Who Should Use Over
A study of 690 German pharmacists determined that people seeking over-the-counter treatments for anxiety and depression:
- Were more likely to be younger
- Had a shorter duration of illness
- Had less severe symptoms
- Were skeptical about psychopharmacology
However, the researchers questioned whether OTC treatments were a logical or cost-effective solution to these problems. Most people purchasing over-the-counter treatments for anxiety would likely benefit from professional help in the form of talk therapy or prescribed medication. The exception might be for cases of very mild anxiety that seem to be helped by herbal remedies that offer relaxation at bedtime.
Though some doctors may recommend OTC medications like Benadryl for children and adolescents, it’s especially important not to give a child Benadryl to treat anxiety without consulting their doctor first. Diphenhydramine can be potentially dangerous, and may not be the best course of treatment for your child’s symptoms.
How To Assess How Youve Been Feeling Lately
Before you go to see your health care professional, it may help to think about these questions.
Over the last two weeks, how often have you been bothered by the following problems?
- feeling nervous, anxious or on edge
- not being able to stop or control worrying
- little interest or pleasure in doing things
- feeling down, depressed, or hopeless
You should think about if these problems have been affecting you:
- not at all
- for more than half the days
- nearly every day
Make a note of your answers and take them with you to discuss with your health care professional.
It can be hard to admit or to recognise if youre feeling low or anxious. The NHS Choices mood self-assessment tool can help you better understand how youve been feeling recently. And once youve completed the questionnaire, it will point you in the right direction for support and advice tailored for you.
What Is An Asthma Attack
Asthma occurs due to underlying inflammation and constriction of your airways or bronchial tubes. Both inflammation and constriction can make it hard to breathe. This causes symptoms like wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing.
When you have an asthma attack, your bronchial tubes constrict further, making breathing difficult. Wheezing may be audible. You may have tightness or a rattling sensation in your chest.
Depending on the severity of your asthma attack, your symptoms could last from several minutes to hours or even days.
Quick-relief medications can reduce your symptoms and stop the attack. But if your symptoms continue to worsen, you may need emergency medical attention.
Triggers that irritate your lungs often cause asthma attacks. These triggers can include:
- allergens, such as pollen, animal dander, and dust mites
- chemicals, including perfume, smoke, and cleaning products
- exercise, especially if its more strenuous than what youre used to
- extreme heat or cold
- feelings of detachment from yourself and your surroundings
- feeling like youre losing control
- fears of dying
A panic attack can peak after 10 minutes and then often begins to subside. While a panic attack can occur in the middle of a state of severe anxiety, these symptoms can also occur unexpectedly when you feel calm.
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Why Medication Is Prescription Only
Anxiety medications are controlled substances for a reason. Anxiety occurs in the brain, and anything powerful enough to affect the brain should likely be used only when recommended by a doctor.
But it should be noted that even if you could take an over-the-counter medication, it may not be something you want to use. Anxiety is not a disease that can be cured by taking some medication for a week. Its something that needs changes in the way you think and feel. That involves learning to cope with the issues that cause you stress, something that medications don’t do.
Medications dull anxiety, but they dont cure it. Youd have to take the medication for the rest of your life, and that can be dangerous and not ideal, since anxiety medications also stop working after a year or so.
Still, medications can help. So why are there no over-the-counter ones?
Techniques To Reverse The Stress Response
The AAFA recommends the below techniques for stress-induced asthma:
Select a nearby object from nature, such as a tree or flower, and focus on it for 12 minutes. Try to look at it as if seeing it for the first time, noticing the shapes, colors, and texture. Relax into the observation for a while until feeling better.
Begin by slowly breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. If it helps, try inhaling for 7 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 7 seconds. Bring attention to breathing and try to let go of everything else.
Repeat this pattern three times or until feeling an improvement.
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Do Muscle Relaxers Help With Anxiety
Anxiety disorders can be challenging to cope with even on the best days. Many treatments are available for anxiety disorders, but they are not one size fits all. Trial and error might be necessary if go-to methods are not sufficient for you. At this time, muscle relaxers are questioned often if they help with anxiety.
Treatment could also depend on which anxiety disorder you are suffering from. If there are any underlying causes for the disease, they may be a factor as well. Your doctor will take this and your history into consideration when working out a treatment plan.
Just like most treatment of any health problem, there are potential side effects. Though usually mild, these side effects can sometimes be dangerous. A reaction to medication is typically the culprit in the case of severe side effects.
Diagnosed With Asthma But An Inhaler Isnt Helping
Having trouble breathing is always a scary experience. But if youve been diagnosed with asthma, and your inhaler doesnt help during these attacks, it can be frustrating, too.
