You have likely experienced anxiety symptoms like racing thoughts, sweaty palms, or shortness of breath at some point in your life. The body responds to stress by causing anxiety, so physical or mental pressure is normal. An anxiety disorder can, however, occur if fear and worry are persistent and interfere with your daily life. Forty million adults suffer from anxiety disorders in the United States, which equates to more than 18% of the population. Anxiety can be treated with medication, as well as other approaches.
Fear and worry about the future are normal responses to stress. Some people experience persistent worry and debilitating anxiety rather than occasional anxiety. A doctor may diagnose someone with an anxiety disorder if their anxiety interferes with their everyday lives. Several factors contribute to anxiety disorders, including life events, genetic makeup, brain chemistry, and personality. Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety disorders.
These are some of the most common symptoms of anxiety:
Anti-anxiety medications may be effective for a variety of anxiety disorders, including:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD): Anxiety and worry that are out of proportion to events, activities, or circumstances are typical signs of GAD.
Social anxiety disorder: People with social anxiety disorder feel anxious and fearful around others.
Agoraphobia: Agoraphobics avoid places with large crowds where they may feel trapped, embarrassed, or have panic attacks.
Panic disorder: An individual with panic disorder experiences repeated episodes of intense anxiety called panic attacks, accompanied by overwhelming physical symptoms such as racing heartbeats, dizziness, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): A person with OCD experiences intrusive and unwanted thoughts or images that cause anxiety (obsessions) as well as behaviours that relieve stress (compulsions). There are usually several obsessions and compulsions associated with OCD.
Specific phobias: The fear of situations or places causes people to avoid them irrationally when they have phobias
Most doctors treat anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) with SSRIs, which are common medications that treat anxiety and depression. SSRIs increase serotonin levels because they block the removal of serotonin from the brain. Increasing serotonin can improve communication between brain cells. Researchers have found that SSRIs take between two and six weeks to take effect.
An SNRI is similar to an SSRI in that it blocks the removal of neurotransmitters from your brain. SNRIs increase norepinephrine as well as serotonin levels, affecting brain cell communication.
Serotonin and other neurotransmitters are broken down by an enzyme called monoamine oxidase in the brain, which MAOIs inhibit. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters increase, similar to SSRIs and SNRIs. Doctors usually prescribe MAOIs only if other anxiety medications don't work because they interact with many different medications and foods.
Anxiety disorders can also be treated with tricyclic antidepressant medications. Several side effects are associated with these medications, but some people can manage their anxiety while taking them. As with the other medications listed above, they increase neurotransmitter levels in the brain. A tricyclic antidepressant has three rings in its chemical structure, hence the name.
Heart conditions and high blood pressure are commonly treated with beta-blockers. Since these drugs can help calm physical symptoms of anxiety like a racing heart rate and shortness of breath, doctors often prescribe them for anxiety-most commonly, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder.
To decrease anxiety, anxiety-reducing drugs target specific receptors in the body. These drugs work quickly, but they can become addictive. It is generally only prescribed to treat panic disorder or generalised anxiety disorder on a short-term basis by physicians.
Your doctor may prescribe any of the following anxiety medications, depending on factors such as your symptoms, medication history, and health history, as well as side effects.
Anti-anxiety drugs are not available over the counter (OTC). There must be a prescription from a doctor for anxiety medications. You will likely be asked questions about your anxiety by your doctor to make a diagnosis and get the proper remedy.
Within several weeks of starting anxiety medication, most people experience relief. However, anxiety medication can also cause a variety of side effects. Depending on the type of medication you take, you may experience the following side effects:
You and your doctor will discuss whether these side effects outweigh the potential benefits of anxiety medications. You should speak with your healthcare provider if you're experiencing side effects from a medicine you're taking.
Anxiety medication may seem the best way to improve your mental health, but medicine isn't the only option. Lifestyle changes can help treat anxiety in several ways:
While everyone encounters worry from time to time, if it interferes with your daily life or you feel overwhelmed by anxiety, you may need to see a doctor.
Discuss your current medication with your doctor if you experience adverse side effects, want to change prescriptions, or want to try a new anxiety treatment.
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