Anxiety is a normal part of our life. We experience it periodically when faced with everyday stressful situations. But in some cases, this symptom becomes too strong, depriving a person of the opportunity to live normally. This condition can be classified by doctors as an anxiety disorder. It requires a properly selected therapy under the supervision of qualified specialists: therapist, neurologist and psychiatrist.
Anxiety: A General Approach to Treatment
Anxiety disorders can be successfully corrected, but therapy should be extremely comprehensive. Usually doctors recommend to patients with such problems:
- completely change your lifestyle;
- attend sessions with a psychotherapist;
- take medications.
Other auxiliary methods of exposure can also be used. For example, relaxation, biofeedback, and meditation can help reduce abnormal anxiety .
Having noticed the manifestations of anxiety disorders in oneself, one must understand that such conditions are most often not able to go away on their own. In the absence of adequate therapy, they can provoke the development of chronic ailments of internal organs, result in depressive conditions, or take a particularly severe generalized form. So, doctors are sure that stomach ulcers, arterial hypertension, and irritable bowel syndrome often develop as a result of anxiety disorders that have simply not been treated.
Experienced psychotherapists argue that lifestyle changes can play a critical role in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Therefore, patients with such problems must definitely switch to a proper and balanced diet: eat often, in small portions, eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, reduce the amount of simple sugars and starchy foods. In addition, it is extremely important to give up all kinds of bad habits: exclude alcohol and nicotine from your life. Also, it will not be superfluous to significantly reduce the amount of caffeine in the menu, which, as you know, is present in coffee, tea, etc.
To successfully eliminate anxiety disorders, you need to get enough sleep, systematically play sports (any kind of physical activity) and communicate with pleasant people.
Help of a psychotherapist
Psychotherapy is necessary for many people who are faced with the problem of excessive anxiety. If the disease is mild, the specialist can teach the patient relaxation techniques. In fact, the systematic implementation of the psychiatrist’s recommendations can have the same therapeutic effect as the use of special anxiolytic medications (drugs that can eliminate anxiety). But, it should be noted that not every patient can use the relaxation method regularly.
For moderate to severe anxiety disorders, the doctor may recommend to his patients:
- cognitive-behavioral therapy;
- hypnosuggestative psychotherapy (hypnosis and suggestion);
- individual psychotherapy;
- classes in groups.
Medications for Anxiety Disorders
In the treatment of anxiety disorders, all medications are selected individually, taking into account the presence of concomitant disorders. For example, in many patients, anxiety is combined with depression, so its correct diagnosis and correction plays an important role in successful treatment. If the anxiety disorder has developed on its own and is uncomplicated, your doctor may prescribe benzodiazepines. But when correcting anxiety and depression, such drugs will simply not be effective, as well as in the treatment of patients prone to abuse psychotropic substances.
Quite often, the treatment of anxiety disorders is carried out using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such drugs are combined under the abbreviation SSRI. They are represented by fluoxetine, sertraline , paroxetine , fluvoxamine and citalopram . These medicines are quite effective in coping with different types of anxiety disorders, including those that manifest themselves with panic attacks and are accompanied by depressive conditions. They are among the newest antidepressants, are easily tolerated by the body and rarely cause side effects. However, taking them is fraught with withdrawal symptoms.
Among the drugs used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, it is worth highlighting azapirones . The main representative of this group of medicines is buspirone . It is quite effective in treating generalized anxiety disorder, but not effective in panic attacks. A distinctive feature of azapirones : such drugs rarely provoke the occurrence of side effects, are not capable of causing dependence and tolerance, in addition, they do not have a sedative effect, do not adversely affect the cognitive functions.
Another correction of anxiety disorders can be carried out with the help of tricyclic antidepressants. This is a large group of drugs, which includes amitriptyline, clomipramine , nortriptyline , protriptyline , as well as desipramine , etc.
In the past, tricyclic antidepressants were the drugs of choice for treating anxiety, but now they are used somewhat less frequently, due to the increased likelihood of unwanted effects. However, these medications are effective in treating panic attacks, sleep disturbances, and appetite disorders.
Correction of anxiety disorders can be carried out with the help of monoamine oxidase inhibitors , abbreviated as MAOI. These medicines are quite effective, but they can provoke a number of relatively rare but dangerous side effects. Their use can be helpful for anxiety that occurs with panic attacks. The use of MAOIs requires mandatory adherence to the diet, which is important for the safety of therapy.
Quite often, benzodiazepines are prescribed to patients with anxiety disorders, in low dosages they give a good anxiolytic effect and help to cope with sleep disturbances. But at the same time, such drugs can cause physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms.
Also, the treatment of anxiety disorders may involve the use of other drugs: beta-blockers, alpha-adrenergic receptor antagonists, anticonvulsants, etc.
The treatment regimen for anxiety disorders is selected purely on an individual basis by a qualified specialist.