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Anxiety (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the anxiety.

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 and SNRI classes (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin norepiniphrine reuptake inhibitors) that are also used to treat depression are the first-line treatment. They 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.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014
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