A number of drugs can be used to address panic attacks or panic disorder. Some treat the symptoms of the condition, whereas other attempt to prevent attacks from occurring.
The main type of medication used to treat panic attack are antidepressants. Although more commonly associated with depression, this medication can also prove effective in a number of other psychological conditions.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common antidepressant prescribed by doctors for panic attacks. SSRIs increase the level of serotonin in your brain in an attempt to improve your mood. They should help reduce anxiety levels which can greatly reduce the likelihood of panic attacks occurring.
As with all medication, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors can have a number of side effects. Possible issues include nausea, headaches, blurred vision, bowel problems and insomnia. SSRIs may make you feel worse for a short period of time before you start to improve.
If SSRIs aren't successful in treating panic attacks, tricyclic antidepressants may be prescribed. This medication regulates levels of noradrenaline and serotonin in the brain to help control your mood. SSRIs are preferred to tricyclic antidepressants as they typically have fewer side effects. Common issues with tricyclic antidepressants include drowsiness, blurred vision, constipation, difficulty urinating, and involuntary changes in weight.
The other form of medication used to treat panic attacks are beta-blockers. These can help control the symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks by slowing down your heart rate. This reduces the pressure at which the blood is pumped around your body, thereby helping to calm you down. Possible side effects of beta-blockers include weakness, dizziness, and fatigue Beta-blockers can also cause adverse side effect when combined with other medication. It's therefore important to consult you doctor before taking such drugs for panic attacks.
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