Anxiety

Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources

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What to Do About Anxiety

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Treatments for Anxiety

While a variety of treatment options exist for anxiety, the most effective involves a combination of the treatments presented below. 

  • Psychotherapy: This therapy usually involves speaking with a mental health expert. During treatment sessions you will likely discuss any possible underlying stressors and try to discover the source of your anxiety. Often times, you will work to develop a set of concrete skills to help you cope with anxiety as it arises.
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  • Medication:
       
    • Antidepressants:Anxiety disorders are thought to involve neurotransmitters, the brain's chemical messengers. As a result antidepressants, which effect neurotransmitter levels, are sometimes used for anxiety. Due to its effect on neurotransmitter levels, these drugs can take a few weeks before an improvement is seen.
    • Busiprone (BuSpar): This anti-anxiety medication also takes a few weeks to fully work. As with most medications, it has side effects. While these side effects most often including lightheadedness, in rarer cases, headaches, nausea, nervousness and insomnia are also exhibited.
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    • Benzodiazepines: These sedatives are used less often and are more common for treatment of acute anxiety or as short-term treatments because they are highly addictive. They too have side effects including drowsiness, reduced coordination, balance problems and memory problems.

Home Remedies for Anxiety

  • Address the source of stress: If your anxiety is driven by a specific event, the most effective way to reduce the stress is to combat the stressor directly. It is often difficult to find the source of anxiety so it may be helpful to keep a diary of experiences and times of anxiety to look for which situations may be causing the anxiety.
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  • Relaxation techniques: Yoga, meditation or visualization can all help you get your anxiety under control.
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How to Prevent Anxiety

  • Get sleep: Sleep is an essential part of maintaining your mental health. Make sure you're getting enough sleep and sleeping well.
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  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and coffee: Alcohol, nicotine and caffeine can all worsen anxiety.
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  • Exercise: Exercising regularly can make your heart stronger and allow it to beat more slowly when you're in a resting state. Try to exercise for 20-30 minutes, three times a week!
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Katherine Solem is a health writer and editor living in San Francisco.

Published: July 5, 2011

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