Frequently Asked Questions  About Anxiety Beta Blockers

Dealing with mental health issues requires a lot of effort. As experts suggest, you should be able to focus on self-care and self-awareness. Thus, it would be best to work on activities to improve your physical, emotional, and mental strength. These particular things include getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, drinking enough water, exercising regularly, and so on.

However, despite the effort you put into these healthy lifestyles, there are still some instances that you won’t control your emotional and mental dilemma. Sometimes, even if you try to vent it out and discuss it often, there is no use as it does not change anything. And despite all your efforts in keeping a positive thought, you somehow end up thinking too much about your coping strategies.

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With the severity of your anxiety, you usually experience physical manifestations. With that, you often deal with issues like difficulty breathing, muscle pain, palpitations, and some heart-related health problems. That is where beta-blockers come in. Usually, your doctor prescribes the medication to help you out on your anxiety symptoms struggle. So with these frequently asked questions below, let us understand more about beta-blockers and learn their impact on mental health, particularly anxiety.

Which beta-blocker is best for anxiety? 

The most common and often prescribed medication by medical experts to help with anxiety are the two beta-blockers, namely propranolol and atenolol.

These medicines are beneficial as they manage to slow down fast heartbeats or also known as arrhythmias. It also helps with lowering down high blood pressure or hypertension. But note that they do not cure these specific problems and only help to control them.

 How many beta-blockers should I take for anxiety? 

Your doctor may prescribe you to take a 20 to 40 mg dose of propranolol as needed. Sometimes, it could be an hour before a stressful situation. During this time, you may experience a heart rate decrease, which relaxes you. If necessary, they can also allow you to combine it with alprazolam or imipramine since it won’t have an adverse effect on your overall health. You’ll likely notice results the first time you take anxiety beta-blockers.

 Can you take beta-blockers every day for anxiety? 

Propranolol, an anxiety beta-blocker, is generally safe to take even for a long time, provided that your doctor prescribes it. Taking it to prevent migraines or control a heart condition makes it work best in the long term. If it is for anxiety, it tends to be okay as well since there do not seem to be any lasting damaging effects on your overall health if it gets taken for several months or years.

However, despite its proven clinical safety, you should still consider looking for other options. If possible, try not to engage with medication for too long and manage your symptoms naturally. That way, your mind and body won’t have to rely on the pills forever.

 What is the alternative to taking beta-blockers? 

Yes. A promising alternative to propranolol is angina or AF. You can also use any other drugs such as verapamil or diltiazem as substitutes as long as they can slow the heart rate. You must never stop taking your prescription beta-blockers or change it without consulting or speaking to your doctor about it.

Note that sudden changes with your medication can have an impact on your mind and body. It is best to note the changes that might occur once you switch on your medications.

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 Can you eat bananas with beta-blockers? 

At certain times, yes, you can eat bananas even when taking beta-blockers. However, too much potassium can lead to kidney failure and inconsistent heart rhythm. Thus, your doctor may advise and recommend that you restrict your consumption of bananas if you are taking a beta-blocker. The limitation goes with other high-potassium foods, including tomato, papaya, kale, and avocado.

 How long can you stay on beta-blockers? 

Propranolol is usually taken short-term for anxiety medication. That is because its main purpose is to help with physical symptoms. It reduces heart rate and blood pressure, which improves blood flow and eases the workload on your heart. Though there has never been an issue with taking it for too long, you still need to consult your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking it for an extended period. Remember, it’s best to take the beta blocker only for as long as you need it.

 What are the long-term side effects of beta-blockers? 

Though there is not much to worry about taking beta-blockers for an extended period, they can still bring some possible side effects when taken in very high doses. Beta-blockers can potentially slow the heart rate too much and worsen heart failure. It can also produce wheezing and sometimes worsens lung disease. High doses of the medication can also cause lightheadedness caused by a drop in blood pressure.

In some unfortunate situations, beta-blockers can cause a series of health conditions such as poor blood circulation, fatigue, dizziness, gastrointestinal symptoms, weight gain, and even sexual dysfunction. Thus, it would help if you were careful in taking beta-blockers for the long-term.

 Is it safe to exercise on beta-blockers?

Taking small doses of beta-blockers daily helps with anxiety. Incorporating medication with exercise is safe and is recommended by most doctors. That is due to all the physical activity benefits to the heart, lungs, muscles, and brain.

 Is it better to take beta-blockers at night? 

People who take beta-blockers, on average, experience lower blood pressure while sleeping. There is better blood pressure control when taking their medication at night. Also, most medical experts recommend and specify to take medications at night due to possible side effects that can occur. But before changing medication schedules, it is significantly important to talk to a health care provider about the prescription’s ideal time.

