The Best Medication for Anxiety: A Comprehensive Review Guide
We all feel anxious about the uncertainties of life. We have fears about the upcoming test, getting sick, or losing loved ones. Anxiety is normal and plays some role in our ability to adapt to a plan, learn and survive.
But this constant worry can get to an unreasonable level, a level where it is no longer logical but overwhelming. It so happens that the gnawing fear, anxiety, and tenseness linger for days on end, over nothing serious at all.
It then becomes difficult to sleep at night or concentrate at work or school. Our minds hold on to thoughts that we can’t seem to escape. Fear comes without warning, and all of a sudden, panic attacks.
When this happens, that is no longer general harmless anxiety. It is an anxiety disorder, a substantial medical concern that needs both therapy and medication.
Loved ones may not always understand this suffering. Anxiety disorder does not stem from an observable anomaly or a physical problem. Yet it wrecks lives one episode after another.
Anxiety disorders are distinguished from normal anxiety by how they present in several intense and lasting symptoms. They cause actual discomfort and discomfort in everyday life, at work, or at leisure. These disorders affect about one in five people.
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Best Medication for Anxiety Can Help but Are Not an End in Themselves
Anxiety medication is recommendable to relieve symptoms if it is not immediately possible to do so by non-drug means. Even so, given the multifactorial nature of anxiety, medicines are not an end in themselves.
It is necessary to employ combination therapy that involves medication and personal commitment, such as cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). Studies show that their effectiveness is higher compared to that of antidepressants in the short term. Naturally, remedies along with relaxation techniques are also essential complementary approaches for better symptom relief.
Back to pharmacological therapy, the best medication for anxiety falls into two classes of drugs. One is anxiolytics, the psychoactive anti-anxiety medicines, and antidepressants primarily prescribed for depression.
Since the 2000s, health authorities have granted antidepressant Marketing Authorization (MA) to treat anxiety disorders. While the two types of medication can both be used, they do not have the same indications, and the desired effects are not quite the same.
If anxiety starts to creep into your daily life and lasts longer than six months, then you probably have an anxiety disorder. Seek consultation with a doctor or mental health provider. Following a positive diagnosis, getting the best medication for anxiety should be the next goal.
There can be many considerations when discussing the best anxiety medication, including:
- Which anxiety medication has the fewest side effects?
- Which medications can I take to alleviate anxiety efficiently?
In this post, we cover all the dimensions and questions related to anxiety medication. Let’s get down to each component of anxiety medications in detail.
Chapter 1: Defining Anxiety Disorder
Do you often feel scared, panicky, or phobic? Do you worry constantly? An anxiety attack can manifest as dizziness or increased heart rate. Anxiety is one of the most common disorders today.
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety has many definitions. A popular one is:
Anxiety is a strong emotional reaction to an observed or perceived threat, eventually causing the person to avoid or minimize it. As a natural psychological mechanism, anxiety has helped us survive from birth and thus is intrinsic to us as humans.
But Why Do Some People Suffer Anxiety Disorders While Others Do Not?
Each of us carries within us the potential to develop anxiety disorders. But not everyone has anxiety disorders because certain factors are required for their development.
The Event, Predisposition, and Coping Style
Predisposed traits can catalyze anxiety. However, even then, the anxiety won’t occur automatically. What happens after this is up to the person. Their coping style can trigger or underplay unhealthy anxiety.
It becomes harder to pursue goals or participate in daily activities if you have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety can make it feel like everything is crashing around you. You try to let go, but the thoughts burden you down.
If you already have some form of anxiety, being in a situation that causes anxiety worsens your symptoms. This, in turn, can cause you to find yourself doing little else because you are so terrified of experiencing the symptoms of anxiety.
The condition can be overwhelming and difficult to escape. It can drastically impact your happiness, your relationships, your hobbies. Despite these difficulties, expert-driven therapies have helped many to overcome anxiety. It is essential to find the best medication for anxiety if you live with anxiety disorders.
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Anxiety Disorders Exist in Six Different Categories
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD appears as persistent worrying and stress. It is often also called chronic anxiety neurosis. In GAD, it is common to feel worried over anything and everything in your life. GAD may also show up as or with physical symptoms, such as nervousness, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, muscle tension, or trouble sleeping. Often, this worry is fueled by everyday events such as school or work responsibilities, family drama, or domestic tasks.
2. Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorders, also known as social phobias, are personal fears of social interaction. They make an individual avoid social settings. People with SAD constantly worry about everything happening in their lives. In social phobias, people worry about meeting new people and interacting with them.
Social anxiety relates to the idea of feeling embarrassed, humiliated, rejected, or contempt in social interactions. It manifests as extreme fear of speaking or eating with friends or meeting new people. In these situations, individuals may feel great anguish, blush, or have tremors.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
These anxiety disorders have to do with traumatic events. Post-traumatic stress disorder develops after the traumatic event has occurred. The events are situations in which the physical or psychological integrity of the patient or that of his/her close people has been threatened or infringed vis-a-vis torture, rape, or grizzly accident.
Abuse, Violent death, neglect of early childhood care, assault, serious illness, birth, war, assault are the other causes of PTSD. The subject’s coping skills are overwhelmed. The immediate reaction to the event will have been intense fear, a feeling of helplessness, or horror.
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Compulsive behaviors, such as obsessive thoughts and actions, are the hallmarks of OCD. Obsessions are ideations (thoughts or images) that burst into the mind, impose themselves on the patient, and repeat themselves without subsiding.
The patient recognizes that these ideas come from within and are not imposed from outside. The obsessive themes are varied. The most frequent are dirt and germs, doubt, impulse phobia, unhappiness and superstition, and beauty.
The obsession with contamination and soiling is the most frequent. It is fear of germs or radiation. It is most often triggered by touch, but also spontaneously or at the sight of an external stimulus such as garbage sites or used condoms. It causes major anxiety that manifests as the behavior of avoidance and excessively repeated washing.
5. Panic Disorder
This includes recurring anxiety attacks lasting more than a day and intense fear, such as defining panic disorder. These attacks create discomfort and are unpredictable.
In panic attacks, anxiety is most intense. Those experiencing them describe it as terrifying, crippling, and miserable. The unpleasant physical sensations they report are tremors, sweating, heart palpitations, and feelings of suffocation, difficulty breathing, and dizziness.
6. Illness Anxiety Disorder
A person with an illness anxiety disorder or Hypochondria feels anxious about a pre-existing physical condition. The symptoms and signs usually are self-fabricated and imaginary. Obsessive worry leads the hypochondriac to interpret the slightest observation as a sign of serious illness.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines Hypochondria as a psychosomatic disorder. That means a mental health illness that prompts physical symptoms.
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What Causes Anxiety?
Experts are not fully aware of the causes of anxiety disorders but believe several factors are involved. Predisposition to various external factors, including trauma, stressors, and family inheritance, may contribute to the problem. Including these factors, anxiety can also be caused by certain medical conditions. The medical conditions include:
- Chronic Heart Illnesses
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Chronic Pulmonary Diseases
- Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome
Apart from the above causative factors, genes and epigenetics may increase the probability of a person having an anxiety disorder.
Risk Factors for Anxiety Disorders
Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Addiction to alcohol and substance abuse can ignite detrimental changes to your brain chemistry. The subsequent withdrawal effects can trigger or worsen anxiety.
Family History of Anxiety: If you have someone with anxiety in your family, there is a high possibility that you may also get an anxiety disorder.
Mental Health Issues: Individuals with depression, stress, ADHD, and other mental health conditions are more likely to diagnose an anxiety disorder.
Excessive Stressors: Environmental stressors also play a significant role in the development or worsening of anxiety disorders. Stressors are worrisome events at work, at home, or on the news.
Traumatic Events: Childhood abuse and trauma increase your risk of getting anxiety disorders. The top among them is PTSD.
- In contrast to the body’s natural reaction to stress, anxiety disorders are medical conditions.
- There are six major categories of anxiety.
- Environmental, behavioral, and medical factors all play a role in causing anxiety.
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Chapter 2: Do I Suffer from Anxiety?
To pinpoint anxiety, an individual must consult a health professional. Only then can the correct diagnosis be made. However, you should not ignore the symptoms of anxiety. They are often indicative of the necessity to seek treatment from a mental health professional. These include:
Insomnia and anxiety disorders are closely related. Insomnia has the following characteristics:
- Having trouble falling asleep
- Inability to stay asleep
- Waking up early
- Being tired after getting out of bed
Stress, anxiety, insomnia, and nightmares have all been linked to anxiety disorders, leading to sleep disturbances. Adequate sleep is essential for regulating emotions while maintaining mental health. As anxiety and insomnia are interrelated, treating one will lessen the effects of the other.
