If a person experiences high levels of anxiety that affects their everyday life, they may have an anxiety disorder that requires medical attention. For the most part, anxiety disorders can be treated with medication and therapy. Some people find that more holistic approaches also help their anxiety including meditation, yoga and exercise. When the doctor evaluates you for anxiety disorder, he or she will identify patterns in your anxiety symptoms and determine whether your anxiety is caused by an anxiety disorder or physical problem. If the doctor determines that you suffer from an anxiety disorder, the doctor will also make sure that it is not caused by depression or substance abuse, which is common about anxiety sufferers. It is also important to tell the doctor if you have already been treated for an anxiety disorder and what if any treatment plan was executed and whether it was successful. Anxiety treatment is different among individuals and it may take a certain combination of things for it to work for the specific combination of personal symptoms.
Medication is often prescribed for those struggling with anxiety disorders. Anti-depressants, beta-blockers and anti-anxiety drugs are commonly given for anxiety disorders. The medication is often combined with therapy. There are several different types of anti-depressants that have proven effective for panic disorders. One of the newer anti-depressants are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They affect neurotransmitters in the brain, which help brain cells to talk with one another. SSRIs alter the brain chemistry and may take four to six weeks to become effective. You may start feeling a difference after a couple of doses, but some people have trouble adjusting to SSRIs and it takes several weeks to fully adjust to the medicine. Some of the common SSRIs are Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil and Celexa. They are often prescribed for panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia and depression. Because the medicines are mood-altering and affect the brain chemistry, they are often started at low does and increased to the recommended dose to deliver the most effective benefit. One of the other reasons SSRIs are often started at low doses is because of side effects.
Some people experience
- and dizziness when starting out on an SSRI.
However, the side effects get better over time and eventually disappear. It is not as common, but tricyclics or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOI) may be prescribed as treatment for anxiety. They work similarly to the SSRIs. There are also anti-anxiety drugs that are used for a short period of time or to lessen the symptoms of a panic attack, like lorazepam or Ativan or Xanax, known as alprazolam. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is sometimes recommended to patients dealing with anxiety issues. The CBT works to change the person’s thoughts in a way that calms their fears and changes the behavioral issues that contribute to their anxiety. The CBT helps people confront their fears, which are a big part of anxiety treatment.
Stress management plays a role in treating anxiety. Some people participate in self-help groups to deal with the stress in their lives that contribute to their anxiety. Others have found that meditation and other relaxation techniques are effective in reducing their anxiety. Aerobic exercise has also helped people lower their anxiety levels. Often people say that daily exercise keeps the jittery feelings low during the early periods of taking SSRIs and combats some of the side effects. Some of these techniques, combined with proper care and medication from the doctor, can be successful in treating anxiety issues.