor while I was still in school. It literally saved my life, but I'm pretty sure it's the Propranolol which also caused the depressions I'm now suffering from for years. However, taking it ocassionally should be pretty safe.

The only other beta blocker I tried was Atenolol which IMO isn't nearly as strong as Propranolol in suppressing anxiety symptoms. That being said, I haven't ever tested it in a really challenging situation.

I should also note that the effects of Ritalin are hardly noticable for me while on Propranolol.


Do beta-blockers, or specifically Inderal, treat the SYMPTOMS of anxiety or the anxiety itself.
Also, my anxiety is pretty much a steady feeling, and it is not social... I dread some "unreasonable" threats like war, global warming, car accidents and such. It is not something that takes great toll on my life - I am very productive and active. It's just not the best feeling and I was wondering whether I can get rid of it easily (i.e. with no side-effects or health risks).

#4 KimberCT

  • Guest
  • 472 posts
  • 43
  • Location:Connecticut

Posted 12 December 2009 - 01:23 PM

What type of anxiety do you have? The "constant worry" type of anxiety where your brain won't just shut up, or the "constant fear" type of anxiety where you have the physical sensation of fright?

#5 focus83

  • Guest
  • 216 posts
  • 21

Posted 12 December 2009 - 02:23 PM

Do beta-blockers, or specifically Inderal, treat the SYMPTOMS of anxiety or the anxiety itself.


Personally speaking Propranolol is best at treating the symptoms, but it also eases the inner tension one has before fearful situations. So yes, to a certain extent it is also an anxiolytic. There have been days where Propranolol even made me indifferent towards situations I was afraid of, but that wasn't always the case.

In your case, I would reconsider trying beta blockers. If you are constantly worrying I do not see how you would benefit from a beta blocker as you should really avoid taking Propranolol or other beta blockers daily and long term if not absolutely necessary.

#6 csrpj

  • Guest
  • 411 posts
  • 11

Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:14 PM

so my understanding about propranolol, is that the effects aren't mental - it doesn't take away anxious thoughts - but rather blocks the physical symptoms of anxiety.

my question is, because of this, does it help with long-term fear-reduction though desensitization? if you expose yourself to fearful situations enough times, that fear starts to fade away. now, if you take other anti-anxiety drugs like alcohol or benzos, if anything the opposite happens and you become dependent on these substances. but with beta blockers, would you not become dependent on them and actually feel more comfortable in those situations because you have been more exposed to them?

#7 425runner

  • Guest
  • 158 posts
  • 1

Posted 12 December 2009 - 03:18 PM

My friend takes Lisinopryl which is also a beta blocker, would this be as good as propranolol? Thanks

#8 focus83

  • Guest
  • 216 posts
  • 21

Posted 12 December 2009 - 06:35 PM

so my understanding about propranolol, is that the effects aren't mental - it doesn't take away anxious thoughts - but rather blocks the physical symptoms of anxiety.

my question is, because of this, does it help with long-term fear-reduction though desensitization? if you expose yourself to fearful situations enough times, that fear starts to fade away. now, if you take other anti-anxiety drugs like alcohol or benzos, if anything the opposite happens and you become dependent on these substances. but with beta blockers, would you not become dependent on them and actually feel more comfortable in those situations because you have been more exposed to them?


As I said above, to some extent the effects are also mental. Propranolol crosses the blood-brain barrier and thus exerts its effects in the brain as well (at least to my layman understanding).

Concerning long-term treatment with Propranolol: better don't do it. Side effects are manifold and things like diabetes and depression are nothing to take lightly. I speak from my own experience.
Btw, I doubt Propranolol is useful for exposure therapy. I have used it on so many occassions and still am afraid of all those situations. I guess when on Propranolol your mind is not in a state to "learn" from fearful situations. It is numbed and not ready to digest and analyze what is happening around you which of course is not the ideal state to benefit from exposure therapy. Just compare it with a benzo which also numbs you, lets you get over a fearful situation and resume life afterwards without having to go through a panic attack. What's left are thoughts like "Phew! I'm glad it's over!". Then again, we are all different and maybe it will work for you, but don't count on it.

#9 steelsky

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 412 posts
  • 2

Posted 12 December 2009 - 08:13 PM

OK, so I guess this is a real issue.

I don't think I suffer from conventional anxiety symptoms. I might get an access secretion of saliva, or a rush of adrenaline, when stressed, but I don't think its excessive, meaning that I might be in the normal range (or near it). I don't really know how it is with other people, but I guess even regular folks get stressful.

I do have mild-moderate OCD (I am not one to perform habitual acts, but I do worry more about cleanliness than most people, and, as per this thread, get anxious about certain things (which I tend to exaggerate)... but not about others, though). I did have a mild social-phobia and depression, but prozac really did the trick (extremely so). However, anxiety is still an issue.

So basically I don't really "suffer" from the symptoms, but my level of anxiety towards certain things is above the standard. This is why I wonder whether beta-blockers might help me specifically.

#10 Zoroaster

  • Guest
  • 349 posts
  • 4

Posted 13 December 2009 - 01:49 AM

so my understanding about propranolol, is that the effects aren't mental - it doesn't take away anxious thoughts - but rather blocks the physical symptoms of anxiety.

my question is, because of this, does it help with long-term fear-reduction though desensitization? if you expose yourself to fearful situations enough times, that fear starts to fade away. now, if you take other anti-anxiety drugs like alcohol or benzos, if anything the opposite happens and you become dependent on these substances. but with beta blockers, would you not become dependent on them and actually feel more comfortable in those situations because you have been more exposed to them?


