Using Chinese Medicine For Treating Depression And Anxiety
Did you know traditional Chinese medicine is recognized by the National Institutes of Health as a complementary therapy that is effective for alleviating pain and improving quality of life? Chinese medicine is so appealing to the NIH that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is currently funding a variety of research studies on its effectiveness for conditions such as fibromyalgia, joint pain, and heart disease.
This 3,000-year-old practice is also promising for dozens of other health conditions. In fact, many experienced practitioners utilize Chinese medicine as a natural treatment for anxiety and depression.
Associate Professor Heidi Most describes how, from a Chinese medicine perspective, depression and anxiety can be understood as a disturbance to the shen, roughly translated as our spirit. Most explains in this interview how acupuncture, herbs, dietary therapy, qi gong, and tai chi are all useful for treating depression and anxiety.
Broadly speaking, how can Chinese medicine help address issues related to depression and anxiety?
What Chinese medicine therapies are most beneficial for those with depression and anxiety?
What acupuncture point or herbs would a practitioner generally recommend to a patient with depression and anxiety?
What are the best Chinese herbs for anxiety?
What are the best Chinese herbs for depression?
How long might it take for someone to notice results?
Western vs. Chinese medicine for treating anxiety and depression
Can I Have Depression And Anxiety At The Same Time
Depression and anxiety are two different mental health disorders that are often comorbid. Meaning, they occur at the same time.
Depression is a mental disorder that is commonly identified with intense feelings of hopelessness, despair, worthlessness, and overwhelming sadness. Around 10% of Americans experience major depression , according to theCleveland Clinic. While most people will experience feelings of sadness at some point, with depression, these feelings are prolongedlasting two weeks or moreand severe enough to impact daily life.
Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive worry, nervousness, or fear that impacts everyday functioning. Without treatment, anxiety can get worse over time. There are a number of anxiety disorders, with their own set of unique symptoms.
About 2% of people in the U.S. have generalized anxiety disorder . According to Richard Shelton, MD, a psychiatrist and the vice chair of research at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, GAD symptoms include persistent fear and worry that is often difficult to control. Other anxiety disorders include:
- Panic disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
Depression and anxiety have the following symptoms in common: feelings of despair like nothing good will ever happen, physical symptoms , and exhaustion.
What Is Anxiety And Who Should Care
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common mental health condition. People with GAD worry a lot about many different things. Many people around the world have anxiety. In the United States, almost 8% of women will have GAD at some point in their lives compared to about 5% of men. The causes of generalized anxiety disorder may be related to genetics, life experiences, personality traits, and brain structure and function.
Its normal to experience occasional feelings of anxiety. The difference is that people with GAD feel anxious most of the time. They experience worry that interferes with daily life, is very hard to control, and is usually out of proportion to the actual situation.
People with GAD often worry about the future. They also tend to avoid situations that might be anxiety-provoking and may think a lot about bad things happening. It can sometimes make them feel tense or irritable, and make it hard to concentrate on work or other activities. GAD can also cause physical symptoms, including:
A racing heartbeat
Changes in bowel movements, like diarrhea or constipation
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How To Use Wellbutrin 75 Mg Tablet
Read the Patient Information Leaflet and Medication Guide available from your pharmacist before you start using bupropion and each time you get a refill. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Take this medication by mouth, with or without food, usually three times daily. If stomach upset occurs, you may take this drug with food. It is important to take your doses at least 6 hours apart or as directed by your doctor to decrease your risk of having a seizure.
Do not take more or less medication or take it more frequently than prescribed. Taking more than the recommended dose of bupropion may increase your risk of having a seizure. Do not take more than 150 milligrams as a single dose, and do not take more than 450 milligrams per day.
Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. Your dose may be slowly increased to limit side effects such as sleeplessness, and to decrease the risk of seizures. To avoid trouble sleeping, do not take this medication too close to bedtime. Let your doctor know if sleeplessness becomes a problem.
Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day.
Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor. Some conditions may become worse when the drug is suddenly stopped. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased.
Medications To Treat Anxiety Disorders
Treatment of anxiety disorders often includes therapy, prescription medication, or a combination of the two.
Medications are prescribed to help reduce your symptoms. The four main classes of medications used to treat anxiety disorders are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors , serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors , benzodiazepines, and tricyclic antidepressants. At various biological levels, these medications alter and regulate the body’s reactions to stress. Most take some time for maximum effectiveness, and you might have to try a few before you find the one that is the best for you.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors SSRIs are considered the first-line drug defense against anxiety disorders.
- How do SSRIs help with anxiety? SSRIs keep brain cells from reabsorbing too much of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. It is thought that this increase in serotonin boosts your mood.
- Do SSRIs cause side effects? All medications can cause side effects, but SSRIs tend to be well tolerated and cause fewer side effects compared to other types of anxiety medication. Side effects vary across different medications, and from person to person, but the more common long-term side effects of SSRIs include weight gain, sleeplessness or insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
- What SSRIs are available for prescription? SSRIs come in different formulations, including fluoxetine , fluvoxamine , citalopram , escitalopram , paroxetine , and sertraline .
Medications to treat anxiety
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Comparison Chart For Best Treatment For Anxiety And Depression
In this article we’ve included our suggestions for the Treatment For Anxiety And Depression after analyzing 44591 reviews.
- RELIEVE STRESS AND ANXIETY by using heat to gently stimulate relative acupressure points at precise times and in a sequence of treatments customized especially for you.
- EASY TO USE With the help of the online program and visual aids you will learn to locate your acupressure points and choose the most appropriate time for the procedure.
- NATURAL AND NON INVASIVE APPROACH This non-invasive therapy treats the whole being and not just the symptoms.
