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.
Drugs For Adhd Can Interact With Anti
Adderall can interact with anti-anxiety medications, and these interactions can be life-threatening.
As Medical News Today highlights, it is highly important for people with ADHD who use Adderall with an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication to do so under the direction of a medical professional who knows their medical history and has prescribed such treatment.
Medical News Today also advises people to avoid taking Adderall within 14 days of taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor antidepressant because combining both drugs can make the effects of Adderall stronger.
If this happens, a person is at risk of having a stroke, heart attack, kidney failure, or death. Using Adderall with an antidepressant can also cause serotonin syndrome and result in health complications or death.
The medical site also advises against using Adderall if you are using an antidepressant that is a serotonergic drug. Antidepressants that are serotonergic are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , and tricyclic antidepressants.
If these types of antidepressants are used while Adderall is ones system, it could lead to a condition called serotonin syndrome, which is characterized by anxiety, agitation, profuse sweating, disorientation, rapid heart rate, tremors, muscle stiffness, and other symptoms.
What Are Anxiety Medications And How Do They Work
Anxiety is a normal and useful response to potentially stressful or dangerous situations. It increases our awareness of what’s going on around us. For most people, anxiety is short-lived and normally goes away once the situation has passed. This is not the case for an estimated 40 million adults in the United States who have some type of anxiety disorder and experience ongoing and unwarranted psychological distress. That distress may also manifest itself in physical symptoms such as muscletension, headaches, or chest pain.
Anxiety medications include multiple types of drugs that are used to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders. The three most commonly prescribed types of anxiety medication are
- anti-anxiety medications , and
Antidepressants and anxiolytic medications work primarily by affecting the balance of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters. Beta-blockers and other types of drugs are used to address the physical symptoms that may accompany an anxiety attack. First-generation antihistamines are also used to help with anxiety symptoms because they have a sedating effect.
Anxiety disorders are associated with certain chemical imbalances in the brain involving neurotransmitters such as
- norepinephrine, and
- gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA.
These chemicals are associated with an individual’s sense of well-being or with the ability to relax.
Also Check: How Do Ssris Help Anxiety
Combining Medicinal Cannabis And Anti
If the idea of switching over entirely to cannabis medicine intimidates you, you might be asking yourself, Can I use marijuana with anti-anxiety medications? You likely can use medical cannabis as a supplement. Many patients use medical marijuana as part of a combined treatment plan that involves pharmaceuticals and other treatments like therapy.
But, patients who do decide to use both kinds of medicine at the same time should make sure their doctor approves. Work with a doctor with experience in marijuana medicine to determine how to balance your dosages and monitor side effects.
Since anti-anxiety medication and cannabis have some overlapping side effects, taking both can exacerbate them. For instance, folks who take citalopram with medical marijuana might experience confusion, concentration problems and drowsiness. But if you and your doctor take care when adjusting your dosages and dosage time, you can minimize or eliminate these symptoms.
Medications You Should Never Use If Expired
Some medications, especially those taken to treat critical health issues, should always be taken before the manufacturers expiration date because they can break down quickly after expiring. Examples of these medications are nitroglycerin, insulin, EpiPens, antibiotics, and birth control.
There are no studies that show using these medications after their expiration date causes serious harm. The risk is related to how effective the medication is. Taking them after their expiration dates could cause a serious health risk or consequence because the medications are not as effective.
Examples of medications you should always take within the expiration date:
|Various eye conditions and illnesses||Can become contaminated with bacteria and lead to eye infections, such as pink eye .|
|Birth control||Pregnancy prevention, monthly bleeding regulation, acne, and other hormone-related conditions||Not as effective after the expiration date. Lower effectiveness could lead to unwanted pregnancies, breakthrough bleeding, and spotting.|
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Foods That Help Or Hurt Anxiety
There are several types of medications used to treat anxiety disorders.
Within each of these categories, there are subgroups of drugs that work differently and have their own benefits, risks, and possible side effects.
Theyre supereffective in treating anxiety disorders, says Beth Salcedo, MD, the medical director of the Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders and a past board president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Its not known exactly how SSRIs work on serotonin to alleviate anxiety, says Dr. Salcedo, but what is known is that theyre not addictive like benzodiazepines are .
Its important to follow your doctors instructions when taking any prescription drug. Talk to your doctor if youre concerned about the side effects of a medication, or if the drug youre taking doesn’t seem to be alleviating your symptoms.
Other antidepressants that may be prescribed for anxiety include:
- Wellbutrin, Zyban, Aplenzin, Budeprion, or Buproban
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as Amitid, Amitril, Elavil, or Endep Aventyl, Pamelor or Tofranil
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You Just Need A Break
It’s OK to take medication as a way of giving your mind a break, while also allowing the chance to your thoughts patterns. “Medication can be helpful to take the edge off and make life more manageable,” says NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. “This will allow you to develop healthy coping skills to deal better with your anxiety.”
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You Can No Longer Concentrate
If you feel like your brain is scattered due to your anxiety, medication can help. “Concentration difficulties happen when anxiety is present,”psychologist Dr. Christopher Barnes, LP tells Bustle. “If you think about it, if most of your cognitive energy is going towards worry overthinking, … you have less energy to actually focus on things.” And that’s not something you have to deal with.
You Toss And Turn Every Night
Its a vicious cycle: You cant fall asleep because youre anxiousand youre exhausted the next day, which makes you even more anxious.
