Anxiety disorders are most commonly treated by antidepressant, beta blockers, and anti-anxiety and medications. Anxiety disorders that are treated this way include obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social phobias.
Originally antidepressants were developed to treat depression. However, SSRIs such as Prozac, Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil had been found to help treat panic disorder, social phobias, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. SNRIs such as if XOR have been used to treat generalized anxiety disorder. Wellbutrin is also used in treating a variety of anxiety disorders. Antidepressants that are used to treat anxiety disorders typically start as a low dose treatments that are increased as needed.
Other antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants work well for panic disorder and general anxiety disorder. As with other antidepressants these medications start out as a low dose that is increased over time.
Doctors have been known to prescribe MAOIs to treat anxiety. Because MAOIs can reconnect with certain foods and medications those patients must request a list of dangerous food and medication from their physician prior to starting the antidepressant regiment.
Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications)
Because people who suffer from anxiety need quick relief, anti-anxiety medications are frequently prescribed. These medications can work more quickly than antidepressants and they treat social phobias, Gen. Zaidi disorder, and panic disorders. Benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anti-anxiety medications.
Buspirone is another antianxiety medication that is used to treat those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder. However, this medication is not used to treat panic disorders as it takes much longer to begin working. Unlike benzodiazepines, this medication can take at least two weeks to build up enough in the system for it to be effective.
Beta blockers are often used to help control the symptoms of anxiety. While most of these beta blockers are typically used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure they can also relieve symptoms such as trembling and sweating for someone who suffers from high anxiety. For someone who is in a social situation and suffers from a social phobia taking a beta blocker shortly before attending an important meeting or giving a speech can help control the physical symptoms of anxiety for short time.
Anti-anxiety medication side effects
All medications have some form of side effects. How the side effect affects a person is dependent upon the person. Side effects affect everyone differently and some people may have were side effects and other. For people taking benzodiazepines the most common side effect is dizziness and drowsiness. Other side effects of benzodiazepines include:
- blurred vision
- upset stomach
Buspirone has its own list of side effects. Again the side effects may be worse for some than others. These include:
- trouble sleeping
Comment beta blocker side effects also include:
- cold hands
Also, people with asthma or diabetes should not take beta blockers. Beta blockers may worsen the symptoms of asthma and diabetes in those who suffer from these illnesses.
How should medications for anxiety disorders be taken?
Benzodiazepines have a tendency to be less effective over time. Because people can build up a tolerance to these medications a higher and higher dosage is needed to give the same effect. People can also develop a dependency on these medications as they are highly addictive. Doctors generally only prescribed benzodiazepines for short periods of time. This is especially true for people who have a history of substance abuse problems or who are easily addicted to medications. Benzodiazepines should not be stopped suddenly. As with most psychiatric medications, benzodiazepines can cause withdrawal symptoms and anxiety to return if they are not tapered off slowly.
This same is true for other medications prescribed for anti-anxiety. Beta blockers and buspirone are not as addictive as benzodiazepines. However due to the withdrawal symptoms that they can produce they should also be tapered off slowly and only used for short term gain.