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January 12, 2021
Anxiety is a common condition that occurs now and then. Anti-anxiety agents help people control and manage their anxiety. Stressing over any normal life situation such as exam results, first pregnancy, blind date, office presentation, etc., are all forms of anxiety. However, these sorts of everyday anxieties do not need any medication or therapy.
Anxiety disorder is when a person has a problem dealing with situations and things due to anxiety for over three months and so. An anxiety disorder symptoms include restlessness, tension, nervousness, sweating, weakness or tiredness, trouble concentrating, rapid breathing, increased heart rate, and others.
ANXIOLYTICS or anti-anxiety and anti-panic agents are the medications, therapies, or other interventions that help reduce anxiety. These effects are in contrast to anxiogenic agents that work to increase anxiety. Together the anti-anxiety agents or anxiolytics and psychoactive interventions are referred to as anxiotropic agents or compounds.
Some recreational substances such as alcohol also initially work as anti-anxiety agents; however, studies demonstrate that many are anxiogenic agents instead. Anti-anxiety medications are useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders and their related physical and psychological symptoms.
Light therapy and other such therapies and interventions are also effective in decreasing anxiety and imparting anxiolytic effects. Some beta-blockers like oxprenolol and propranolol are not anti-anxiety agents but can be useful to combat the anxiety’s somatic symptoms such as palpitations and tachycardia.
Anti-anxiety medications are also known as minor tranquilizers. It is a less common text in recent times, and it got derived from a dichotomy with major tranquilizers (antipsychotics and neuroleptics). There are some concerns that GABAergics such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines may have anxiogenic effects if the user takes them for prolonged durations.
Barbiturates impart an anxiolytic effect linked to the sedation they cause. The associated risk of abuse and addiction is high. Experts consider these medications to be obsolete for treating anxiety but valuable for short duration treatment of insomnia, only after benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepine are ineffective or inadequate. Butalbital is one of the most effective barbiturates used as an anti-anxiety medication or a sleeping aid for insomnia related to anxiety.
Benzodiazepines are the short-term and long-term use of medications for the relief of severe and disabling anxiety. They are also helpful in covering the latent periods associated with the medicines prescribed to treat anxiety disorder.
Benzodiazepine medications are useful to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms and are the first-line medicine for short-term CNS sedation. Suppose the user rapidly discontinues benzodiazepines after taking them for more than two to three weeks. In that case, there are risks of benzodiazepine withdrawal and rebound syndrome, which varies from medication to medication.
Dependence and tolerance may also occur, but they may be clinically acceptable; also, its risk of abuse is smaller than barbiturates. Behavioral and cognitive adverse effects are possible. Benzodiazepine (anti-anxiety medications) include:
- Xanax (Alprazolam)
- Librium (Chlordiazepoxide)
- Valium (Diazepam)
- Klonopin (Clonazepam)
- Ativan (Lorazepam)
- Tranxene (Clorazepate)
- Halcion (Triazolam)
Showcased as a more secure option in contrast to barbiturate anxiolytics, meprobamate (Miltown, Equanil) was usually used to alleviate tension in the last part of the 1950s and 1960s. Like barbiturates, remedial dosages produce sedation, and huge excesses might be deadly.
In the US, meprobamate has commonly been supplanted with benzodiazepines, while the medication got currently removed in numerous European nations and Canada. The muscle relaxant carisoprodol has anxiolytic impacts by processing to meprobamate. Different carbamates have been found to share these impacts, for example, tybamate and lorbamate.
Hydroxyzine (Atarax) is an antihistamine initially affirmed for clinical use by the FDA in 1956. Notwithstanding its antihistamine properties, hydroxyzine has anxiolytic properties and got certified for the treatment of nervousness and strain.
Its soothing properties are helpful as a premedication before sedation or to instigate sedation after anesthesia. Hydroxyzine has got demonstrated to be as compelling as benzodiazepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety problems while delivering fewer side-effects.
Chlorpheniramine (Chlor-Trimeton) and diphenhydramine (Benadryl) have entrancing and opioid impacts with gentle anxiolytic-like properties (off-name use). The FDA affirms these medications for sensitivities, rhinitis, and urticaria.
Opioids are drugs that are typically just endorsed for their painkilling properties; however, some examination is starting to locate that a few assortments are viable at treating misery, fanatical chronic problem, and different infirmities frequently connected with or brought about by tension.
They have a significantly high potential for abuse and have one of the most noteworthy habit rates for all medications. Numerous individuals become dependent on these medications since they are so successful at obstructing intense pain, including anxiety.
Essentially to alcohol, individuals with anxiety issues are bound to get dependent on opioids because of their anxiolytic impact. These medications range from the usually recommended hydrocodone to the regularly illicit heroin and right to significantly more powerful assortments like fentanyl frequently used in injury or pain.
The vast majority buying these medications illicitly are searching them out to get euphoric like high; however, numerous others search them out because they are so compelling at decreasing both actual pain and enthusiastic pain.
Antidepressants can help reduce anxiety, and the USFDA approved several SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to treat various anxiety disorders. Antidepressants are majorly beneficial as anxiety and depression often occur together.
Anti-anxiety antidepressants include:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
- Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tetracyclic antidepressants
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
Anti-anxiety Agents (Alternative to Medications)
Psychotherapeutic treatment options can be an effective alternative to anti-anxiety medications. Therapies such as exposure therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) are useful as anti-anxiety agents. Exposure therapy is effective for phobic anxiety disorders, and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
Healthcare providers likewise help by educating the patients about anxiety disorders and refer them to self-help resources. CBT is more effective than pharmacological treatments for anxiety disorder in long-term use.
Sometimes, doctors combine anti-anxiety medications with psychotherapy. However, CBT being a viable treatment option, it can still be ineffective for many people. American and Canadian Medical Associations suggest using a potent and long-lasting benzodiazepine such as alprazolam or clonazepam for effectiveness.