Medication and anxiety disorders

Medication such as antidepressants can prove to be a great help in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Strong fears are mostly due to anxiety disorders. They manifest themselves in various ways, as phobias, panic attacks, or general anxiety disorders. Sometimes anxiety disorders also appear in a combined way, for example pathological fear that is accompanied by depression. Medication therapy can help move out and beyond a state of constant fear.

Medication therapy aims at normalizing impaired cerebral functions that are due to a shifting of messenger substances (neurotransmitters). For example, serotonin is an important neurotransmitter. The medication available for treating such disorders includes antidepressants (such as tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors), specific anxiolytics (tranquillizers) as well as benzodiazepine.

In regard to the use of psychotropic drugs, many people seem to have misconceptions. Such medication regulates the biochemistry of chemical processes situated in the central nervous system that have gone out of control. They do not lead to personality changes or to dependency. Only medication of the benzodiazepine group may induce dependency when administered over a longer period of time; this is why these will only be given for the short-term treatment of acute situations.

The best therapy success in the treatment of fear and anxiety is reached with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. The medication has a tranquilizing effect on the patient and makes him more readily acceptant of the behavioral therapy, whereas the therapy increases the readiness to take the medication. Long-term therapy antidepressants have proven to be particularly effective in the treatment of fears and anxiety.

Text: Helga Grafe 03/2016
Translation: MyH 05/201