Are There Any Nonmedication Ways To Help With Anxiety
Besides medications, there are different approaches to helping treat symptoms linked with anxiety. Therapy and lifestyle changes are two helpful options that dont involve medications.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on working with a person who experiences anxiety. It teaches different ways to approach fears and certain social situations. This may also include different relaxation exercises to practice at home.
Speaking With A Professional
A mental health professional can help you identify the specific coping strategy and lifestyle changes that can help you manage your symptoms. Although it can be difficult, make sure to be as honest as possible about the symptoms and challenges that you face. Together, you and your mental health professional can work toward developing customized coping strategies.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder Discussion Guide
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What Can I Do To Cope Better With Anxiety
- a. Manage your Energy Know that anxiety is a major source of energy output for the mind and body. This can be and feel very depleting. Manage your energy by ensuring sufficient rest and down time. If necessary, temporarily reducing the amount of responsibility or tasks at work or at home.
- b. Connect with Others It can be hard to say we are struggling but you dont have to go it alone. Letting a trusted loved one know you are struggling and asking for help can alleviate the stress and exhaustion of having to hide or create the happy face we feel people need us to have.
- c. Seek Professional Support When we are feeling fearful, nervous, anxious and/or depleted, it is hard to be rational and even harder to reflect on our own experience rationally. A trained, registered mental health professional can provide you with the knowledgeable guidance you need to understand and manage anxious responses.
Bonnie J. Skinner is a Registered Psychotherapist and Certified Canadian Counsellor. Having developed her career in community based mental health across Canada, Bonnie now owns and operates a practice in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario where she helps individuals, couples , families and organizations overcome obstacles to their chosen goals. Learn more at www.skinnerpsychotherapy.com.
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How Do People Respond To Anti
Anti-anxiety medications such as benzodiazepines are effective in relieving anxiety and take effect more quickly than the antidepressant medications often prescribed for anxiety. However, people can build up a tolerance to benzodiazepines if they are taken over a long period of time and may need higher and higher doses to get the same effect. Some people may even become dependent on them. To avoid these problems, doctors usually prescribe benzodiazepines for short periods, a practice that is especially helpful for older adults , people who have substance abuse problems and people who become dependent on medication easily. If people suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines, they may have withdrawal symptoms or their anxiety may return. Therefore, benzodiazepines should be tapered off slowly.
How Well Do Antidepressants Work
Most people are able to find an antidepressant that helps their depression. But you may have to try a few before you find one that works for you. The right medicine is one that helps your symptoms and has the fewest side effects.
You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks after you start taking an antidepressant. But you may need to take it for as long as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement.
It’s best to keep taking your medicine for at least 6 months after you feel better. If this is not the first time you have been depressed, your doctor may want you to take these medicines even longer.
The thought of needing to take medicine for a long time can be scary. But many people are able to slowly stop taking antidepressants after a while.
Antidepressants can change how you feel and respond in certain situations, but they don’t change who you are. You may feel more relaxed, more social, more assertive, or more outgoing when you are taking an antidepressant.
Depression treated only with antidepressants, and not also with therapy, is more likely to come back later.
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Other Treatments And Lifestyle Changes
Medication is only part of the overall treatment for anxiety. To effectively treat anxiety, you want to make lifestyle changes, such as adding exercise to your daily routine, eating right, getting enough sleep and learning relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing.
In addition, therapy methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, have been found to be as effective, if not more effective, than medication for some people. Even if you choose to begin medication, you may want to begin this type of therapy. Many individuals have been able to lower or discontinue medication after completing CBT.
“How to Get Help for Anxiety Disorders,” 2009, July 7, National Institute for Mental Health
“Medication,” Date Unknown, Author Unknown, Anxiety Disorders Association of America
“What Medications Are Used to Treat Anxiety Disorders,” 2011, Feb 25, National Institutes for Mental Health
I Need Relief And I Need It Now
So where does that leave you if youre suffering? Even when anxiety relief comes with side effects and dangers, that can still sound like a fair trade when panic and fear are ruling your life.
The bottom line is that theres a time and place for anxiety medication. If you have severe anxiety thats interfering with your ability to function, medication may be helpfulespecially as a short-term treatment. However, many people use anti-anxiety medication when therapy, exercise, or other self-help strategies would work just as well or better, minus the drawbacks.
Anxiety medications can ease symptoms, but theyre not right for everyone and theyre not the only answer. Its up to you to evaluate your options and decide whats best for you.
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You’re Having Trouble Leaving Home
Depending on what type of anxiety you have, you mind find yourself feeling too worried to leave the house. “If the world outside of your walls is scary/anxiety-provoking/overwhelming, you may feel a tendency to stay where you are ‘safe,'” Barnes says. And yet, just like everything else, this can spiral out of control. It’s a good idea to get help before you get even more stuck.
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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Referral To A Specialist
If you have tried the treatments mentioned above and have significant symptoms of GAD, you may want to discuss with your GP whether you should be referred to a mental health specialist.
A referral will work differently in different areas of the UK, but you’ll usually be referred to your community mental health team.
These teams include a range of specialists, including:
- occupational therapists
- social workers
An appropriate mental health specialist from your local team will carry out an overall reassessment of your condition.
They’ll ask you about your previous treatment and how effective you found it.
They may also ask about things in your life that may be affecting your condition, or how much support you get from family and friends.
Your specialist will then be able to devise a treatment plan for you, which will aim to treat your symptoms.
As part of this plan, you may be offered a treatment you haven’t tried before, which might be one of the psychological treatments or medications mentioned above.