Anxiety disorders may manifest as phobias. Individuals become terrified of existing and non-existent things.
A person can develop an inflated sense of imagination and hallucination while believing that danger lies in the least harmful things, including water (hydrophobia), heights, insects, or even unlucky numbers or objects.
Anxiety-suffering individuals may also avoid social interactions and isolate themselves to feel safe. These behaviors make them feel safer.
3. Excessive Worrying
The worry experienced by anxiety sufferers does not always have logical reasons behind it. Anxiety disorders such as GAD often cause persistent worrying, and symptoms typically persist for at least six months. People with generalized anxiety disorder are more likely to develop excessive worry during economic hardships or when aging.
4. Muscle Tension
A common side effect of anxiety disorder is persistent muscle tension. Tightness and pain in muscles are further detrimental to athletic performance, especially in larger muscles such as the quadriceps and hamstrings.
Stress or anxiety can lead to muscle spasms and sometimes cramps when the muscles are tense. Anxiety causes alteration of various muscle biomechanics, leading to weakened muscles, frozen shoulder, stiff spine, movement restriction, and gait abnormalities.
5. Stomach Issues
In addition to these physical symptoms, anxiety patients often complain of stomach aches and digestion issues. As an example of somatoform disorders, experts concur that digestive system disturbances can occur due to physiological problems.
Anxiety disorders cause gastrointestinal problems for millions of people, and inflammatory bowel syndrome is a severe concern. Women are more likely than men to suffer from inflammatory bowel syndrome, characterized by abdominal cramping, bloating, and gas.
Researchers do not fully understand the exact cause behind anxiety’s connection to stomach problems. However, experts suggest that people who suffer from anxiety have more sensitive colons to food and stressors.
6. Panic Attacks
Anxiety disorders that develop over time tend to lead to panic attacks that appear without warning and are always sudden in onset. Panic attacks manifest by intense fear and raised anxiety symptoms. A trigger can be anything that exacerbates your worry and fear.
Although panic attacks are relatively brief, they can last up to 30 minutes and reach their peak within 10 minutes. When someone is suffering from an anxiety attack, they may feel that they are about to die. They lose control of themselves.
Many people with anxiety are considered perfectionists and give an unbelievable amount of attention to detail. The perfectionists may also be short-tempered and easily angered. When things do not go their way, they become frustrated and angry. These are the Type A personalities.
The obsession with being perfect often leads to anxiety, accompanied by excessive fears and the stress of making mistakes. Perfectionism has the opposite effect, leading to the waste of time and energy.
8. Low Self-Esteem
Most people that struggle with anxiety often find themselves with very low self-esteem. Having anxiety disorder tends to make you feel nasty and negative about yourself.
These core beliefs connect you with anxious behaviors such as thinking you’re unworthy of anything good or that you will never be able to control your anxiety. These beliefs become deeply ingrained in you such that all Pollyannaish talk sounds like baloney.
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Many people with anxiety suffer from flashbacks, and some of the best medications for anxiety addresses this concern. Often flashbacks and dissociation occur when people are unaware of what triggers them.
People experience inconsistent events that become even more difficult to handle as their anxiety increases. It’s possible to re-experience a traumatic experience in a flashback, or you might remain connected with it in the present.
How Can I Be Sure that I Suffer from Anxiety?
A certified mental health professional can diagnose anxiety based on your signs and symptoms. Many psychological tests are available for those who believe that they may have anxiety disorders. Tests draw from the DSM criteria. The confirmation for the condition comes after you have completed several mental health questionnaires.
- Sleeplessness, excessive worry, and fears are all significant signs of anxiety disorders.
- You may have an anxiety disorder if you exhibit any of the symptoms listed above.
- But you cannot assume anything until after a medical diagnosis by a certified medical/mental health expert.
Chapter 3: Is Anxiety Medication Necessary?
In the previous chapters, we discussed six notable anxiety disorders. Stress, excessive worry, and behavior disruptions are typical hallmarks of these disorders. For anyone with these symptoms, the best medication for anxiety is the surest bet for a normal life. In addition to medication, therapy is essential for managing anxiety disorders.
When to Take Medication for Anxiety?
