Buspirone is an anti-anxiety drug for people being treated for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It is not considered to be an addictive drug. However, buspirone can be abused. Keep reading to learn how and what can happen.

What is Buspirone?

Buspirone is a medicine that treats anxiety by affecting the chemicals in the brain. It’s in a class of drugs called anxiolytics and works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain. People diagnosed with GAD may be prescribed buspirone. It is typically to be used on a short-term basis.

Buspirone is prescribed to treat anxiety symptoms, such as tension, fear, dizziness, pounding heartbeat, irritability, and other physical symptoms. It is thought to reduce the amounts and mechanisms of action of serotonin in the brain.

Buspirone is not an antipsychotic medication, nor a benzodiazepine that comes with numerous side effects can be habit-forming, or a bad reputation for coming off it. It does not come with a warning that it is addictive.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 1986 for the drug manufacturer Bristol-Myers Squibb under the brand name BuSpar. Later, in 2011, the FDA approved a generic formulation for a few drugmakers, and Bristol-Myers Squibb discontinued BuSpar. Another brand name for it is Vanspar, and it is available by prescription only.

Anxiety in America

Data from the early 2000s indicates that more than 20 percent of all adults had an anxiety disorder, as reported by the National Institutes of Health.

A person can be diagnosed with GAD if they experience excessive worry or anxiety for at least six months.

Symptoms of GAD also include:

  • Fatigue (feeling overtired all the time, having low energy)
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble falling asleep or and staying asleep
  • Muscle tension

Abusing Buspirone

Even though buspirone is not a medication that people who want to get high seek out, it can still be abused. Its sedating effects can be why someone with a substance use disorder will want to obtain it and use it to get high. Some online sources and anecdotal reports suggest that users abuse it for that reason.

Those who do abuse it may experience:

  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of coordination

It is also possible to overdose on buspirone if abusing it. Signs or symptoms of an overdose are:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Finding Help For Buspirone Abuse

If you or someone you know is using buspirone to get high, know that there is help available. Coming off it may not be as dangerous as coming off a benzodiazepine, but health risks remain.

Addiction treatment for buspirone starts with medical detoxification, which entails the assistance of a doctor and addiction specialists to help the individual through the detox process. Gradually tapering off the drug occurs as medications for the withdrawal symptoms are addressed. Once detox is complete, the individual will undergo different types of therapies to get to the root of their addiction.

These therapies are beneficial for the person who abused Buspirone. They include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical therapy, individual, group, and family therapy, as well as various alternative, holistic therapies.

Addiction treatment also focuses on any co-occurring disorder, such as anxiety and/or depression. The individual will learn how to handle the situations that caused their excessive anxiety without using drugs. They will also learn how to deal with the triggers that can cause them to relapse.

An all-encompassing approach to abusing substances can set someone on the path to long-term recovery.

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