Medicines to treat anxiety disorder-Overview
Are anti-anxiety medications right for you? Learn about common side effects, risks, and how to treat them responsibly. Most people feel anxious at some point in life. It's just a part of being alive. But for some people, anxiety can become debilitating and interfere with their everyday lives. Most common medicines to treat anxiety disorder are benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Valium, and Ativan. If your doctor prescribes you one of these or any other medication to help manage your symptoms, be sure that you understand the risks associated with it before beginning treatment.
What Are Anti-Anxiety Medications?
Anti-anxiety medications , also known as anxiolytics or tranquilizers, help lessen anxiety symptoms. These medications are traditionally used to treat sleep problems (insomnia) and seizure disorders (epilepsy), but they are also used to treat the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, or panic disorder. Some people abuse these medications for their calming effects.
A pill doesn't cure anxiety. However, these medicines can be helpful in certain situations if taken properly.
What Are the Risks?
While anti-anxiety medications are generally safe and effective when used properly, they can take a toll on your body. They can cause side effects depending on the medication you take, and sometimes they can interact with other prescription or over-the-counter medications. Most common side effects of these medicines include: drowsiness, dry mouth, urinary retention (when not enough urine is passed out), constipation, dizziness, loss of coordination (ataxia), confusion, or abnormal thinking.
If you are prescribed one of these medicines and experience any serious side effects, tell your doctor immediately so that you can get treatment. Most serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions or seizures, usually appear within the first few weeks after starting your medication.
How Can I Treat My Anxiety?
Just because you're taking an anti-anxiety medicine doesn't mean that you're doomed to suffer from anxiety forever. If it's not working for you, try something new.
Think about what's caused your anxiety. Is it a specific situation that you're worried about, or is it something that has happened in the past? If it's a reaction to a specific event, think about how you might keep yourself from being anxious in the future. For example, if your anxiety keeps you from going out with friends or family, learn how to control your reaction when there's even the slightest danger of an accident related to driving, or if something goes wrong with one of those idiotic inflatable pool toys.
When your anxiety is a reaction to something in the past, it's usually more difficult to deal with. But you can learn how to avoid triggers that cause your anxiety, such as avoiding places, people, or situations. For example, if you're scared of dogs but have a friend who owns one and insists on bringing it everywhere he goes, limit the time you spend with him until you feel more comfortable around his dog.
You might feel like you're never going to get rid of your anxiety, but there are many ways to help you deal with your anxiety and still be a happy, healthy person.
benzodiazepines: benzos, xanax, and more
Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax [R], Valium , Ativan , Klonopin , and others, relieve anxiety and produce a calming effect in the body. They might even cause you to feel drowsy. If you're worried about becoming dependent on benzos or if you have any questions about the risks of long-term use, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. Benzos are addictive and should be used only as prescribed. Too much use can be dangerous. The risk is higher if the medicine is used for more than a few weeks, or if more than the recommended dose is taken.
Withdrawal symptoms range from mild dysphoria (feeling bad) to psychosis (hearing voices). If you're dependent on benzos, decrease your intake slowly under your doctor's supervision. Some withdrawal symptoms can be severe, including seizures .
If you have trouble sleeping or if you're taking other medicines that make it hard to sleep, ask your doctor if a benzo might help. If you're already taking a benzo and still having trouble sleeping, ask your doctor if another medicine may be better for you.
Because benzos can cause physical and psychological dependence (addiction) , always talk to your doctor before stopping an anti-anxiety medication; don't just stop taking them. But be aware of the warning signs:
You feel physically dependent on the drug (you have withdrawal symptoms such as sleeplessness, nausea, or abdominal discomfort).
You crave or think about the drug. Your doctor may ask you to keep a log.
You use more and more to get the same effect. Or you take it for longer periods than prescribed.
You continue to use it when you don't have a prescription.
You drink alcohol frequently or in larger amounts. The two drugs can react together. Alcohol can also lower your blood pressure and slow down your breathing, increasing the chance of a dangerous reaction.
Using benzos for a long time may cause withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, shaking, sweating, blurred vision, low blood pressure, or sweating when you don't have a fever.
