anxiety attack treatments

Treatment for Anxiety Disorders and Panic Attacks

Written by: Melissa Hart

Effective Anxiety Treatments
Treatment for anxiety disorders generally involves the use of medication, certain types of psychotherapy, or both of these methods combined. For an effective treatment program, the type or types of disorders present must first be identified, along with any other underlying conditions such as depression or substance abuse.

It Can Take Several Months for Medication to Begin Working
Many times patients believe that a certain treatment for anxiety that they may have tried in the past wasn't successful for them, when in reality they weren't on the medication or program long enough for it to be effective. With medication, it may take several months to find the right dosage amount, in addition to waiting for the drug to begin working.

Medication Therapy
Medication for the treatment of anxiety disorders covers a broad expanse of many different types and strengths of drugs. While the drugs themselves aren't able to cure anxiety disorders, they are still useful for controlling or reducing symptoms in many people.

Antidepressants as a method of treatment for anxiety disorders may take as long as six weeks before noticing a real difference, although they do begin altering the chemicals within the brain after the very first dosage. Antidepressants used as treatment for anxiety include the following types:

SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are a relatively new class of antidepressants and work by balancing out the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin, sometimes referred to as the feel-good chemical, is a neurotransmitter found in the brain's cells that helps them to communicate with each other. Although there are fewer side effects associated with SSRIs than with older types of drugs, they may cause nausea, nervousness, and withdrawal symptoms if stopped abruptly.

Tricyclics are commonly prescribed for many types of anxiety disorders, except for obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) which requires a different type of tricyclic antidepressant known as clomipramine. Imipramine is another tricyclic that's often used to successfully treat both panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. Some side effects of these drugs include dizziness, weight gain, and dry mouth.

The oldest class of antidepressants are called MAOIs, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors and include drugs such as phenelzine, tranylcypromine, and isocarboxazid. MAOIs may interact with certain types of foods, beverages, and other medications, including SSRIs.


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