Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
When the cause of anxiety is a physical ailment, treatment is directed toward eliminating that ailment. For example, if your thyroid gland were
overactive and causing anxiety, the treatment might involve surgery and various thyroid-regulating medications.
When the cause is psychological, the underlying cause
needs to be discovered and, if possible, eliminated or controlled. For
example, if the cause is difficulty in a marriage, the doctor may suggest
marital counseling. Withdrawal from a substance of abuse is often addressed with drug-abuse treatment.
Sometimes, the cause cannot be identified. In such cases, the only treatment option is control of symptoms.
In the past, anxiety was treated with drugs in a class known as benzodiazepines. This class of medications is currently used much less often to treat anxiety due to the possibility of addiction. Examples of medications from this group include:
Another anti-anxiety drug that is not a benzodiazepine is buspirone (BuSpar).
Neurontin is an antiseizure medication that has been found to be helpful in treating anxiety for some people, but little organized research has indicated whether or not it is effective in addressing anxiety disorders.
Drugs of the SSRI class
(selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors that are also used to treat depression) are sometimes prescribed and include the following:
In addition, psychotherapy may be useful. Helping the anxiety sufferer combat whatever unrealistic beliefs that may underlie the anxiety (cognitive therapy)
or developing ways to manage worries (behavioral therapy) are psychotherapeutic approaches that are often used.