Common Anxiety Drugs

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Common Anxiety Drugs - SUN Behavioral Delaware

When you have anxiety, you know that simple daily tasks can be intimidating because you never know how you will react to a situation.  Anxiety may sometimes cause nausea.

For example, sometimes, you can drive the kids to school without incident. Still, other times a tractor-trailer that rides too close to the yellow lines can send you into a panic that disrupts your entire day.

Covid-19 has also exacerbated mental health issues across the United States.

Although social distancing may have slowed the spread of the disease, it has damaged our collective psychological state.

Here in Delaware, 26.6% of adults reported having symptoms of anxiety or depression in 2021. Compared to 2019, when the rate in the state was 20.9% of the state’s population had symptoms.

With the added stress and fear of getting sick, anxiety disorder symptoms may need more treatment.

Anxiety and stress can have an impact on daily life. As a result, treatment options should not have to add to your stress level.

Instead, the goal of treatment is to alleviate anxiety symptoms so that you can enjoy your life without undue stress.

Doctors will use various treatment options to treat multiple anxiety disorders with different treatments working for different people. Let’s go over some of the common anti-anxiety medications that might be an option for you and which ones you should avoid.

What Are Anxiety Medications?

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the US and affect 18.1% of the total population aged 18 and older.

It is not a good time when you suffer from severe anxiety that fills your days with excessive worry and panic. You might be wondering, “How can I get relief from my symptoms right away?”

Some drugs work more quickly while other medications can provide long-term relief from your symptoms.

It is essential to learn about the potential risks and side effects of taking any medications. For example, while anti-anxiety drugs can help with some symptoms, they are not suitable for everyone.

They may not function independently so therapy and mindfulness practices can be effective when added to medication.  However, if the symptoms are severe enough, medication may be the best course of action.

Anxiety Medication Comes in Many Different Types

Some different types of medication can be prescribed to someone who has an anxiety disorder.

The different types of medication commonly prescribed may be:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro
  • Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): Cymbalta, Pristiq, Effexor XR
  • Benzodiazepines: Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan
  • Beta-blockers: Lopressor, Inderal, Zebeta
  • Other drugs and off-label medications: Buspirone,Vistaril,Parnate

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) were first used to treat depression as antidepressants. Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that acts as a messenger between the brain and nerves.

Serotonin always plays a vital role in mood, which is an essential element for someone who has anxiety. SSRIs essentially block serotonin’s reabsorption in essence, leaving more of it inside the brain to work.

Doctors can use SSRIs to treat anxiety disorders such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. (GAD)

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are the following family of medications to treat anxiety.

They act similarly to SSRIs, except in addition to serotonin, the stress hormone norepinephrine is elevated with SNRIs. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that plays a crucial role in stress and anxiety.

In addition, it may help with phobias, social anxiety disorder (SAD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The next family of medications used to treat anxiety disorders is benzodiazepines, which provide instant relief from anxiety symptoms. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that functions in sleep, mood, anxiety, and memory.

The problem is that these medications have high potential for physical dependence. Therefore anyone with a substance use disorder should exercise extreme caution when using them.

Benzodiazepines should not be taken for an extended period of time or off label because they can have the reverse effect and induce additional anxiety if not taken appropriately.

They’re most effective when used in conjunction with another treatment, such as counseling or self-care methods. Then, people can use them on an as-needed basis. People who suffer from panic attacks or social anxiety disorder will benefit from these drugs.

Another class of medications that people can use to treat anxiety disorders is beta-blockers. They’re usually prescribed for cardiac problems or high blood pressure.

They operate by reducing some of the physical signs and symptoms of anxiety. They could, for example, help with trembling, increased heart rate, rapid breathing, and perspiration.

However, they do not frequently stop symptoms in the mind, such as racing thoughts.

Beta-blockers work by blocking the stress hormones adrenaline and norepinephrine in the brain. They’re usually used to treat anxiety attacks, not as long-term solutions.

Some other drugs that people may use for anxiety are buspirone, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO), antihistamines, and other drugs that can treat anxiety symptoms.

In addition, some off-label medicines are being used to treat anxiety disorders.

Ketamine is also successful for anxiety treatment as well as some antipsychotics.

Are There Any Differences Among Anxiety Medications?

Drugs in the same class may have similar effects on the brain.

