Stress Pills: Physiological Dependence, Psychological Dependence, Specific Medications and Indications

Many people use anti-anxiety medications even though therapy, exercise, or other self-help strategies work just as well or better.

The role of medication in treating stress is conducive if it interferes with your ability to function. So medications can be helpful, especially as a short-term treatment.

Feelings of stress are reactions to things in your life, not a mental health problem, so there is no specific medicine for anxiety. However, several medications are available that can help reduce or control some of the signs of stress.

For example, your doctor may offer to prescribe:

  • Sleeping pills.
  • Minor tranquilizers.
  • Antidepressants if you are experiencing depression or anxiety.
  • Medicines to treat any physical symptoms of stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome or high blood pressure.

It is important to remember that you should never take any anxiety medications alone, and you should try to avoid them if possible.

Medications are not harmful; they are certainly not as evil as many tell you. But mental health medications have drawbacks. It is more than just side effects. Drugs can harm your ability to cope with stress later in life due to:

Physiological dependence

When the body needs the medicine because it is adapted to the effects, your brain begins to depend on it, and your ability to cope with natural stress worsens.


If you stop taking medicine suddenly, you will experience severe side effects. You have to stop slowly, and you should take it every day, even if you don’t feel anxious that day.

Psychological dependence

Perhaps more worrisome is psychological dependence. You are so dependent on the medication that you do nothing else to cure your anxiety.

When you stop taking the medication and experience some stress, you will want to return to the drug immediately. This type of behavior can make dealing with anxiety that much more difficult.

It is essential to keep this in mind. You should only choose medication as a last resort due to these risks. Even if you choose a medication for stress and feel better, make sure you continue to learn the proper coping strategies so that your anxiety doesn’t return when you stop taking the medication.

Are there any medications specifically for stress?

There is currently no medication for stress, but generally, doctors prescribe medication for anxiety. Technically, stress and anxiety are different, but they share enough similarities to consider the same effects.

Suppose you are under a great deal of stress, but your actual anxiety symptoms are not that strong. In that case, your doctor will likely prescribe a very mild anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication).

Unless your anxiety is pronounced, it is unlikely that you will be given traditional anti-anxiety medications like benzodiazepines for your stress. Benzodiazepines tend to cause fatigue, and the risk of addiction is quite substantial.

There are enough anxiety medications that should have about the same overall effect. But due to adverse reactions and the risks of physiological and psychological dependence, even these should be used sparingly.

What are sleeping pills and minor tranquilizers?

Sleeping pills and minor tranquilizers are sedatives. This means that they slow down your body and brain functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, and thought processes.

These drugs are sometimes called sleeping pills, minor tranquilizers, sedatives, or anxiolytics. Doctors can also call them hypnotics and anxiolytics.

How can sleeping pills or minor tranquilizers help you?

If taken correctly, they can:

  • Reduce anxiety symptoms, such as feeling very agitated or shaky.
  • Helps break a period of insomnia and return to a healthier sleep pattern.

They cannot cure anxiety and sleep problems as they do not address the underlying causes, but they can help you feel calmer and more relaxed by mitigating stress.

Who can prescribe sleeping pills and minor tranquilizers?

You should be prescribed sleeping pills and minor tranquilizers according to the National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care guidelines.

These guidelines say that only a little sleeping pills and tranquilizers should be given:

  • If you have severe anxiety or insomnia, it significantly impacts your everyday life.
  • For short periods.
  • If other forms of treatment, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy  (CBT), are not appropriate or have not helped.