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.
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