Should You Consider Medications For Your Anxious Dog
If your dog is suffering from , you may be wondering if prescription drugs are a good idea. Will medication change your dogs personality? Will they turn into a zombie because of excessive sedation? What about other side effects, including any long-term safety concerns? And if your dog starts taking medication for anxiety, will they have to stay on it forever?
As with any drug your dog might take, anti-anxiety drugs also commonly referred to as anxiolytics or anti-depressants are not without their risks. Side effects vary depending on the type of medication, dosage, and length of treatment, as well as the dogs sensitivity to the drug. But anti-anxiety drugs are generally well-tolerated by dogs and can provide much-needed relief and support in certain situations, especially when the separation anxiety is chronic or severe. Also, keep in mind that drugs are not necessarily the last resort when all other treatment options have failed. Starting a dog on medication sooner, rather than later, can be more beneficial in the long run.
Please note that this article is for informational and educational purposes only. Pet owners should not give any medications, prescription or even over-the-counter, without first discussing it with their pets veterinarian.
Tolerance Dependence And Withdrawal
Benzodiazepines have the potential for physical dependence when used for long periods of time, especially at high doses. They can also be psychologically addictive in some individuals.
Studies have shown that people who take benzodiazepines over a long period of time may develop tolerance that reduces the therapeutic benefits. If tolerance occurs, larger doses of benzodiazepines may be needed to bring about desired results.
Long-term use of benzodiazepines may result in physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms if the medication is stopped or decreased suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms may include:
Serotonin And Noradrenaline Reuptake Inhibitors
If SSRIs don’t help ease your anxiety, you may be prescribed a different type of antidepressant known as a serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor .
This type of medicine increases the amount of serotonin and noradrenaline in your brain.
Examples of SNRIs you may be prescribed include:
SNRIs can also increase your blood pressure, so your blood pressure will be monitored regularly during treatment.
As with SSRIs, some of the side effects are more common in the first 1 or 2 weeks of treatment, but these usually settle as your body adjusts to the medication.
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What Is The Best Natural Anti Anxiety Medication
While there are no anxiety medications available over the counter, there are some natural remedies that have been shown to improve anxiety.
- Exercise is known to reduce anxiety by burning off the stress hormone cortisol and promoting the release of endorphins, a feel good chemical.
- Kava is an herbal supplement that should only be taken with the go ahead from your doctor as it may interact with other medications and substances. That said, there is limited evidence that is lowers anxiety levels.
- CBD oil is in the news a lot these days for its calming effects. While research is limited, there is evidence that it can help you relax.
- 5-HTP, L-Tryptophan, or Sam-e are supplements that may boost levels of serotonin in the brain. Increased serotonin has been linked to lower anxiety level, that said, more research is needed.
Alternative Treatments For Anxiety
As with most mental health issues, non-pharmacologic therapies, such as talk therapy or counseling, can be an effective treatment strategy to treat symptoms and address the underlying factors contributing to one’s anxiety. Identifying the underlying emotional or behavioral reasons for anxiety can help a person understand his or her triggers for it, what they can do to cope with it, and how they can potentially overcome it. If you are experiencing anxiety, consider finding a qualified therapist before or after speaking to a doctor to see if therapy can help your situation. Many types of therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have helped people completely relieve their anxiety. Counseling can be a stand-alone treatment or done in conjunction with taking medication.
Possible alternative substances that are under investigation for the treatment of anxiety include Hydroxyzine, kava kava, and pregabalin. Barbiturates are also sometimes used to treat anxiety, but their use is limited now with the availability of many benzodiazepines. Antihistamines can also be used to promote relaxation however, their use is also limited and should only be used when a person is allergic to benzodiazepines.
Alternative body therapies such as massage, nutritional therapy, and breathing exercises have also produced positive results for alleviating anxiety. Yoga and meditation may also help a person who is experiencing anxiety find relief for his or her mild or chronic symptoms.
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What Is An Anxiety Disorder
An anxiety disorder is a medical condition marked by increased feelings of panic, fear or anxiety. Generally, anxiety disorders include excessive worrying about activities and events, especially those which should be routine or ordinary.
