Wednesday, December 2, 2020

SSRIs Vs Benzos: What Medication Works for Social Anxiety?


The most common social anxiety disorder medications fit into 2 categories: 

  1. Benzodiazepines (Benzo’s) These are the most effective
  2. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s)

SSRIs Vs Benzos: Efficacy

Which One Blocks Out Social Anxiety Best?

Benzodiazepines win the day for effectiveness. They consistently deliver stronger results for anxiety sufferers. People usually report that their anxiety is barely present, once they find a specific Benzo that suits them…

…But hold your horses just a second!

Before you race off to the doctor’s surgery to sort out a prescription, see my comparison of social anxiety medications for side-effects. When you’ve seen that, you might see Benzo’s for what they really are (evil).

On the other hand, SSRI’s are used primarily to treat depression. They regulate the level of a neurotransmitter in the brain that decides mood. This is why I believe SSRI’s are not so consistently effective when used as social phobia medications; mood and anxiety aren’t really linked.

SSRIs Vs Benzos: Side Effects

Which Drug Has Worst Side Effects?

The 2 types of meds are Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and Benzodiazepines (Benzo’s).

If you just want to know which has worse side-effects: Benzodiazepines do.

Possible side-effects of using SSRI’s:

Insomnia Decreased Appetite
Restlessness Involuntary Movements
Dizziness Headaches
Nausea Diarrhoea
Weight Gain Dry Mouth
Lower Libido Anorexia
Anxiety Anger or Aggressiveness
Lethargy Drowsiness
Blurry Vision Constricted Pupils
Sweating Constipation
Indigestion Sexual Dysfunction
Frequent Urination Trembling
Yawning Memory Loss

If you pick out any one particular side-effect, it’s unlikely that you will get that side-effect from taking an SSRI – but as there are so many possible side-effects, you’re bound to get some. 

Which ones? Impossible to say until you try the social anxiety medications.

You’re best off never finding out, by turning your nose up at medication for social anxiety.

Possible side-effects of using Benzodiazepines:

Drowsiness Lack of Balance
Confusion Weakness
Memory Loss Depression
Long-term Sexual Dysfunction Tolerance to the drugs **
Dependence on the drugs **

That’s a much shorter list, but don’t be fooled. The side-effects of Benzo’s are much more severe, even though there’s less of them possible.

** Why You Should Avoid Benzodiazepines:
You’d Become Tolerant To Them, And
Dependent On Them

Your body develops tolerance, meaning you need a higher dose to get a decent effect. This makes side-effects worse.

Then your body gets hooked on the drugs (dependence), meaning you get nasty side-effects from missing a dose, or not upping your dose.

Eventually you get to a stage where you want to take more because your body demands the drugs (and shows this with withdrawal symptoms), yet you don’t want to take more because the side-effects will get worse. It’s a crap position to be in, so avoid it happening by refusing Benzodiazepines.

If you’re already taking Benzo’s, know this:

What could happen to you is harmless – just uncomfortable. The best thing to do is begin a very, very (yes very) slow social anxiety disorder medication withdrawal program.

If you really must have some
relief, try an SSRI – they’re
less problematic

If you really are desperate and badly need some relief, opt for an SSRI, not a Benzodiazepine. Why? 

Purely because of the Tolerance and Dependence potential of Benzo’s. They can’t hurt you, but they can make life a lot more uncomfortable than SSRI’s can.

Neither SSRI’s Nor Benzo’s Can Help You
In The Long Run

Prescription drugs are not the answer to social anxiety disorder. SAD is a condition caused by your behaviour after an unpleasant social experience or similar stimulus. Behaviourally-caused conditions do not require meds.

Medication is for things that, on a physical level, are wrong. If you’ve got SAD, there’s some confused programming in your mind for sure, but there’s nothing physically wrong with your mind – which means you’ll get nowhere with meds.

Forget Meds. A Behavioural Problem Needs
A Behavioural Solution

The approach you need is a change in certain elements of your behaviour, and I have made a plan to help you.

Emily Murdoch
Hi I write about health and fitness for women! You may contact me at

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