Beta Blockers


What are Beta Blockers?

Stress, in its worst, is an experience that involves a wide range of unwelcome physical symptoms, mental tension, and emotional exhaustion. These effects are brought about by an array of internal body changes in reaction to a detected threat to one’s overall well being.

Whenever the body identifies a stressful stimulus, a hormone called adrenaline is released. This hormone attaches to receptors found in major body organs such as the heart, the lungs, the kidneys, and the blood vessels to enable these organs to actively participate in the body’s effort to fight and defeat the stressful stimulus. In simpler terms, the heart beats faster, the lungs demand more air so breathing becomes faster, the kidneys work harder to excrete more waste as evident in sweating, and the arteries constrict to raise the blood pressure. This is the body’s natural reaction to stress.

Nevertheless, the physical signs and symptoms that manifest make the body’s honest effort to help counteract stress gets unrecognized and even unappreciated. This is where beta blockers come in.

Beta blockers are drugs that help minimize the body’s reaction to a stressful situation. They are commonly known drugs used in the treatment of high blood pressure and irregular heart rhythms by preventing adrenaline from attaching to their receptors so as not to activate the major organs of the body. Beta blockers keep the body organs relaxed in the event of stress.

Beta Blockers for Blushing

Blushing, which is the sudden reddening of the face, is one of the body’s natural responses to stress. To its great misfortune, it is one of the most dreaded responses. However, there’s good news for all you blushers out there. Since beta blockers diminish body reactions to stress that cause uncontrollable blushing, these drugs can be used to help you overcome your blushing problems. 

Blushing, alongside with sweating, trembling of hands, shaking of voice, and weakening of the knees, is a common reaction to social anxiety. The pressure you put on yourself to perfect an impromptu speech, say the right words on your first date, or give a flawless first impression of yourself to someone you just met is detected by the body as a threat. Beta blockers will help minimize the body’s reaction to allow you to relax and keep yourself calm when you have to face the world at your best.

Beta Blockers and Anxiety 

Anxiety is a very uncomfortable feeling. The more you try to get rid of it during an anxiety attack the more anxious you just get. Beta blockers could play a very important role in managing anxiety. Although this drug does not have a direct effect on the root cause of anxiety, it is vital in dealing with the symptoms that come along with being anxious such as increase in heart rate and respirations, trembling of hands, shaking of voice, and sweating. 

With the advice of their doctors, some people with social phobia who are anticipating a potentially stressful situation – like a performance or a public speech – take beta blockers in advance. It’s a way for them to manage their nerves before stepping into the spotlight.

It is very important to take note, however, that beta blockers do not cure anxiety. They do not have an effect on the emotions associated with an anxiety attack. Beta blockers help manage the symptoms but do not eliminate the source of it. They are not suggested for long-term treatment of anxiety. Talk to a professional if you think that your anxiety problems are getting in the way. Always remember that confidence is not something you get from medication. It has to come from within you.

Side Effects of Beta Blockers 

All medications have side effects. So do beta blockers. It is important that aside from the intended therapeutic effects, the side effects are also taken into account when considering beta blocker therapy.

To make a short list of it, common side effects of beta blocker therapy are nausea, dizziness, light-headedness, drowsiness, fatigue, weakness, cold hands and feet, and slower than normal pulse.

Beta blockers are not recommended for those who are suffering from heart conditions that cause the heart to beat slower than usual as the drugs may only aggravate the existing heart problem. Asthmatic people are also contraindicated to engage in beta blocker therapy. Asthma is a condition where the air passages constrict making it difficult to breath. Beta blockers have the potential to only worsen breathing problems which may worsen asthma, a very reversible condition.  Since beta blockers prevent palpitations and tremors, these drugs are not also indicated for people with diabetes. The blood sugar of a diabetic is in constant fluctuation. Beta blockers are advised against them because they need the palpitations and tremors to help them recognize – without checking their blood sugar level – that their sugar is dropping far too low.

List of Beta Blockers

Non-selective blockers that target all B1, B2, and B3 beta receptors, include Alprenelol, Bucindolol, Carteolol, Carvedilol, Labetalol, Nadolol,   Oxprenolol, Penbutolol, Pindolol, Propanolol, Sotalol, and Timolol.

There is a kind of beta blocker that acts specifically on receptors found in the heart and kidneys and they are referred to as B1 beta blockers. This type of beta blocker is the one most prescribe to manage symptoms of anxiety. It includes Acebutolol, Atenolol, Betaxolol, Bisoprolol, Celiprolol, Esmolol, Metoprolol, Nebivolol.

The suffix “-olol” is unique to beta blockers so don’t worry if you don’t get to memorize the long list of drug names.

Where can I get beta blockers?

Your ultimate and prime responsibility when considering going into beta blocker therapy to keep your nerves down is to make sure you talk to your doctor about it. NEVER take a beta blocker without a prescription. It may have worked out well for your friend but it doesn’t mean that things will work out the exact same way for you if you take the same drug regimen.

Talk to your doctor. Once you have that prescription, it should be pretty easy to buy beta blockers in any pharmacy. Don’t even think about asking for your friend’s leftover pills. It just doesn’t work that way.

Medication can help you manage what is physical. It can temporarily alleviate symptoms that you don’t want to have. But remember, no amount of drug can change the way you perceive yourself and the world around you. Always keep your body, your mind, and your emotions in check. Pay attention to everything that is you.

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