anxiety drugs

What is Anxiety?

The very first thing we need to do is explain is just what is Anxiety? Well, firstly, know that you are not alone – it is a fact that most of us get anxious from time to time. This anxiety is perfectly normal and you could say, beneficial to us!

Anxiety is, in evolutionary terms, part of our built-in ‘’flight or fight’’ response: a personal survival system where the body produces hormones like adrenaline and cortisol in response to a threat to get us ready to take an appropriate action. The feelings we all have of worry, apprehension and uneasiness that characterize anxiety are quite familiar to all of us.

But, when people find that they seem to be anxious for quite a lot of the time, and especially when that anxiety comes from everyday things that really are no cause for alarm and present no real threat, then anxiety does become a problem. Continued anxiety is most unpleasant and is quite likely to lead to further health problems.

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The Health Problems of Untreated Anxiety

Basically, people have different ways of handling their anxiety. For some, focussing on the aspects of what produces their anxiety helps, but others develop other ways to essentially cope with their anxieties. But, not everyone finds a way to cope and this inability can cause problems.

Now, without being able to control their anxiety affects their everyday lives and can often lead to sufferers turning to unhealthy methods of coping with their lives. These people are more at risk for turning to substance abuse, addictions to smoking and perhaps overeating which in turn leads to weight problems and associated health issues.

The effects multiply where every time a stressful situation arises and anxiety is felt, cortisol is released and over the long term will have a negative impact on a sufferer’s memory. Over the long term, there is the increased risk of developing such health problems such as:

  1. Insomnia
  2. Damage to the kidneys
  3. Damage to the blood vessels
  4. Damage to the heart
  5. Digestive or bowel problems

Also over the longer term, untreated anxiety can create significant life complications; friendships are sorely tested and problems created at work where a person’s career prospects may be placed in jeopardy where the sufferer may have increased feelings of isolation and a loss their confidence.

A further problem, is that the anxiety will increase and the person will probably develop depression. This may well lead to thoughts of suicide and the longer the condition goes on for, the more intense these feelings of suicide become as the sufferer leads to the thoughts that the ending their life is the only way to overcome their anxiety.

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Treatments

Be assured, that Anxiety is a very treatable condition. Be further assured, that there is no need whatsoever for the sufferer to feel ashamed or embarrassed about seeking treatment and doing so, as soon as possible. Everything is treated in the strictest confidence and, once treatment starts there is every reason to suppose that a sufferer should soon return to a normal life.

There are several medications used for treating Anxiety and it should be noted, that not all of them work for all sufferers. Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are generally prescribed as the first-line of treatment and doctors and patients will then work together to establish the best way forward.

It is important that the sufferer discusses with their doctor about using the drug prescribed and whether it be for the long or short term and just what might happen when the treatment is discontinued. It should be noted that the sufferer should not suddenly discontinue the treatment as he or she may suffer some severe withdrawal symptoms – always discuss any concerns that you have with your doctor and follow his / her advice and most sufferers will lead a happy and normal life.

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Side Effects of Medication

While medication for most people will result in a normal life for most sufferers, the possibility of side effects must be raised. These side effects are generally unintended ramifications linked to taking medication and can range from muscle weakness, sexual dysfunction, confusion and an upset stomach.

Let’s be realistic about the possibility of side effects. Without getting too technical, you should know that brain functions rely on neurotransmitters – chemicals that permit neurons (nerve cells) to ‘’talk’’ to each other.

It’s a logical step, therefore, to conclude that a medication that has been designed to have an influence on a neurotransmitter in one area of the brain’s circuits might also have a side effect of having an impact on an unrelated brain process. We mentioned serotonin a little earlier; this is a neurotransmitter that is thought to be a participant in many the areas of the brain that cause anxiety.

It’s a further logical step to conclude, that any medication that increases levels of serotonin levels in the brain, may also affect-say, the intestinal processes, because it plays a pivotal role in coordinating contraction of the muscles in the intestines, sometimes resulting in side effects that include diarrhea or indeed, constipation.

It should also be understood, that not one brain or indeed, body, are exactly alike and therefore, can react differently to medication. Therefore, a medication that works for one person may have adverse effects for another. This is why we said earlier, that patients must work with their doctor, as changes in prescription for individuals may be required to achieve the best result.

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Conclusion

From the facts, pros and cons, it seems to this writer that not taking the Drugs (medication) for Anxiety is to suffer a great deal of stress and quite possibly, pain and the development of other, often serious medical conditions – not to mention developing depression which can lead to feelings of low esteem and self-value often leading to acts of suicide!

Yes, there may be some side effects, but that is most certainly not always the case. But, by working with your doctor, these can be eliminated or at least, reduced to a minimum in many cases.

There is no doubt, in my mind, therefore, that taking medication to control your Anxiety is the right choice – the only choice!