How To Know Which Antidepressant Is Best For You
When your doctor prescribes any medication, be it an antidepressant or another type of medicine, there are several considerations behind the decision.
The selection criteria are extensively diverse, given that antidepressants can have varying effects on different patients.
Below are some of the factors that can help shape the decision of your physician.
Do I Need This Treatment
If you are distressed for more than two weeks by feelings of sadness, despair and hopelessness, or by excessive worry that is hard to control, see a doctor for an assessment of your symptoms and situation and to discuss treatment and support options. Early treatment can help to ensure treatment success.
Be sure your doctor knows if you have had times where you felt a reduced need for sleep in combination with an unusual amount of energy, or where your mood changed from feeling depressed to feeling unusually happy or irritable. Mood stabilizer medications may be more suited to your needs, either on their own or in combination with antidepressants. Antidepressants alone can cause some people to switch from depression into mania.
Medications are only one way of treating depression and anxiety. Talk therapies, such as interpersonal psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioural therapy, can be just as effective. Peer support, school and job counselling, and housing and employment supports can also help to deal with problems that may trigger or worsen depression or anxiety.
Drug Interactions And Overdose
While benzodiazepines are relatively safe when taken only occasionally and in small doses, they can be dangerous and even deadly when combined with other central nervous system depressants. Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before combining medications.
Dont drink on benzodiazepines. When mixed with alcohol, benzodiazepines can lead to fatal overdose.
Dont mix with painkillers or sleeping pills. Taking benzodiazepines with prescription pain or sleeping pills can also lead to fatal overdose.
Antihistamines amplify their effects. Antihistaminesfound in many over-the-counter sleep, cold, and allergy medicinesare sedating on their own. Be cautious when mixing with benzodiazepines to avoid over-sedation.
Be cautious when combining with antidepressants. SSRIs such as Prozac and Zoloft can heighten benzodiazepine toxicity. You may need to adjust your dose accordingly.
Paradoxical effects of benzodiazepines
The benzodiazepines work because they slow down the nervous system. But sometimes, for reasons that arent well understood, they have the opposite effect. Paradoxical reactions are most common in children, the elderly, and people with developmental disabilities. They include:
- Increased anxiety, irritability, agitation, aggression, and rage
- Mania, impulsive behavior, and hallucinations
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How Can Caregivers Best Help
Scheduling pleasant activities, helping a loved one structure their day in a meaningful way, and problem-solving around issues contributing to distress may all help improve mood and decrease anxiety. In addition, it is important to help your loved one keep their brain sharp by eating a healthy Mediterranean diet, engaging in physical activity, and yes, continuing the weekly bridge games.
About the Author
Stephanie Collier, MD, MPH, Contributor
With All These Options How Can You Choose
Your doctor can recommend the best medication to help control your anxiety. There are different types of anxiety disorders, so different medications may be better choices for your type. Your doctor will also consider your other health conditions and medications, and whether you have a family history of responding better to a certain medication. Since you might be taking medication long-term, you may want to factor in affordability.
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Medication For Anxiety And Depression
There are many medications for anxiety and depression that are available for patients experiencing both disorders. The antidepressants below can treat panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or phobias, in addition to depression. Antidepressants increase the activity of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or norepinephrine, in the brain.
The best treatment depends on which anxiety disorder a patient has. For generalized anxiety disorder , both SSRIs and SNRIs are first in line, says Danielle Plummer, Pharm.D. She adds that the most commonly prescribed medications to treat both depression and anxiety are SSRIs and SNRIs.
What Do Antidepressant Medications Do
Antidepressant medications increase the activity of chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain. Increasing the activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine seems to help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, the brain is a very complex organ and the reasons why these drugs work are not yet fully understood.
We do know that these drugs help to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety in up to 70 per cent of people who try them. This rate is even higher when people who dont get relief with one type of antidepressant try a second type.
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When To Talk To Someone About Your Symptoms
Once anxiety or depression impacts your life, you should seek help from a mental health professional. The psychological conditions can lead to social isolation, worsening performance at school or work, and substance abuse as a coping mechanism.
If you rely on drugs or alcohol as a response to anxiousness or depression, consider rehabilitation. The Recovery Village has centers throughout the country that provide co-occurring disorder treatment when a mental illness pairs with addiction. The team of experts can help you attain a substance-free lifestyle and treat your mental condition.
If youre looking for healthy ways to manage anxiety and depression, the Nobu app can help. It is free and for anyone that is looking to reduce anxiety, work through depression, build self-esteem, get aftercare following treatment, attend teletherapy sessions and so much more. Download the Nobu app today!
