Anti Anxiety Medications:
What are my options?
There are many different anti anxiety medications that can be used. Some medicines are for depression, others are for anxiety. But honestly, many medications for anxiety work for depression and most depression medications work for anxiety. They just tend to cross over easily. I even know several individuals that take medicines meant for seizures and it works for THEM for their anxiety! Go figure!
So, really, we are all so unique and our bodies function differently, so if you choose to take an anti anxiety drug, many times it's a trial and error situation. You just have to try it out, if it doesn't work, try another.
Many doctors will suggest you take an anti anxiety medication 3 months or more just to be sure because some can take that long for you to really feel the effects.
And please keep in mind that
ALL anti anxiety medications can possibly cause
an INCREASE in anxiety at first,
so don't let that scare you.
That is normal, your body just may be getting used to the medication if it is an SSRI. And sometimes doctors will give you a benzodiazepine to help keep your nerves under control in the meantime.
While you'll want to work with your doctor and follow their instructions, it is good to know what options are out there...
The two most common things a doctor will prescribe for anxiety are SSRI's and Benzodiazepines.
So, what are SSRI's?
SSRI stands for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. Basically, this is how they work...
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, a chemical, in the brain and is responsible for controlling aggression, promotes good mood, helps you handle stressful situations and deal with anxiety.
In someone with anxiety, normally the brain doesn't create enough of this chemical. The chemical is released and can be re-absorbed. Obviously if you already have a shortage to begin with, you want your body to use it wisely. An SSRI will block this from being reabsorbed, therefore more Serotonin is available for use in the body (that's why it's called a reuptake inhibitor).
Zoloft(Sertraline), Prozac or Serafem (Fluoxetine),
Lexapro is the newer form of Celexa. They isolated one molecule from the medicine Celexa, removed the other molecule, making the dose stronger and the result was Lexapro.
SSRI's aren't addictive and is the most common among anti anxiety medications. They may have some side effects,though. Side effects for each of these medicines vary because they are all unique.
So, what are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines, on the other hand, can be addictive and should be used with caution. They are essentially tranquilizers designed to reduce anxiety and nerves, racing thoughts, and induce relaxation.
Benzodiazepines work quickly on a neurotransmitter called GABA (short for gamma-aminobutyric acid) and have an immediate effect.
These can be excellent for panic attacks because of this, and doctors will normally give this in conjunction with another anti anxiety drug to help you through the adjustment period.
The problem with these is that sometimes the person will take it all the time, the body builds a tolerance, and they need more and more and before long you depend on it. So, these should be used only when necessary in extremely difficult situations.
These should be taken along with another medicine in the adjustment period while working through anxiety, overcoming a phobia, and when a panic attack hits.
The most common Benzodiazepines include:
Halcion(Triazolam), and Klonopin(Clonazepam).
Another anti anxiety medication that is used but doesn't fall into either of these categories is Buspar. It also works on Neurotransmitters in the brain, but doesn´t fall into any of these categories.
And then there are anti-psychotic medicines that can be prescribed in very severe cases of anxiety and many times along with other mental disorders. There are a few, two of the more common anti-psychotic meds that can be used for anxiety are: Risperdal(Risperidone) and Seroquel.
Seroquel is pretty much the "Big Gun" powerful anti-psychotic medicine, so to speak, and usually used to treat Schizophrenia. These would only be used under a doctor's close supervision and usually as a last resort when other meds don't work.
I personally take an SSRI and it seems to work well for me. I also do many other things to help with my anxiety level. If you would like to read the suggestions I have, they may help you with your anxiety, too.
Please feel free to browse the My Advice section.
You are also welcome to
read my own personal experience with anxiety,
Exit Anti Anxiety Medications
and Go To Home Page