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What is Anxiety Medication?

  • By Admin
  • Sep 05, 2022
What is Anxiety Medication?

Anxiety medication is used to treat a variety of conditions, which are all listed under the same banner of 'anxiety'. Anxiety as a term is typically defined as worry or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety can be useful, as it can make us more alert to dangers, such as when crossing a busy road. However, some people suffer from anxiety when there is no obvious trigger, or the anxiety far exceeds what we would deem normal. These people often benefit from taking anxiety medication.

There are many different types of anxiety medication. Some people prefer to use herbal tablets, such as ashwagandha. However, the problem with herbal medications is two-fold. Firstly, they are not sufficiently tested. This can mean that they may not be safe to take in the long term. Furthermore, they are never as effective at treating anxiety as pharmaceutical medications. Pharmaceutical anxiety medication has been rigorously tested to ensure that it is both safe and effective at treating anxiety in a range of individuals.

Additionally, these types of anxiety tablets have also been licensed by regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who operate all over the world, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the regulatory body based in Europe, unlike non-licensed herbal tablets.

What are Anxiety Tablets Used for?

There are a variety of different types of anxiety, and anxiety tablets can be used for all of them. Some of the more common categories that are used are:

  • Generalised anxiety disorder - also known as GAD, this condition is where someone may always feel a heightened level of anxiety, regardless of any specific triggers that may be present. It is thought that this condition affects up to 5% of the population. It is only diagnosed when the period of anxiety lasts for 6 months or more. Whereas people may not get mild cases diagnosed, severe cases can affect how someone lives their day-to-day life.
  • Social anxiety disorder - this condition is where someone has excessive fear or worry about being in social situations. This can range from just seeing friends, to attending large gatherings. It has been found that more than a third of people who suffer from this condition wait for over 10 years before seeing a doctor about it.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder - also known as PTSD, this condition occurs when we have experienced something extremely traumatic or stressful, which leaves an imprint on us. Often those with PTSD will find themselves reliving the events of the trauma, or suffering from flashbacks, such as with those who have been to war.

Other anxiety disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobias, and panic disorder.

How Does Anxiety Medication Work?

Anxiety medication works in a very similar way to other medications like sleeping tablets. That is because many anxiety medications belong to a group of medications called benzodiazepines, which also contains some sleeping tablets. Both medications work by affecting a neurotransmitter in the brain called gamma-aminobutyric acid, also known as GABA. They affect this chemical by increasing the levels of it in the brain. This is done via the active ingredient in the anxiety medication attaching itself to the GABA receptors, which makes them release increased levels of GABA.

GABA then slows down and inhibits the signals that are being sent around our central nervous system, to and from our brain, down our spine, and through our nerve networks. Once these signals are reduced, we have less excitatory action in the central nervous system, which induces a feeling of relaxation, to counter the feelings of anxiety.

The Correct Anxiety Medication Dosage

The correct anxiety medication dosage depends on several factors. Firstly, how severe is the anxiety condition from which you are suffering? If you are suffering from a more severe form of the condition, you would look to take a higher dosage, than if you were suffering from a milder form of the condition. Additionally, some people such as those with reduced organ function and the elderly should take a reduced dose.

In relation to taking anxiety tablets, as they always come in the form of a hard tablet, you should swallow one dose whole with a glass of water. It is important that you do not chew or crush hard tablets, as this can affect their function. If needed, you can split the tablets, if you need to take a lower dose. For example, if you only have tablets that contain 10 mg of the active ingredient, and you need a 5 mg dose, you can split the tablet into halves. You should then ensure that you store the other half in an airtight container.

It is recommended that you read the manufacturers leaflet prior to consumption to see if the medication you are taking is affected by food. Some anxiety tablets should not be taken alongside food as this can affect the consumption, whereas others need to be taken alongside food to prevent nausea. In addition, you should ensure that you take note of the maximum recommended dose, and do not exceed this.

The Benefits of Anxiety Tablets

There are plenty of benefits to taking anxiety tablets. It has been found that anxiety can have a profound effect on the body and how it functions. Some of the ways anxiety can affect us are:

  • The effects on the central nervous system. Suffering from anxiety attacks over a long period of time means that we have stress hormones released in our bodies. These stress hormones can make us suffer from headaches and depression. Additionally, it has been found that stress hormones such as cortisol can lead to long-term weight gain.
  • The effects on the cardiovascular system. Anxiety can often result in feelings of chest tightness, palpitations, and rapid heart rate. It can also result in increased blood pressure.

It is important when taking anxiety tablets to only take them for a short period of time. They should be used to reset your bodys stress response, allowing your body to get used to how it should be feeling in different scenarios. When you enter a period of feeling less anxious, you should then think about reducing the anxiety tablets dose you are taking gradually, with the idea of eventually stopping taking them altogether. You should never go from taking a regular full dose of anxiety tablets, to nothing, as this can be dangerous.

Side Effects from Anxiety Medication

Any medication that we take has side effects. Side effects are merely secondary effects that can occur when taking something. Anxiety medication is no different. Fortunately, if the correct dosage is used side effects do not occur too often. The side effects that are more prevalent when taking anxiety tablets are:

  • Dry mouth or throat - another side effect that is one of the more commonly experienced, this can be dealt with by ensuring that you are staying hydrated, either by drinking water throughout the day, or ensuring that you are drinking the whole glass of water when taking anxiety tablets.
  • Gastrointestinal issues - some people may find that they experience gastrointestinal issues when taking these tablets. This could be diarrhoea, constipation, or just bloating and stomach discomfort. If this applies to you, we recommend that you first ensure that your diet is correct, as often diet can play a large part in gastrointestinal issues. If you have already done this, you should visit your local pharmacy, to see what they recommend for your condition.

Please note that this is not a full list of side effects. You should refer to the manufacturers guide for a complete list.

Why Anxiety Tablets are Safe to Use

Anxiety tablets are safe to use because they have been thoroughly tested to ensure that any side effects that someone could experience when taking this medication are rare and mild. In addition, anxiety medications have been in use for decades, with very few occurrences of adverse reactions.

The main group of people who should not take these medications are those who are allergic to any of the ingredients. Taking these medications when you are allergic to the ingredients is dangerous and can result in angioedema and anaphylaxis. However, this risk exists with any medication that you take and is extremely rare.

Fortunately, there exists regulatory bodies such as the FDA, who not only monitor the original branded medications, but also have in place a Generic Drugs Program, to ensure that any generic medications that are manufactured are just as high quality as the originals. This program makes sure of the following:

  • The active ingredient that is used is the same used in the original branded medication.
  • The generic medication has the same strengths and forms available.
  • The generic medications are manufactured using a particular set of stringent standards.
  • The generic medication is bioequivalent to the original (this means it must have the same ingredient and outcomes for the patient).
  • The label is like the original label.

For further information and more on anxiety medication, visit today.

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