Other Medications And Treatments For Anxiety
Most cases of anxiety are treated using medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants or beta-blockers. However, several other classes of medication can also be used to treat anxiety disorders. These include:
Antihistamines. Some antihistamines have a calming effect on mood, making them an effective option for some cases of mild to moderate anxiety. These drugs can also help to promote sleep a common difficulty for people with anxiety disorders. Hydroxyzine, sold under the brand name Vistaril®, is an antihistamine thats sometimes used as a short-term treatment for anxiety.
Anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications, such as gabapentin and pregabalin, may help to treat symptoms of certain anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Buspirone. Buspirone is an azapirone medication thats used to treat certain anxiety disorders. Like SSRIs, buspirone may take several weeks to begin effectively treating the symptoms of anxiety.
In addition to the use of medication, psychotherapy and lifestyle changes can often help to treat anxiety. People with anxiety disorders often benefit from the following lifestyle changes:
Common Side Effects Of Modern Anxiety Medications
Clumping all anxiety drugs together is misleading. Some have more side effects than others, just like some are stronger than others. Benzodiazepines can have some fairly pronounced side effects, while buspirone generally has fewer, but buspirone is also much weaker which is why most doctors prefer to prescribe benzodiazepines.
Even within the benzodiazepine class there are different side effects for different medications. But the most common side effects of anxiety medicines are as follows:
- Unusual emotional dysfunction, including anger and violence
- Memory loss
- Weight loss/gain
Both drugs may also cause what’s known as “paradoxical effects,” where in some cases the person may experience a worsening of symptoms rather than an improvement. In some, this may be more anxiety. In others, this can even be severe suicidal ideation and possibly even action. This is uncommon, but is still a serious concern.
The Problem With Relying On Medicine
Medications should always be your last resort when it comes to treating your anxiety. The reason is not just because anxiety medications have side effects – although that is a problem with every mental health medication – but because medications prevent you from learning to cope without them.
That’s the greatest issue with medication. All anxiety medications dull anxiety without teaching you how to control it. Anxiety isn’t like getting an infection. You cannot simply take an antibiotic and have your anxiety go away. Those who rely too much on medication often find that they don’t use or learn the skills necessary to cope with anxiety.
As soon as your stop taking any medicine your anxiety will most likely come back. And if you haven’t learned any new coping skills, it may even be worse than before.
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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.
Alprazolam Ir Oral Tablet Vs Lorazepam
Like alprazolam, lorazepam is a type of benzodiazepine. Both drugs are available as immediate-release oral tablets. And theyre both used to treat some of the same conditions, such as anxiety. But they do have some differences.
To get an idea of how alprazolam and lorazepam compare, check out this article that covers the brand-name versions of these drugs.
Let your doctor know if you have questions about which drug is better for your condition.
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Diagnosing Social Anxiety Disorder
To diagnose social anxiety disorder, a doctor can perform a physical examination and order a laboratory test to rule out any underlying health conditions. They can then refer a person to a mental health practitioner.
Mental health practitioners use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition to diagnose mental health conditions, including social anxiety.
The diagnostic criteria for social anxiety include:
- avoiding situations that can cause social anxiety
- enduring social interactions with intense fear or anxiety
- having persistent, intense fear concerning social situations that might involve observation and scrutiny from others, such as conversations, eating or drinking in public places, and performing in front of others
- experiencing social anxiety symptoms that affect social life and daily living for 6 months or longer
When devising a treatment plan for social anxiety disorder, doctors may recommend talking therapies alongside or instead of medication.
Stranger Social And Intergroup Anxiety
Humans generally require social acceptance and thus sometimes dread the disapproval of others. Apprehension of being judged by others may cause anxiety in social environments.
Anxiety during social interactions, particularly between strangers, is common among young people. It may persist into adulthood and become social anxiety or social phobia. “Stranger anxiety” in small children is not considered a phobia. In adults, an excessive fear of other people is not a developmentally common stage it is called social anxiety. According to Cutting, social phobics do not fear the crowd but the fact that they may be judged negatively.
