Anxiety

Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common and prescribed mental illness in the United States. Anxiety refers to a specific group of mental disorders that involve extreme fear, nervousness, worry, apprehension and panic.

The National prevalence data indicates that approximately 40 million people experience some sort of anxiety disorder, in America, in just one year.

Let’s continue on to learning more about conventional medications for this mental disorder.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are sedative psychiatric medications that can help relax your muscles and calm your mind. They work by increasing the effects of certain neurotransmitters, such as gaba, which are chemicals that relay messages between your brain neurons.

Benzodiazepines help treat many kinds of anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder. Examples of these drugs include:

alprazolam/ Xanax
lorazepam/ Ativan
diazepam/ Valium
clonazepam / Klonopin
chlordiazepoxide / Librium

CAUTION
Comes with Side Effects

Benzodiazepine medications are mostly used for short-term treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. They can be habit-forming and addictive.

They increase drowsiness and cause problems with balance and memory.

These medications can cause confusion, vision problems, headaches, and feelings of depression and sedation.

If you’ve taken a benzodiazepine regularly for more than two weeks, it’s important not to stop immediately, as this could cause a seizure in some people. Instead, talk to your doctor about slowly tapering your dosage.

Buspar

Buspar also known as Buspirone, is used to treat both short-term anxiety and chronic anxiety disorders. It is thought to affect chemicals in the brain that regulate mood.

One down side of Buspar is it can take several weeks to become fully effective.

CAUTION
Comes with Side Effects

Side effects of Buspar can include dizziness, headaches and nausea. Some people also report strange dreams, nightmares or difficulty sleeping when on buspirone.

SSRI’s for Anxiety

SSRI medications work by affecting neurotransmitters.

These medications are used to treat anxiety symptoms, but a down side is they take four to six weeks to produce noticeable effects.

Types of antidepressants include:

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s).

SSRI’s work by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, and memory. SSRI’s are usually started at a low dose. Your doctor will gradually increase your dosage to reach your therapeutic level.

Examples of SSRIs used to treat anxiety include:

fluoxetine / Prozac
paroxetine / Paxil
sertraline / Zoloft
escitalopram / Lexapro

CAUTION
Comes with Side Effects

SSRIs can cause a variety of side effects. Side effects can include nausea, dry mouth, muscle weakness, dizziness, diarrhea, drowsiness, and even sexual problems.

Tricyclics
for Anxiety

Tricyclics work as well as SSRIs do for treating most anxiety disorders. They do not work well for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s also thought that tricyclics work similarly to SSRIs.

Examples of tricyclics used for anxiety include:

Clomipramine / Anafranil,
Imipramine / Tofranil.

Tricyclics are an older class of medications. they are used less often because the newer drugs, such as SSRI’s, usually cause fewer side effects.

CAUTION
Comes with Side Effects

Side effects of tricyclics may include dizziness, drowsiness, lack of energy, and dry mouth. They can also include nausea, vomiting, constipation, blurred vision, and weight gain.