Anxiety is your brain’s natural reaction to stress and potential danger. Anxiety disorders are a collection of mental conditions that make you constantly fearful and excessively anxious. The feelings may make you avoid social situations. These include school, family gatherings, and work.
When the situation becomes severe, you may need to seek the services of a psychiatrist. They have the skills to help treat mental health issues like anxiety disorders. Psychiatrists use either psychotherapy or medication to treat this issue.
Psychotherapy involves using psychosocial interventions and talk therapy to help treat anxiety disorders. The usual treatments in this category include exposure therapy and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Exposure therapy involves placing you in a safe environment.
Here, the psychiatrist exposes you to things you fear and avoid. Doing so helps manage your feelings of anxiety by weakening their negative associations. CBT helps isolate and address the behaviors and thoughts that calm or aggravate your anxiety symptoms.
Your psychiatrist may choose to use several medications to treat your anxiety disorders. They may include:
These are a group of drugs that help counter the symptoms of acute anxiety. They work by affecting the GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in your brain. Research shows that they help control anxiety and fear in your body’s reaction to stress.
Benzodiazepines slow down your central nervous system. They do this by binding to receptors similar to GABA. They quickly produce a calming effect that may also wear off quickly.
SNRIs work by increasing the levels of some neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Aside from doing this, they also exacerbate the norepinephrine levels. Serotonin creates feelings of happiness and mental balance. Norepinephrine heightens your energy and alertness. SNRIs help with symptoms of anxiety disorders like poor concentration or low energy.
SSRIs are often the first line of defense that psychiatrists choose. They use SSRIs to treat anxiety disorders. They are similar to SNRIs. They help increase the amount of serotonin in your brain. They also aid in regulating mood swings, appetite, digestion, and sleep.
Low serotonin levels have a close link to emotional and behavioral disorders. These may also lead to anxiety, depression, and suicidal tendencies. Note that SSRIs are in the same class as antidepressants. They also treat various conditions, including anxiety. Other drugs in this category include Lexapro, Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, and Paxil.
TCAs work like SNRIs. They affect the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain. These are effective in treating mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Your psychiatrist may opt for TCA medications instead of SSRIs if you have severe anxiety or depression.
The reasons come down to the effectiveness of one over the other in this specific scenario. However, TCAs have the disadvantage of having a lower safety profile.
For more about handling anxiety disorders, visit Choulet Wellness at our office in Scottsdale, Arizona. Call (480) 448-6571 to book an appointment today.