Anxiety disorder is a clinical diagnosis and is often given by a physician or psychiatrist. The healthcare professional will talk with the patient about his or her symptoms and run through a questionnaire that is part of the DMS-5 guide for diagnosing mental health disorders. Anxiety must affect a number of life events, and it cannot be better explained by other medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction or endocrine disorders. A medical professional will also determine whether the patient is suffering from a substance addiction.
Some pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety may be life-saving, but they do not work for everyone. Furthermore, these medicines may cause side effects. Among the most common medicines used for anxiety disorders, antidepressants are the most widely prescribed and often effective. Other types of antidepressants include monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), which are considered to have fewer side effects than older types of antidepressants.
While anxiety medicines are effective in alleviating symptoms of anxiety, some have side effects that can make them addictive. For example, some can dull feelings and lead to a personality change. Some sufferers may also experience severe drowsiness or a decreased ability to function. Long-term use can even lead to psychological dependence and addiction. Lastly, anxiety medications are often used in conjunction with over-the-counter medicines, such as herbal supplements and allergy medicines.
Anxiety medications have many side effects and should be prescribed only after consulting with your doctor. Before taking any anxiety medication, you should be fully informed about all of the available options. Knowing your options will give you the ability to intelligently discuss your treatment plan with your doctor. And if you don’t feel comfortable taking a medication, your doctor can use another treatment. And he or she can also take into consideration other treatments, such as counseling.
While there are many ways to reduce the side effects of anxiety medicines, you should first try non-pharmacological treatment methods before going for medication. For example, non-pharmacological measures, such as empathic listening and guidance, may be sufficient. Specific psychotherapeutic techniques can help reduce anxiety and insomnia. For patients with uncomplicated anxiety, non-specific supportive therapy and relaxation techniques may be beneficial. You may want to seek professional help if your anxiety disorder is making you unable to sleep.
Benzodiazepines are structurally related substances that reduce anxiety at low doses and induce sleep at higher doses. Benzodiazepines are generally prescribed only for severe cases of insomnia and anxiety. However, they carry with them a potential dependence liability, so you should only take them for as long as necessary. Benzodiazepines should also be tapered, and their effectiveness should be monitored regularly. If you do experience withdrawal, you should taper down the dosage over a few weeks or months to ensure the best possible outcome.
Ayurvedic herbs are another option for treating anxiety. Ashwagandha, a perennial plant, has calming and grounding properties and is considered an adaptogen, which means that it helps the body cope with stress better. Ashwagandha reduces cortisol, a stress hormone. A 2008 study concluded that participants who took ashwagandha three times a day had less anxiety than those who took lorazepam.