 Why do beta-blockers make you so tired? 

Taking beta-blockers is used to drop your heart rate. When that happens, the amount of blood that the heart is pumping can also drop. Thus, the condition creates symptoms of fatigue, drowsiness, lethargy, and so on. With that possible side effect, health care providers suggest medication to be taken at night. That way, patients can allow the body to experience the side effects while they sleep.

 What is the most commonly prescribed beta blocker? 

Health care providers are commonly prescribing beta-blockers such as metoprolol succinate and metoprolol tartrate.

Perhaps that is due to its benefits. Beta-blocker used to treat angina or chest pain, high blood pressure, and heart failure. It also aids in preventing heart attacks, strokes, and kidney problems.

 Which beta-blocker has the least amount of side effects? 

Bisoprolol or metoprolol succinate are beta-blockers that provide the maximum effect with the minimum amount of adverse effects. That is because cardioselective don’t affect beta-2 receptors in the lungs and blood vessels, as they were only designed to block only the heart cells’ beta-1 receptors. Thus, these are safe for people with lung disorders.

 Can you lose weight while on beta-blockers? 

Unfortunately, weight gain is more likely to be expected with patients taking older beta-blockers, such as metoprolol and atenolol. There are lower physical activity levels in their day-to-day lives. Therefore, patients need to keep a food diary for two weeks and track everything they drink and eat.

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 Is there a natural beta blocker? 

Yes. Some herbs, foods, and dietary supplements can act as natural beta-blockers since they contain vitamins and minerals that help lower blood pressure naturally. These include food with antioxidants, amino acids, Omega-3 fatty acids, coenzyme Q10, and magnesium.

 What does it feel to be on beta-blockers?

Beta-blockers slow your heart rate, which often gives you a tired feeling. Sometimes you may not notice the physical symptoms, but it can cause lightheadedness, weight gain, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms. Beta-blockers can also decrease your sex drive and can cause poor circulation.

 

Counseling And Mental Health

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We often hear that when we need help, we have to reach out and ask for help. Regardless of the issues we are facing. We must try and seek the help that we need. This is especially important when we are facing mental health issues. More frequent than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, mental illnesses affect over 450 million people worldwide and can be life-threatening, if only indirectly.

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Family Issues Triggered Depression And Bad Eating Habits

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I married really young. My age then was only nineteen and I thought that I have met my knight in shining armor. The words are “I thought.” You see, I grew up in a broken family. My father is a pathological liar, womanizer, and gambling addict. I mean, what kind of woman can live with a man who is all sorts of the dark? Back then, I blamed my mom for leaving my dad. It is only now that I realize why she had to do it.

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Self-Improvement And Self-Discovery During Quarantine

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Last February 2020, I weighed almost 190 kilos. I am a shorty at 5 feet four inches and super thick. In my mind back then, I didn’t care if my body was round and large. I was huge, super big, but because I had a husband who loved me, I let myself go. “His love is enough,” I gave myself that reasoning, but it all fell apart.

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Lose Weight, Feel Great

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The 2017 Weight Loss Workshop motivated me to start losing weight. I mean, it was not just the workshop which pushed me to trim down. Three things happened to me that forced this transformation. First, my health was dwindling. Second, I had to be charged more for a seat because I would not fit. Lastly, my boyfriend of three years left me for a woman who was 50 kilos lighter. These life experiences hurt me to the core, and I said, NO MORE. I WILL LOSE WEIGHT. IT’S TIME TO SHOW THEM WHO IS BOSS.

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Pandemic: We Are All Experiencing Emotional Pain

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It is not supposed to be normal, but now, it is a regular thing. We are in lockdown, and we have to self-soothe. Everyone is experiencing all sorts of pain, and the emotional kind is tough to ignore. Young kids and teenagers follow what they see from adults. So if a parent will react accordingly about the COVID-19 pandemic, then, the children will also be calm.

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Manage The Pain

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I’m glad that I was able to attend the 2019 Pain Management Conference. Every day, people encounter a problem that causes pain to the body. Through it, I have known that there are different types of physical pain; acute pain, chronic pain, breakthrough pain, bone pain, soft tissue pain, nerve pain, referred pain, phantom pain, and total pain.

