Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are associated with certain chemical imbalances in the brain involving neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and gamma aminobutyric acid or GABA. These chemicals are associated with an individual’s sense of well-being or with the ability to relax. Drugs don’t cure anxiety, however they can help you manage your symptoms so you can function well and feel better in your day-to-day life. Many types of medications are available. Because each person is different, you and your doctor may have to try several medications to find the right one for you.
This class of drugs is frequently used for short-term management of anxiety. Benzodiazepines (alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam) are highly effective in promoting relaxation and reducing muscular tension and other physical symptoms of anxiety. Long-term use may require increased doses to achieve the same effect, which may lead to problems related to tolerance and dependence.
Concerns about long-term use of the benzodiazepines led many doctors to favor tricyclic antidepressants (amitriptyline, imipramine, and nortriptyline). Although effective in the treatment of anxiety, they can cause significant side effects, including orthostatic hypotension (drop in blood pressure on standing), constipation, urinary retention, dry mouth, and blurry vision.
Contact your physician if you experience side effects, even if you are not sure a symptom is caused by a medication. Do not stop taking a medication without consulting with the prescribing physician; abrupt discontinuation may cause other health risks.
Medications will work only if they are taken according the explicit instructions of your physician, but they may not resolve all symptoms of an anxiety disorder.
Ketamine is a legal prescription medication used for a variety of purposes– as a pain killer, sedative, anesthetic, and anti-depressant. It’s one of the safest anesthetics in the world and is available in every hospital. Ketamine’s use as an anti-depressant and PTSD treament is growing very quickly and research studies are expanding. Here’s a directory of US doctors offering ketamine treatment for depression, bipolar, PTSD, and other mood disorders.
What makes Ketamine so remarkable for treating anxiety is that its positive effects begin almost immediately, within 1 – 12 hours, compared to SSRIs that may take weeks to start working, if they work at all. Ketamine also seems to have much fewer side effects than SSRIs (though it hasn’t been studied much for long term use) and is incredibly effective as a treatment for people who don’t respond well to SSRIs and other anti-depressants. If you’ve had limited success with other treatment methods you may respond very well to ketamine.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for GAD. Studies of different treatments for GAD have found that the benefits of CBT may last longer than those of medication, but no single treatment is best for everyone.
CBT helps you to understand how your problems, thoughts, feelings, and behavior affect each other. It can also help you to question your negative and anxious thoughts, and do things you would usually avoid because they make you anxious.
CBT usually involves meeting with a specially trained and accredited therapist for a one-hour session every week for three to four months.
Your therapist should carry out CBT in a standardized way according to a treatment manual, and they should receive regular supervision to support them in providing the most effective treatments.
Deep Muscular Relaxation Technique
Many people confuse relaxation with recreation and thus it is necessary for anxiety disorder sufferers to learn to relax correctly by the elimination of all muscular tension and stress. This is not achieved by just “putting your feet up” but by learning proper muscle relaxation and then practicing it regularly. It should not only be used when a sufferer feels panicky or stressed out but should become a regular part of everyday life as a prevention mechanism.
Relaxation is the exact opposite of tension which means, that if you practice relaxation on a regular basis, many of your symptoms of nervous tension will disappear. After a fair amount of practice in relaxation, you should have no difficulty in falling asleep and your sleep will be deeper and more restful. You will also find that you have more energy for work and play. There should be an improvement in your concentration and mental alertness. Deep relaxation is a skill which is not learned in a day – the more you practice the sooner you will feel the benefits.