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Is Ativan good for anxiety?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 1989
Answered : 1963 Questions
Hi, at times I have travel anxiety. I find melatonin and other herbs like Chamomile generally not effective, especially when I am traveling. I am usually fine with sleeping, but travel messes me up big time. I go to a psychologist, but need something for travel. I have used Xanax but find the side effects make me feel down the next day, I was wondering if Ativan might be a better choice. Which one stays in your body shorter. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
Tue, 12 Jun 2018 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Kathy Robinson 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
try hydroxyzine or valerian

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thank you for the question.
Of the medications in the class of benzodiazepines (sedatives) xanax has the shortest half life, so it gets out of the body the quickest. Ativan stays around much longer and if you felt down after a xanax I am concerned that Ativan may be even worse.
If you want to try a natural substance, then try valerian.
If you want a prescription medication I suggest that you try hydroxyzine. It is an antihistamine, by class, but has an indication for anxiety as well. It is somewhat sedating but should not have the effect that the benzodiazepines do.
Another alternative may be learning biofeedback. An experienced teacher could help you learn to do this yourself or with a device, while you are traveling and in some cases it is very helpful without taking any medications.
Good luck,
Dr. Robinson
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