What Anxiety Medication Feels Like
While anxiety medication offers relief from symptoms, it is important to remember that its effects vary greatly between individuals. Most people experience a reduction of symptoms but there is great variation depending on the type of medicine, the dose and other factors.
How Anxiety Medication Works
Anxiety medication works by targeting the body’s natural production of various neurotransmitters and hormones, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and anxiety levels. Low levels of serotonin can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression. there are several types of medication available, let’s explore.
Some common types of anxiety medication include:
- SSRIs: One of the most common types of anxiety medication is Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications work by blocking the reabsorption, or reuptake, of serotonin in the brain. This increases levels of serotonin available in the brain, which can help to improve mood and reduce anxiety symptoms in anxiety patients. They are mainly used for the treatment of depression but their effects on anxiety is well documented.
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): are a type of drug that works to increase the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine available in the brain. These drugs act by preventing the reabsorption, or reuptake, of these neurotransmitters back into neuron cells, resulting in greater amounts of serotonin in the human brain.
- Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines work by binding to certain receptors in the brain and enhancing their activity, which increases the activity of neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, and norepinephrine. This helps to reduce anxiety symptoms by decreasing neuronal excitability, calming the mind, and providing a sense of relaxation. Benzos can also reduce muscle tension but they are known to have side effects, particularly a very strong tendency to abuse and addictive behavior.
What Anxiety Medication Feels Like
Anxiety medication can help to reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as feelings of worry, fear, and unease. However, it is important to understand that different types of anxiety medication can cause different effects in different people.
Benzos, SNRIs, and SSRIs are three common types of anxiety medication that work by altering the levels of chemicals in the brain that are responsible for causing anxiety. Below, we will explore the specific mechanisms of action and effects of these medications.
Benzos are a commonly used medication for conquering anxiety and sleepless nights. Acting on the brain’s chemical neurotransmitter GABA, they help to ease the nervous system by dialing down nerve cell activity- providing a soothing reprieve from worries or insomnia.
GABA works to quell the activity of nerve cells, creating a sense of calm in response to anxious feelings. Benzodiazepines enhance these effects by amplifying GABA’s effect on chloride ion channels and further lessening excitability within the nervous system. Thus reducing anxiety levels overall.
Benzos such as Valium, Ativan, and Xanax can offer rapid respite from anxious feelings. However, these medicines must be used with caution due to their potential for addiction and the risk of complications ranging from drowsiness to disorientation or memory disturbances. They are best suited for the temporary alleviation of anxiety rather than prolonged management.
Some common effects of benzos include:
- Reduced anxiety: Benzos help to reduce feelings of worry, fear, and unease.
- Improved sleep: Benzos help to improve sleep, which can help to reduce anxiety symptoms dramatically.
- Drowsiness: Benzos can cause drowsiness, which can help people afflicted with insomnia.
Negative side effects of benzos may include:
- Dependence: Benzos can be habit-forming, and long-term use can lead to physical and psychological dependence.
- Withdrawal: Stopping benzos suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.
- Cognitive impairment: Benzos can cause cognitive impairment, such as memory problems and difficulty thinking clearly.
SNRIs are a medication used for the treatment of anxiety and depression. These medications work by amplifying the brain’s natural messaging system, effectively boosting emotional regulation and reducing feelings of unease. By increasing the levels of serotonin and norepinephrine ( two key neurotransmitters responsible for communication between nerve cells ) SNRIs can bring anxiety symptoms under control.
SNRIs are specifically designed to boost the effects of serotonin and norepinephrine in our brains – neurotransmitters that regulate mood. How so? By effectively locking them away from the reuptake process, thus making sure they stay active longer and have more control when it comes to stabilizing emotions such as anxiety
Some common effects of SNRIs include:
- Reduced anxiety: SNRIs can help to reduce feelings of worry, fear, and unease.
- Improved mood: SNRIs can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of depression.
- Increased energy: SNRIs can cause an increase in energy levels, which can be helpful for people with anxiety that causes fatigue.
Negative side effects of SNRIs may include:
- Nausea: SNRIs can cause nausea, which can be unpleasant and can interfere with daily activities.
- Sexual side effects: SNRIs can cause sexual side effects, such as decreased libido and difficulty achieving orgasm.
- Headaches: SNRIs can cause headaches, which can be mild or severe and can interfere with daily activities.
SSRIs are a powerful form of medication used to battle against anxiety and depression. By increasing the levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter in the brain that promotes how we feel, these medications can help restore balance to our minds while fortifying us with relief from depressive symptoms.
SSRIs are called “selective” because they specifically target serotonin, rather than other neurotransmitters. This makes them different from older classes of antidepressants, such as tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors, which affect multiple neurotransmitters. SSRIs are generally considered safer and more effective than these older medications and are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants at the moment.
Some common effects of SSRIs include:
- Reduced anxiety: SSRIs can help to reduce feelings of worry, fear, and unease.
- Improved mood: SSRIs can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of depression.
- Reduced appetite: SSRIs can cause a reduction in appetite, which can be helpful for people with anxiety that causes changes in eating habits.
Negative side effects of SSRIs may include:
- Insomnia: SSRIs can cause insomnia, which can be frustrating and can make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Agitation: SSRIs can cause agitation, which can be uncomfortable and can make anxiety symptoms worse.
- Weight gain: SSRIs can cause weight gain, which can be frustrating and can impact overall health and well-being.
Anxiety medication can present a unique set of benefits and risks for each individual. To ensure the optimal treatment plan, patients should speak with their medical professional to explore all potential outcomes before beginning any new medication regiment.