Only certified mental health professionals can prescribe anxiety medication. Patients should only take the medication under the supervision of these professionals. In the process of diagnosing anxiety disorders, the experts typically perform an in-depth analysis of your medical history and other physical signs and symptoms. These include:
- Digestive Problems
- Excessive Sweating
- Heart Palpitations
- Rapid Pulse
- High Blood Pressure
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How Do You Obtain the Best Anxiety Medication?
Diagnosis of anxiety is complex. Unlike physical ailments, the diagnosis of mental health problems is more complicated than simple blood tests. A mental health expert can only prescribe medication after confirming the diagnosis via the below diagnostic tests:
Physical Diagnosis: The medical and personal details that you share with the doctor should be completely transparent. You would need to explain to the doctor if you:
- Have any existing mental health conditions
- Are you on current medications
- Have alcohol problems or substance addiction or withdrawal
- Are you addicted to caffeine?
- Have severe hormonal fluctuations
Please also explain your symptoms of anxiety, including:
- An elevated heart rate
- Shaking chills
- Breathing difficulties
- A greater tendency to sweat
- Hot flashes
- Pain and tightness in the chest
- Digestive problems
- Muscle twitching
Besides anxiety disorder, these symptoms could stem from depression or schizophrenia. Your health provider will clarify through differential diagnosis that also rules out:
- Coronary artery disease
- Several types of adrenal tumors
- Substance abuse
- Drug side-effects
- Drug withdrawal
According to DSM, the diagnostic criteria for anxiety includes:
- Days filled with pressure and worries.
- Stress and worry beyond your control.
- Feeling fatigued, irritable, muscle tightness, insomnia, inability to concentrate.
- It should be difficult for you to live everyday life.
- Any other physical or mental disorders should not be the cause of the symptoms.
The best management approaches for anxiety involve pharmacological prescriptions. But how do you get prescribed the best medication for anxiety?
Because anxiety medication is naturally sedative with a high likelihood for abuse, only a qualified and certified mental health professional can prescribe it. The proper way to obtain the best medication for anxiety is to:
1. Schedule an appointment with a board-certified medical provider.
2. Visit the doctor and make sure he/she examines you in detail and listens to all your concerns.
3. Get the final diagnosis plus prescription.
4. Visit the local pharmacy to get medication (if you have a health insurance policy or Social Security benefits, you may be able to incorporate discounts).
5. Tell your doctor immediately if any side effects occur or if you experience changes in your physical or mental health.
Are Anxiety Medications Available over the Counter?
There is no over-the-counter anxiety medication. Only a certified doctor can give you a prescription for anxiety pills. Moreover, the FDA’s anxiety medication needs to be approved. When prescribing the best medication for anxiety, the doctor considers any risk factors and precautions regarding your health status.
Typically, two individuals with the same mental health issues may react entirely differently to the same drug. Only a licensed medical provider can choose the proper medication for your case.
- A medical evaluation is critical if you experience symptoms of anxiety.
- Getting anxiety medications always requires a prescription from a doctor, and non-prescription drugs should not be used.
- Besides physical examinations, your doctor might also use DSM criteria to determine your diagnosis.
Let’s move onto the meatier part of the guide.
How can anxiety be treated with medications? There are numerous anxiety medication options available to patients. The next chapter discusses the best medication for anxiety currently prescribed by health professionals in the states and worldwide.
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Chapter 4: What Are the Best Anxiety Medications?
This chapter introduces the most potent medications used to treat anxiety. Anxiety is not something you can cure with drugs, but they can help you manage it to function well. The selection of medications is vast. Each patient is unique. It may take several prescriptions for your physician and you to find the best medicine for you.
The benzodiazepine class of drugs is a specialized one. Their main indication is anxiety treatment. However, the drugs also help to treat other mental health disorders.
How Do Benzodiazepines Help to Treat Anxiety?
Experts believe that this group of drugs inhibits the arousal pathways and stimulates the GABA receptor’s sleep cycle. It is thought that over-activity of the nervous system may be a contributor to anxiety-related disorders. These drugs fall in the hypnotic drug category because of their ability to induce sleep.
Example of benzodiazepine drugs:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Clorazepate (Tranxene)
- Flurazepam (Dalmane)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Estazolam (Prosom)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Oxazepam (Serax)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
- Midazolam (Versed)
- Temazepam (Restoril)
- Quazepam (Doral)
- Triazolam (Halcion)
Which Benzodiazepine is the Best Medication for Anxiety?