For our ancestors, late-night anxiety was a survival technique. They had to sleep with one eye open to spot the tiger lurking beyond the campfire. But if youre worrying about money, a pounding heart wont help you pay the mortgage.
A great solution for run-of-the-mill insomnia: exercise. It promotes better sleep and also helps you calm down in the moment. In addition, deep breathing resets your anxiety response.
But if you dread darkness because you know there will be no rest for you, talk to your clinician.
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Gabapentin For Anxiety: Does It Work And How Long Will It Take
The drug gabapentin is perhaps best recognized by the brand name Neurontin, but numerous generic versions of gabapentin exist. Gabapentin was developed to be an approximate synthetic version of the neurotransmitter GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid.
GABA is the most prevalent inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord . Its effects are to slow down the firing rates of other neurons. Gabapentin use results in effects that are very similar to this primary neurotransmitter, but it does not have the exact same mechanism of action as GABA. Gabapentin is not a controlled substance and not covered under the listings of schedules of controlled drugs maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration , but one must have a prescription in order to get it legally.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of gabapentin:
- For the control of certain types of pain such as neuropathic pain
- As an anticonvulsant , most often used as an adjunctive to other anticonvulsants
- For seizure control for both adults and for children between 3 and 12 years old
Off-label uses of gabapentin often require larger doses than approved uses of the drug require. Some of the more common off-label uses of gabapentin include:
Some scattered research suggests that it may be useful in the treatment of anxiety that occurs in psychiatric disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and it could be useful for anxiety disorders.
You Regularly Fly Off The Handle
Do you find yourself getting annoyed or irritated by the smallest little things? If it happens a lot, it could be a sign of anxiety.
Researchers at Concordia University recently found a possible reason for this link. According to the researchers, when the outcome of a situation could be good or bad, anxious people tend to assume the worst. That results in heightened anxiety.
Calming your anxious thoughtsnaturally or with the help of an anti-anxiety medication prescribed by a cliniciancan improve your mood and relationships.
Also Check: How Can I Treat Anxiety Without Medication
What Is A Safe Anxiety Medicine
It’s also difficult to discuss the safety of antidepressants for anxiety and other anxiety medicines because the word “safe” means different things to different people. The good thing about most anxiety medications is that none of them appear to have fatal side effects. All medications can have some exceedingly rare side effects that may not be known and allergies to medications can be very dangerous, but antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and others are highly unlikely to cause any severe or possibly fatal side effects. You can talk to your pharmacist if you’re worried.
But anxiety medicines can cause two distinct types of side effects:
Physical side effects are those that cause some discomforts that affect the body, rather than the mind. For example, a class of drugs known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors may cause:
- Cloudy Thinking
- Digestion Issues
These side effects may be disruptive enough to affect your well-being. Benzodiazepines may also cause digestion issues and nausea, and have other side effects that include:
- Lack of Coordination
In some cases, the side effects can be severe enough that the person needs to stop taking the medication right away. They also may cause dependency and withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the medications, and in some cases, they may lose their effects over time as a result of tolerance.
- Most Benzodiazepines
Medical Marijuana And Anti
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 01/22/2018 in Medical Marijuana
Updated on August 26, 2020. Medical content reviewed by , MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Having an anxiety disorder can be stressful enough without having to navigate mental health care. Many folks with anxiety find they have to try all sorts of prescriptions from their doctors to find the right medication. Not to mention, you can build up a tolerance to the anti-anxiety drug, forcing you to add even more medicine to your daily dosage. You might be starting to think enough is enough.
Some patients with anxiety have turned to medical marijuana for symptom relief. Sometimes they supplement their anti-anxiety medication with it. Other patients use cannabis as a complete replacement. This guide provides you with more information about medical marijuana vs. anti-anxiety medications, and the pros and cons of both choices.
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Anxiety Treatment: 5 Myths About Taking Medication
by Patient Advocate
In a previous post I wrote about weighing the pros and cons of taking medication to treat your anxiety. One of the reasons many people decide not to take medication to treat their anxiety or other mental health disorders is because they have inaccurate information. There is a lot of wrong information out there about medication in general which is perpetuated by myths and half-truths. Unfortunately for all the good that the Internet does for patients there is also the dark side. The global power of the Internet can mean that misinformation can spread like a virus, infecting patients with fear. So let’s take a look at some of the more common myths about anti-anxiety medication and put these to rest.
One of the best things you can do as a patient is to become educated and informed about your treatment options. Medication may not be right for you. But at least know the real facts before you make your decision.
Myth #1: If you take anti-anxiety medication you will become addicted.
Please Note: If you do have any type of substance abuse or addiction problems you need to tell your doctor this information before they prescribe you anti-anxiety medication.
Myth #2: Taking “natural” substances such as herbs, vitamins, and supplements is safer and better for you than taking a prescription medication to treat anxiety.
Myth #3: You are weak willed if you cannot overcome your anxiety without medication.
You’ve Started Having Problems At Work
AsHershenson says, “It is a problem when your anxiety begins taking a toll on your mental and physical health, affecting work and relationships.” This means your anxiety is likely getting out of control and going beyond the “normal” anxiety we all feel every day. So, are you having trouble making it through a work day? Or are you too nervous to travel on business trips? Take these as signs.
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