What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety And Panic Attacks
Symptoms of an anxiety attack tend to come on gradually. People who have anxiety attacks often have a low level of anxiety as a baseline.
Symptoms of an anxiety attack include:
- Excessive worry
- Side effects from medications
- Low oxygen levels from being at high altitudes, having lung diseases such as COPD, or a pulmonary embolism
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Talk Therapy A Good Investment Our Survey Finds
Talk therapy offers two advantages over medication: no drug side effects and tools you can use for the long term.
“When you take medication, you stop the medication and the problem may come back,” says Michael First, M.D., professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. “When you have a run of cognitive behavioral therapy, you actually learn a skill. It’s something that sticks with you.”
Going to therapy requires a time commitment, and the insurance claims process might be more cumbersome than with medications. Still, if your plan will pay or you can swing the out-of-pocket portion of the cost, our survey suggests it’s an investment worth making. Of the respondents who visited a mental-health professional for talk therapy, either alone or in conjunction with taking medication, 46 percent said the therapists had made things “a lot better” and 45 percent said they had made things “somewhat better.”
That finding was consistent regardless of whether the person had seen a psychologist, a social worker, or a licensed counselor. Helpfulness scores were somewhat higher for people who had seen a psychiatrist, a medical doctor who can prescribe medication. Of patients who went to psychiatrists, 59 percent received some talk therapy, usually in combination with medication the rest got only meds. In two states, appropriately trained psychologists have a limited authority to prescribe medications, but in general psychologists typically specialize in talk therapy.
What to do
Noradrenaline And Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants
Because completely new drugs take a long time to be developed which doesnt happen very often there needs to be a way for people to find alternative options.
In these cases, a small modification of an existing drug may provide the solution. NaSSAs are a modification of SNRIS.
When needed, Noradrenaline and Specific Serotonergic Antidepressants are used for different illnesses that affect similar biological systems in the body.
Specifically, NaSSA stimulates an increased release of norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine in the synaptic clefts .
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The Role Of Medication In Anxiety Treatment
When youre overwhelmed by heart-pounding panic, paralyzed by fear, or exhausted from yet another sleepless night spent worrying, youll do just about anything to get relief. And theres no question that when anxiety is disabling, medication may help. But are drugs always the best answer?
Many different types of medications are used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines and newer options like SSRI antidepressants . These drugs can provide temporary relief, but they also come with side effects and safety concernssome significant.
They are also not a cure. In fact, there are many questions about their long-term effectiveness. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, benzodiazepines lose their therapeutic anti-anxiety effect after 4 to 6 months of regular use. And a recent analysis reported in JAMA Psychiatry found that the effectiveness of SSRIs in treating anxiety has been overestimated, and in some cases is no better than placebo.
Whats more, it can be very difficult to get off anxiety medications without difficult withdrawals, including rebound anxiety that can be worse than your original problem.
What Are Ssris And Snris
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Zoloft and Prozac, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like Effexor and Pristiq are antidepressant medications, but they can help with anxiety symptoms as well. For this reason, many providers will prescribe an SSRI or SNRI if you have a combination of depression and anxiety.
SSRIs and SNRIs are not an instant fix for symptoms associated with an anxiety disorder, nor do they even provide immediate relief, Alonzo said. They work by interacting with the neurotransmitters and receptors in your brain, which can help regulate mood, sleep and energy levels. It is important for patients to understand that these medications may take four to six weeks for full effect.
Some patients may respond better to one of these medications than others. If after taking the medication for two weeks and symptoms have not improved, talk to your provider to have your medication regimen adjusted. Treatment trials with more than one medication are not uncommon.
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What About Prescription Medication And Treatments For Anxiety And Depression
More info on this topic
According to Henry Emmons in his book TheChemistry of Joy, you should consider taking medications if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Severe depression that makes it hard to function in daily life or is accompanied by suicidal or self-destructive thoughts
- Moderate depression that has not improved within three to four weeks of trying natural therapies
- Mild depression that has not improved within six to eight weeks of trying natural therapies
- A severe sleep disturbance that does not improve with natural therapies
- Repeated episodes of depressions, especially if they occur without any particular trigger
How Do Antidepressants Work
Various antidepressant medications are available for prescription use. There is no single best antidepressant, and the best one for you depends on your symptoms and individual needs.
Usually, antidepressants help balance the levels of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals responsible for communications between neurons in the brain. These chemicals include serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Higher levels of these chemicals usually correspond with lower levels of depression.
