Put simply, anxiety comes from the fear of the unknown and the inability to overcome a sense of nervousness that stops people from going about their everyday lives. Those people who have anxiety issues frequently overestimate situations and think of negative scenarios that do not occur to most people. Anxiety sufferers may not ever ride a bus for instance because they are worried about what might happen, or avoid a crowded place like a party of mall due to the discomfort that comes from being in big spaces around lots of people. While these scenarios might make you think “what’s the big deal?” some people are terrified by them. Panic or anxiety attacks may also have occurred in certain situations causing someone to avoid them in order to not repeat a bad experience. Some people have such a hard time with anxiety that they stay close to home and only go to places where they feel comfortable.
Some people do not consider anxiety disorders to be real health problems. However, they can interfere with daily activities just like any disease and inhibit someone from leading a productive life. Untreated anxiety can also lead to depression and unhealthy social phobias. Fortunately, your doctor or mental health care professional can provide an effective treatment plan for your anxiety troubles.
Anti-depressants are regularly prescribed to treat anxiety. There are many different types of anti-depressants and depending on the severity of your disorder, the type and dosage of the medication may differ. SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are often prescribed for anxiety disorders. SSRIs are a newer anti-depressant that is considered easier to tolerate than older types of anti-depressants, which displayed many side effects for some people. Some anti-depressants are stronger than others and you doctor will recommend which is best for you. The brand names for SSRIs that you may have heard of are Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and Celexa. Lexapro, for instance, is newer to the market and is targeted specifically for anxiety issues but is also effective against depression. SSRIs can serve double duty for anxiety and depression, which sometimes are present at the same time and develop from some of the same mental and physical conditions. SSRIs and anti-depressants do not work right away.
It often takes two weeks to a month for the medication to be fully effective. Anti-depressants alter your brain and body chemistry to adjust the levels that cause your anxiety. This does not happen overnight. People who are just diagnosed with anxiety issues often get frustrated because the medicine does not work right away and can have unpleasant side effects that fade with time. However, if you tough it out, the medicines are generally effective the side effects disappear. Some of the side effects reported by SSRI users include nausea, dizziness, headaches and fatigue. While not as commonly prescribed, tricyclics or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MOI) can work to combat anxiety. Other anti-anxiety drugs can be used in conjunction with treatment for shorter periods of time or to deal with stressful events or situations. The brand names of those medicines may be familiar to you as Xanax and Ativan.
These types of drugs can calm the mind and body and relax the nausea and jitters that come with anxiety. For instance, if you get anxious before traveling, the doctor may suggest taking one of these before getting on an airplane or taking a long car ride. It is important to remember that these medications should not be stopped suddenly. If you stop “cold turkey” you may experience unpleasant side effects like headaches and nausea. If you plan to stop taking an SSRI or anti-depressant, consult with your doctor about a plan to wean slowly off the medication to minimize any withdrawal effects.