Anxiety and panic attacks affect millions of Americans. Typically, anxiety attacks occur progressively and involve increased anxiety, whereas panic attacks tend to be sudden. Panic attacks are characterized by intense fear and a looming sense of doom, which lasts for a short while. It’s normal to have an anxiety or panic attack, but you could be battling a mental disorder if the episodes occur regularly.
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Differentiating Panic Attacks from Anxiety Attacks
Anxiety builds over time, while panic tends to be sudden. Anxiety attacks often arise from an intensified anxiety level, whereas panic attacks result from an intense sense of dread or fear. Those who suffer from anxiety attacks usually feel anxious before an attack occurs. On the other hand, those who experience anxiety attacks often feel fine until they encounter dreadful situations that make them panic.
Anxiety attacks usually take considerable time to build up and may last for some time. Conversely, panic attacks tend to last for a shorter period, usually 20 to 30 minutes. Typically, the attacks reach their most intense level of about ten minutes in.
When panic attacks become frequent, patients tend to develop panic disorder. This is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent panic attacks and the fear of having panic attacks. Even so, patients who don’t have panic disorder may also experience panic attacks.
Best Medication For Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The medications used to treat anxiety focus on alleviating anxious feelings, and lessening the severity and frequency of panic attacks. They make patients feel calmer even when there’s agitation. Feeling anxious from time to time is part of life. Anxiety is a component of the human body’s natural defense system and is closely linked to the flight and fright response.
However, it’s best to keep in mind that there’s a difference between being afraid of stepping out of the house and feeling anxious before facing new people or a crowd. Essentially, anyone who battles an anxiety disorder can be put on anxiety medication. However, just because someone experiences anxiety doesn’t mean he/she should take anxiety medication because psychotherapy and exercise may be equally effective. That said, here are some common medications for anxiety and panic attacks:
Prozac (fluoxetine) is the drug of choice for anxiety medication and is also used to treat panic attacks, OCD, and other mental disorders. The drug has a proven track record for alleviating the symptoms of anxiety disorders, including fearful thoughts and fear. The medication isn’t recommended to patients with bipolar disorder, diabetes, or liver problems.
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Xanax is primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. The drug is a benzodiazepine and is available both in tablet and liquid form. Although it’s not suitable for some types of anxiety, Xanax has been used to treat general anxiety for more than 40 years. Sometimes, the drug is used to treat patients who are battling both depression and anxiety. Xanax is known to cause dizziness and can also be addictive.
Doctors typically prescribe Lexapro (escitalopram) to treat anxiety disorders that have persisted for more than six months. The drug stimulates the production of serotonin and does an excellent job at easing moderate to severe anxiety. It also lessens the frequency and intensity of anxiety and panic attacks. Patients who have used Lexapro point out that it reduces feelings of anger besides promoting better sleep. On the flip side, it can lower sex drive and cause dizziness in some patients.
This is an SNRI used to treat anxiety by tricking the brain to produce more norepinephrine and serotonin. The drug is an effective intervention for social anxiety disorder, general anxiety disorder, and most phobias. Effexor is mostly used as a long-term intervention for anxiety. Thus, it doesn’t produce immediate results. With time, the drug has an at-ease feeling that helps patients overcome impatience, anger, and restlessness.
Natural Anxiety and Panic Attack Medications
When anxiety and panic attacks become a daily struggle, there are natural remedies that you can use to regain control of your life. These include:
Drinking a beer or a glass of wine may have a calming effect, but anxiety will set in once the buzz ends. Thus, avoid using alcohol to relieve anxiety.
If you’re battling anxiety, caffeine-rich beverages aren’t for you. Caffeine causes jitters and nervousness, besides worsening the symptoms of anxiety disorders.
Practice Deep Breathing
Fast, shallow breathing is a common symptom of anxiety. It leads to a faster heart rate, lightheadedness, dizziness, and panic attacks. Deep breathing helps to relieve anxiety attacks by calming you down.
Meditation can help eliminate chaotic thoughts from the mind and replaces them with mindfulness and a sense of calm.
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Getting the Help You Need
If you’re battling anxiety and panic disorders, you’re not alone. At Mango Clinic, we’re here to help you live and function normally. Contact us today to start your mental health and wellness journey or click the banner below to book your appointment.