Several different factors can contribute to the cause of anxiety in general. Genetics, brain chemistry, and external environments are the most commonly known factors. Furthermore, it can be passed from generation to generation. It is also associated with abnormal levels of neurotransmitters functions. Traumatic life experiences related to abuse, neglect, grieving, divorce, major life changing events trigger general anxiety in many people.
Only your psychiatrist (or a medical doctor) can prescribe medication for your diagnosed anxiety. Benzodiazepines are the most known and widely prescribed among others. Benzodiazepines include Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam).
Benzodiazepines slowly relax the nervous system helping people physically and mentally become less tense. Although they are effective in short term treatment, for example during a panic attack, however they are not recommended for a long term treatment because it is known to be habit forming and addictive. Children, elderly and individuals with developmental disabilities are reported to be vulnerable to benzodiazepines and should take extreme cautions. According to the FDA, benzodiazepines may also trigger unresolved depressions in some cases. If mixed with alcohol, painkillers, and other medications, they can lead to fatal overdose.
No one has to live with anxiety and fear because there is treatment alternatives to medication. Therapy is a good start especially if there is medication involved. Certain types of therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are extremely beneficial in anxiety disorders. Through therapy, one can understand the root of the problem, worries and fears. The right therapist can teach a client how to handle panic attacks, worrisome thoughts and distorted fears.
There are many alternative practices currently used to treat anxiety. Relaxation techniques produce short term solutions especially if the anxiety produce physical symptoms such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or shortness of breath. Breathing techniques and meditation have supported evidence to provide positive effects on people with anxiety. Yoga combines physical postures an ad philosophy to ease mind and body. Acupuncture has been used to treat anxiety for centuries. Kava, a plant that is found in South Pacific has been used in a tablet or liquid form to treat anxiety however in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration advices about the potential risk of severe liver injury associated with the use of kava-containing dietary supplements.
Disclaimer: The comments and suggestions in this article are intended to be helpful in developing a treatment plan with the guidance of a physician. Please consult a medical doctor about which options would be best for you. Do not take any supplements or medicine without discussing the effects with your physician. The author is not responsible for any affects or the effectiveness of these treatments.
Elif Angel Raynor, MS., MIBA.
Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern
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