Anti-Anxiety Medication

Experience Relief in Colorado Springs

Break Free From Your Anxiety

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting approximately 40 million adults ages 18 and older each year. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are highly treatable through a combination of medication, therapy, and alternative treatments such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, but only for those who seek help. At Family Care Center in Colorado Springs, we specialize in outpatient behavioral health services for military veterans and their families, as well as non-military individuals of all ages who are struggling with their mental health.

We offer comprehensive medication management services, including anti-anxiety medications, sometimes known as anxiolytics. Discover more about anxiety disorders and anti-anxiety medications below, then get in touch with our Colorado Springs clinic today to schedule an initial appointment.

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Types of Anti-Anxiety Medications

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Buspirone

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)

  • Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs)

  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)

  • Antihistamines

  • Sympatholytics

Anxiety Treatment

The 5 Major Types of Anxiety Disorders

While many mental health conditions have anxiety as a symptom, most psychiatrists recognize five major types of anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders involve more than just temporary worry and fear. Unlike someone who may be anxious because of an upcoming test or a problem at work, anxiety does not go away once the issue is dealt with, but rather is a chronic condition that can get worse over time, negatively affecting nearly all aspects of a person’s life.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD):

Generalized anxiety disorder can occur at any age, and is characterized by persistent and excessive worry that lasts for at least 6 months. An estimated 5.7% of U.S. adults will experience GAD at some point in their lives, making it the most prevalent type of anxiety disorder. A person with GAD will worry on a daily basis about a number of different things, such as personal health, work, money, family, social interactions, and everyday life circumstances. Some common symptoms of GAD include:

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  • Restlessness or constantly feeling on edge

  • Irritability

  • Being easily fatigued

  • Difficulty concentrating or brain fog

  • Muscle tension

  • Insomnia

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

Panic Disorder:

People with panic disorder have recurrent and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear accompanied by a variety of physical symptoms. They often reach their peak within minutes, and occur unexpectedly or may be brought on by a trigger. People with panic disorder often worry when their next attack will happen and will actively try to prevent future attacks, at the detriment of other aspects of their life. Symptoms of a panic attack and panic disorder include:

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  • Heart palpitations, a pounding heart, or an accelerated heart rate

  • Sweating

  • Trembling or shaking

  • Shortness of breath

  • A sense of impending doom

  • Feeling out of control

Phobia-Related Disorders:

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A phobia is an intense fear of a certain object or situation that is disproportionate to any actual danger. Phobia-related disorders are characterized by overwhelming anxiety and, in the case of social phobias, excessive self-consciousness. People with a phobia will often take active steps to avoid the feared object or situation.There are many different types of phobias and phobia-related disorders, including:

Social phobia (often referred to as social anxiety disorder):

People with social phobia experience intense fear of being judged or rejected in social situations. As a result, they often avoid social situations altogether. When a social situation cannot be avoided, they will experience strong emotional and physical symptoms, such as a rapid heart rate, nausea, sweating, blushing, or even full-blown panic attacks. For some people with social phobia, their symptoms are so severe that they occur almost anytime they are around other people.

Specific phobias (sometimes called simple phobias):

As their name suggests, specific phobias are phobias characterized by intense anxiety around a specific type of object or situation. Some examples of specific phobias include a fear of flying, heights, dogs, spiders, receiving injections, vomiting, or blood.

Agoraphobia:

Agoraphobia is a fear of being in environments that are perceived as unsafe or where escape may be difficult, such as open spaces, public transit, busy shopping centers, or — in its most severe form — anytime a person is outside of their home. People with agoraphobia will often experience feelings of helplessness, panic, embarrassment, and fear, as well as physical symptoms such as chest pain, an accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath, and sweating.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions). Gratifying these intrusive thoughts or behaviors provides only temporary relief and resisting them creates a marked increase in anxiety. Common obsessions include:

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  • The thought of a loved one dying

  • The thought that a loved one is unsafe

  • The thought that an environment or relationship is somehow “off” or unbalanced

  • The thought that there is something “wrong” with your sexuality

  • Excessive guilt and/or fear about harming yourself or someone else

Common compulsions include:

  • Hand washing

  • Cleaning

  • Repeatedly checking things (ex. locks on doors)

  • Counting, tapping, or repeating certain words

  • Ordering or arranging things “just so”

  • Hoarding objects

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

At Family Care Center, one of our specialties is treating veterans and other individuals who have been affected by post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD is a complex, although treatable, condition that requires several different modes of treatment. PTSD affects 7.7. million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population, with a slightly higher incidence in women than men. PTSD is developed after a person sees or experiences a traumatic event, such as combat, rape, or an accident. Some common symptoms of PTSD include:

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  • Re-experiencing the trauma via nightmares or flashbacks

  • Emotional numbness

  • Irritability or increased anger

  • Jumpiness

  • Avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma

  • Insomnia

  • Feelings of intense blame and guilt

  • Difficulty concentrating

What Causes Anxiety Disorders?

