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Anxiety | Symptoms | Treatment | Attacks | Stress and anxiety | Medication | Children | Cause | Depression and anxiety

There are many types of medication prescribed to address anxiety or generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). The most common forms of drugs used in the UK are benzodiazepines, anxiolytics, antihistamines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin-noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Benzodiazepines are sedative drugs that can quickly ease the symptoms of anxiety. Results are typically seen in less than an hour, although in some cases it can take closer to two. This type of medication is relatively strong can can become addictive. As a result, it will only be prescribed in instances of severe anxiety or anxiety attacks. It is not suitable as a long term medication. Possible side effects include drowsiness, memory loss, and dizziness.

Anxiolytic medication, such as Buspirone, works in the same way as benzodiazepines, but is less addictive. Anxiety sufferers can be prescribed anxiolytics for several months. It may take up two eight weeks before any improvement is felt.

Although antihistamines are usually prescribed to treat allergic reactions, they can also be effective in addressing anxiety. They have a calming effect which can help reduce feelings of anxiousness. Again, this medication is only suitable for short term use. Side effects include headaches, dizziness and blurred vision.

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) increase the level of serotonin in your brain, and, in theory, should improve your moods. This antidepressant can be used to treat anxiety over the long term. Possible side effects include nausea, dizziness, sweating, blurred vision, and insomnia. This type of medication can also cause a lowering of your sex drive.

Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as Venlafaxine, can also help improve anxiety disorder. This type of medicine increases serotonin but also noradrenaline in your brain, helping to restore a more natural balance. Such medication has the same possible side effects as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. However, unlike SSRIs they are not suitable for patients with high blood pressure or other heart related conditions.

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