Patients experiencing asthma symptoms can be misdiagnosed when in fact they are suffering from vocal cord dysfunction .
VCD is an abnormal narrowing of the larynx. Its a dysfunction of the vocal cords where the cords actually close up when a patient breathes in, making the patient feel like they cant breathe in and are being strangled, says A. Bettina Lopez-Lam, MS, CCC-SLP, senior speech-language pathologist, Bayshore Medical Center.
VCD causes many of the same symptoms as asthma:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest and throat tightness
- Trouble breathing
But the hallmark of VCD compared to asthma is trouble getting air in and tightness that feels like choking or suffocation.
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How Are Asthma Attacks Related To Stress And Anxiety Diagnosed
It is sometimes very hard to conclude whether the asthma attack occurred due to a stressful event or the stress and anxiety resulted from the asthma attack itself. In some cases, there is a vicious circle in which stress induces an asthma attack, which then produces more intense stress, thus making the symptoms even worse.
The most important step in the diagnosis of the stress induced asthma attack is a detailed anamnesis, which can be taken by the patient or persons who were around when the attack had started. Parents should follow the situations in which their children experience asthma attacks, and report that to the doctor.
The triggers that can lead to asthma attacks can be short or long-term, and they include:
- Acute stress
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Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors
Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:
People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.
The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents
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How Do We Assess It
Anxiety and depression are formally diagnosed after assessing an individuals symptoms and impairment against specified diagnostic criteria and ruling out other possible causes of symptoms, such as other mental disorders or medical conditions . Relevant to asthma would be to consider hyperventilation or dysfunction breathing as an alternative or co-existing diagnosis . The figure above indicated the symptoms assessed for depression diagnosis .
Subthreshold symptoms that do not meet the formal criteria for diagnosis but are distressing and cause impairment are also recognised as important.
In practice, anxiety and depression are most commonly assessed through self-report questionnaires. Responses to validated questionnaires can describe symptom severity, increase the chance of detecting mental health problems, and can inform and evaluate treatment . Unfortunately, anxiety and depression are under-diagnosed and undertreated in people with respiratory disease. A systematic review of asthma multidimensional assessment revealed that psychological health status was only assessed in two thirds of patients .
Screening for anxiety and depression in people with severe asthma is recommended and they are simple validated screening tools that can be easily implemented in the clinic.
What Is A Medical Inhaler
An inhaler is a small tube of solution that can be used to send medicine into the lungs. The medicine is inhaled through a plastic tube and held in the lungs. The medicine can now absorb into the lungs and improve breathing.
There are two types of medicinal inhalers: control and rescue. A control inhaler is used every day to help prevent asthma attacks and symptoms. A rescue inhaler is used as a quick help for those who need it immediately.
People with asthma may sometimes need to use the control inhaler every day, regardless of if theyre having symptoms. The rescue inhaler is used for many reasons.
A rescue inhaler, while great for the short-term, doesnt treat symptoms in the long run. Consistent use of a rescue inhaler might suggest you need a control inhaler for daily use.
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Will Anxiety Medications Ever Be Available Over The Counter
There may be a day when an over the counter anxiety medication is possible. Some medications, like Buspirone, are a bit less powerful and have fewer side effects. It is possible that a medication like Buspirone may someday be released, but given that it can also take several days for the medications to start working and they are not as powerful as benzodiazepines and other prescription medications, it still may not be the right choice.
Someday there will be an over-the-counter anxiety medicine, but as of yet, there are no medications that meet the criteria that would make them viable as an over-the-counter option.
What Are Good Questions To Ask About Asthma
If you have been diagnosed with asthma, it is important to learn all you can about the symptoms and treatment of it. Since this is a potentially life-changing diagnosis, take some time to discuss the following with your doctor.
- How can the risk of an asthma attack be reduced?
- How should I handle an asthma attack?
- Are there ways to monitor my asthma?
- Can an inhaler help with my asthma?
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First Line/classic Treatments For Acute Bipolar Depression
The consensus in the field is that non-antidepressant treatments should be considered as monotherapy before using antidepressants to treat bipolar depression . . The medications with the best data from randomized controlled trials are second generation antipsychotics . Although this partly reflects the capacity of pharmaceutical firms to fund large scale studies, the consistent efficacy across multiple studies suggests true antidepressant activity. The two SGAs with the best data are quetiapine and lurasidone, both of which demonstrated efficacy in at least two large scale placebo controlled studies . Olanzapine and cariprazine have also shown efficacy in at least one double-blind study each. Not all SGAs have shown consistent efficacy. Ziprasidone was ineffective in one controlled study while aripiprazole failed its registrational trials . In general, optimal doses of SGAs for bipolar depression are substantially lower than the doses used to treat acute psychosis or acute mania .