These symptoms can appear when you stop taking the benzos abruptly or when you decrease the dose too fast. If any of these symptoms occur, contact your doctor immediately or go to the emergency room.
benzodiazepines are just one type of drug used to treat anxiety. However, they work differently and may not be right for everyone. Ask your doctor which drug is best for you. Do some research on what kind of drug (medication) is most likely to help you feel better when you're suffering from anxiety.
For treatment to be effective, you need both therapy (your doctor) and medication. You may have to try a few different treatments before you find the one that works for you.
The medicine has worked for many of us at one time or another during our lives. Sometimes children take these medicines, because their parents think they are just "growing out" of the disorder without realizing that the child is still dealing with anxiety issues. These children usually grow out of their behaviors as they become adults and gain more control over their lives.
If your anxiety is caused by a medical problem like a heart arrhythmia or a tumor, your anxiety may be exacerbated by medicine used to treat that condition. But don't stop taking your medication with conflicting emotions (panic, guilt, sadness) unless you've discussed it with your doctor. Sometimes doctors prescribe anti-anxiety drugs to children under the age of 12 for sleep problems or temper tantrums before puberty.
The most common medicines used to treat anxiety are:
Antidepressants. These drugs calm you down, help you sleep, and make it easier for you to think clearly. They're also used to treat depression . The medication doesn't make you happy; instead, it helps restore the chemicals in your brain that are out of balance from your depression or anxiety.
But antidepressants are not a first-line treatment for depression or anxiety. They're usually used to treat conditions that cause long-term depression and anxiety, such as:
Medications that increase your dopamine levels may help you stop seeking social and emotional stimulation or may help you focus better. This type of medicine is sometimes called a mood elevator. It can be used alone, or in combination with other antidepressants .
Antipsychotics. These drugs help ease severe anxiety, but they're also used to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders . Antipsychotics are a second- or third-line treatment for anxiety. Some common antipsychotics include:
Benzodiazepines. These drugs give you a feeling of relaxation and calmness to relieve anxiety. They tend to work right away, but their effects only last several hours. This type of medicine is also called a tranquilizer. It's often used for short-term relief from severe anxiety. Doctors usually prescribe benzodiazepines when other kinds of drugs haven't worked. The most common benzodiazepines are:
Buspirone (BuSpar) [R]. This drug is not related to other anti-anxiety drugs and it's not addictive. But buspirone may stop working at low doses. This drug is used to treat anxiety, social anxiety disorder , and general anxiety disorder .
Buspirone (BuSpar) [R]. This drug is not related to other anti-anxiety drugs and it's not addictive. But buspirone may stop working at low doses. This drug is used to treat anxiety, social anxiety disorder , and general anxiety disorder . BuSpar helps you relax and keeps your mind calm. It does not produce the same high people get from other anti-anxiety medicines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium). BuSpar can decrease muscle tension and increase your energy level.
Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), lorazepam (Ativan), and oxazepam (Serax). These medications are all related to each other. They are commonly sold as generic brands under the names of Ativan, Librium, and Serax.
These medications are sedatives, which means they can help you relax and sleep. They are also called hypnotic medicines, because they may make you drowsy.
While these drugs may be effective for short-term relief of anxiety, they don't seem to help with long-term treatment. They may also make depression or alcohol problems worse or increase your risk of falls and fractures. Talk to your doctor if you're using these drugs for a long time.
Classified as antidepressants, benzodiazepines are also used to treat anxiety. Some examples are:
Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) [R]. This drug may decrease your thinking ability and make you sleepy. It can be used to treat anxiety and allergy symptoms.
Hydroxyzine (Vistaril) [R]. This drug may decrease your thinking ability and make you sleepy. It can be used to treat anxiety and allergy symptoms. Oxazepam (Serax) [R]. This medicine may help you sleep.
Oxazepam (Serax) [R]. This medicine may help you sleep. Prazocin (Cipramil) [R]. This medication, sometimes prescribed for schizophrenia, is not recommended for people with anxiety or depression. It can cause sleepiness and dizziness in some people and can decrease your thinking ability.
