Anxiety can be a normal part of life; in fact, it can be helpful in some ways. From helping us recognize dangers to motivating us to get things done, moderate anxiety is beneficial. Unfortunately, for some individuals, anxiety can spiral out of control and overwhelm to the point that it interferes with everyday living. Once the physical and emotional symptoms begin to degrade the quality of life a person has, what was once thought to be “normal” could be an anxiety disorder.
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1. Different Anxiety Disorders
Typically, medical professionals group several conditions under the umbrella term “anxiety disorder.”
These may include:
- panic disorder
generalized anxiety disorder [1*]
- Specific phobias
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Social anxiety disorders
Having multiple mental health conditions at the same time can also occur. Depending on what type of disease a person has been diagnosed with will determine the kind of treatment they should begin. Regrettably, there is no medical test to determine the type of anxiety a person has.
Once patients take that first step on what can be a long road to recovery, they often find that they have several choices to make. Do they seek therapy or medications? Is a combination approach better for them? While some patients may avoid counseling due to the negative connotation associated with mental health, many find that talking does help, but it may not be enough. For some, pharmacological help in addition to therapy is the only way to get control over their condition and to get their lives back on track.
2. Anxiety Treatment Options
Several medications can be prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
The two most common types are:
Benzos are typically only used for short-term treatment since it is a fast-acting treatment method and because it can cause dependency if used too long. Anti-depressants, on the other hand, aren’t addictive in the traditional sense and can be easily adjusted if needed. Most often, physicians will prescribe both anti-depressants and benzos to be used together during the first few weeks of treatment. Once the patient begins to respond to anti-depressants and therapy, the benzos are generally discontinued unless something changes.
The most common anxiety medications are:
3. Types of Anxiety Therapies
While there are several types of therapy for individuals living with anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is most often used. It works by retraining the person how to think through the anxiety- causing event. Other forms of treatment might include hypnotherapy or
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4. When Anxiety Treatment Methods Don’t Work
Despite going to therapy, taking the medications as directed, and following all the advice, some still may not feel like their old self. So, what now? Waiting on the medicines to work can be frustrating, but giving up isn’t the answer. Most experts will tell you that there are a few things you can and should do throughout the treatment process.
- Talk about the options and be willing to ask your physician the hard questions. How can I get the most from my medications? How long should it take for my prescriptions to work? What can I do to manage any side effects? Can I do more to alleviate the anxiety?
- Give the medications time to work. At the same time, some anxiety medications over the counter are fast-acting others are not. Anti-depressants typically take six to eight weeks to affect the brain’s chemistry. While anyone who has an anxiety disorder wants to feel normal immediately, it’s usually going to take some time.
- Manage depression symptoms as well as any other health conditions. Though it may not seem like it, things that affect other areas of the body can exacerbate your anxiety. Getting enough sleep, exercising, and socializing with others also helps to combat depression.
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Adequately designing the treatment for an anxiety disorder rarely happens the first time. Often patients, physicians, and therapists have to try different medications and methods to find the right one. Don’t give up hope if the first medication doesn’t make you feel better overnight. The goal of treating anxiety as well as many other mental health conditions is for remission. Don’t give up until you feel like your old self again.
Our experienced medical team at EZCare Clinic includes physicians, therapists, and counselors who are dedicated to finding the solution that will fulfill all your medical needs.