All About Anxiolytics or Anxiety Medications

There are several types of medications for people who suffer from chronic anxiety. We'll tell you everything you need to know about anxiety medications in the following article.
All About Anxiolytics or Anxiety Medications

Last update: 06 February, 2021

Research has proven that the lifestyle of today’s society often produces nervous states that require the use of anxiety medications.

However, this emotion is a natural mechanism of the body and has always been present throughout history. In fact, it has to do with a reaction of alertness in the face of imminent danger.

The problem arises when stress, pressure, and excessive worries cause this state to become pathological, as we’ll see throughout the following article. In this case, patients and their doctors must consider the administration of pharmacological substances to reverse the situation.

Let’s take a closer look.

What’s anxiety?

A woman leaning against the wall with her hands on her forehead and a worried look on her face.

As we said at the beginning, anxiety is a normal sensation that our bodies experience. It appears intending to defend us from dangerous or worrisome situations of danger, preparing the body to respond more effectively in those moments. In other words, it’s a survival mechanism.

However, some people aren’t able to handle this emotion and suffer from it in normal situations of everyday life. This becomes very disruptive to their daily routines.

Therefore, when someone encounters anxiety with a certain frequency without there appearing to be a reason for this state of nervousness, then we’re looking at a disorder.

Patients suffering from this disease may feel different unpleasant symptoms, which anxiety medications aim to manage. Among these symptoms, we can mention the following:

  • Tachycardia and palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and the feeling of a knot in the stomach

Medications for anxiety

For the treatment of this disease, we have, fortunately, different types of medications. The most commonly used are anxiolytics and antidepressants.

Anxiety medications: Anxiolytics

A doctor writing a prescription for anxiolytics.

To acquire these drugs, a physician must prescribe them, as they’re not available over-the-counter. Some of them are those belonging to the group of benzodiazepines or barbiturates, among others.

These drugs owe their anxiolytic efficacy to their ability to potentiate the effects of the neurotransmitter GABA. This substance is responsible for the inhibition of the central nervous system, i.e., it produces effects such as:

  • Favoring the control of states of stress, anxiety, and mental pressure
  • Helping you to fall asleep
  • Stimulating the production of growth hormone

Therefore, by interacting with the GABA neurotransmitter receptor, anxiety medications enhance all its effects, being effective for the treatment of anxiety.

However, it’s important to note that these drugs for anxiety can produce a series of adverse reactions that are important to take into account. In that regard, benzodiazepines can produce tolerance and dependence in those patients who take them.

Therefore, people under treatment with this type of medication for anxiety should be closely controlled. And, in the case of interrupting treatment, they should do so progressively and never suddenly, since withdrawal syndrome could be triggered.

Anxiety medications: Antidepressants

A person passed out next to a bunch of different pills.

Antidepressants are another therapeutic group prescribed in cases of anxiety. In fact, they’re the first line of treatment. Specifically, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, are the main drugs of choice.

Studies have taken place, such as this one by a team from the University of Ciudad Real (Spain), which suggest that serotonin is very much involved in anxiety disorders. However, research in this area is still ongoing.

What’s certain is that these antidepressants show a high specificity against anxiety and have fewer adverse consequences than the previous group of drugs. However, like all drugs on the market, they can also trigger some side effects, such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Weight gain
  • Sexual dysfunction

Stay away from harmful habits and substances

Many people rely on toxic substances such as alcohol or tobacco to combat anxiety. However, all they’re doing is aggravating them.

Therefore, you must rely on a professional to advise you regarding the most appropriate treatment for you. You should never ingest anything on your own or resort to harmful elements, as you could be aggravating your condition.

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