I'm going to disagree with focus83 on this one. Beta-Blockers have definitely helped retrain my physical reaction to fear-inducing situations. I do a lot of public speaking/training and despite years of doing this, my fear response had always been very very pronounced. Shaking hands and legs, excessive saliva/swallowing, even if I wasn't mentally nervous at all. I started using beta blockers, and of course they cancelled the fear response, which was amazing, but from that point on, I noticed that my fear response had reduced even when I didn't have the beta-blockers on hand. After about a year and a half of periodic beta-blocker use, my fear response is probably about half what it used to be, even without beta blockers. This is a relatively common phenomenon from what I understand. I've read a lot of similar accounts online. A lot of my performance anxiety response came from the fact that I knew that once I got up there that rush of fear was coming. Beta-blockers allowed me to have several positive performance experiences, free from anxiety, and thus reduced my "fear of the fear" if that makes sense.

Edit: Though I've been taking metroprolol and atenolol, neither of which have much of an ability to cross the blood brain barrier so that may have something to do with our differing experiences.


And to the OP, unfortunately, I don't think Beta-blockers would be the most effective solution for your type of anxiety. They are really for performance anxiety only. They will not alter the way you think, only your body's physical reaction to anxiety. Also, they do have depression as a long-term side effect, which in your case wouldn't be ideal. And as one commenter mentioned, they definitely blunt any stimulants you might be using simultaneously, probably including ritalin.

Edited by Zoroaster, 13 December 2009 - 01:51 AM.


#11 msied

  • Guest
  • 88 posts
  • -3

Posted 13 December 2009 - 02:36 AM

I'd thought I'd show everyone this, as beta blockers have popped up within my own range of usefulness because of it:

http://www.cognitive...y_drugs_sd.html

Memory-altering drug research is currently focused on propranolol, one of several so-called beta blockers widely used to reduce blood pressure, treat abnormal heart rhythms and prevent migraines. The brand name for propranolol is Inderal. Other beta blocker brand names are Inderide, Innopran XL, Betachron E-R, Kerlone, Lopressor, Tenormin, Toprol XL, Visken and Zebeta.

Beta blockers work by "blocking" the stimulative influence of stress hormones – specifically adrenaline – upon the body, relaxing blood vessels and slowing nerve impulses inside the heart.

Experiments indicate propranolol also blocks the effect of adrenaline upon areas of the brain involved in memory formation, including the amygdala. It seems to disconnect emotion from memory.



#12 csrpj

  • Guest
  • 411 posts
  • 11

Posted 13 December 2009 - 03:00 AM

zoroaster, what dose were you using? and what would you say is the maximum frequency such as not to encounter side effects?

#13 Zoroaster

  • Guest
  • 349 posts
  • 4

Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:13 AM

zoroaster, what dose were you using? and what would you say is the maximum frequency such as not to encounter side effects?


I don't remember my metoprolol dose but I had the sustained release formulation. With atenolol I have the 6.25 mg tablets. I take 1 for mildly stress inducing situations (like dinner with the in-laws) 2 for normal performance situations (lecture or public speaking) and 3 for extremely stressful situations (I spoke in front of about 5,000 people recently and used three to great effect). I've never really taken them more than 3 days in a row and I probably only take them twice a week on average. And there are pretty much always side effects with any dose. I get a bit drowsy in proportion to the dose I take, and my verbal recall abilities are sometimes affected. Attention is also affected (so taking them before a study session would be a bad idea). I switched from metoprolol to atenolol because I felt like the metoprolol was affecting my memory in a negative way (supposedly memory impairment is on the side effects list for metoprolol and not the other beta blockers). And of course beta-blockers kill your libido pretty well also.

All those side effects are pretty mild but definitely noticeable with a single dose. I don't know if your body would adjust if you were to take them on a daily basis, but I like taking them periodically.

#14 health_nutty

  • Guest
  • 2,400 posts
  • 88
  • Location:California

Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:22 AM

800-1000mg per day of magnesium from magnesium citrate (along with 1000mg of Calcium from Calcium citrate for balance) did wonders for my low grade anxiety.

sponsored ad

  • Advert
Click HERE to rent this advertising spot for BRAIN HEALTH to support LongeCity (this will replace the google ad above).

#15 steelsky

  • Topic Starter
  • Guest
  • 412 posts
  • 2

Posted 13 December 2009 - 04:44 AM

OK, so I guess this is a real issue.

I don't think I suffer from conventional anxiety symptoms. I might get an access secretion of saliva, or a rush of adrenaline, when stressed, but I don't think its excessive, meaning that I might be in the normal range (or near it). I don't really know how it is with other people, but I guess even regular folks get stressful.

I do have mild-moderate OCD (I am not one to perform habitual acts, but I do worry more about cleanliness than most people, and, as per this thread, get anxious about certain things (which I tend to exaggerate)... but not about others, though). I did have a mild social-phobia and depression, but prozac really did the trick (extremely so). However, anxiety is still an issue.

So basically I don't really "suffer" from the symptoms, but my level of anxiety towards certain things is above the standard. This is why I wonder whether beta-blockers might help me specifically.


I'm bumping this.

As for the post regarding adrenaline and memory - I am no expert but unless I'm mistaken, anything the promotes stress (e.g. cortisol) is not very good for the body. Still, I wonder if the benefits of beta-blockers outweigh any harm it may bring.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users