What Is Propranolol Used For In Mental Health

People often ignore their mental health though it is as vital as physical health. It mainly represents the ability to concentrate, learn, think correctly, and adapt to stress. You might also ever feel nervous or stressed during any crucial moment.

However, what is propranolol used for in mental health? Propranolol is a beta-blocker drug that helps to block the activity of neurotransmitters. It also improves the capability of the cognitive system. Consequently, it stabilizes the overall mental condition and the physical response to mental stress.

In this article, we will provide an in-depth discussion about the usefulness of propranolol on mental health. Also, you will learn about the side effects and cautions while taking it for mental health. So, let's go through the article.

Mental Health

What Is Propranolol?

Propranolol is one type of medication in the beta-blocker category. Generally, physicians prescribe this type of medicine for

  • Hypertension
  • Angina pectoris
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Portal hypertension
  • Migraines
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Tremors
  • Pheochromocytoma

This drug can block the activity of neurotransmitters on their receptors. These neurotransmitters are called beta-adrenergic agents. Whenever you go through any mental stress, you have an imbalanced adrenaline rush. 

As a  beta-blocker, this medicine will block your response to your sudden adrenaline rush. Thus, it may also help in treating mental health.

What Is Propranolol Used For In Mental Health?

Physicians will prescribe propranolol for relieving physical and mental symptoms of anxiety and trauma-related purposes.

That means this medicine will reduce the physical symptoms of mental stress and calm you. In this way, you will feel less nervous, and your mental health will improve.

Moreover, along with the impact on body reactions to stress, propranolol has essential effects on the cognitive system. Thus, it increases the ability to reason, solve problems solving, and concentrate.

Here is some possible use of it for mental health issues:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Weak Emotional arousal
  • Fear reaction
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Difficulty in concentration

How Does Propranolol Work For Mental Health Issues?

In this section, we will give you an idea about propranolol's work for mental health:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Propranolol is quite helpful in stabilizing a reactivated memory. It assists in impairing the declarative memory of humans. Also, after this reactivation, it helps to reduce the accuracy of remembering petrifying and negative images from memory.

After that, it blocks the immediate reaction of hormones to traumatic memory. That's why it is broadly used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Anxiety

Your body generates more adrenaline and noradrenaline hormones during your anxiousness. Eventually, this chemical will fasten to the point that you will start shaking and sweating. Fortunately, Propranolol prevents the activity of those hormones.

  • Fear reaction

Propranolol can reduce the recall and response to stimuli and fear-inducing factors. That's why whenever you see something scary, your fear reaction will be reduced due to the reduced adrenalin rush.

What Are The Rules For Taking Propranolol?

You must have to follow these rules if you are taking propranolol:

  1. Only start using it after consulting a physician

You shouldn't start taking propranolol yourself if you are going through mental stress because this medicine comes in different types of doses. Also, You can't decide the quantity yourself. Thus you must have a doctor for a proper check-up and prescription.

Also, you need to visit frequently, even after you start the medication. That is because the doctors may reduce or increase the doses sometimes depending on your improvement or worsen the condition.

  • Be aware of the dosage of propranolol

Make sure you are taking the appropriate dose for yourself accordingly. The dosage depends on the purpose of taking this medication. Usually, for adults, the doctor will prescribe this table

ReasonsDosesTimes per day
High blood pressure80 mg;160 mg 2
Migraine40 mg2-3
Arrhythmia10-40 mg3-4
Thyrotoxicosis10-40 mg3-4
Anxiety40 mg1-3

Taking more or less than the usual dose may harm your body. Thus, be careful about the dose intensity and frequency.

  • Take propranolol timely

You should be careful about taking propranolol timely. Mainly there are two types of such medications. Those are:

  • Standard rapid release

This type of medicine releases propranolol in your body pretty rapidly. That's why the effect of it also starts to fade quickly. Hence, you may have to take medicine multiple times a day.

  • Gradual release

From the name, you can already assume that it breaks down propranolol slowly in your body. As it takes time to fade away, you don't have to take it frequently. Maybe once a day will be enough.

If you take propranolol once a day, you should take it before bed, as you can feel dizzy. However, for multiple doses in a day, you have to take the medication timely according to the physician's prescription.

Also, it doesn't upset your stomach, so you can take it with or without food. That means there is no need to be concerned about mealtime for taking propranolol.

What if you forget to take propranolol?

If you are taking propranolol for mental health problems, you must take it on a regular basis. Nevertheless, forgetting to take a dosage is not uncommon. If you do, make an effort to have it as soon as possible. Take the missed dosage and proceed with the subsequent doses on time.

However, unless the next dose seems approaching, omit the one you forgot. In general, there should be almost 9 hours between propranolol dosages. Doctors may typically give dosages at intervals of less than 9 hours for reasons other than mental health. In that instance, take the dosage; otherwise, skip it.

