Home Health How Hydroxyzine Helps Reduce Anxiety – Know The Do’s and Don’ts

How Hydroxyzine Helps Reduce Anxiety – Know The Do’s and Don’ts

by Tushar Sisodiya

Anxiety, stress and depression are silent killers. You cannot know for sure if someone is suffering from anxiety or not simply because they may outwardly seem happy and contented in life. Anxiety assumes numerous forms – from sleeping troubles to eating disorders, lack of concentration to feeling an impending sense of doom – it can come in one or many of these forms. 

If you are looking for information online, you will find myriad opinions about what works and what doesn’t. A common suggestion that you will come across is how making lifestyle changes is really effective in controlling stress and anxiety. Sleeping on time, maintaining a daily schedule, eating healthy, avoiding junk and oily food are some suggestions that are frequently made. While all these tips do help to reduce stress and anxiety, it takes a lot of dedication and hard work to be able to alter one’s lifestyle so significantly. 

Stress and anxiety can be so overwhelming that it can get difficult to think coherently, to stick to a routine, to practice good habits and to help the mind heal itself naturally. Most often, you will need external help, either in the form of antidepressants and anxiety relieving pills or through numerous sittings with therapists and counsellors. When we talk about medications, the next big question that need to be answered is what medicines you should take and what you should avoid. Today we shall be talking about one medicine in particular that is quite popularly prescribed for relieving anxiety. We shall be discussing about its side-effects, recommendations on how to use etc. 

What is Hydroxyzine?

There are several over-the-counter (OTC) medications easily available with pharmacists that are various types of antihistamines. Hydroxyzine is one of them, but with some difference. It is not very different from Zyrtec and Benadryl and is most popularly known to treat common symptoms of cold and allergies such as itchy and watery eyes, runny nose, etc. But with Hydroxyzine, there is an added use. It has some unique characteristics that makes it quite an effective medication for treating anxiety. Here, it must however be mentioned that unlike the other two medications for allergies and cold, Hydroxyzine cannot be bought over the counter without a prescription. 

Hydroxyzine is most commonly available in two forms – as hydroxyzine pamoate and hydroxyzine hydrochloride. They are easily available as generic medicines. However, they cannot be bought without a prescription. 

Does Hydroxyzine Work To Reduce Stress?

Hydroxyzine is considered to be quite miraculous as until now scientists, pharmacists nor researchers have been able to state how it can help reduce anxiety. However, consistent use of this medication is seen to have a positive effect on the human mind and body. Most significantly it changes how two chemicals – serotonin and histamine – work within the body. 

Hydroxyzine is already known as an antihistamine which means that it helps to stop histamine from harmfully effecting the body. Serotonin is a chemical which largely impacts our mood is also controlled by hydroxyzine. Hydroxyzine is one of the very few (read only) medicine known to control serotonin levels as well as to effect the histamine level within the body.  

While research on how hydroxyzine can help control anxiety is still undergoing, most studies are indicating that it specifically helps treat generalized anxiety disorder or GAD. 

Best Way to Take Hydroxyzine

It cannot be stressed enough that hydroxyzine should only be taken upon doctor’s or your healthcare provider’s advice. However, there are few standards that almost all doctor’s advice. We shall be talking about these standard usages. 

It is generally known that once you start taking anxiety relieving pills, you must continue them for a long time. That’s not the case with hydroxyzine. It is one medication which can be taken on a need basis. This means you can take it whenever you are feeling stressed or anxious. You don’t need to take it regularly. Unlike other medicines such as Celexa and Buspar which you must continue for a long time to prevent anxiety symptoms from affecting you, hydroxyzine has a more immediate and normalizing effect. 

In other words, you don’t need to be dependent on this medicine to keep your anxiety in check. However, you must only have according to the advice of your healthcare provider.  

Typically doctors’ advice adults to take 50 to 100 mg daily which can be taken four times a day. There is no suggestion on whether you must take it before or after food. 

How Effective Is Hydroxyzine?

One of the many reasons why hydroxyzine is popular is because it starts showing its effect very quickly. In fact you will start feeling the difference in about 30 minutes while its maximum effect is completely felt after 2 hours. But here is a rider. Since it is a fast-acting medicine, it also has numerous side-effects which we shall be talking about in sometime. 

Side Effects of Hydroxyzine

Most of the side effects caused by hydroxyzine are mild. But over-dosage or frequent dosages can be harmful. Some of the common side effects are – 

  • Dizziness,
  • Nausea, 
  • Dry Mouth, 
  • Sedation

If you are taking this medicine for the first time, you must be careful about few things. It is advisable that you do not drive after taking the pills as you might feel dizzy and sedated. It is also advisable that you avoid partaking in any other important task. After few dosages, if you think the side-effects are minimal, you can go ahead with your daily routine. However if problems persists, it is always better to talk to your doctor. 

Can Pregnant Women Take Hydroxyzine?

While there is no clinical tests to confirm the effects of hydroxyzine on the unborn child and a pregnant woman, you will be advised by your doctor to not take these pills during your pregnancy. If you continue to feel anxious, the doctor may prescribe an alternative medicine. 

Hydroxyzine is popular as an anxiety relieving medicine as it immediately starts to reverse the effects of anxiety and stress. Moreover since it is not a habit-forming drug (which means you won’t get any withdrawal symptoms from not having it), it is most often prescribed by doctors. If you are feeling anxious, ask your doctor today if you can start hydroxyzine for anxiety. 

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