Quinidine (Quinprol) [R]. This drug is commonly used to treat heart problems. It is not related to other anti-anxiety drugs and it's not addictive. However, it may make you very sleepy or restless, decrease your thinking ability and make you confused. This medicine is used for short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. It's often prescribed for people who can't take other medicines because of severe nausea caused by chemotherapy or radiation treatment for cancer.
Tramadol (Ultram) [R]. This drug is sometimes used to treat pain. It's not related to other anti-anxiety medicines and it's not addictive. However, it may make you feel very sleepy or drowsy, decrease your thinking ability and cause confusion. You should notify your doctor if you or a family member have:
Xanax (alprazolam) [R]. Xanax is one of the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medicines. It is also available in generic forms. Talk to your doctor before taking Xanax if you have any history of:
Antidepressant medicines help relieve symptoms of depression, but they don't treat the condition itself. You need to take antidepressant medicines for at least 4 weeks before you see an improvement. If you're feeling worse, talk to your doctor about a plan for switching medications.
In addition to their benefits for depression, some antidepressants help relieve anxiety symptoms. Examples include:
Some drugs are used to treat both anxiety and insomnia. These medicines can also be addictive. Although they have many side effects, a few of these drugs can help with short-term relief of severe anxiety:
Drugs that increase serotonin levels are commonly used to treat depression. But these drugs also relieve symptoms of anxiety . Some examples include:
Drugs that increase serotonin levels are also used to treat anxiety and insomnia. However, many people experience an increase in their anxiety symptoms when they take these drugs. Trying another class of antidepressant may be a good idea if you're finding that your other antidepressants aren't helping. Talk to your doctor about the different types of antidepressants that are available to treat anxiety.
These medications can cause some unwanted side effects. They can also be addictive, so if you experience severe anxiety when taking any of these drugs, talk to your doctor about another option. Some examples include:
Some medications are used to treat anxiety and depression. Talk to your physician about the different types of antidepressant medicines that may help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression in addition to relieving depression itself. Some examples include:
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common medications used to treat depression and anxiety. SSRIs make it easier for your brain to use serotonin, which can improve mood and relaxation. Some examples of SSRIs include:
There are many different kinds of anxiety disorders. The following types of medications may help relieve symptoms in each type:
In addition to depression , some antidepressants are also effective at relieving symptoms of anxiety . Talk to your doctor about the different kinds of antidepressants that may help relieve anxiety symptoms in addition to relieving depression itself.
Some natural supplements can be used alone or combined with other medications. Examples include:
Sometimes, living with chronic anxiety is manageable. Taking these supplements can help you reduce some symptoms of anxiety and treat some underlying causes. But many people report that these supplements don't alleviate their anxiety disorder. They should be used in addition to other treatment methods, not on their own.
There are a variety of treatments that can help relieve symptoms of anxiety disorder. The most common treatments are antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, such as SSRIs and benzodiazepines. However, many people don't respond well to these types of drugs or they experience unpleasant side effects.
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience excessive worry about everyday things for at least 6 months.
anxiety meds: Panic disorder is a very different disorder than GAD. Panic disorder causes panic attacks, which are sudden intense feelings or sensations such as a sense of choking or chest pain.
anxiety meds: It's not clear what causes panic disorder.
anxiety meds: Like GAD, panic disorder can be difficult to manage because the symptoms are so disruptive and intense. But both conditions respond well to treatment with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.
anxiety meds: These medications are prescribed for anxiety disorder and depression. But they come with some side effects and can be addictive, so talk to your doctor first if you're considering taking them.
anxiety meds: These medications can have severe side effects, including dizziness, headaches and trouble sleeping. They may also cause some people to become agitated or develop tolerance.
antidepressants : Some antidepressants are also effective at relieving symptoms of anxiety disorder. Talk to your doctor about the different kinds of antidepressants that may help relieve anxiety in addition to relieving depression itself.
Some people may find that exercise and other physical activity helps reduce symptoms of anxiety disorder. Physical activity can also be helpful for improving overall health and a sense of well-being.