Medications used to alleviate anxiety, on the other hand, range widely from one another. They’re made to target different parts of the brain and specific stress and anxiety symptoms.

Some are intended to treat physical symptoms, while others treat psychological aspects.

Beta-blockers, for example, target the physical signs of panic attacks, such as shaking and an elevated heart rate. They achieve this by lowering the effects of adrenaline, which is released during stress, and are typically used only when needed.

SSRIs work on increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin influences mood and perception, which has an impact on anxiety levels because it can reduce perceived worries over time.

Are There Any Similarities Among Anxiety Medications?

Anxiety drugs have a few similarities in that they are all used to relieve stress and anxiety symptoms.

The majority of anti-anxiety drugs target neurotransmitters and chemical messengers in the brain.

Through the  manipulation of  chemicals in the brain, your mood can be altered in a way that alleviates some of the symptoms of anxiety.

Side Effects Of Anxiety Medications

The side effects of anxiety medications will differ because, as we have seen, they are not all the same class of drugs.

So some examples of side effects that are common to SSRIs and SNRIs could include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite changes

Some side effects from benzodiazepines may include:

  • Tiredness
  • Vision problems
  • Memory issues
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slowed motor function and breathing
  • Confusion

Some beta-blocker side effects could be:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Low blood pressure
  • Blood flow issues

Specific side effects may be worth putting up with if anxiety symptoms subside. It all depends on what works best for you. You may need to try more than one to find the right one for your anxiety disorder.

The length of time that you take them will also be something you and your doctor will want to consider as there are more severe long-term side effects associated with some of these medications.

Other Treatments Used For Anxiety

Medication isn’t the only choice. Medication may be helpful in conjunction with other forms of treatment for some people.

In contrast, for others, no medicine is the best option. For example, psychotherapy, group therapy, and some holistic therapies effectively treat anxiety.

Some holistic methods to try are:

  • Art therapy
  • Music therapy
  • Exercise
  • Mediation
  • Yoga
  • Mindfulness
  • Aromatherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Changes in diet and nutrition
  • Massage or Reiki

Some brain stimulation therapies are being used to treat anxiety other than medication.

These include:

  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation
  • Vagus nerve stimulation

Different counseling or therapies can help treat anxiety disorders.

They include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Exposure therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Hypnosis

What Conditions Must Be Met To Justify the Use of Anti-anxiety Medications?

Some conditions must be met for a mental health disorder to be diagnosed. For example, each anxiety disorder has a set of criteria, or symptoms, that you must meet to be diagnosed with that disorder.

Suppose your symptoms are interfering with your daily life. In that case, you should consider trying some medications to see if they can help.

If you don’t feel better after six weeks, talk to your doctor about switching medicines until you discover one that works for you.

What Are The Precautions For Anti-anxiety Medications?

Most anti-anxiety drugs will affect the central nervous system. As a result, there are some adverse effects of taking anti-anxiety medications.

Some adverse reactions may occur when taking any medication. However, most anti-anxiety drugs have potential long-term effects that may be dangerous.

Some long term effects of anti-anxiety medications may be:

  • Weight gain
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Withdrawal symptoms from stopping
  • Caring less about others
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness

Overall, taking any anti-anxiety medication long-term can change how your brain works.

Also, most of these drugs can interact with other medications you may be taking. So, it is always good to inform your doctor of anything you are taking.

Get Help with Anxiety Today

Suffering from an anxiety disorder can be debilitating.

All you want is to live a regular life free of the stress that comes with constant anxiety or panic.

SUN Delaware’s anxiety treatment program is dedicated to helping you reclaim your life from worry and stress.

We provide cognitive behavioral therapy to assist you in developing more vital coping skills and learning how to redirect negative thought patterns to more positive ones.

Of course, we also provide medications, and we will work with you until we find the medication(s) that work best. We are committed to assisting you in finding a treatment plan that will work for you.

Call SUN Delaware at 302-604-5600 right now to reclaim control of your life.

FAQs

What are the top ten anxiety medications?

The top ten anxiety medications that are typically prescribed are:

  • Benzodiazepines
  • Beta-blockers
  • SSRIs
  • SNRIs
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Azaspirodecanedione like Buspirone
  • Antipsychotics
  • Antihistamines
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Alpha-blockers

What is the most common anxiety medication?

The most common medication used to treat anxiety is Xanax.