Understanding anxiety and the feelings that come along with it is of utmost importance to those who struggle with the overwhelming symptoms. According to the National Institutes of Health, over 33% of the world’s population will experience some form of anxiety disorder at some point.
Understanding Your Anxiety
If you are just beginning to wonder if your symptoms point to anxiety, chances are high that you experience uncomfortable levels of restlessness, exhaustion, racing thoughts, insomnia, worry or trembling. Each of these symptoms, along with many more can mean that you have anxiety.
Each of the 5 different types of Anxiety has different indicators. Understanding each type may lead you to a mental health professional who can prescribe a medication that can lessen these symptoms. The 5 types of anxiety include:
- Panic Disorder – Individuals who have panic disorder often say that they have intense episodes of being afraid. Along with this irrational fear, they frequently feel chest pain, an inability to catch their breath, some dizziness or abdominal distress.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder – Suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder typically means that someone is plagued with constant tension and worry, no matter what kind of situation they are in.
- Social Anxiety Disorder – Extreme self-consciousness and anxiety in social situations may point to a social anxiety disorder. Some are panicked at the thought of eating or drinking in front of other people, while others might freeze up or become physically ill when told they must speak in front of a large group. A small percentage of anxiety sufferers are overwhelmed by almost every social situation. This type of anxiety disorder frequently starts in the teen years and lasts well into adulthood. It is estimated that almost 15 million adults in the United States have a social anxiety disorder.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Those who suffer from OCD find that they have recurring thoughts or obsessions which may lead to compulsions or repeated behaviors. Some compulsions include hand washing, making sure things are turned off, cleaning and even counting items.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – Having experienced a traumatic event such as personal assault, a natural disaster or even military combat may cause individuals to have PTSD. Symptoms can include flashbacks, avoidance and being tense or angry.
Understanding Who Can Help
There are many medical and mental health professionals who can diagnose anxiety disorders and prescribe treatment plans and medications. Some may opt to speak with their primary care provider about the symptoms they have been experiencing. Others may be more comfortable seeking out a mental health professional at a walk-in clinic in San Francisco. No matter which type of professional you select, know that they want to help your symptoms decrease so you can get back to enjoying life.
Understanding Treatment Options
Though prescription medication is used most frequently when dealing with anxiety disorders, there are a few other treatments a doctor or mental health professional might encourage patients to try in conjunction with the new medication. Some of these, including better sleeping habits, increased physical activity, and a healthy diet has been shown to be very effective for those who suffer from anxiety symptoms. Meeting frequently with a support group, enrolling in behavioral therapy, meditation, and Tai Chi are also suggested as ways to cope with anxiety.
Understanding Prescription Anxiety Medications
Knowing a little about medication for anxiety can help recently diagnosed individuals feel a little less lost in the journey to wellness. There are 4 basic categories that anxiety medications fall under and each has unique benefits as well as ways that they work.
How they Work: Considered to be an effective treatment for all types of anxiety disorders, SSRI’s such as citalopram, paroxetine and fluoxetine works to ensure a higher serotonin level in the brain. Basically, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is found in all vertebrates. It has a few different jobs in the human body, from helping with memory and sleep to helping to regulate someone’s mood. SSRI’s block the reabsorption of serotonin, leaving more available for the brain. This increased level of serotonin works well to offset symptoms of anxiety.
Possible Side Effects: Some of the most common side effects include sleepiness, insomnia, sexual dysfunction, and weight gain.
How They Work: Medications that fall into the SNRI category include duloxetine and venlafaxine. Like SSRIs, they can help to increase levels of serotonin in the brain. In much the same way, they can also boost the level of norepinephrine which plays a role in the ability to concentrate as well as overall mood.
Possible Side Effects: Possible side effects include weight gain, stomach upset, increased blood pressure, sexual dysfunction and headaches.
How They Work: The medications in this category, including clonazepam, lorazepam, and alprazolam, are most often used for management of shorter-term anxiety, or in conjunction with other types of anxiety disorders, though never with PTSD. These medications help with a reduction in muscle tension, in promoting relaxation and with a few other anxiety symptoms as well. This class of medications is thought to work on GABA or gamma-aminobutyric acid, another neurotransmitter in the brain which is thought to reduce overactivity of other nerves in the brain.
Possible Side Effects: Some of the possible side effects of this type of prescription anxiety medication include loss of orientation, dizziness, confusion, sleep problems, irritability, and memory impairment.
How They Work: Though this type of medication is not typically effective for social anxiety disorder, it has been shown to help with other types of anxiety disorders. Some types of tricyclic antidepressants include nortriptyline, amitriptyline, and imipramine. These medications also work to ensure that there are more mood-regulating hormones (serotonin and norepinephrine) available in the brain.
Possible Side Effects: Possible side effects might include nausea and vomiting, dizziness, weight gain, blurred vision, and constipation.
Getting the Anxiety Help You Need
Making an appointment with a medical professional is the first step toward getting the help you need in the San Francisco area. Whether you decide to call EZCare Clinic and schedule an appointment or walk right in, our medical professionals are ready to make sure you get the right diagnosis, as well as the right type of anxiety prescription medication.