Anxiety Medicine – Atypical Antipsychotics

Anxiety is a normal response to a threat or to psychologic stress and is experienced occasionally by everyone. Anxiety that is severe or frequent enough to warrant medication involves a state of chronic but fluctuating nervousness that is inappropriate severe for a person situation.


Recently a new category of antipsychotic medications has started to gain favor in the treatment of anxiety; atypical antipsychotics. What makes them different from earlier medications is the lower risk of known serious side effects. Another advantage of the new category of drugs is their broad range of usage. The atypical antipsychotics target a different neurotransmitter than the older, more well established selective serotonin uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and are sometimes used in conjunction with them.


If you have very mild anxiety your doctor will generally choose a different category of medicine such as the above listed SSRIs or a tranquilizer such as Buspar but if you are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder atypical antipsychotics likely will be one of the medicines prescribed. Evidence suggests that they can substantially improve outcomes for those who have struggled with other medications for OCD and PTSD.


So with the very real potential of these medications it would be logical to assume that atypical antipsychotics may at some point become the default treatment for most anxiety disorders. Sadly, that probably will not be the case because despite their great potential these anti anxiety medications come with some disturbing side effects. Probably the most dangerous are known as extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) which include a wide range of problems such as intense restlessness, spasms, prolonged muscle contractions, and irregular muscle movement in the face. If there is any good news linked to this sample of serious side effects it is they seem to occur less often with the newer atypical antipsychotic medications as opposed to the older traditional variety.


In summary newer anti anxiety medications continue to carry the same stigma as many of their predecessors; serious side effects. This is likely the reason why so many people are searching for safer options in their quest to conquer anxiety and anxiety related disorders. One area that seems to be gaining traction, due to its record of safety and effectiveness, is that of herbal remedies for anxiety. Proponents of this natural alternative to prescription anti anxiety medicine suggest that this option is helpful in maintaining a positive outlook, temperament, and supporting both emotional wellness and health. As with all alternative remedies you should check with your doctor before mixing and matching medications.