Anxiety disorders are complex conditions that may be brought on by a number of different causes, including:

  • Genetics

  • Environment

  • Stress

  • Trauma

  • Drugs

  • Medical conditions

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Commonly Prescribed Anti-Anxiety Medications

Benzodiazepines

Sometimes referred to as “benzos,” benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, depression, insomnia, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, and other medical conditions. Benzodiazepines are generally considered safe and effective for short-term use (2-4 weeks), although long-term use may cause adverse effects. Benzodiazepines are not recommended for those with a history of substance abuse.

Types

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)

  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)

  • Diazepam (Valium)

  • Lorazepam (Ativan)

  • Temazepam (Restoril)

  • Triazolam (Halcion)

Possible Side Effects

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Confusion

  • Loss of coordination

  • Decreased libido

  • Nausea

  • Amnesia

  • Physical dependence

  • Paradoxical reactions (aggression, violence, irritability, depression, suicidality)

Buspirone

Buspirone is an anxiolytic that affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in those with anxiety disorders. It is used to treat symptoms of anxiety such as fear, tension, irritability, pounding heartbeat, and other physical symptoms.

Types

  • Buspirone (BuSpar)

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Drowsiness

  • Blurred vision

  • Vivid dreams and/or difficulty sleeping

  • Paradoxical reactions (nervousness, restlessness, agitation)

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

SSRIs are a type of antidepressant that can help decrease anxiety and comorbid depression by increasing the level of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. SSRIs have been shown to be particularly effective for OCD and OCD-related disorders. SSRIs are some of the most widely used psychiatric medications today, thanks to their safety compared to other antidepressants.

Types

  • Citalopram (Celexa)

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)

  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)

  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox)

  • Paroxetine (Paxil)

  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

Possible Side Effects

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Jaw pain

  • Loss of libido

  • Blurred vision

  • Dry mouth

  • Agitation

  • Paradoxical reactions (agitation, depression, suicidality)

Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

SNRIs are another, newer antidepressant medication that work similarly to SSRIs, and have been shown to be just as effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Types

  • Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)

  • Duloxetine (Cymbalta)

  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

  • Levomilnacipran (Fetzima)

  • Milnacipran (Ixel, Savella)

Possible Side Effects:

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Paradoxical reactions (agitation, depression, suicidality)

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs)

Tricyclic antidepressants are an older class of antidepressants that are named after their three-ringed structure. Compared to newer antidepressants, side effects are more likely and generally more severe, however some patients may find them beneficial as a second-line treatment.

Types

  • Amitriptyline (Elavil)

  • Clomipramine (Anafranil)

  • Desipramine (Norpramin)

  • Imipramine (Tofranil)

  • Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

  • Opipramol (Insidon)

  • Protriptyline (Vivactil)

  • Trimipramine (Surmontil)

Possible Side Effects:

  • Dry mouth

  • Dry nose

  • Blurry vision

  • Constipation

  • Urinary retention

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Increased body temperature

  • Paradoxical reactions (agitation, depression, suicidality)

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)

Because these powerful antidepressants may react negatively with certain foods, they are not supported as a first-line treatment, but have sometimes been hugely beneficial to those who don’t react to other classes of antidepressants.

Types

Possible Side Effects:

  • Dry mouth

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Headache

  • Drowsiness

  • Insomnia

  • Reduced libido

  • Weight gain

  • Interactions with other medications

  • Hypertensive crisis when taken with certain foods (potentially fatal)

  • Paradoxical reactions (agitation, depression, suicidality)

Antihistamines

Although generally known for their anti-allergen properties, antihistamines have been shown to be as effective as benzodiazepines in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, while producing fewer side effects.

Types

  • Hydroxyzine (Atarax, Vistaril)

Possible Side Effects:

  • Sedation

  • Loss of coordination

  • Hypotension

  • Tinnitus

  • Headaches

Sympatholytics

Sympatholytics, often referred to as beta blockers, are a category of medications that work by inhibiting activity within the sympathetic nervous system. Although they are most commonly used to lower high blood pressure, sympatholytics have been shown to have anxiolytic effects and may be particularly useful as an off-label treatment with PTSD or social anxiety.

Types

  • Acebutolol (Sectral)

  • Bisoprolol (Zebeta)

  • Carvedilol (Coreg)

  • Propranolol (Inderal)

  • Atenolol (Tenormin)

  • Metoprolol (Lopressor)

Possible Side Effects:

  • Fatigue

  • Cold hands and feet

  • Headache

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation

  • Depression

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Heal With Family Care Center

At Family Care Center, we believe that a combination of medication, counseling, and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is the best way to combat anxiety disorders. If you’re interested in learning more about our behavioral health center in Colorado Springs, get in touch with Family Care Center today. We look forward to helping you heal.