Social anxiety varies in degree and severity. For some people, it is characterized by experiencing discomfort or awkwardness during physical social contact , while in other cases it can lead to a fear of interacting with unfamiliar people altogether. Those with this condition may restrict their lifestyles to accommodate the anxiety, minimizing social interaction whenever possible. Social anxiety also forms a core aspect of certain personality disorders, including avoidant personality disorder.
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Other Antidepressants Used To Treat Anxiety Disorders
In addition to SSRIs, several other types of antidepressants are commonly prescribed to treat depression. These include serotoninnorepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , monoamine oxidase inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants .
SNRIs work similarly to SSRIs. In addition to increasing the amount of serotonin in your brain, they also block the reabsorption and therefore increase the level of norepinephrine a neurotransmitter responsible for regulating alertness, attention, memory and other functions. SNRIs used to treat anxiety include:
Duloxetine. Sold under the brand name Cymbalta®, duloxetine is an SNRI thats used to treat general anxiety disorder. Our guide to duloxetine provides more information on how duloxetine works as a treatment for depression, anxiety and other conditions.
Venlafaxine. Sold under the brand name Effexor®, venlafaxine is used to treat a range of anxiety disorders, from generalized anxiety disorder to social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Some monoamine oxidase inhibitors may be effective as treatments for certain anxiety conditions, such as social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. MAOIs are older antidepressants that were first discovered in the 1950s by clinical researchers.
Most MAOIs are not approved by the FDA to treat anxiety. However, they may be prescribed by your healthcare provider for off-label use if other treatments arent effective. MAOIs sometimes used to treat anxiety include phenelzine, selegiline and tranylcypromine.
How Does Alprazolam Work
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine drug. Its unclear what the mechanism of action for benzodiazepines is. But this type of drug is thought to slow down the central nervous system . Your CNS consists of your brain and spinal cord. It controls activity throughout your body.
For more information about how alprazolam works, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
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How Long Do Alprazolams Effects Last
How long alprazolams effects last can depend on several factors. These include your age, the condition youre using it to treat, and other conditions you may have, such as liver problems.
In general, alprazolams effects last around 6 hours.
Some important things to discuss with your doctor when considering treatment with alprazolam IR oral tablets include:
- your overall health
- any medical conditions you may have
- other medications or supplements you may take
Read on for details about these considerations and others.
What Are The Side Effects Of Medications Used For Anxiety
Like all medicines, medications for anxiety have the potential to cause side effects. Specific side effects may vary, depending on the type of medication. If you experience side effects from your medication, you should speak to your health care provider. Health care providers stress that it is important to not stop taking your medication for anxiety without medical supervision as it may cause withdrawal symptoms. When you and your health care provider have decided it is time to stop a medication for anxiety, they will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose.
SSRIs and SNRIs do not cause as many side effects as older antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors . Side effects of SSRI and SNRI antidepressants may include sexual problems, weight gain, headache, nausea, sleepiness and insomnia . In addition, the FDA requires all antidepressants to carry a warning relating to the risk of suicide in children and young adults. According to the FDA, antidepressant use in children and teens must be monitored carefully because there can be severe side effects in rare cases.
Benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, headaches, confusion, tiredness, nightmares and physical dependence. People who take benzodiazepines can build up a tolerance to them if they are taken over a long period. Thus, they may need higher doses to get the same effect. Some people may even become dependent on them.
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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 muscle tension, 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.
What Are Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders affect 31.9 percent of people between the ages of 13 and 18, and women are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder as men. Common examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, substance-induced anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
An anxiety disorder does more than make you anxious. They can affect your entire life. Plus, untreated anxiety can lead to other mental health disorders and physical conditions, Alonzo said. We have no way of predicting what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder. However, you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms such as getting help from a health care professional early and avoiding the use of non-prescribed drugs and alcohol.
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Alprazolam Ir Oral Tablet Brand
Alprazolam IR oral tablet is a generic drug. Its also available as a brand-name drug called Xanax.
Note: The other forms of alprazolam have other brand-name drug versions. To learn more, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
Alprazolam IR oral tablet is a generic drug, which means its an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. The brand-name medication that alprazolam IR oral tablet is based on is called Xanax.