Following skipping the missed dosage, you should proceed with the following dose as usual. Make every effort to remember your dosing schedule. Remember that taking two dosages at the same time might have serious consequences.

How to stop taking propranolol when mental health issues are resolved?

You shouldn't stop taking them suddenly, even if your mental health improves. That is because eliminating it or reducing the dose all of a sudden may cause

  • Irregularity in heartbeats
  • Severe chest pain
  • Symptoms of heart attack
  • Excessive sweating, and shaking

Thus, even if you feel your mental health has improved, you should continue with regular doses. Then, go to a doctor for a professional reduction in the dose. Your doctor will reduce the dose level step-by-step. Gradually, you can stop taking propranolol without facing any adverse impact.

Safety Tips While Taking Propranolol For Mental Health Issues

There are various factors to look into when dealing with medication. Likewise, there are a few things to consider before you use propranolol.

During pregnancy

If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should be cautious about taking propranolol. Although this medication is not harmful for the pregnancy period, in later pregnancy, it may cause difficulty.

So, if you are taking propranolol for mental health issues, you should take advice from a doctor. There might be a better alternative to propranolol.

  1. Breastfeeding

Only a tiny amount of propranolol passes through the mother's breast milk. Still, one should consult their doctors if they have any breastfeeding babies. If the doctor says that the baby is healthy, they can continue with their regular doses even if they are breastfeeding.

  • Other diseases

If you intend to take propranolol for mental health issues, you should consider your other diseases also. Those diseases are

  • Heart problems

If you have heart problems, severe or low blood pressure, and chest pain, take advice from your doctor first. Because generally, taking propranolol in these conditions will worsen your situation more.

  • Asthma or lung diseases

If you have difficulty breathing and lung diseases, we suggest you not start taking propranolol because you will encounter more difficulty in your breathing.

  • Raynaud's diseases

Do you feel a cold sensation frequently in your toes and fingers? These are symptoms of Raynaud's disease. You may sometimes feel pain while walking because of arteries narrowing. If you have these problems, it's better to avoid propranolol.

  • Kidney or liver problems

Propranolol is capable of causing kidney and liver diseases. That's why, if you already have weak kidney or liver problems, you better avoid taking propranolol. Moreover, consult with your doctor and ask for advice.

  • Diabetes

Propranolol intake can cause weakness and dizziness in your body. Thus, you won't be able to identify the symptoms of your low blood sugar. If you have diabetes, you shouldn't take them for your mental health issues.

  • Smoking

If you have a terrible smoking habit, you shouldn't start taking propranolol to relieve mental stress. That is because smoking already destroys your lungs and heart conditions. And, even after that, if you begin taking propranolol, it can severely harm your heart and lungs, and breathing system.

  • Other medications

Propranolol can interact badly with other medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and medicine for allergies, diabetes, and asthma medicine can react with your dose.

Similarly, antidepressants and other medicines for low blood pressure can reduce the effect of such doses. At worst, it can cause severe side effects on your health.

The Side Effects Of Taking Excessive Propranolol For Mental Health Issues

Overdose of propranolol can cause severe dizziness and tremble in your body. Not only that, your heart rate will drop to the point that you will face difficulty breathing.

Therefore, be careful while taking the dose. If you think you take too much propranolol accidentally, ask for help from someone. It can be pretty practical for treating mental health issues, yet, it also has a range of side effects. Those side effects are

  • It can cause depression.
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • It can cause weakness and dizziness
  • Cold finger
  • Cause Liver problems. It will show signs like the dark color of urine and pale stool, and eyes or skin can turn yellow
  • Lowers the number of blood platelets and causes thrombocytopenia
  • Able to cause acute and drastic allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis
  • Swelling in the throat, face, lips, or tongue
  • Unusual weight gain


In this section, we will answer some questions people often ask about propranolol medications for mental health issues.

How long does propranolol take to work?

If you take propranolol for tension and anxiety relief, it will start working within half an hour. Sometimes, it can even show effects within 20 minutes. Mainly, it depends on the intensity of doses.

Can propranolol be addictive?

No, Propranolol is not an addictive medication. However, it gives the feeling of mental relaxation. Thus, you may become dependent on it when you feel any kind of anxiety. Yet, it doesn't create drug dependency like other anxiety medications.

What are the age restrictions on taking propranolol for mental health issues?

Children under 12 shouldn't take propranolol. Although children over 12 and adults are allowed to take this medication, this medication will be less effective for people under 18.


So, what is propranolol used for in mental health? Propranolol is very effective in stabilizing and improving mental health, but it is used as an off-label treatment of mental health. The primary use of them is to reduce or prevent the physical response due to anxiety.

Remember, don't take an overdose of it as it already has numerous side effects. If you are reading this article from the start, you are already conscious of those side effects and safety tips. So, you must start taking propranolol with a doctor's prescription and need to follow the regular checkup.

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