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Anxiety in Children

Anxiety in children can be described as general fear or worry, without any apparent trigger. People suffering from this mood condition often feel the generalized threat from the outside world, which can’t be controlled.

A child suffering from this disorder should be examined by psychologist or psychotherapist. The therapist will recommend the appropriate medication. Don’t expect medications to cure the condition, because they will just manage the symptoms.

Ask your doctor about the doses and adverse effects of the medications prescribed to your child. Sometimes, certain supplements might be helpful to relieve side effects and your doctor should inform you about it.

Anxiety Medications

There are several different medications used to treat anxiety: antidepressants, anti-anxiety and beta blocker drugs.

Antidepressants are a group of different medications, helpful in depression and anxiety therapy. These can be: tricyclics, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). You should be aware that these drugs need several weeks to show the first signs of improvement in your child. Specialists recommend starting with the lower doses of these medications and then gradually increasing and adjusting the dose.

Tricyclic medications are used to treat anxiety disorder. They have certain side effects, including: drowsiness, dizziness, increased weight and dry mouth. Patients find these symptoms annoying and doctors often recommend newer drugs instead of tricyclic antidepressants.

SSRIs work by raising the amount of serotonin in the brain, which lead to decrease of anxiety symptoms. For the anxiety, doctors usually prescribe: sertraline, fluvoxamine, fluoxetine, paroxetine and citalopram. They don’t have so many side effects as other antidepressant medications. Patients have reported nausea and nervousness, but these symptoms don’t last for long time.

MAOIs used to treat anxiety are: phenelzine, tranylcypromine and isocarboxazid. Patients using MAOIs should be warned that these drugs interact with food such as cheese and red wine. These food and drinks contain amino acid tyramine, which combined with these medications might lead to dangerous elevation of blood pressure. MAOIs and SSRIs should not be combined, since this combination might have lethal consequences. People using MAOIs are advised to pause 2 weeks and then transfer to another medication. Some specialists do not advise giving MAOIs to children.

Benzodiazepines are known to be helpful to ease anxiety symptoms. These should be medications used only short term, because there is a possibility to develop tolerance, dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Potentially, bothersome side effect is drowsiness, which may affect everyday activities.

Beta blockers, especially propranolol, are also used in anxiety therapy. They are helpful if you have phobias and can prevent some anxiety symptoms, such as: hand trembling, sweating and heart racing.

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