While antidepressants can be helpful in depression, effectiveness varies from patient to patient. How long the drugs stay in your body also varies. Some drugs stay in your body for about 36 hours, while others last as long as several days.
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Management Of Anxiety In The Primary Care Setting
Benzodiazepines and buspirone.
The use of the benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety disorders has a long history. For many years, diazepam was the most widely prescribed BZD, but alprazolam is currently the most commonly used drug of this class because of its lower incidence of sedation.8 Alprazolam often significantly reduces panic attacks within a few days at the recommended daily dosage of 1.5 to 10 mg, although dosages as low as 0.25 mg 3 times daily may be effective in some patients.811 In more chronic forms of anxiety, such as GAD, typical maintenance dosages of alprazolam are generally lower than those used in panic disorder.
Unlike BZDs, buspirone, a member of the azapirone class of nonbenzodiazepine anxiolytics, does not cause sedation or psychomotor and cognitive impairment and, in general, has a more favorable adverse effect profile. Adverse effects of treatment include headache, light-headedness, nausea, and restlessness.8 Buspirone also has a low abuse potential, so it may be a suitable alternative to BZDs in addictive patients.
At dosages of 20 mg/day, buspirone is effective in GAD but not in panic disorder or OCD, for which it has shown little effect as a sole agent.12 However, buspirone has a slow onset of action, and it can take 3 to 4 weeks to provide substantial relief of symptoms.9
Newer antidepressants for treatment of anxiety.
How Are Anxiety Disorders Treated
Most people with anxiety disorders can experience great improvements with medication, psychotherapy, and exercise.
There are a number of treatment approaches for anxiety disorders. The type of treatment you receive will depend on your anxiety symptoms and type of disorder.
Not every treatment works for every person. You may need to try a number of treatments, or combinations of treatments, before finding what works for you.
The main treatments for anxiety disorders include:
- Complementary and alternative treatments
Medications To Treat Anxiety
A whopping 31% of U.S. adults will have an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. According to research done by Harvard for the National Comorbidity Survey , anxiety affected an estimated 19.1% of adults in the United States over a year and a half period.
Severe anxiety can be a crippling condition that dominates everything you do. Without proper therapy and anxiety treatment, you may begin feeling overwhelmed and incapable of dealing with your anxiety. The effects of severe anxiety can begin to ripple into every aspect of your daily life.
While we all experience anxiety to some degree at one point or another in life, its not normal for it to start taking over your world. If you find this is the case, maybe its time to start thinking about anxiety medication and seeing an online psychiatrist.
Keep reading to learn more about the best medications for anxiety, what you need to ask before making any decisions, and more on how to deal with anxiety.
Depression And Anxiety In Dementia
Depression and anxiety symptoms are extremely common in dementia and mild cognitive impairment . As a result of these symptoms, many people with dementia experience a decrease in their quality of life. Depression and anxiety may lead to disengagement from daily activities, which may further exacerbate memory difficulties. Social withdrawal and discontinuation of cognitively stimulating activities as a result of depression increase the likelihood of nursing home placement.
On And Off Label Uses
The off-label use of an approved drug is used to treat a condition that it is not intended for. Physicians who prescribe a medication that the FDA has approved for a given condition are considered to be using it on-label.
Some doctors are more likely to prescribe off-label medications than others. Your doctor will try to find one with the fewest side effects. Remember that Off-label does not mean that medication will not be helpful.
What Other Treatments Can Help Manage Anxiety
Medications for anxiety are safe and effective and are good options for many people. But some people want to avoid medication, and some want to combine medication with other treatments. You can try:
- Psychotherapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a first-line treatment for anxiety, and phobias can respond to biofeedback and exposure therapy.
- Stress management techniques. You can learn breathing techniques and progressive muscle relaxation to reduce anxiety.
- Lifestyle modifications. Getting enough quality sleep, exercising, and avoiding alcohol, illicit drugs and excessive caffeine can help reduce anxiety.
- Support groups. Connecting with people who share your experiences can be valuable.
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Selecting The Best Antidepressant For Depression And Anxiety
People with either depression or anxiety go to great lengths to relieve their distress, whether using medication or trying different natural remedies.
For depression and anxiety, antidepressants are among the most commonly prescribed medications.
In general, this class of drug is considered to be effective in treating depression and anxiety.
People must seek the best options for medications, especially if they suffer from depression or anxiety.
Using antidepressants for relieving these conditions can empower you to achieve your goals and dreams minus the pain and frustrations.
This is a comprehensive guide to arm you with knowledge about the best antidepressants for treating depression and anxiety.