Are you suffering from chronic stress and anxiety? Have you been trying to deal with it naturally but are still struggling? If so, then this article is for you. We are going to be going over some of the most common medications that are used to treat anxiety so you can make a more informed decision with your doctor.
Anxiety: What is it?
Before discussing the different medications, it is helpful to understand a little bit about what anxiety really is. The best way to describe it centers around recognizing a normal reaction in our body that we call the fight or flight response.
This is the mechanism that we have developed that when confronted with something dangerous, allows our body to ramp up and either fight it or run from it. For example, if you are walking through a forest and a bear charges out at you, your heart rate elevates, your blood vessels constrict to allow more blood to the brain, adrenaline is released helping you to either run or fight for your life.
These are normal responses, and they are good responses, because when the bear is coming after you, you need to react. Anxiety is a condition where this response is a little too active. It’s where these normal responses to scary or dangerous situations, are overactive or flare up for things that are not dangerous or scary.
So instead of the bear charging in the forest, it’s like walking through the trees and a fuzzy bunny were to hop in front of you. But instead of thinking how cute it is, your body reacts to it like it was a bear. So that’s what is happening with anxiety. Normal day to day life is triggering that flight or fight response in a way that starts to interfere with your ability to function.
When we look at treating anxiety, there are two general categories of treatment strategies that we try and use. There is an approach when we try and treat it as you get it and an approach to treat it to try and prevent it. Within each of these categories, there are different types of medications that we can look at using, depending on your symptoms.
Treat it as you get it
This is typically when people have occasional panic attacks or have situational issues that seem to bring on anxiety. Most commonly these are events like traveling, flying, being in enclosed spaces, being in crowds or presenting in front of a group. Medications that are commonly used for this type of anxiety include benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and antihistamines.
This is typically when people have chronic anxiety that is always present. Medications that are commonly used for this type of anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
Anxiety is a common condition, and it can be challenging to manage. However, there are options that can help and can keep it from controlling your life. Medications can be a good tool, especially when nothing else you have tried works and it is starting to control your life. It’s important to work with your doctor to find the right treatment for you, and always remember that non-medication techniques can also be helpful in managing anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a condition where the body's normal response to scary or dangerous situations, known as the fight or flight response, is overactive or flares up for things that are not dangerous or scary. This can interfere with a person's ability to function in daily life.
What are the common medications used to treat anxiety?
There are different types of medications used to treat anxiety depending on the symptoms. For occasional panic attacks or situational issues, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, and antihistamines are commonly used. For chronic anxiety, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants are commonly used.
How can anxiety be managed?
Anxiety can be managed through a combination of medication and non-medication techniques. It is important to work with a doctor to find the right treatment for you, and to also consider non-medication techniques such as therapy, relaxation techniques, and lifestyle changes.
What is the difference between treat it as you get it and prevent it approach?
Treat it as you get it approach is typically used when people have occasional panic attacks or have situational issues that seem to bring on anxiety. Prevent it approach is typically used when people have chronic anxiety that is always present.
What are the potential side effects of anxiety medications?
Each medication for anxiety has its own set of potential side effects, but common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, and headaches. More serious side effects can include sexual dysfunction, increased risk of suicidal thoughts, and changes in weight or appetite. It is important to discuss potential side effects with your doctor before starting any medication.