Figuring Out If You Have An Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders come in many forms. What I have is known as generalized anxiety disorder , which is marked by consistent, excessive worries that are difficult to control or stop. It affects about 6.8 million American adults and women are twice as likely as men to have it.
Other types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Because anxiety has such a wide range of signs and symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose, according to Christen Sistrunk, a licensed professional counselor in Texas who specializes in treating anxiety disorders.
The first step to evaluating whether you have anxiety is to figure out the type of anxiety you have and how it affects you, said Justin Baksh, chief clinical officer of Foundations Wellness Center in Port St. Lucie, Florida. For instance, maybe you feel it because you brain cant shut off. No matter how hard you try, your mind wanders into the future about finances, work, family issues, and so on, Baksh said.
Or perhaps you experience more physical symptoms, like an upset stomach, digestive issues, sweaty palms, a constant uneasiness, heart palpitations or bouncing legs. Depending on the type of disorder, you could also experience specific fears, avoidance of social situations, shaking, dizziness, fear of losing control, a sense of unreality the list goes on.
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Asthma And Anxiety: Learn How Asthma & Anxiety Relate To One Another
Unfortunately, anxiety can heighten an asthma sufferers asthma symptoms. For those with asthma, both adults and kids, there is more going on during an asthma attack than constricted breathing.Carolina Asthma and Allergy Centers Gray Norris, MD board-certified Allergy and Immunology physician shares his thoughts on asthma and anxiety:
Any sort of breathing problems can result in a sensation of panic and fear. Shortness of breath or even the perception of shortness of breath can affect a persons breathing. The more rapidly one breathes can create the perception of a tightening airway even when it may not be constricted. When panic sets in, breathing changes becoming uncontrolled rapid and shallow which cause more problems. Anxiety can also mimic asthma and create the problem of vocal cord dysfunction that can be mistaken for asthma. Sometimes it gets treated as asthma but it is not. The main goal in with any breathing problem is to stay calm and if possible slow the breathing down. The can help both the anxiety and true asthma.
The Role Of Medication In Anxiety Treatment
When youre overwhelmed by heart-pounding panic, paralyzed by fear, or exhausted from yet another sleepless night spent worrying, youll do just about anything to get relief. And theres no question that when anxiety is disabling, medication may help. But are drugs always the best answer?
Many different types of medications are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines and newer options like SSRI antidepressants . These drugs can provide temporary relief, but they also come with side effects and safety concernssome significant.
They are also not a cure. In fact, there are many questions about their long-term effectiveness. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of regular use. And a recent analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating anxiety has been overestimated, and in some cases is no better than placebo.
Whats more, it can be very difficult to get off anxiety medications without difficult withdrawals, including rebound anxiety that can be worse than your original problem.
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How Does Anxiety Affect Mental Health
Anxiety can affect mental health in a number of ways. It can lead to panic attacks, which are episodes of intense fear and anxiety that can last for several minutes or hours. Anxiety can also cause people to feel constantly on edge and stressed out. This can lead to problems such as insomnia, depression, and addiction.
Living With Asthma And Anxiety
While managing asthma and anxiety can be tricky, there are treatments and therapies that aid in easing both conditions.
Breathing retraining. Breathing retraining can help control asthma and calm anxiety, studies show. Difficulty with breathing is a symptom of hyperventilation, which occurs with panic, and is also a symptom of asthma. Breathing retraining teaches you exercises that change the speed and regularity of your breathing patterns. The therapy can improve asthma symptoms and pulmonary function, reduce airway hyper-reactivity and reduce bronchodilator use.
Heart rate variability biofeedback. Heart rate variability biofeedback is a therapy that works by teaching you to match your heart rate to your breathing. This training can improve pulmonary function, reduce asthma symptoms and reduce the need for asthma medicine.
Cognitive behavior therapy . Cognitive behavior therapy is a form of therapy that helps you change the way you think about your fears. CBT uses relaxation techniques and problem-solving to change the way you react to and behave during situations that create anxiety.
Medicines. Your doctor may also prescribe medicines to treat your asthma and your anxiety. Many people who take asthma medicine also take anti-anxiety medicine to keep them calm.
Exercise. Movement and exercise can also improve your asthma symptoms and reduce stress. Talk with your doctor about the best exercise plan for you.
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