- With each home kit you receive an amount of capsules calculated for a series of 8 treatments.
- RELAX, REJUVENATE AND RESTORE your mind and body to its natural state.
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What Does 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.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
This type of medication works by increasing the level of a chemical called serotonin in your brain.
Examples of SSRIs you may be prescribed include:
- difficulty achieving orgasm during sex or masturbation
- in men, difficulty obtaining or maintaining an erection
These side effects should improve over time, although some such as sexual problems can persist.
If your medication isn’t helping after about 2 months of treatment or it’s causing unpleasant side effects, your GP may prescribe an alternative SSRI.
When you and your GP decide it’s appropriate for you to stop taking your medication, you’ll normally have your dose slowly reduced over the course of a few weeks to reduce the risk of withdrawal effects.
Never stop taking your medication unless your GP specifically advises you to.
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Suicide Risk And Anxiety
Patients with anxiety disorders may experience suicidal ideation, so this risk should always be assessed. Research suggests that the risk of a suicide attempt is most likely to be elevated when there is a comorbid depression. Agitation and akathisia are potential adverse effects of SSRIs and may also be associated with an increased risk of suicide.
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. 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. 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. 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. However, buspirone has a slow onset of action, and it can take 3 to 4 weeks to provide substantial relief of symptoms.
Newer antidepressants for treatment of anxiety.
Special Benzodiazepine Risk Factors
Anyone who takes benzodiazepines can experience unpleasant or dangerous side effects. But certain individuals are at a higher risk:
People over 65. Older adults are more sensitive to the sedating effects of benzodiazepines. Even small doses can cause confusion, amnesia, loss of balance, and cognitive impairment that looks like dementia. Benzodiazepine use in the elderly is associated with an increased risk of falls, broken hips and legs, and car accidents. Long-term benzodiazepine use also increases the risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.
People with a history of substance abuse. Because theyre physically addicting and on their own and dangerous when combined with alcohol and other drugs, anyone with a current or former substance abuse problem should use benzodiazepines only with extreme caution.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women. Benzodiazepine use during pregnancy can lead to dependence in the developing baby, with withdrawal following birth. Benzodiazepines are also excreted in breast milk. Therefore, pregnant women need to have a thorough discussion about the risks and benefits of these medications with their prescribing doctor. If medication is necessary, the goal is the smallest effective dose.
The connection between benzodiazepines and accidents
Ssri Antidepressants For Anxiety
Many medications originally approved for the treatment of depression are also prescribed for anxiety. In comparison to benzodiazepines, the risk for dependency and abuse is smaller. However, antidepressants take up to 4 to 6 weeks to begin relieving anxiety symptoms, so they cant be taken as needed. Their use is limited to chronic anxiety problems that require ongoing treatment.
The antidepressants most widely prescribed for anxiety are SSRIs such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Lexapro, and Celexa. SSRIs have been used to treat generalized anxiety disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Common side effects of SSRIs include:
- Increased sweating
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Pharmacotherapy Of Anxiety Disorders: Current And Emerging Treatment Options
- 1Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, United States
- 2Silver Hill Hospital, New Canaan, CT, United States
- 3Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, United States
- 4Department of Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, United States
- 5Department of Psychiatry and Centre for Neuroscience Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, Canada
- 6Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States
- 7Clinical Research Division, Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, Orangeburg, NY, United States
- 8Department of Psychiatry, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States
What If My Anxiety Gets Better But My Depression Doesnt
Sometimes an SSRI will work to reduce anxiety, but it wont be effective for a patient who has low energy or low mood, says Dr. Shelton. If increasing the dosage of that medication doesnt work, another medication to tackle the low energy will likely be introduced. SSRIs actually seem to work best for clusters of anxiety symptoms, but there are other antidepressants that have the opposite profile, Dr. Shelton explains.
Wellbutrin is a common antidepressant that tackles low mood and low energy, but it can increase feelings of anxiousness. Its one of the reasons why its often combined with an SSRI, says Dr. Shelton, if depression isnt alleviated completely.
As always, make sure you talk with a mental health professional about which medication or treatment plan is right for you. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, are thinking of harming yourself, or would like to talk to someone, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK . This hotline is available free, 24/7 for anyone experiencing emotional distress or suicidal thoughts.
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An Overview Of Practice
A stepped-care model for the management of anxiety is recommended. Australian2 and UK3 guidelines list non-drug approaches as initial interventions. They include individual non-guided or guided self-help, and psychoeducational groups. For patients who present with marked functional impairment and those who do not respond to the initial interventions, high-intensity psychological interventions or medication are recommended.
Australasian guidelines for panic and agoraphobia4 identify cognitive behavioural therapy as first-line treatment. As a sole therapy, it can be at least as effective as pharmacotherapy and in some cases more so. Antidepressants alone are less effective than cognitive behavioural therapy alone, or the combination of an antidepressant and cognitive behavioural therapy.4-6 Additionally, cognitive behavioural therapy is more likely to give lasting benefit. In contrast to depression, efficacy appears to be lost soon after stopping antidepressants, with a recurrence of anxiety being the rule rather than the exception.
How To Use Citalopram Hbr
Read the Medication Guide and, if available, the Patient Information Leaflet provided by your pharmacist before you start taking citalopram and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.
Take this medication with or without food as directed by your doctor, usually once daily in the morning or evening. The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, age, laboratory tests, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the products you use . The maximum dosage for citalopram is 40 milligrams per day.
If you are using the liquid form of this medication, carefully measure the dose using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose.
To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start taking this drug at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not increase your dose or use this drug more often or for longer than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster, and your risk of side effects will increase. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day.
It may take 1 to 4 weeks to feel a benefit from this drug and up to several weeks before you get the full benefit.
Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
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