Xanax helps relieve anxiety symptoms faster than any other drug in its class. It is currently the most effective treatment for anxiety disorder. However, it doesn’t work the same way for all users.
How Does Xanax Affect the Body?
- Dry mouth
- Cognitive Issues
- Slurred Speech
What Are the Contraindications for Xanax?
- Allergy to benzodiazepines
- People under age 18
- Age over 80
- Chain smokers
- Kidney and liver problems
- Antifungal medication
Do Benzodiazepines Pose Any Dangers?
Overdose and addiction are the two most common dangers of benzodiazepines. While this class of drugs is not ranked among the most abused by the public, benzodiazepines can cause overdose and addiction if not used properly.
Addicted individuals tend to combine benzodiazepines with opioids, such as heroin, to enhance the euphoric effects. An opioid is a sedative prescription drug that relieves pain and is powerfully addictive.
Benzodiazepines and Drug Interactions
Slowed Brain Processes: This may result from a combination of benzodiazepines and other centrally acting drugs, including narcotics, alcohol, tranquilizers, and barbiturates.
Liver Toxicity: Your liver may struggle to eliminate Benzodiazepines when using these drugs with other drugs such as ketoconazole, fluoxetine, and valproic acid.
2. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor
You probably know that antidepressants prescriptions help against stress, anxiety, and depression. A few serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are also broadly endorsed to treat anxiety problems. Aside from their adequacy in treating anxiety problems, this class of antidepressants has the least likelihood for abuse and addiction.
How Do Specific Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors Work?
SSRIs’ mode of functioning spins around ‘Serotonin,’ a brain neurotransmitter that controls mood. In the typical physiological cycle, serotonin courses through the spaces of the mind and afterward gets reabsorbed into the circulatory system.
Psychological health problems, for example, tension, are related to low degrees of serotonin. Serotonin reuptake inhibitors forestall the reabsorption of serotonin in the circulation system, expanding the span it stays in mind where it keeps you in a relaxed state.
In any case, SSRIs have no part in improving the production of serotonin in the body. They only postpone the reabsorption time for the hormone.
Some Common Examples of SSRIs include:
- The Fluoxetine ( Prozac )
- The Paroxetine ( Paxil, Divarius, Paxil )
- The Sertraline ( Zoloft )
- The Citalopram ( Seropram, Celexa )
- The Escitalopram oxalate ( Seroplex, Cipralex )
What Is the Best SSRI for Anxiety?
Among the available SSRIs, Prozac is the most effective for treating anxiety and depression. Even so, each person reacts differently to it, and drug interactions vary too. Consult your doctor or mental health expert to determine the best drug option among SSRIs.
Prozac is an SSRI in its original form. It has a clear warning for patients under the age of 25 to exercise caution. Prozac is one of the best drugs for treating depression and anxiety. Potential adverse effects of the drug include suicidal thoughts.
Prozac Side Effects
- Low Libido
- Skin rash
Have You Heard of Serotonin Syndrome?
Serotonin syndrome is a rare condition, but it’s also significantly risky. Its symptoms are related to SSRI side effects. That happens, when SSRIs make serotonin levels rise to dangerous levels, most often upon the combination with other drugs and substances, such as alcohol.
There are six main symptoms of serotonin syndrome:
- Muscle Spasms
Precautions for SSRIs
One of the potential risks associated with SSRI use is suicidal thoughts in youngsters and hyponatremia in the elderly. With both of these warnings in mind, it is crucial to get an in-depth medical evaluation to consider whether these medications are appropriate for you:
Taking a total SSRI dose prescribed by a physician has been reported to increase suicidal thoughts in children and teenagers. When symptoms begin to appear, you must contact a mental health provider-certified physician near you immediately.
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Older adults who use these drugs may experience sodium deficiency, leading to swelling in the extremities and cavities. The condition develops slowly but can be dangerous.
Hyponatremia symptoms include:
SSRIs Contraindications for Expectant Mothers
SSRIs have a high probability of increasing the risk of congenital disabilities. Talk to your health provider. There are different types of SSRI drugs –the specialist may find options that work best for you.
3. Other Types of Medications for Anxiety
1. Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
These are a type of antidepressant used in managing anxiety-related disorders from as far back as the early 90s. SNRIs work by interacting with two brain chemicals in tandem – serotonin and norepinephrine.
