Anxiety medication helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety. They do not completely cure anxiety and every person responds individually to the medication.
Various medications that are used in anxiety treatment are antidepressants, anti anxiety medications and beta-blockers.
Anti depressants increase the level of serotonin, which is a brain chemical messenger, and this helps fight anxiety. The newest antidepressants that are used for anxiety treatment are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They are FDA approved and often used as the first line of treatment for anxiety. The three SSRIs antidepressants that have received the FDA approval for the treatment of social anxiety disorder are paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft) and venlafaxine (Effexor XR). Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are the oldest antidepressants, which have showed positive results in curing anxiety disorder. However, because of the side effects of this medicine (such as weight gain and insomnia), MAOIs are used only when other medications fail. Another antidepressant called tricyclics is also effective in treating anxiety disorder. When the treatment is begun, a low dosage of this medicine is prescribed; it is increased over a period of time, depending upon the effect it has on the individual. SSRIs are generally preferred because tricyclics can sometimes cause sexual dysfunction, dizziness and drowsiness.
Anti anxiety medication are benzodiazepines, which relieve the symptoms of anxiety quickly and which calms the individual. Benzodiazepine includes drugs such as Xanax, Kalma, Restoril, Tranxene and Valium. They are fast acting medicines, but they do not have a long lasting effect. These medicines have side effects like drowsiness and fatigue. Benzodiazepines cannot be given over a long period of time, as a person can develop a tolerance to them and become dependent on them. Some people also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop the use of these medicines. Buspirone (BuSpar), is another anti anxiety medicine which must be taken for at least two weeks for the effects to show.
Beta-blockers such as Inderal and Tenormin are also used to treat anxiety. This medication is useful in performance anxiety that is predictable. They help alleviate heart palpitations, tremors, sweating, blushing and other physical symptoms of anxiety. It is generally recommended that these medications are taken an hour before the anxiety situation. However beta-blockers may not be a long-term treatment for curing negative thoughts that create anxiety.