Anxiolytic: Types of Anxiety Medications

Anxious feelings can be overwhelming and debilitating, impacting our daily lives in ways we can’t even imagine. Fortunately, there are a variety of medications available that can help calm these feelings and provide relief from anxiety. These medications, called anxiolytics or anti-anxiety drugs, can be prescribed by your doctor to treat several types of anxiety disorders.

It’s necessary to understand the different types available and how they work when you have been prescribed an anxiolytic medication. Here is a breakdown of the various anxiety medications used to treat anxiety disorders so that you can find the best option for your needs:

Benzodiazepines

The most commonly prescribed class of anxiety medications are benzodiazepines, which work on the central nervous system (CNS). These drugs act on the brain and spinal cord to reduce hyperactivity, making them an effective treatment for anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GADS), panic disorder, and social phobia.

Benzodiazepines are mostly prescribed in the short term, and they come in both immediate-release and extended-release formulations. Generally, benzodiazepines are not intended to be used in the long term or greater than 3 to 6 months. Common benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam) and Restoril (temazepam).

What are the benefits of Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines are effective at reducing anxiety symptoms, including feelings of panic. They act quickly, usually within an hour or two after taking them, and their effects can last for several hours. Benzodiazepines also have few side effects when taken as directed and can be used short-term to treat acute episodes of anxiety.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed class of antidepressants. They work by blocking the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin in the brain, resulting in increased levels of this neurotransmitter. This helps to improve mood and can also reduce anxiety symptoms.

Common SSRIs used to treat anxiety include Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), and Lexapro (escitalopram). These drugs have fewer side effects than benzodiazepines, making them safer for long-term use. Antidepressants can take up to four weeks before any benefits are seen, so patience is vital.

What are the benefits of SSRIs?

SSRIs can be beneficial for some people with anxiety disorders because they help to improve overall mood and lessen the intensity of anxious thoughts. Additionally, SSRIs don’t produce physical dependence like benzodiazepines do, making them a safer choice for long-term treatment.

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are another class of antidepressants. They work by blocking the reabsorption, or reuptake, of both serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain, resulting in increased levels of these neurotransmitters. This helps to improve mood and can reduce anxiety symptoms.

Common SNRIs used to treat anxiety include Pristiq (desvenlafaxine), Cymbalta (duloxetine), and Effexor (venlafaxine). These drugs can take up to four weeks before any benefits are seen, so patience is key.

What are the benefits of SNRIs?

SNRIs can be beneficial for some people with anxiety disorders as they help to improve overall mood and lessen the intensity of anxious thoughts. Additionally, SNRIs don’t produce physical dependence like benzodiazepines do, making them a safer choice for long-term treatment.

Buspirone

Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication that belongs to a class of drugs called azapirones. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain, which can help reduce anxiety symptoms. Unlike benzodiazepines, buspirone does not act on the GABA receptors in the brain, so it is not as effective at treating more severe symptoms.

What are the benefits of Buspirone?

Buspirone is a relatively safe and well-tolerated medication for treating anxiety. It does not possess the sedative effects of benzodiazepines, so it can be taken during the day without causing drowsiness. Buspirone also has fewer withdrawal symptoms than benzodiazepines, making it easier to discontinue if needed.

Beta-blockers

Beta-blockers are medications that work by blocking the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), which is responsible for causing many of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, sweating, and trembling. These drugs can be used to treat specific forms of stress, such as performance anxiety and fear of public speaking. Common beta blockers prescribed for anxiety include propranolol, atenolol, and metoprolol.

What are the benefits of beta blockers?

Beta-blockers can be an effective treatment for anxiety and help reduce many of the physical symptoms associated with it. They are usually taken on an as-needed basis, so they do not require a long-term commitment. In addition, these drugs have fewer side effects than other medications used to treat anxiety.

Antidepressants

While SSRIs are the most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant for treating anxiety disorders, there are other types that can also be used to treat more severe forms of anxiety. These drugs work by altering the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, which helps to reduce anxiety symptoms. Common antidepressants used for anxiety include tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

What are the benefits of antidepressants?

Antidepressants have been proven to be effective in treating a wide range of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These medications can help treat generalized anxiety disorder symptoms such as fear, worry, and racing thoughts. They can also improve sleep quality, which is essential for managing anxiety. Additionally, antidepressants can help improve overall mood and quality of life.

How Should You Use Anxiolytics?

As with any medication, it’s vital to consult with your doctor before taking anxiolytics to treat an anxiety disorder or another cooccurring mental illness such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or depression. Your doctor will be able to assess the severity of your anxiety and recommend the most appropriate medication for you. Depending on your individual situation, you may need to take a combination of drugs or a longer-term treatment plan. It’s also important to remain patient during the process, as it can take several weeks before you start to notice an improvement in your symptoms.

Finally, make sure to communicate any side effects or changes in mood that you experience while taking anxiolytics with your doctor. It’s also important to follow the recommended dosage instructions and not take more than what is prescribed. Remember, anxiolytics are only one part of the treatment plan for anxiety, so it’s essential also to seek counseling or therapy if needed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you understand and manage your anxiety, as well as find better-coping strategies. By combining medication and counseling, you will be able to develop healthy habits for managing stress and anxiety in the long term.

Usually, psychiatrists recommend that people with any anxiety disorder gradually decrease their medication over time. This process should be done in consultation with your doctor and may require additional therapy to help you manage the symptoms of anxiety without relying on drugs. With the proper support, it’s possible to reduce or even completely eliminate anxiety symptoms while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

How Neuro Wellness Spa Can Help

Anxiolytics can be an effective way to manage generalized anxiety disorder symptoms and help you live a more fulfilling life. With proper guidance from your psychiatrist, you can find an anxiety medication that works best for you and use it as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Through counseling, lifestyle changes, and therapy, you can gain the skills and resources to manage anxiety in the long term.

If you’re living with anxiety and could benefit from an anxiolytic, or if you’re looking for more information about how to manage your symptoms, don’t hesitate to reach out to the experts at Neuro Wellness Spa. Our psychiatrists for anxiety are here to provide compassionate and personalized care and will help you find the best treatment plan for your individual needs. Plus, we’re in-network with most insurance so you can focus on what’s important.

Contact us today to learn more. If you’re ready to take the first steps towards leading a healthier life, get in touch with us today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

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