Generic drugs are thought to be as safe and effective as the brand-name drug theyre based on. In general, generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.
If youd like to know more about using Xanax instead of alprazolam IR oral tablet, talk with your doctor. Read this Healthline article to learn more about the differences between generic and brand-name drugs.
Antidepressants Used For Anxiety
Antidepressants, particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , may be used as first-line treatments for anxiety. Examples of commonly used SSRIs to treat anxiety include escitalopram , fluoxetine , paroxetine , and sertraline . The serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors duloxetine and venlafaxine may also be used to treat anxiety.
According to the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, antidepressants take longer to work than other medications, up to several weeks, but they also may provide greater symptom relief compared to other drugs over time. It is important to take antidepressants long enough to be effective. If you take antidepressants, do not stop taking them without talking to your health care provider first.
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What Other Treatments Can Help Manage Anxiety
Medications for anxiety are safe and effective and are good options for many people. But some people want to avoid medication, and some want to combine medication with other treatments. You can try:
- Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a first-line treatment for anxiety, and phobias can respond to biofeedback and exposure therapy.
- Stress management techniques. You can learn breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce anxiety.
- Lifestyle modifications. Getting enough quality sleep, exercising, and avoiding alcohol, illicit drugs and excessive caffeine can help reduce anxiety.
- Support groups. Connecting with people who share your experiences can be valuable.
List Of Benzodiazepines Used For Anxiety
Benzodiazepines are very widely used, with tens of millions of prescriptions in the United States alone. Study data indicates that most benzodiazepine use is highest in older people. Common benzodiazepines include:
Alprazolam. Sold as Xanax, alprazolam is the most widely prescribed benzodiazepine medication in the United States, with tens of millions of prescriptions written for it annually. Its prescribed to treat a diverse range of anxiety and panic disorders.
Chlordiazepoxide. Sold under the brand name Librium®, chlordiazepoxide is prescribed to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol/drug withdrawal.
Clorazepate. Sold under the brand names Tranxene® and Gen-Xene®, clorazepate is prescribed to treat a range of anxiety disorders.
Diazepam. Sold under the brand name Valium, diazepam is another widely prescribed benzodiazepine thats used to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, seizures and drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Estazolam. Sold under the brand name Prosom®, estazolam is typically prescribed as a treatment for insomnia, including insomnia caused by anxiety.
Flurazepam. Flurazepam is a benzodiazepine derivative thats primarily used as a short-term treatment for insomnia.
Oxazepam. Sold under the brand names Serax® and Zaxopam®, oxazepam is prescribed to treat anxiety and certain symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
Other benzodiazepines, such as temazepam and triazolam are used primarily as sleep aids and arent widely prescribed for anxiety.
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Sertraline May Interact With Other Medications
Sertraline oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.
To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs youre taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else youre taking, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.
List Of Antidepressant Drugs For Anxiety
Antidepressants are typically the first choice treatment for anxiety. Antidepressants are taken long-term. A list of common, modern antidepressant anxiety medication that works on the brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine includes:2,3,4
- Citalopram off label for panic disorder, social phobia and trichotillomania
- Duloxetine approved for generalized anxiety disorder
- Escitalopram approved for GAD
- Fluoxetine approved for OCD and panic disorder
- Fluvoxamine – approved for OCD in children and adults
- Paroxetine approved for obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social phobia, GAL and posttraumatic stress disorder
- Sertraline approved for panic disorder, PTSD, social phobia and OCD
- Trazodone off label for panic disorders
- Venlafaxine – approved for GAD, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder in adults
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How Do I Know If I Have Generalized Anxiety Disorder
The first step is to rule out the possibility that your symptoms are being caused by a medical condition that is not psychiatric. Among the conditions that produce symptoms similar to those of anxiety are hyperthyroidism or other endocrine problems, too much or too little calcium, low blood sugar, and certain heart problems. Certain medicines also can sometimes cause anxiety. A thorough evaluation by your health care provider will determine if any of these conditions are the cause of your symptoms.
If no other medical culprit can be found and the symptoms seem out of proportion to any situation you are facing, you may be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.