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Technological Developments For Paralyzed SCI Patients

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For so long, spinal cord injury patients have been wallowing in depression and devastation over not being able to walk again, as they know that these injuries are pretty serious and can even be life-threatening. There have only been very limited options for treating or helping patients cope with their disabilities, including anti-inflammatory drugs and spinal decompression. Sadly, these have not addressed the issue of recovering from the injury in terms of mobility and return to function. The neurologic deficits that these SCI patients have incurred have remained, leaving them debilitated.

However, current studies tireless research have been promising, and some technological developments have been introduced, which will help SCI patients realize their dream of returning to function and ultimately be able to walk again.

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Stem Cell Therapy

 

These are undifferentiated cells that can change into specific cell types. They are also capable of renewing and multiplying themselves at the same time retaining their ability to transform into other cells. Because of this ability, stem cells are now being studied as to how they can replace nerve cells, as neurons have a limited capacity to regenerate.

Researchers are continually finding the correct chemical equations that will stimulate the stem cells to grow and regenerate like the neurons. They are now doing this by injecting stem cells from the bone marrow and into the cerebrospinal fluid to see if it can stimulate the proteins that are required to grow nerves and proliferate nerve impulses. Results that are currently released are quite promising.

Functional Electrical Stimulation

FES utilizes electrodes that are connected to a computer and attached to the paralyzed or weakened muscles to give bursts of electricity and elicit muscle contraction. In spinal cord injury, this is used to try and regain the function of muscles that are affected below the level of the spinal cord. When this was attempted, SCI patients showed mild to moderate improvement in the muscles of their hands and feet, the return of mild bowel and bladder control, and the return of muscle tone in the respiratory muscles, which enabled the patients to breathe without a ventilator. There were positive results for SCI as well as stroke patients.

Source: spinalcord.com

Neurotherapy Through Virtual Reality

 

Virtual therapy has been revolutionized further to treat spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, patients. Studies have proven that VR can persuade the brain into thinking that it is efficiently functioning and performing the actions being asked to follow in the virtual reality environment. This can cause vertigo in people who do not have any brain abnormalities, but for those with traumatic brain injuries, this inspires the brain to activate neurological pathways that became ‘useless’ following the injury.

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI)

The BCI works by evading the damaged nerve cells from the SCI. They are implanted and function to regain control of muscle movement to the patients’ weakened musculature. In SCI patients where cognitive function is unaffected, clinicians have successfully used the signals from the brain to control the BCI. Hand and arm orthotics also use the BCI to produce hand and arm function to once paralyzed extremities. The BCI is among the most important innovations of today, enabling patients to experience partial or complete normalcy after SCI.

Robotic Exoskeletons

Wearing robotic devices has been providing SCI patients the opportunity to be able to walk again. According to researchers, repetition helps the brain and the spinal cord coordinate with each other in reestablishing the lost synapses that were due to the spinal cord injury. These exoskeletons are quite heavy, and they require assistance from therapists or people from home, but patients don’t seem to mind. What’s important for them is the fact that they can walk again. These robotic devices have been seen first in physical therapy but have a very promising future in spinal cord injury.

 

 

Kick Starting Stroke Rehabilitation Through New Technology

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The recent stroke rehabilitation tools remain focused on the concept of neuroplasticity, which has been used by caregivers and therapists for years. It’s old knowledge that the brain is capable of retraining itself, but researchers now know how critical it is to start the recovery process at an early phase, as brain tissue damage during stroke is a transient trigger for complete brain damage.

In the aftermath of a stroke, the healthy brain deteriorates within three months. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for the healthy parts of the brain to form new connections leading to the affected nerves and muscles. It is during this stage; however when stroke patients form contractures and other circumstances that cause further limitations, which will prevent them from utilizing their healthy brain tissue.

But with modern technology, stroke patients can now have more options for recovery, most of which are designed to focus on the early stage of stroke rehab. Some of these recovery tools help doctors and therapists to monitor their patients’ progress while preventing further complications as they move towards partial or full recovery.

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Therapeutic Robotics

Robotic exoskeletons and other robotic devices are among the newest innovations made for the benefit of stroke victims. They are directly connected to the patient’s affected part to assist or permit movement. Robotic arms slings and supports are equipped with sensors that keep track of the extremities’ movements.

According to The Wall Street Journal, robotic exoskeletons are specifically beneficial because of their adjustable features. Support can be reduced as the patient slowly gains more muscle control and balance. When caregivers or therapists want to observe the patient, they do not have to move the patient’s limbs but instead, monitor the patient’s movements from afar because of the device.

