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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What medication is available to help with stress management?

    My husband is going through a difficult period at work and is highly stressed all the time- working late nights and weekends, not exercising or eating properly. Is there any medication available to help control his stress levels as i am so worried it will eventuate into something more serious like a heart attack or even suicide if it keeps going the way it is att he moment.
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  • Damien Haines

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Damien Haines is a registered Clinical Psychologist who brings a warm and empathetic approach to therapy. He emphasises engagement in the world and encourages clients … View Profile

    Unfortunately, there is no medication that will help with stress. He is stressed (from what you write) due to real things in his life. Until they change, and/or until he deals with them in a more helpful way stress will be there. By giving him medications to reduce his stress it is possible that he may then take on more stress which then becomes self defeating. This is a typical pattern I see in men. For the short and long term he would be better off  having dedicated social time, physical activity, improved diet and good sleep hygiene.

    I would encourage you to help him to increase these behaviours. As an example: Call on his business skills regarding problem solving and goal setting to encourage him to realise that he can fit these things in, he just feels like he cannot. Perhaps akin to how he encourages his employees to realise things are possible when they thought they weren't before.

    Pack his lunch, have nutritious meals for him (if he won't). run a bath for him, go for a walk with him when he does come home and chat about stuff - not work.

    Those are basic things, and hopefully all he may need to re-prioritise his values/priorities. Otherwise I would suggest encouraging him to see a psychologist. A list of psychologists is here http://www.psychology.org.au/FindaPsychologist

    I look forward to hearing about his progress

  • 3

    Thanks

    Leanne Hall

    Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist

    Integrative Psychologist, Health Coach & Personal Trainer in private practice. I have expertise in assessing and treating a range of disorders and conditions; depression, anxiety, … View Profile

    I completely agree with Damien. By far the best advice is for your husband to focus on getting “back to basics” by looking after himself - eating properly, exercise, sleep. To do this, it is likely that he will have to re-assess his lifestyle and make some difficult decisions (for the sake of his health!)

    The class of drugs often used to treat long-term anxiety is benzodiazepines (eg, Valium, Xanax, Mogadon and Clozan). While these drugs can be useful in the short term to assist with sleep and anxiety - in the long term they are problematic. They cause physical dependance, and often one's tolerance to the drug increases requiring higher doses. Withdrawal is particularly difficult.

    Generally, these types of medications are prescribed to treat ANXIETY as opposed to STRESS. The critical difference being that in your husband's case, it is likely that once the stressor/s are removed & he follows Damien's advice - his symptoms will improve. Hence, it is most unlikely that medication would be of any benefit in your husband's case.

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