How Do SNRIs Work?
Serotonin and norepinephrine levels tend to be low in an individual with anxiety and most mental illnesses like depression. The chemicals help to regulate mood. In addition to generating good feelings and emotions, the neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine assist with energy levels and alertness.
SNRI maintains both these neurotransmitters in the brain for a more extended period. In doing so, they help to treat anxiety and depression-like mental conditions. The drugs do this by slowing the reabsorption of both neurotransmitters into the bloodstream.
Common SNRIs include:
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Contraindications for SNRIs
SNRIs do not necessarily work well for all groups of people. These drugs may potentially be harmful to pregnant and lactating women.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using SNRIs for the potential risks it poses to the health of their babies. The symptoms of severe SNRI on babies born to mothers who take the drug during pregnancy include:
- Feeding problems
- Breathing difficulty and abnormalities
Breastfeeding mothers need close monitoring while taking SNRIs. These drugs tend to pass on to the baby through breast milk, causing a higher risk of depression and debilitating adverse effects.
The use of SNRIs may also be unwise for patients suffering from high blood pressure and liver disease. These drugs can accelerate and cause liver damage and hypertension.
The longer the drugs remain in your system, the higher their likelihood of causing these side effects. These medications can also cause high blood pressure or liver cirrhosis. If you experience adverse effects, speak with your physician.
Bupropion, another antidepressant, is highly effective against various anxiety disorders. For the long-term cure for depression, bupropion comes as extended-release tablets and immediate-release pills taken orally. A long-term release tablet releases the drug slowly into the body, while a rapid release drug releases it rapidly in the body.
Bupropion is available as the following brand names:
- Forfivo XL
- Wellbutrin XL
There are also several mental health conditions for which bupropion is prescribed. These are depression, seasonal affective disorder, and withdrawal from smoking.
How Does Bupropion Work?
It belongs to the same group of drugs called antidepressants. The medication enhances neurotransmission along brain pathways for mood-regulating chemicals. Dopamine and norepinephrine are the brain chemicals involved in this process.
Bupropion Comes with Warnings
There is a black box warning for the drug, which informs both patients and doctors of potential side effects. Suicide is more likely to occur in children, adolescents, and young adults who take the drug.
It may cause intense mood and behavior changes, including hostility, agitation, depression, and suicidal thoughts. In addition, bupropion may trigger high blood pressure, seizures, and manic episodes.
Mirtazapine is a member of the antidepressant family. When combined with other medications, its effectiveness gets superbly enhanced. Mirtazapine is sold as Remeron and Remeron soltab. They are immediate-release and orally disintegrating tablets.
Although the exact mechanism of action and uses of mirtazapine are not known, the drug belongs to the same class as other drugs discussed in this chapter. Experts believe that the drug functions by prolonging the duration of norepinephrine and serotonin reuptake in the brain.
Generally, doctors prescribe beta-blockers for hypertension and heart problems, but they can also help with anxiety. You can obtain beta-blockers through a prescription from a doctor. The most commonly prescribed beta-blockers for anxiety are:
Exactly How Does Beta-Blocker Medication Work?
It blocks the functions of norepinephrine, responsible for all of the fight-and-flight responses in the body. Several beta-blockers can help to treat anxiety symptoms such as rapidly beating heart, palpitations, sweating, and dizziness. Beta-blockers, however, do not treat emotional symptoms associated with anxiety.
Beta-blockers have the following contraindications:
- Acute Bronchospasm
- Acute Bronchospasm
- Diabetes Mellitus
- Acute heart failure
- Kidney failure
5. Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)
Usually prescribed for depression and anxiety, these medications are a lot more effective when anxiety is linked to depression. SSRIs have since replaced TCAs since they are less likely to cause side effects with anxiety.
TCAs can be beneficial in individuals with symptoms that cannot be relieved by other drug options. Anxiety-reducing TCAs include:
- Amitriptyline (Elavil)
- Imipramine (Tofranil)
- Nortriptyline (Pamelor)
Side effects of TCAs:
- Dry mouth
- Blurring of vision
- Weight gain
6. Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
These are the oldest types of antidepressants in the medical world. In the same way that beta-blockers are used off-label to treat panic disorder, these drugs can also help treat social phobia. Examples of this class of drugs include:
- Phenelzine (Nardil)
- Isocarboxazid (Marplan)
- Selegiline (Emsam)
- Tranylcypromine (Parnate)
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors side effects:
- Dry mouth
Hydroxyzine is an antihistamine (a substance that treats allergic reactions) used to treat anxiety disorders. Hydroxyzine enhances the function of the brain’s mood chemicals in short-term anxiety disorders. It works quickly, leading to a calmative je ne sais quoi. In addition to its efficacy for anxiety treatment, this drug is also free from side effects like sleepiness or dependence.
