Pharmacological Treatments for Anxiety Disorders
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, a person with an anxiety disorder will often have anxious feelings that do not “go away and can get worse over time.” These feelings even begin to “interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.”
Usually, these issues can be treated with behavioral therapy and other types of communicative treatments. However, when an anxiety disorder becomes very difficult to cope with, different pharmacological therapies become an option for patients who need extra help.
Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medications for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The most common medications used to treat these disorders are SSRIs or SNRIs and MAOIs.
SSRIs are some of the newest medications used to treat anxiety disorders, and they include medications such as Prozac, Celexa, and others. SNRIs are also very popular and include the drugs Effexor and Cymbalta. These medications are very powerful, and while they sometimes cause side effects like nausea, headache, and difficulty sleeping, they can be extremely effective for the treatment of anxiety.
MAOIs are older antidepressants that have shown to cause more intense side effects in users but can be very beneficial for some individuals. MAOIs commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders include Marplan, Nardil, and Parnate. Usually, these are prescribed when an individual’s anxiety does not improve with the use of SSRIs or SNRIs, but according to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, “MAOIs have been shown to be significantly superior to placebo in the treatment of some anxiety disorders, particularly agoraphobia and mixed anxiety-depressive states.” When taking MAOIs, a patient must stay on a specific diet to avoid certain foods or beverages reacting poorly with the medication.
It is very important that you talk to your doctor before you begin taking any type of antidepressant, though, and you must stick to your prescription at all times. While these drugs are often very helpful to those who struggle with mood disorders, they can cause suicidal thoughts in some individuals, especially when the dosage is increased or decreased (National Library of Medicine). Therefore, you must always take the medication as prescribed.
Sometimes, benzodiazepines like Klonopin, Ativan, and Xanax may be used to treat certain types of anxiety disorders. This is often a second choice, especially for those who have already attempted treatment with antidepressants because benzodiazepines can be habit-forming. According to the National Institute of Senior Health, “these drugs should only be used for a limited amount of time in most cases.”
Commonly, the side effects are dizziness, drowsiness, upset stomach, headache, confusion, and nightmares, but if an individual takes too many of these drugs, it can be dangerous. Sometimes, benzodiazepines can be helpful in treating anxiety disorders, but it is important that the user knows the risks and that they are able to discuss the treatment with their doctor fully beforehand.
Are You in Need of Treatment for an Anxiety Disorder?
As stated before, “medication does not necessarily cure anxiety disorders, but it often reduces the symptoms” (NIMH). If you call we can help you find a doctor in your area who can treat your anxiety disorder and discuss with you the possibility of medication as part of your treatment.