Suffering with anxiety can be life altering. Possible consequences of severe anxiety disorder include an inability to work, parent, or socialize. Less severe cases can also negatively affect your quality of life. Anti-anxiety medication can help you gain control of the disorder and allow you to function. Choosing the right medication should be based on the type of anxiety you have and whether you have a propensity for addiction.
The three most commonly used medications or supplements for the treatment of anxiety are prescription benzodiazepines, prescription BuSpar®, and over-the-counter herbs. While benzodiazepines such as Xanax® and Valium® have proven effective in the treatment of anxiety, they can be highly addictive. BuSpar® is a non-narcotic anti-anxiety medication that is not addictive, but it reportedly is not always as effective as other medications. Herbs are typically used by those who want to avoid the negative qualities of prescription medications or use the homeopathic route to treat their anxiety.
To choose the best anti-anxiety medication, you should know which anxiety disorder you have been diagnosed with. Panic disorder, social anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are examples of commonly diagnosed anxiety disorders. The prescription drug alprazolam is typically used for panic disorder, while Valium® is is usually prescribed for social anxiety.
BuSpar® takes several weeks to build up in your system. It is usually prescribed for patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). If you have GAD, or if you have addictive tendencies or addiction runs in your family, this may be the best medication choice for you. It is non-addictive and non-narcotic. It is also used for teenagers and children too young for prescription narcotic anxiety medications.
The antidepressant Zoloft® is also used in treating obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as well a panic disorder. This prescription is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and non-narcotic. It works on anxiety by reducing obsessive thoughts and eliminating panic attacks.
Though herbal supplements are not technically medications, they are supported by the National Institutes of Health as an effective treatment for anxiety. Chamomile, valerian, and passion flower have all been shown to ease anxiety symptoms. Herbs can interact with other medications, so before starting herbal treatments, check with your doctor or the pharmacist.
In choosing the best anti-anxiety medication, examine your diagnosis, the cost factor, and medication goals. Discuss these with your doctor and determine which medication route is right for you. Stopping any anti-anxiety medication should be done under medical supervision. Switching from one treatment to another should also be monitored by your doctor.