Side effects of hydroxyzine:
- Dry mouth
- Blurred vision
- Skin rashes
- Irregular heart rate
Side Effects of Anxiety Medications
Anxiety medications may cause the following common side effects:
- Stomach issues
If you experience prolonged side effects from the above-listed medications, let your doctor know immediately. Doctors may adjust your medication or reduce the dose.
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Chapter 5: Natural Remedies for Anxiety
Anxiety affects millions of Americans. However, many people tend to prefer natural alternatives because they have fewer side effects. Even though standard anxiety medications still dominate, natural alternatives may be just as significantly effective.
Discover the natural anxiety remedies and medications below:
There is strong research suggesting that chamomile works to reduce anxiety symptoms. Anxiety in itself can worsen or trigger many other psychiatric conditions. Since the olden days, societies have been treating anxiety disorders with teas and relaxation therapies.
New research shows that chamomile can also help to relieve withdrawal effects associated with most anxiety medications.
While pharmacological treatment is undoubtedly the first line, many people turn to this herbal remedy to overcome addictions and withdrawal from anxiety medication. The popularity of chamomile is due to its good tolerance among the majority of the population.
Traditionally, the natives of the south pacific islands used kava to make a drink by grinding the roots into a paste then adding liquid. If you want anxiety relief and good sleep, this plant may also be helpful.
In experiments with kava, researchers have found modest but hopeful results in reducing anxiety symptoms. Even so, there are minor side effects such as headaches. So far, there have been no liver problems or other damaging effects associated with the use of kava.
Passion Flowers originally grew in the Americas and are related to passiflora. There are around 500 species of passion flowers, many with positive medicinal effects for mental health issues. The plant can help to treat anxiety and insomnia.
It works by triggering GABA metabolism in the brain, which is also responsible for restful sleep. You can use passion flowers by boiling them with water.
There are some side effects of passionflower:
- Excessive sleep
If you notice side effects after consuming passion flowers, consult a physician.
This herb is used widely in Asia and Europe to treat anxiety. The root of the plant is potent and widely used for medicinal purposes. It contains many powerful compounds, including valerenic acid and isovaleric acid.
Most of all, experts strongly compare the properties of this herb to those of Xanax. The scientific community believes that they share similar effects on anxiety. Valerian compounds help to decrease GABA breakdown in the brain, thus promoting relaxation and calmness.
This aromatic plant is highly popular in perfumery and culinary industries, but it has recently attracted attention for its therapeutic properties, particularly in anxiety treatment. Lavender may help to reduce several symptoms of anxiety disorders, including:
- Depressive Episodes
When used with other essential oils, lavender eases anxiety-related tension in muscles. You can use lavender essential oil in your bath water to relax muscles after a stressful day. You can also try aromatherapy with lavender oil diffusers.
6. Lemon Balm
Scientifically called Melissa Officinalis, this lemon herb has a lemony fragrance and comes from the mint family. This anti-anxiety herbal remedy is quite popular worldwide. It packs protective antioxidants and enhances the immune system.
It relieves nervousness and excitability, as well as pressure symptoms. A tea made from lemon balm is the best way to consume 300-600 mg of the herb to help relieve anxiety. A dose of more than 300 mg may help you overcome episodes of anxiety.
Evidence from animal trials shows that ashwagandha can help to decrease anxiety symptoms. The herb reduces blood glucose levels and lowers cortisol levels. It also improves sleep.
Note: Report any severe reactions to your doctor immediately if you use one of these natural anxiety remedies.
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The Bottom Line
Anxiety disorders encompass various conditions with various signs and symptoms. Most anxiety disorders are treated first-line with anxiety medications. However, many people prefer natural alternatives because of the unwanted effects of pharmacological interventions.
If you experience any symptoms while on anti-anxiety medications or natural remedies, talk to a medical expert as soon as possible.
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