Its important to know that anxiety is a normal reaction in human beings. Anxiety and stress exist to help make us more alert and attentive to matters of high importance. Feeling stressed is a normal part of being human however, excessive stress may inhibit your ability to live a fulfilling or even happy life.
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental disorders, and they come in many different forms.
The American Psychiatric Association estimates that 30% of adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable, and growing awareness for mental health is making it easier for people to find the care they need.
Final Words: Getting Treated For Anxiety
Although anxiety is one of the most prevalent mental health conditions, its treatable. When exploring the available treatment options, one question youll encounter is, what is the best non-narcotic anxiety medication? To answer the question, weve created this comprehensive list of non-narcotic anxiety medication to guide you on the available options.
Its normal to feel anxious from time to time. However, if anxiety prevents you from fulfilling your daily obligations, you need to see a specialist. At EZCare Clinic, we understand just how harmful anxiety is. Thus, we offer comprehensive treatment options that help our patient to retake control of their lives. Contact us today or book an anxiety appointment to learn new ways of coping and treating anxiety.
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Drug Dependence And Withdrawal
When taken regularly, benzodiazepines lead to physical dependence and tolerance, with increasingly larger doses needed to get the same anxiety relief as before. This happens quicklyusually within a couple of months, but sometimes in as little as a few weeks.
If you abruptly stop taking your medication, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Increased anxiety, restlessness, shaking.
- Depression, confusion, panic attacks.
- Pounding heart, sweating, and in severe cases, seizure.
Many people mistake withdrawal symptoms for a return of their original anxiety condition, making them think they need to restart the medication. Gradually tapering off the drug will help minimize the withdrawal reaction.
Can You Buy Anxiety Medication Over The Counter
Leah likes writing about health and science subjects. Through her writing she hopes to help people of all backgrounds have equal access to information and quality healthcare.
Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Dr. Katalin Karolyi
Katalin Karolyi, M.D. earned her medical degree at the University of Debrecen. After completing her residency program in pathology at the Kenezy Hospital, she obtained a postdoctoral position at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Orlando, Florida.
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Safest Medications For Anxiety
The first thing to realize is that different anxiety disorders require different types of medications. So even if there is a “safest” anxiety medicine, the problem is that your own anxiety may not be helped by that specific medication. Furthermore, different levels of anxiety may require different types of medications.
It’s important to remember that all medicines have a risk for side effects, especially medications that affect brain chemistry. In addition, everyone has different needs, different brains, and even different chemical imbalances that may lead to anxiety. That’s why you should never take any medicine without your doctor’s approval and supervision.
Finally, anxiety medications are not a cure. It is helpful to consider non-medicine treatments, like therapy and self-help, so that eventually you can wean off the medication.
What To Look For
You can boost your dietary intake of L-tryptophan, which the body converts to 5-HTP. Food sources include turkey, chicken, pumpkin seeds, spinach, milk, and bananas.
5-HTP supplements are found in health food stores, online, and at some drug stores. Be careful not to confuse 5-HTP with 5-hydroxytryptamine , the chemical name for the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Always exercise caution when buying this or any supplement. Supplements haven’t been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.
You can get tips on using supplements, but if you’re considering the use of 5-HTP supplements, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
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Starting Your Dog On Anti
The first stop is your veterinarian or veterinary behaviorist, who will consult with you about the severity and duration of your dogs symptoms and your home situation and goals. From there, you can decide together if an anti-anxiety medication makes sense. Treating your dogs separation anxiety is a journey, and trialing multiple medications may be needed before finding the one that has the desired effect for your dog. Your veterinarian is there to help you and your dog sort through all the options.
Although humans and dogs share similar medications for anxiety and other conditions, you should never give your dog a human-prescribed drug without your veterinarians approval.
If you choose to go the pharmaceutical route, your veterinarian will take into account other medications or supplements your dog might be taking and any existing health conditions they might have. Your veterinarian may also want to perform blood work before starting your dog on any medication. Periodic blood tests during your dogs treatment might also be required to monitor liver and kidney function.
Alternative Treatments To Anxiety Drugs
As mentioned, however, no anxiety drug works perfectly. The truth is that all anxiety medications can cause harm, and none of them help you stop anxiety permanently. You always need to consider an alternative treatment first and absolutely need to make sure that you partner any anxiety medication with a long-term solution.
