The vast majority of people with an anxiety disorder can be helped with professional care. Success of treatment varies among people. Some may respond to treatment after a few months, while others may need more than a year.
Treatment for anxiety is sometimes complicated by the fact that people very often have more than one anxiety disorder or suffer from depression or substance abuse. This is why treatment for anxiety must be tailored to the individual.
Some people will be really surprised when their doctor prescribes an antidepressant for symptoms of anxiety as treatment for anxiety. But the neurotransmitters that are responsible for anxiety also influence depressive conditions, so it makes sense that they can be used for both. Developed in the 1950’s these drugs all work in different ways to affect the amount of neurotransmitter serotonin available in between the synaptic nerves in the brain.
For most of the medications that are prescribed for the treatment for anxiety disorders, the doctor usually starts the patient on a low dose and gradually increases it to the full dose. Every medication has side effects, but they usually become tolerated or diminish with time. If side effects become a problem, the doctor may advise the patient to stop taking the medication and to wait a week–or longer for certain drugs–before trying another one. When treatment is near an end, the doctor will taper the dosage gradually.
The Department of Health recommends that men should not drink more than 3-4 units of alcohol a day, and women no more than 2-3 units a day as a treatment for anxiety. A unit of alcohol is equivalent to half a pint of ordinary strength larger, a pub measure (25ml) of spirits, or a small (125ml) glass of wine. If you drink alcohol, you should try to stay within these recommended limits.
There are a variety of different types of medication that your GP can prescribe for you to help treat your GAD. Some medication is designed to be taken for a short-term basis, while you may have to take other medicines for longer periods of time. Depending on your symptoms, you may require medicine to help treat your physical symptoms, as well as your psychological ones.
Busprone Buspar (Azapirone) is usually prescribed for a short period as treatment for anxiety. You will not become dependant on it as you might a benzodiazepine but can take at least six weeks before you notice any improvement. It has a sedative effect, so will not be prescribed when sedation or impairment of the psychomotor movements would be dangerous. Side effects are normally found at the beginning of the course of treatment and are generally alleviated by lowering the dose or as treatment goes on.
Behavioral Therapy – the goal of behavioral therapy is to modify and gain control of unwanted behaviors by changing how you react to situations as a treatment for anxiety. The therapy is based primary on classical and operant conditioning. Typical someone with anxiety will be exposed to situations which would normal make them anxious while at the same time learning tools to manipulate their behavior while in the situation. The goal here is to take control over the anxious situation.
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