Medication Management for Anxiety Disorders

Medication Management for Anxiety Disorders

Psychiatric Medication Management

C

linical anxiety disorders can feel completely suffocating at times. The anxious thoughts circle around in your mind until you can think of nothing else, and the physical symptoms make you feel sick. You don’t have to live with anxiety, though. No matter how strong your symptoms are, help is available.

Medication management can be a powerful tool for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Psychiatric medications help to regulate your symptoms and ease your anxious thoughts so that you can regain control of your mind. If you’re struggling with your mental health, you should understand what medication management is and how a medication management psychiatrist can support you.

Benefits of Medication Management for Anxiety

Medication management involves working with a psychiatrist to determine a prescription regimen that reduces your symptoms and improves your mental health. When you start, your psychiatrist may prescribe a medication on a trial basis to see how you respond. With your input, your psychiatrist will adjust your prescriptions to find the perfect balance. As your life and mental health change over time, you should also expect there to be adjustments to your medications.

For those with anxiety disorders, medication can have powerful benefits. When you’re suffering from severe anxious thoughts, you may feel like you’re just trying to survive from day to day. Making progress on your mental health can feel impossible when you’re so overwhelmed by your symptoms, but medications can ease your symptoms enough that you no longer feel powerless. Now, you have the ability to take control of your mental health and take active steps toward wellness.

Certain types of medication act very quickly, too. Mental health is a long-term journey, and you shouldn’t expect to be healed overnight. However, it can be incredibly helpful to have a prescription that provides short-term relief in specific situations. If you suffer from panic attacks, for instance, your medication could prevent severe episodes.

Types of Anxiety Medications

There are several types of medications used to treat anxiety disorders. Your medication management psychiatrist will make a recommendation based on your diagnosis, your symptoms, and your medical history. The following are the four main types of medications:

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): These medications prevent the reabsorption of serotonin by the nerve cells in your brain. By blocking reabsorption, the available serotonin levels in your brain increase. Serotonin is linked to improved mood, better sleep, and several other benefits. SSRIs are one of the most frequently prescribed types of medication for anxiety disorders. Common brands include Lexapro, Zoloft, Celexa, and Paxil.

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs function similarly to SSRIs by preventing your nerve cells from reabsorbing serotonin. In addition, SNRIs block the reabsorption of norepinephrine, which can improve focus. SNRIs such as Cymbalta and Effexor are often prescribed to treat generalized anxiety.

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs): TCAs also block the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, so their benefits are very similar to SNRIs. However, psychiatrists often prescribe SNRIs instead because they tend to have fewer side effects. Patients sometimes try TCAs when other medications don’t relieve their symptoms.

Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines are used for short-term, as-needed anxiety management. They’re a type of sedative that ease the physical effects of anxiety, such as muscle tension or racing heart rate. The medication takes effect quickly, but it’s easy to develop a tolerance and dependence. When psychiatrists prescribe benzodiazepines, they usually only prescribe them for occasional use. For example, a patient might only take a benzodiazepine when they have a panic attack.

Common Side Effects of Anxiety Medication

One of the most common concerns people have when starting a prescription for anxiety is the side effects. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict whether or not you’ll struggle with side effects from any particular medication. All medications affect the body differently, and two people can have different responses to the same prescription. During your appointment, you and your psychiatrist should discuss the possible side effects of your prescription and what you can do to alleviate them.

The following are some of the common side effects of anxiety medications:

  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Agitation or restlessness

The possibility of side effects should not steer you away from medication if you believe it’s the right option for you. Side effects can be concerning, and you should absolutely let your psychiatrist know if you’re having an adverse reaction. However, most patients find that the benefits of the medication outweigh the side effects.

Combining Medication with Therapy

For many people with anxiety disorders, combining medication and therapy is the best course of action. The right treatment approach for you depends on your own beliefs. Some people prefer to try therapy before medication, and others find that medication is more effective for managing their symptoms. Research suggests that a combination of the two can deliver long-term results for your mental health.

Medication can greatly reduce your symptoms and help you feel stabilized. With the right prescription regimen, your life can start to feel more manageable. However, it’s always helpful to gain a better understanding of your mental health and improve your coping skills. Therapy can be your opportunity to learn how to relate more positively to yourself and your world so that you can handle life’s challenges without a mental health relapse.

Medication management is a valuable resource for those struggling with any form of anxiety. If you take or are considering taking psychiatric medications, it’s essential that you work closely with a psychiatrist. By regularly checking in with your healthcare team, you can ensure that you maintain a safe, effective prescription regimen.

The Beverly Hills Therapy Group offers Psychiatric Medication Management for individuals in and around the Beverly Hills area. We understand the role that medication can play in mental health, and we’re happy to support you as you work toward your goals. If you’re looking for a medication management psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, contact us today.

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