Alternative treatments include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Therapy is a completely safe and long-term treatment for anxiety, and can provide assistance for every type of anxiety disorder. Remember, not all medications work for all anxiety, but CBT techniques have been developed to permanently reduce any and all anxiety disorders and symptoms.
- Herbal Supplements Herbal supplements are another alternative to anxiety medications. They generally tend to be safe, have no withdrawal symptoms, and can be used as needed. But it must be noted that the most powerful herbal supplements can still have side effects or drug interactions, so before you take herbal supplements you should still talk to your doctor.
- Exercise Exercise is a very real, very effective solution for anxiety, and should be one of the first you try. Studies have shown that exercise can be as powerful or more powerful than some anxiety medications, and of course exercise is healthier for you than any other option available.
If you truly want to find relief from anxiety without medication – or even with medication – you need to base your treatment off of your symptoms.
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Pros And Cons Of Otc Medicines For Anxiety
While there are some advantages to taking OTC remedies for anxiety, there are also a number of potential drawbacks to consider. Before you take any kind of OTC medication for your anxiety, be sure to talk to your doctor to help avoid adverse effects and medication interactions.
Potential to cause drowsiness during the day
Not effective for severe anxiety
Not approved by FDA for treating anxiety, or not regulated by FDA
Not meant for long-term use for anxiety
Potential side effects
Choosing An Alternative To Prescription Medication
Medications do have their place. Even though they use chemicals that are not natural for the human body, they’re not the demon that some people have made them out to be.
Yet they are also still risky, and anything affecting your brain isn’t something you want to start taking without a doctor’s supervision. So even if a medication was available without a prescription, it may not be worth taking without a doctor.
In addition, no anxiety medication should be taken without something to ensure that you can stop taking the medicine someday, and medication should be avoided in general if there is a way to treat your anxiety without them.
There are no over-the-counter drugs to take for anxiety, but there are some natural solutions and treatments that may be able to provide some relief. Therapy and self-help techniques are still strong tools for addressing anxiety and do not require any medication.
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Antianxiety And Antipanic Medications
Anxiety affects as many as 40 million Americans each year. If you are one of the many who is coping with debilitating feelings of anxiety, it is important to evaluate all of the treatment options available to you. In addition to therapy and lifestyle changes, some individuals benefit from taking antianxiety medication prescribed by a healthcare practitioner. Anxiety is often used as a catchall term to describe a state where a person feels discomfort, strong feelings of rejection, apprehension, nervousness, or fear of their surroundings, emotions, or other stimulus. In simple terms, anxiety is our response to any undesirable and problematic situation.
Antianxiety medications, also known as anxiolytics, cannot cure your anxiety condition. However, they may help ease symptoms of anxiety such as fear, insomnia, panic, and worry when those symptoms prevent you from doing day-to-day activities. These medications are prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist and are not available for purchase over-the-counter.
Can You Use Other Medications To Treat Symptoms Associated With Social Anxiety Disorder
Other medications may be used off-label to treat social anxiety disorder. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America , other SSRIs such as , , and may also be effective in treating social anxiety disorder. These might be prescribed if youve tried sertraline, paroxetine, or extended-release venlafaxine, and they havent seemed to help enough.
Benzodiazepines, including clonazepam and alprazolam , may sometimes be second-choice treatments for people with social anxiety disorder. Because many of these medications help calm anxiety symptoms within a few hours of a dose, they can be helpful when first starting SSRIs or venlafaxine until they kick in.
However, people taking benzodiazepines long-term may develop dependence on the medication and experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop them. Its best to discuss the safest way to take benzodiazepines with your healthcare provider if they prescribe them for you.
Medications used to treat seizures or nerve pain, such as gabapentin and pregabalin , are also sometimes used off-label to treat social anxiety disorder. However, research suggests that these medications are less effective in relieving symptoms than SSRIs or venlafaxine.
Some medications may be particularly effective in treating specific symptoms of social anxiety disorder, such as performance anxiety. People with performance anxiety may have an intense fear or worry while speaking or performing in public.
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