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Anxiety – Illness and Medications

Anxiety is the both psychological and physiological generalizedmood condition, characterized by unpleasant feelings, fears and worries. This conditiondoesn’t have any apparent cause, and the fear patients are experiencing seems (tothem) as something they can’t avoid or resolve.

This condition is more easily treated if caught in earlystages, and it usually includes psychotherapy, especially cognitive behavioraltherapy, and medications. There are several groups of drugs used to treatanxiety disorders, including SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors), benzodiazepines,MAOIs (monoamine inhibitors), but sometimes also GABA (gamma amino butyricacid) analogues and antidepressant drugs.

All these groups of medications have certain side effects, affectingthe person’s mind and body.

Adverse Effects

SSRIs are in most cases drugs of the first choice, but thesemedications haven’t been confirmed as safe to be used in pregnant women. Additionally,the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has issued a caution for parents of childrenprescribed with SSRIs, because of the potential suicidal ideas.

MAO inhibitors, however, are associated with special diet. Theconsummation of the food containing amino acids tyramine and tryptophan shouldbe restricted, since it may cause serious health problems, such as hypertensivecrisis and serotonin syndrome. Overdose of MAOIs is also highly toxic for humanorganism.

Benzodiazepines are also the treatment for anxietydisorders. The most serious side effect come from the long term use of thesedrugs and this is dependency. Because of this, drug tolerance and potential abusebenzodiazepines are usually the last option for the treatment, when all otherdrugs fail to work.

Patients treated with anti-anxiety medications mayexperience nausea, dizziness and headaches, and these side effects appear to bequite common for all used drugs.

Some medications may cause excessive nervousness, generalweakness, sweating and dry mouth. Certain anti-anxiety medications are known tocause poor appetite, while others increase body weight. There are some anxietypatients that refuse using these medications, once they gain some weight.

Anxiety drugs are known to affect the sexual life of an individualtreated with them. They could lead to impotence or other sexual problems.

Other personality changes while using anti-anxiety medications include:depression, violence and raised aggressiveness. Common problems might also besome sleeping disturbances, nightmares and hallucinations, often associated withanxiety drugs.

Some patients also experienced various severe adverse effects, such as: unconsciousness,stiff muscles, kidney problems, fever and jaundice, all caused by anxietydrugs.

There are disagreements in the medical society whether the medications and psychotherapycomplement each other or interfere. Recent studies show that behavioral therapyis more efficient in the long run then the medications, but the final decisionabout the treatment must be done considering every single patient’s conditionindividually.

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