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Treatment Options for Anxiety Disorders

Because there are many different types of anxiety disorders, there are many options for treatment. These options include several types of medication, therapy and positive reinforcement. A physician can choose the best combination of these options after diagnosing a patient. The availability of different kinds of treatment ensures that each patient will get the best treatment for their needs.


The most common treatment for an anxiety disorder is prescription medication. Just as there are different types of anxiety disorders, there are different types of anti-anxiety medication. Benzodiazepines are a type of medication commonly used to counteract the effects of an anxiety attack. Drugs like Klonopin (clonazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and Ativan (lorazepam) are all part of the benzodiazepine family. These drugs can relieve anxiety symptoms such as increased heart rate, rushing thoughts and feelings of agitation.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are often prescribed for anxiety treatment. These medications affect a chemical called serotonin, which is produced naturally within the human body. Serotonin, among other things, helps to regulate mood and emotions. SSRIs keep serotonin in the bloodstream by preventing it from being reabsorbed by the body. This leads to more stable emotional states. SSRIs are usually taken on a regular basis over a large period of time. These medications are the type that you may see advertised in television commercials. Some of the most common are Effexor (venlafaxine), Paxil (paroxetine) and Prozac (fluoxetine).


In addition to medication, many doctors will recommend a type of psychotherapy known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT. This is a very effective method of therapy which helps patients identify behavioral patterns that aggravate their anxiety symptoms. Often, with just a few therapy sessions, patients can begin to distinguish negative thoughts and behaviors and work to correct them.

Of course, as with all medical conditions, a family doctor or personal physician can determine the best course of action to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.


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