Alternatively, you may be offered a combination of a psychological treatment with a medication, or a combination of 2 different medications.
You’ve Been Feeling It Physically
Anxiety can truly take a toll on your physical health, often causing all sorts of painful and annoying symptoms. Think along the lines of nausea, stomachaches, headaches, and even heart palpitations. When it reaches this level, psychologist Dr. Joshua Klapow recommends thinking about medication. If you find the right treatment, it can offer some much-needed relief.
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What Are Some Drug Interactions For Anti
- Alprazolam increases blood levels of the antidepressants imipramine and desipramine. Alprazolam may also interact with some calcium channel blockers and with grapefruit juice. Carbamazepine decreases blood levels of alprazolam.
- Combining benzodiazepines with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants can cause increased sedation and potentially dangerous respiratory depression.
- Fluoxetine, propoxyphene, and oral contraceptives increase blood levels of alprazolam , as do ketoconazole, itraconazole, nefazodone, fluvoxamine, and erythromycin.
- Oral antifungal agents such as ketoconazole and itraconazole may significantly decrease blood levels of clonazepam .
- Serious side effects, including respiratory arrest, may occur if lorazepam is combined with clozapine. Dosage of lorazepam should be halved when taken with valproate or probenecid.
- Theophylline and aminophylline may affect the sedative effects of lorazepam.
- Several drugs can increase the blood levels of triazolam , including isoniazid, oral contraceptives, and ranitidine. Ketoconazole, itraconazole, and nefazodone have a profound effect on triazolam metabolism and should not be taken with it. Grapefruit juice also increases the amount of triazolam in the blood.
- Triazolam may interact with calcium channel blockers, antidepressants, ergotamine, amiodarone, and cyclosporine.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors
Mindfulness And Applied Relaxation
Mindfulness and applied relaxation are alternative types of psychological treatment.
Mindfulness focuses your awareness on the present moment. It allows you to acknowledge and accept certain feelings. It can reduce anxiety associated with the fear of actual situations or sensations. It helps to counter the sense of ‘tunnel vision’ that may develop during anxiety.
Applied relaxation focuses on relaxing your muscles in a particular way. A trained therapist teaches the technique which alleviates anxiety and involves:
- learning how to relax your muscles
- relaxing your muscles quickly in response to a trigger
- practising relaxing your muscles in situations that make you anxious
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Symptoms Of Klonopin Misuse And Abuse
Some will abuse Klonopin because it makes the user feel totally relaxed and euphoric. Signs that someone is abusing Klonopin include:
- Clumsiness due to dizziness
Klonopin can cause life-threatening problems. If the following side effects occur, the person needs to seek help immediately.
- Unable to breathe properly to the point of suffocation
- A rash develops
- The person may have a seizure
Are There Any Vitamins Or Supplements To Help Treat Anxiety
Vitamins and supplements generally dont have a lot of evidence that say theyre effective for anxiety. Many vitamins and supplements also have potential interactions with prescription anxiety medications.
If youre interested in starting a new vitamin or supplement while taking a prescription anxiety medication, its recommended to speak to a pharmacist to make sure its a safe combination.
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What If The Anxiety Doesn’t Go Away Once You Have Received Its Message
Track down earlier life experiences that may have triggered a similar frightened feeling. For instance, if a dog once bit you, you are likely to feel anxious any time a dog comes near. Once those root experiences have come to light, overly strong feelings in response to a current situation make sense. Your body is reacting now as if the earlier experience were about to happen again.
Clarifying what is different now, in the present situation, from in the earlier one can release the anxious feelings. Practice this visualization on your own, or with the help of a friend or a therapist.
Here’s a summary list of a number of non-pill anti-anxiety treatment options:
- Visualization self-help techniques
- Deep relaxation, yoga, exercise, sunshine, adequate sleep, time with friends, meditation, or use of the device called Resperate that trains your breathing to slow down to meditative-like rhythms
- EMDR to release impacts of prior trauma
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.
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How To Help Teens With Anxiety
Teenagers may have many reasons to be anxious. Tests, college visits, and first dates all pop up in these important years. But teenagers who feel anxious or experience symptoms of anxiety frequently may have an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of anxiety in teenagers may include nervousness, shyness, isolationist behaviors, and avoidance. Likewise, anxiety in teens may lead to unusual behaviors. They may act out, perform poorly in school, skip social events, and even engage in substance or alcohol use.
For some teens, depression may accompany anxiety. Diagnosing both conditions is important so that treatment can address the underlying issues and help relieve symptoms.
The most common treatments for anxiety in teenagers are talk therapy and medication. These treatments also help address depression symptoms.
Long Term Implications Of Anxiety Medication Side Effects
While some anxiety drugs can cause some rare but severe side effects, they are generally well tolerated with few mild symptoms.
When you combine the side effect risks with the physiological and psychological dependence risk,it is recommended that anxiety medications are used only after a discussion with your doctor who will monitor you and any symptoms if they develop. If you do decide to commence medication, try to seek a talking therapy also, with the knowledge that medication is only a tool for recovery as opposed to the answer.
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Do I Have To Take My Anxiety Medication For Life
Not always. It depends on your symptoms and how controlled they become over time.
As mentioned, if youre taking an antidepressant, it may take a few weeks before your symptoms improve. Its recommended to keep taking your medication for at least 12 months if youre benefiting from the medication. This is meant to help prevent symptoms from getting worse again.
After 12 months or so, you and your healthcare provider may decide to continue the medication or to gradually stop taking it.