Anxiety disorders are characterized by a nagging and exaggerated sense of fear and worry. People with anxiety disorders often suffer from panic attacks â€” short episodes of intense, overwhelming fear. Left untreated, an anxiety disorder can interfere with a person’s daily life. Fortunately, there are many types of treatment for anxiety. You’ll want to speak with your doctor to determine the best anxiety treatment for you.
Severe Anxiety Treatment Medication
Medical treatment for anxiety typically involves tranquilizers or antidepressants. However, anxiety rarely appears on its own. Instead, it’s usually coupled with depression or another mood disorder. It’s important to identify the disorder and get the best anxiety treatment, or the anxiety disorder won’t completely go away.
The most common anti-anxiety drugs are benzodiazepines, otherwise known as sedatives. Some of these severe anxiety treatment options include:
- Alprazolam (XanaxÂ®)
- Clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Diazepam (ValiumÂ©)
- Lorazepam (AtivanÂ®).
These medications act quickly, usually bringing anxiety relief within 30 to 60 minutes. Because of their fast-acting capabilities, benzodiazepines are best used as a panic attack treatment. This treatment for anxiety is safe in small doses, but can lead to dependence and health problems if used excessively or combined with other drugs. Side effects of these severe anxiety treatment options include:
- Blurred vision
- Depression (long-term use)
- Memory loss.
Doctors often prescribe antidepressants instead of benzodiazepines as treatment for anxiety. These are considered to be a safer alternative because the risk for abuse and dependency is lower. Commonly prescribed antidepressants include:
Although some doctors consider antidepressants to be the best anxiety treatment options, these drugs aren’t effective immediately. With this treatment for anxiety, symptoms take four to six weeks to dissipate. This makes them a poor choice for panic attack treatment, but a safer long-term alternative. Common side effects of antidepressants include:
- Upset stomach
- Weight gain.
Some doctors may prescribe beta blockers (medication typically used to treat high blood pressure and heart problems) as treatment for anxiety symptoms. Beta blockers relieve some of the more obvious symptoms of anxiety such as:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Shaking hands
However, since they only treat symptoms and not the underlying anxiety disorder, beta blockers are the best anxiety treatment for mild phobias like performance anxiety.
Best Anxiety Treatment Methods
The best anxiety treatment approach is usually a combination of medication, cognitive-behavioral therapy and relaxation techniques. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps the patient identify and understand patterns of thought and behavior so he can take steps to change them. According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, most therapy patients see improvement in 12 to 16 weeks.
Severe anxiety treatment with natural supplements and relaxation techniques may be attempted either alone or with the help of a professional. Some common natural anxiety relief methods include:
- Art, music or dance therapy
- Dietary supplements
- Homeopathic medicine
- Massage therapy
- Meditation or prayer.
Anxiety Disorders Association of America Staff. (2010). Treatment. Retrieved April 19, 2010, from the ADAA website: http://www.adaa.org/finding-help/treatment.
Smith, M. and Segal, J. (2008). Anxiety attacks and disorders: Signs, symptoms and treatment. Retrieved April 19, 2010, from the Help Guide website: http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm.
Smith, M. and Segal, J. (2008). Anxiety medication: What you need to know about anti-anxiety drugs. Retrieved April 19, 2010, from the Help Guide website: http://helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_medication_drugs_treatment.htm.