Anxiety Disorders Treatment

Anxiety Disorders Treatment

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    Early studies have found mixed results for using homeopathy to treat anxiety. More studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    APeter Bongiorno, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Besides the physical side effects, I find in my clinical experience that antianxiety and antidepressant drugs hinder long-term coping skills. When you lift a heavy weight, there is muscle tearing and growth that happens, which helps you the next time you lift that burden. Psychological difficulty and experience affords the same growth of our brain when we traverse challenging times. It seems the drugs do not allow this learning to happen.

    For example, I had one patient who was placed on antidepressants during the challenging time of divorce. Ten years after this traumatic event, she came in to see me because she wanted to discontinue the medication due to side effects, but every time she tried to stop, all those anxious feelings she thought were long gone came flooding back and became as present as ever. In truth, anxiety and depression are not Paxil or Prozac deficiencies -- and at some point, the grief and anxiety that comes with trauma and loss will need to be processed. This patient and I decided on a regimen of acupuncture and some amino acids to cushion the neurotransmitter changes and created a plan to start processing the divorce that had been swept under the pharmaceutical rug. Through this healing, she was able to slowly and safely wean off her medication.
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    ARealAge answered

    Successful management of anxiety disorders may require both psychological counseling and drug therapy. Your physician may select from several different classes of medications to treat anxiety. Although these medications vary in the way they work, they all are designed to reduce the frequency and intensity of your symptoms.

    Brain cells (neurons) use chemicals called neurotransmitters to communicate with each other. Antianxiety medications act on neurons in the brain to reduce the symptoms of anxiety. All of the medications are effective because they bind to the parts of neurons that are involved in producing the symptoms of anxiety.

    One class of drug, the benzodiazepines, which includes alprazolam (Xanax), iorazepam (Ativan) and clonazepam (Klonopin), work as sedatives at low doses. These medications bind to the parts of neurons that reduce anxiety, soothe excitability and generally calm people who use them. At higher doses, benzodiazepines are used to help people sleep. Benzodiazepines take effect quickly and may be the best choice for short-term treatment. This type of drug is effective in 65% to 75% of the individuals who take it. Unfortunately, the benzodiazepines can be addictive and many people experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication

    Another important anxiety medication is buspirone (Buspar). As with the SSRIs, buspirone takes a few weeks to reach effectiveness and does not cause addiction, withdrawal or mental confusion. Buspirone is known to be very effective in treating people with generalized anxiety disorder. Symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder may be due to an imbalance of a brain chemical called serotonin. Too much serotonin may be one of the causes of generalized anxiety disorder. Buspirone is thought to bring serotonin levels back to normal. It works gradually, over a two- to four-week period, to provide effective relief of generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. With each passing week, anxiety symptoms are likely to improve, excessive worry and tension may subside and so may physical symptoms, like headaches and stomach upset. Generalized anxiety disorder cannot be treated overnight. It takes time for your symptoms to develop, and it will take time for buspirone to work. In a few weeks, you are likely to be feeling like yourself again.

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    ATamar Chansky, Psychology, answered
    Dr. Tamar Chansky - How can I control my anxiety during a job interview?

    Job interviews can be stressful, even if you're perfect for the position. Learn how to tame your fears and prepare for an interview by watching this video featuring psychologist Dr. Tamar Chansky, who specializes in anxiety.


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    Your doctor and others can help you recover. But you're in charge of the process. After all, only you can make decisions about your treatment, follow through on your plan, and know what's working for you. This is self-management -- and experts agree that it's a vital part of successful treatment for anxiety disorders. Here are a few key self-management tips:
    • Develop your treatment plan. Get good information from your doctor and other trusted sources. Keep in mind that mental health treatment isn't "one size fits all." With your doctor, decide on a plan that fits your unique situation.
    • Set goals for healthy living in all areas. Finding balance in your life speeds your recovery. It also paves the way for happier, healthier times ahead. Set goals to make sure your whole life is in balance:
    • Relationships. Don't shut out family and friends! Example goals: Phone a friend every day. Attend scheduled social events. Volunteer.
    • Nutrition, exercise, and sleep. Mind and body go hand in hand. Example goals: Drink 8 glasses of water each day. Eat 5 to 10 fruits and vegetables daily. Walk every day. Get 8 hours of sleep each night.
    • Recreation and renewal. Commit to having fun and soothing your spirit. Example goals: Do your hobby. Listen to music. Attend religious or cultural events. Write in a journal. Meditate.
    • Stick to your treatment. Give treatment a chance to work. Take any medication as directed. Keep your appointments. Talk to your doctor if you don't see good results -- you can always adjust your plan.
    • Celebrate your recovery. Reward yourself for meeting your "healthy living" goals. Celebrate the milestones in your recovery. Did you sleep well through the night? Go a few hours without obsessing? Face down one of your fears? Congratulate yourself! Your work is paying off.
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    Also called psychotherapy or "talk therapy," counseling can help you understand your problems and develop ways to work through them. There are different types of counseling, each with a special focus. For example, counseling may aim to uncover the source of your anxiety. It may focus on changing your thinking patterns. Or, it can teach new ways to help you cope. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) combines these strategies to help you unlearn old patterns and adopt healthier thoughts and reactions.
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    Generally, anxiety disorders are treated with medications, specific types of psychotherapy, or both. Treatment choices depend on the symptoms and the preference of the doctor and patient.

    Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy involves talking with a trained mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or counselor, to discover what causes an anxiety disorder and how to deal with its symptoms.

    Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are fast-acting sedatives that typically relieve anxiety symptoms within 30 minutes to one hour. The rapid relief when using benzodiazepines makes them very effective when taken during a panic attack or another overwhelming anxiety episode.

    Unfortunately, benzodiazepines can be addictive. If taken regularly for more than a couple of weeks, physical and psychological addiction is likely to occur. Benzodiazepine may create tolerance, with larger doses needed to achieve the same effect, and serious withdrawal symptoms can occur when going off the medication, including increased anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Some benzodiazepines, including diazepam (Valium®) have a longer half-life in the body, meaning they stay in the body longer. The addictive potential is why benzodiazepines are usually recommended only for short-term. To minimize the withdrawal reaction, it is important to slowly taper off these medications.

    Most common side effects include drowsiness, impaired coordination, fatigue, confusion and disorientation, dizziness, decreased concentration, short-term memory problems, dry mouth, blurred vision, and irregular heart beat.

    Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs are antidepressants that alter the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. SSRIs have been used to treat panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). They are often prescribed because they have less severe side effects than the older antidepressants.

    You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

    Copyright © 2012 by Natural Standard Research Collaboration. All Rights Reserved.

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    Don't let anxiety get in the way of a normal life. Instead, do these things:

    Visit a doctor or clinic. A doctor can help you know if your symptoms come from an anxiety disorder, another illness, or both.

    Stick with your treatment. The main treatments are counseling (talk therapy) and medicine. You and your doctor can decide together what's best for you. But once you have a treatment plan, stick with it! Keep appointments with a counselor. Take medicine as directed. Don't change what you're doing without asking your doctor first.

    Set healthy goals for recovery. You may not feel like sticking to your goals at first. But try to do it anyway. You will be glad you did. Here are some areas to work on:
    • Healthy relationships. Having a close friend or loved one to share your concerns and plans with can really help. Don't pull back from other people right now. Instead, set goals to get the support you need. Phone a friend every day. Attend scheduled events. Join a support group. Leave the house at least once each day. Volunteer.
    • Healthy body. Taking care of your body will help your mind too. Set goals to make sure this happens. Go for a walk every day. Drink 8 glasses of water each day. Eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 cups of vegetables every day. Avoid alcohol. Get about 8 hours of sleep every night.
    • Healthy spirit. Right now, it's good to reconnect with things that used to be fun, fulfilling, and meaningful for you. If you don't have a hobby, start one! Do your hobby every day. Listen to music. Meditate. Pray. Keep a journal. Go to the movies once a week. Read a great book.
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    APina LoGiudice, LAc, ND, Naturopathic Medicine, answered
    Anti-anxiety drugs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs, with over 280 million prescriptions written annually. It has been shown that many of these are overprescribed. In fact, research published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry showed about 25% of people who are given these dangerous medications do not have a proper diagnosis.

    Other studies show that people who use anti-anxiety medication have a 36% increased mortality risk. That means persons using these drugs are almost 40% more likely to die than people who do not use them. While anti-anxiety medications can be lifesaving in urgent situations, in most cases, there are natural alternatives that can help while a person starts to work on the underlying causes of anxiety reactions in the body.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Passionflower is a great natural solution for nervousness because it has the same properties as some prescription medicines used to promote calmness and relaxation. It can be taken in liquid or capsule form. Both cost about $10 at vitamin or health food stores. Take 2 milliliters of this supplement three times a day.