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Treatment for Anxiety

Anxiety disorders respond very well to treatment. Most anxiety disorders are treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medication, or a combination of these two.1,2


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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

This therapy helps to change the thinking patterns and behavior. It helps to identify the negative belief and challenges to overcome the fear through repeated exposure. Through exposure, greater sense of control is gained over anxieties. This therapy is conducted individually or in groups and takes about 12–20 weeks.


Pharmacotherapy (Medication)

This involves antianxiety drugs, antidepressants and beta-blockers. Studies show that benzodiazepine plus an antidepressant can give better results than antidepressant monotherapy.3

Antianxiety Medications
Benzodiazepines and azapirones (newer type of anti-anxiety drug which are slow acting and has several advantages) are mild tranquilizers used to treat the symptoms of anxiety and panic. Some of thebenzodiazepines include alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, clorazepate and diazepam. Buspirone is the commonly used azapirone.


Medications, which are approved for the treatment of depression have been found to relieve symptoms of anxiety. These include certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and the newer atypical antidepressants.

Some of the SSRIs include fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline, paroxetine, escitalopram and citalopram. Tricyclic antidepressants include amitriptyline, clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin and imipramine. MAOIs include phenelzine, tranylcypromine, isocarboxazid and selegiline.

Atypical antidepressants are drugs, which target neurotransmitters either alone or in addition to serotonin. These include bupropion, duloxetine, mirtazapine, trazodone and venlafaxine.

Beta-blockers control physical symptoms of anxiety such as rapid heart rate, trembling voice and shaky hands.  These are drugs to treat high blood pressure and heart problems. Propranolol and atenolol are some of the beta-blockers used.

Over-the-Counter Drugs (OTC)—Proloftin is used as OTC drug.


Alternative therapy for anxiety

A few alternate therapies are used such as follows:

Hypnotherapy—In this, a hypnotherapist works with the person using different therapeutic techniques in the state of deep relaxation.
Relaxation Techniques—Techniques, which help in relaxation like muscle relaxation, controlled breathing, meditation may reduce anxiety.
Biofeedback—This kind involves using sensors to measure the physiological arousal (such as changes in heart rate and muscle tension) caused by anxiety. Biofeedback helps to recognize and control these body processes.
Acupuncture—This is a traditional Chinese medicine, which may help to reduce anxiety.

Next page: Tips to take care of your mental health

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: September 20, 2012

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