11 Little-Known Side Effects Of Occasionally Taking Anxiety Medication

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

If you have anxiety, there's a chance you've taken a medication like Xanax or Klonopin at some point, in order to better manage your symptoms. And that's fine. These drugs, which are classified as benzodiazepines, can help relieve symptoms of anxiety by suppressing your nervous system, so that you can calm down and go about your day.

It is important to keep in mind, though, that Xanax and other drugs have side effects — even if you just take them occasionally. The thing is, many people get a prescription and keep a bottle in their pocket for moments when they feel too anxious. But even if you just take a pill "every now and again," you can still experience side effects. And, in many cases, it's all too easy to become carried away, take too many, and even become dependent on the drug over time.

If you're going to take drugs like Xanax, it's important to do so carefully and mindfully — and supplement your anxiety treatment with other things like therapy, healthy amounts of exercise, and plenty of sleep. "The best way to use these medications is definitely under the supervision of your doctor, and being honest with all of your doctors about your prescriptions," Erin Parisi, LMHC, CAP, a licensed mental health counselor and certified addictions professional, tells Bustle. That way, they can plan ahead and make sure you aren't mixing things that shouldn't be mixed.

It's also important to pay attention to how often you're truly taking these pills. "In my mind, an 'occasional' user is someone who gets a couple prescribed before they get on a plane, not someone who takes [pills a few] days a week (or more)," Parisi says. Discuss with your doctor what the correct dosage might be for you, and then stick with it. If you experience any of the symptoms below, or feel like you might be using Xanax or Klonopin in an unhealthy way, definitely tell your doctor or therapist, so they can help you ween off in a healthy way.