While there are many medications that treat anxiety, many of them can be highly addictive or have unwanted side effects such as drowsiness. This is why many people look for alternatives to the benzodiazepines that are usually prescribed for anxiety. Atenolol, and other beta-blockers are often prescribed as non-addictive medications for anxiety.
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Beta-blockers, such as Atenolol, reduce the effects of adrenaline (epinephrine) upon the heart. They allow the heart to be more relaxed and reduces some of the physical effects of anxiety such as increased heart rate, shaking etc. Atenolol is generally not prescribed for long-term care, as it could affect heart rhythm and blood pressure over long term use.
Atenolol has a high potential for side effects, and should only be taken as prescribed. Due to the potentially harmful side effects, it is likely to be prescribed on a temporary basis for situational anxiety i.e. public speaking or exams. Even though they can be addictive, benzodiazepines are probably the best medication for long term daily use. Speak to your doctor about which medication would be best for you.
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