Anxiety medication – Anxiety is expressed at the level of brain chemistry by changing some of its substances. Between the symptoms and these changes, there is not a relationship of causality but of equivalence. For example: symptoms of agitation and restlessness are the expression of serotonin deficiency. This is one of the substances that make the connection between neurons (brain cells). The lack of energy that can accompany anxiety is expressed by the decrease in noradrenaline (another neurotransmitter). The repetition of worrisome thoughts and the obsession related to avoiding new symptoms is expressed by increasing dopamine, etc.
Anxiety is treated with drugs from the antidepressant class, as opposed to drugs that increase the amount of serotonin.
Anxiety medication – INFORMATION
All information about medicines that you find here is for informational purposes only. Considering the many possible adverse effects, no medicinal treatment that is not prescribed by a doctor should be tried. Sometimes dangerous interactions can also appear and it is necessary to correlate them with the type of anxiety. Correlation is also made with the way each body reacts individually. Last but not least, it should be mentioned that in order to produce effects, it may be necessary to know the cause of the association of several drugs for anxiety.
The main classes of anxiety medication used
a)Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors(SSRI)
They are indicated as first-line treatment for all anxiety disorders. The increase in serotonin leads to a decrease in anxiety symptoms and in their frequency and intensity until they disappear. Patients who are prescribed an SSRI may experience an increase in anxiety during the first two weeks of treatment. That is why it is recommended to initiate the therapy with low doses, and possibly the addition of a benzodiazepine.
The intensity of adverse effects generally tends to decrease over time. But in certain patients they can persist and cause a change in treatment. It is not possible to predict which patient will experience a particular adverse effect.
The most common adverse effects encountered with anxiety medications: nausea; increased or decreased appetite; insomnia/drowsiness; decreased libido; headaches, although rarely.
When treatment with an SSRI is stopped suddenly, the following effects may occur: anxiety; irritability; flu-like symptoms (myalgias; cough; nausea; vomiting; diarrhea); feelings of dizziness frequently accentuated by movement; the feeling of insecurity about the balance or the position in space.
b) Antidepressants with dual action
They are selective serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SSNRIs) and are an option if anxiety medications from the first category were used and could not be tolerated.
The most common side effects are nausea and headaches. They usually subside after the first or second week of therapy. Other possible side effects are: drowsiness; dryness of the oral mucosa; nervousness; increase in blood pressure.
c) Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)
TCA anxiety medications are less commonly used than SSRIs due to more frequent side effects. Administration doses are increased very slowly to avoid side effects. Therefore, the optimal therapeutic effects appear after 8-12 weeks of treatment.
d) Other antidepressant substances
Other antidepressants that have proven effective in panic disorder are mirtazapine and trazodone.
They have similar effects, namely, anxiolytic, sedative/hypnotic, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxant effects. As a result of these actions, benzodiazepines are the anxiety medications indicated for the treatment of various anxiety disorders, insomnia, and withdrawal.
It is not recommended to take them with other sedative substances such as: barbiturates; opioids; antihistamines; antacids that decrease the absorption of benzodiazepines.
Sedation is the most common side effect that can be perceived as tiredness or drowsiness. What may also appear:
- difficulty concentrating;
- the feeling of slowing down of thought processes;
- visual disturbances;
Benzodiazepines with rapid onset effects have an increased risk of involuntary consumption. That is why it is not recommended to use them for more than 2 months and they are taken only with the indication of a psychiatrist!
Duration of treatment with anxiety medication
Generally, the duration of antidepressant-based drug treatment is 6-9 months. In the case of severe conditions, it can take from 1 to 2 years. Interrupting treatment is only done with the consent and under the supervision of a psychiatrist.
Psychotherapy can help to successfully stop treatment with both antidepressants and benzodiazepines.
The advantages of drug treatment for anxiety are:
– the speed of the installation of “wellness” – 3-4 days-2 weeks
– the ease of administration of the treatment (without a special effort, 1-2 pills/day)
– easier access to treatment (you need to find a psychiatrist with whom you can have a good collaboration)
– low cost – The vast majority of psychiatrists have a contract with the Insurance Company and therefore, based on a referral ticket obtained from the family doctor, the consultation is free, and the drugs recommended on the prescription obtained have the price compensated between 50-100% .
Disadvantages of drug-based treatment
- the causes of anxiety are psychological and drug-based treatment covers the effects and not the causes
- a substantial change in thought patterns, behavior, lifestyle and the quality of relationships with others is necessary. Otherwise, after stopping the treatment, the symptoms will definitely reappear.