My Doctor felt that that my anxiety and stress was driving up my bp so he prescribed effexor and he told me to take valium until the meds kicked in. I know the valium has lowered my bp calming me down. I am really worried about the side effects of effexor I don't know if I want to start this medication.
Stress, tension, anxiety, anger, fear, pollutants, allergens, irritants, diet, etc., can all cause higher blood pressure. Meds that lower anxiety would naturally have a lowering effect on blood pressure, but there are many, many other triggers of higher blood pressure, MANY!
So...... for someone prone to higher blood pressure, anti-anxiety meds might not be enough. Blood Pressure meds would still probably be the med of choice.
It's far better to be on the safe side, and take blood pressure meds, if indicated, rather than risk eventual danage to the kidneys, thyroid, pancreas, heart, nerves, etc.
Lourage ( another member here) and I both have BP that spikes when we stress. I forgot what he takes, but he found that it did help lower his BP, but didn't really stabalize it. I believe he ended up taking a beta blocker to get his BP stable.
Maybe he will see this and reply, I haven't seen him in awhile.
im on meds for hbp.. a few year back when my panic/anxiety attacks were at a high was given on 2 different occasions anxiety meds which pulled my bp down so low that i wanted and was ready to faint ...at the time my doctor said that was the side effects of the anxiety meds causing your bp to fall to low ...and because i was on bp meds the effects were worse ...
Over-activity by the NeuroHormonal System is the main cause of higher blood pressure. Anxiety meds attempt to relax the nervous system, which, in turn, reduces over-activity of the NeuroHormonal System. But..... Blood Pressure meds act directly to inhibit the NeuroHormonal System, and are much more effective at lowering blood pressure than anxiety meds.
For someone like me, approaching 70, with Heart Failure and other serious health problems, who used to suffer from chronically high blood pressure, it is essential that I keep my blood pressure at healthy levels. High Blood Pressure can result in damage to organs, glands and nerves. I take my blood pressure around 7 times per day. So far, I've taken my blood pressure 27239 times since 1998, and I do reports and charts that have significantly influenced my medications, diet and lifestyle.
I guess it all depends upon your blood pressure needs. Some, with mildly higher blood pressure, might be able to maintain healthy blood pressure levels by just taking an anti-anxiety med. Others might need to take meds that are more tailored to treat high blood pressure. Some might need both?
I've never suffered from anxiety and have no experience with anti-anxiety meds.
I just feel fortunate that I am able to take the miraculous Blood Pressure & Heart Failure medication, Coreg. What a wonderful discovery!
I am not aware of any studies showing a BP lowering effect of xanax or valium. OTOH I had forgotten that beta blockers are sometimes prescribed for anxiety...but even then I never really thought of them as primarily an anti-anxiety drug per se.
So I guess, yes, as anti-anxiety drugs, beta blockers work because they directly effect BP not just indirectly through anxiety lowering.
The reason I asked is because my BP appears to be completely and inextricably intertwined with my anxiety/stress levels. I believe that, anxiety and stress aside, my BP would be a non-issue. I'm 30, exercise regularly, eat healthy, not overweight, don't smoke, no family history of hypertension....
I have never taken any medications for anxiety or for hypertension, but I may get to the point where I do need to treat hypertension. My average BP reading would fall in the "pre-hypertension" range (130s/80s), but it can be 110s/70s or 150/90. I have gotten to the point where I can almost predict what my BP will be depending on how anxious I'm feeling. The anxiety can come from anything, usually obsessively thinking about something, either work, social event, too much to do, BP itself, doctor vists (my favorite).
So, if my BP is just a response to anxiety, does it make sense to treat the anxiety and not take BP meds?
An interesting question and one of some interest to me...essentially my BP does precisely the same thing. I believe it is one definition of "labile hypertension."
There are two schools of thought, both reflected on this board. One says no, its not "real hypertension, so treat the anxiety.
The second says, well, you can't eliminate stress...its a part of life, and if your BP rockets up with stress (as mine does) then you are getting spike after spike after spike which is doing damage due to the frequency. Some people have BP that reacts well to stress, others are hyper-active to it. So this school of thought says take meds to keep the spikes lower then they would be. You can already guess the down-side; BP that goes TOO low when you are not stressed.
I share in the frustration about this...it is real tough to not be able to get a straight "take meds" or "don't take meds!"
Last edited by mod-anon; 05-01-2009 at 07:26 PM.
Reason: removed quote
I take Xanax for anxiety, but it doesn't lower my bp, especially at a Drs. appt. I take my bp at home and bring the readings to the Drs. appt. I take a beta blocker and it's lowered my bp and pulse nicely.
Getting my anxiety under control was key in stabalizing my blood pressure. I took Zoloft... actually have taken it a few times over the years to help me when I start obsessing over my blood pressure. I think my issues may be more centered around undiagnosed OCD. I tend to go through cycles of obsessive thinking, which naturally, makes my stress level outrageous. This causes my blood pressure to go up, and then I start obsessing over it. Nasty, nasty cycle. 3-4 months on a low dose of Zoloft tends to snap me out of it. I've twice dealt with BP readings in the 140/90 range - and spikes much higher than that. However, my average now is 122/82... this is up from an average of 117/77 last month. I've put on a few pounds recently and need to hit the gym a bit harder, again
For me, the two are certainly linked. I'm sure this makes me suseptible to long-term issues with hypertention, but I'll forgo the meds as long as possible. Seems that once you get on BP meds it's really hard to get off.... with the Zoloft I start weaning off after I get my mind out of it's stressful rut.