It is almost beyond belief how many people are suffering from anxiety disorders. While statistics may vary, reports are that 40 million people of all ages are in the throes of some form of the various anxiety disorders and are frantically looking for much needed relief. That relief may come with the medications for anxiety, herbal or natural treatments or some sort of therapy such as cognitive/behavioral therapy, relaxation therapy or faith based therapy to name a few. Although this is not intended to be a scholarly analysis of these various medications, our purpose is to give you an enlightening overview of what they are, their use and their effects.
Please understand that anxiety medications are not a cure - but are used most effectively with the cognitive/behavioral therapy or the other interventions we have mentioned. The medication, when introduced at the beginning of therapy, reduces the symptoms so that you may respond to the therapy more aggressively. All medications should be administered under the careful watch of your physician, and all directions should be carefully followed. And do not, by your own volition, abruptly stop taking the medication. Incidentally, all the information explaining the various anxiety medications are from the ADAA; so although it is abbreviated here, it is accurate.
We'll start with the antidepressants which increase the concentration of the substance known as serotonin, which then alleviates the anxiety. There are three SSRI medications, the most recent antidepressants, and they are Zolaft, Paxil and Prozac, names most of you are familiar with. These are used to treat social and generalized anxiety; posttraumatic stress disorder; panic disorder; and obsessice compulsive disorder.
Next let's look briefly at the Tricylic (TCA) antidepressants, also effective in treating anxirty, which are Doxeprin, Anafranil and Vivactil. These antidepressants work in a similar way to the SSRIs and target basically the same disorders. In addition to increasing the concentration of serotonin, the TCA also affects the activity of a substance called norepinepherine. Medical reports indicate that while TCAs are effective medicines, their unpleasant side effects make them less preferable than the SSRIs.
Finally, the MAOI which are the first or the oldest of the antidepressants are Marplan, Nardil and Parnate, and are classified as inhibitors, because they work by blocking or inhibiting the influence of an important brain enzyme. The MAOI are generally prescribed by doctors in the treatment of panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Again, we recommend that before beginning any treatment including medication, you consult your doctor concerning both the benefits and the side effects of each of these drugs. There are other medical interventions such as beta-blockers and anti anxiety medication that are effective in relieving the symptoms of anxiety, but are usually short term treatment, and also carry some unpleasant side effects such as dependency and withdrawal symptoms.
One of the main obstacles to be overcome in the decision to use medications for anxiety is the fear of the after effects - the fear and stigma that you may become addicted to the drug and will have withdrawal symptoms. While that is a real possibility, fear that you may become addicted to the drug and will have withdrawal symptoms. While that is a real possibility, just make sure you have a doctor well qualified to treat your specific anxiety disorder and that he knows his medicines and their side effects.
Although this has not been a scholarly treatise on medications for anxiety, now you should know that anxiety disorders are very treatable, and should hopefully know a little more about what the medications are and how they work. The good news for you anxiety sufferers is that these interventions are very effective in bringing the relief you're seeking.
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