Sunday, May 11, 2008

Anti-Anxiety Medications

Coping with cystic fibrosis is a life-long challenge. The needs and demands of such an all-encompassing condition can cause a person to develop anxiety and depression. Many patients with cystic fibrosis are prescribed anti-depressant medication to help them keep from feeling overwhelmed by their disease. Constant fear and worry about becoming sicker or being exposed to a difficult-to-treat infection can also lead to problems with anxiety.

When panic and anxiety attacks interfere with your ability to function in your day-to-day routine, especially to the extent that it interferes with a cystic fibrosis patient's ability to remain compliant with their treatment program, it may be time to look into medical treatment. Determining which anti-anxiety medication is best for your particular symptoms should begin with a visit to a mental health professional to obtain a proper mental health evaluation, and definitive diagnosis.

Panic disorder is just one of five types of anxiety disorders, not including specific phobias. Evidence from a study published in 2005 suggests that more than 6 million people suffer from panic disorder.

The symptoms of panic disorder can be prevented with a variety of medications, some of which are effective all by themselves and others which provide relief when combined with another psychotropic medication.

Benzodiazepines ("benzos") such as Xanax and Klonopin are the heavily favored for treating panic disorder. Their main benefit is that they can produce the desired relief sooner than some other medications. Almost half of the time, low doses of Xanax or Klonopin are effective in blocking a panic attack. All benzos do carry a certain degree of dependency risk. One of the most positive aspects of using Xanax, is that it is fast acting, and can be taken at the first sign of a panic attack, and will reduce the level of anxiety associated with it in under ten minutes.

Klonopin, however, works best when taken regularly as a maintenance medication. People who don't want to take medication daily, or are forgetful about taking it would probably prefer a different type of anxiety medication. One benefit with Klonopin, is that when it's a regular part of your regimen, situations that would normally produce anxiety and panic don't seem to be as stressful. Compared to Xanax, a person taking Klonopin feels more "normal" even when taking it, and not "dulled" by the medication.

Antidepressants, although they take longer to produce the overall desired effect in the brain chemistry (weeks instead of days) have a much higher rate of success when taken regularly for the treatment of panic disorder. Examples of antidepressants include Anafranil, Tofranil, Elavil, and Adapin.

Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are perhaps the most commonly recognized class of medications for the treatment of panic disorder. Zoloft, Paxil and Prozac, are names many people have heard of or seen on television or in magazines. Because the have fewer side effects than other medications, many people prefer them. In terms of effectiveness, they are just as beneficial as antidepressants. Deciding which medication is the right one should be based on the severity of your symptoms, the frequency of the attacks, and your willingness to be patient while your body adjusts to the medication.

Medication for anxiety attacks is not the appropriate solution for everyone, but for some people it can make a world of difference. Many find that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication can greatly improve their anxiety symptoms.


Choosing the proper anti-anxiety medication

1 comment:

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