Video Games For Stroke Patients

Through the years, doctors and therapists have been utilizing conventional low-tech therapy options for stroke patients, which can be quite hard, not to mention boring for the patient. Now, with the advent of modern rehabilitation technology comes stroke-specific video games that are more engaging and very easy to integrate into the home healthcare program. Bandit’s Shark Showdown is an exciting interactive video game that engages players to play as a dolphin controlling its movements. For the stroke patient, he wears a robotic sling and uses this sling to control the movements of the shark. This video game coordinates the dolphin’s jumps and dives with his muscular movements, activating his body and his brain synchronously.

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One of the creators of the video game, John Krakauer, states that a simple muscular movement would need an exceptionally complicated set of algorithms. His video game is built to “break down the physical and mental distinction” and regain function to the weakened extremities.

Another equally useful therapeutic tool is the interactive canoe trip that the NYU Langone Medical Center has developed. Though still at its early stages of testing, the creators claim that their patients are more determined and are more compliant with their current regimens. This tool has also proven to be another encouraging option for stroke victims who are too impaired to go through conventional physical therapy.

 

Conclusion

Through the continuous progress and improvement in modern technology, stroke victims have a higher likelihood of getting quick and efficient treatment the earliest time possible, increasing their family and the patient’s hopes of recovering and living life as normally as they possibly can.

 

 

 

The Stress Response: A Better Understanding

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In life, there is practically a myriad of ways you can get stressed: deadlines in work or school, worrying about the kids, a fear of losing a job or scholarship, among others. All of these can produce an avalanche stress hormone, in turn, produce timely physiological changes. When in stress, the heart pounds and breathing goes quicker. 

“There are so many ways stress creeps into our lives, yet if we take control of our time and make proactive and healthy decisions, we can stop these negative cycles and truly take care of our mental health.” That is according to Sonja Seglin, LCPC. This sequence of reactions called the “fight or flight” reaction, which is an evolved survival mechanism. This mechanism initially developed as a way to fend off the dangers primitive man faced, growing over time to sense threats and determine whether one can fight it or not. An unfortunate side-effect of this evolution, however, is that this also works on things such as a traffic jam, workplace pressure, household difficulties.

Throughout time, research has learned only not about the why and how of stress, but at the same time, gain information to effects, one can face physically and mentally. Research indicates chronic stress leads to spiking blood pressures, promoting the artery-clogging formation deposits, which lead to depression, anxiety, and addiction. Other effects of stress include obesity, by direct methods (eating more) or indirect methods (decreased exercise and sleep).

Ringing The Bell

It all begins with the human brain when the stress response starts. When someone faces imminent danger, such as a car crash or a weapon poised at you, your senses send the details to the amygdala, the part of the human brain responsible for emotional processing. It interprets sound and sight, and upon the perception of danger, it sends a distress sign to the hypothalamus part. “Neuroscientists have found that brain structure is altered by chronic exposure to the stress hormone cortisol, which can be a major contributing factor to anxiety and depression. Feelings of calm arise from time away from work and relieve stress, which allows the body and mind to heal in ways that it couldn’t if it were still under pressure.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP also adds.

Command Center

When in a stressful event, the amygdala, which serves as a brain’s headquarters. It’s like a command center, because it communicates with all of the nerves throughout the body, to ready for either fight or flight. After the amygdala has already sent the distress signal to the hypothalamus, it activates the sympathetic nervous system, which is one part of the autonomic nervous system. It is the “go” part, while its companion, the parasympathetic nervous system, is the “stop” part.

How To Counter Chronic Stress

“When stress becomes chronic, this narrow focus continues for a long time and we have difficulty paying attention to other things.” Dr. David Ballard, PsyD said. Most people are unable to put a stop on stress. Chronic low-level stress eats away at your energy, much like a motor left idle on high for too long. Persisting epinephrine surges may damage blood vessels and arteries, which leads to the spiking of blood pressure, and a raised risk of a heart attack.

Among the techniques found best to counter chronic stress are:

Relaxation response. This has a variety of methods to choose from, from simple deep breathing to yoga, and many other forms of relaxation. Most studies conducted were on hypertension and other heart disease patients. It did show that later on in the test, at least one medication was dropped.

Source: healthline.com

Physical Activity

Exercise can be another way to stifle the buildup of stress in several ways. It can be just a mere brisk walk after being stressed out does wonders if stressed, relieving muscle tension, as well as eased breathing. Other recommended movement activities are yoga, tai chi, and qi gong.

Source: healthline.com

Social Support 

The pure company of friends also alleviates too chronic stress. Whether be it friends or family, or just acquaintances from an interest club, they all form life-enhancing nets and can lead to longevity. There is no clear evidence, but it is said that people who have close support with family and friends live longer, due to the support network they have. After all, as they say, no man is an island.